Thursday, July 3, 2008

The first day of the rest of our lives...

Two weeks ago, at Nate's routine 6 week check up, our doctor discovered a heart murmur.  Erring on the side of caution, she sent us to see a pediatric cardiologist  in Winnipeg.  Five days later, we were at the Variety Children's Heart Clinic.  Nate had an echocardiogram (he was just awesome, laying very still for about 20 minutes!) and an ECG and some related tests.  As we waited to see the cardiologist, we felt very optimistic.  Many babies have murmurs for various reasons, which resolve themselves with time.
We found out Nate has a Ventricular Septum Defect (VSD) or hole in his heart where the left and right ventricles meet.  That in itself could devastate a  parent.  However, the doctor said that wasn't all they found.  That's when our hearts dropped.  She went on to explain Nate's situation.  He has Corrected Transposition of the Great Arteries.  It is a congenital heart defect that would have happened at about 5 weeks gestation.  You can 'google' it to find out more about it, but basically the pulmonary artery and the aorta are around the wrong way, but it has been corrected by the fact that the ventricles are also around the wrong way.  It would appear that the blood is going to the right places, but there are many other complications that arise from the weaker ventricle doing the hard work and the stronger ventricle pumping blood at a higher pressure to the lungs.   They include surgery to repair the VSD, surgery to correct the arteries and ventricles, inserting a pacemaker, etc.   We got a crash course in the heart that day - and I have to admit, I'm still trying to understand all the implications.
We left that day feeling heart broken for our little Nate.  It really did feel like the first day of the rest of our lives.... you can never go back to how you felt before, after getting that kind of news.

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