Today we went to the hospital to have Ada's follow up echocardiogram. This is a day I've been anticipating since the day we found out that she had PDA. I remember being so shocked because the fetal echocardiogram was perfect and was surprised that something could be wrong. What is PDA?
Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is a heart problem that affects some babies soon after birth. In PDA, abnormal blood flow occurs between two of the major arteries connected to the heart. These arteries are the aorta and the pulmonary artery.
Before birth, these arteries are connected by a blood vessel called the ductus arteriosus. This blood vessel is a vital part of fetal blood circulation. Within minutes or up to a few days after birth, the ductus arteriosus closes. This change is normal in newborns.
In some babies, however, the ductus arteriosus remains open (patent). The opening allows oxygen-rich blood from the aorta to mix with oxygen-poor blood from the pulmonary artery. This can strain the heart and increase blood pressure in the lung arteries.
We got to the hospital early and it turned out to be a whole hour early due to a mix up with appointment times. We decided to hang out in the courtyard where every five minutes a hospital employee walked by to ooh and ahh over Ada. Ada smiled for some but most of them got the "who the heck are you?" look. Ada can be very shy and has even started to hide her face a bit if she isn't sure of you.
The whole time we waited, and as we walked in for her appointment for the second time this morning, I felt nothing. I was prepared in my mind for the worst and had even postponed putting in ear tubes thinking there was a chance of a heart surgery coming up. At the same time I really felt like she was fine and this appointment would be routine. I know it sounds silly to feel both but I really did!
|Right before she was stripped down. Photo taken by her Daddy, Greg.|
We stripped Ada down to be weighed and she is now a whopping 12 pounds 7 ounces! After taking her blood pressure and oxygen (which was perfect) they brought us into another room to start the echocardiogram. The procedure is a lot like an ultrasound with the addition of an EKG. The technician can't tell you anything, so you wait out the test wondering what in the world you just saw on the screen that looked like valves in the heart. Kind of. The test was about 15 minutes long and after 5 minutes Ada decided to let everyone know that she really didn't like lying still while someone rubbed a knobby thing with wires connected to it near her face, so she started to open her mouth and try to suck on it while fussing.
|Ada connected to EKG. Photo take by Daddy, Greg.|
Dr. Humes, the cardiologist, walked in and I immediately felt good. He is a very kind man and has the most amazing bedside manner. He was the same doctor that conducted Ada's fetal echocardiogram. He reviewed the pictures and asked us to meet him in another room where he then listened to her heart. After he was done and I was dressing Ada, he told us everything looked great and her heart is good! Tears immediately started flowing and I felt so much relief. My little baby is ok!
A few weeks ago we went to the ENT and it looks like Ada will need ear tubes, which seem like no big deal next to HEART SURGERY! While Ada is under they will conduct an ABR which is the most accurate hearing test. This was done to June when she was 6 weeks old. I'd been concerned before Ada was born and wanted her to have an ABR. Since June passed the newborn screening test in one ear and later it was found to have a mild loss in that ear, the ABR was the only thing that detected her loss. Since both Greg and I have a gene that gives our children a 1 in 4 chance of being deaf I am glad we will have this test as Ada's baseline for future hearing tests.
We are meeting so many new people who have Down syndrome or have children that do and it has been so exciting. Everyone has been amazing and we look forward to the new friendships Ada is bringing to our life. Hopefully I will take the time soon to share some of those stories with you.
Next week we will see you in the U.P., eh? CAN'T WAIT!
The relief I felt when I got this news is NOTHING compared to how you guys must have felt! I know you would have been fine if surgery was needed, but there's no doubt this is the best news! So many praises for Ada's health and her impact!
Are the exclamation points too much?! Too bad!