My idea for this monthly post is to share with you some of the things that have brought me joy in the past month. Things that made my life easier, people that I have reason to appreciate, experiences that made me smile. Essentially, a shout out to the good in life.
March has been a crazy month for us. Our family has gone through two separate, miserable rounds of some sort of stomach virus. It’s been feeling like an especially harried time. At times, it has felt like my life has become one giant pile of laundry. Not particularly inspiring.
In spite of the lull of this month, I do have something rather personal I’d like to share. We have something very big to be grateful for this month.
My baby girl (probably) doesn’t require open heart surgery! That’s fantastic news for us.
My little one was born with a heart defect, a ventricular septal defect (VSD). It’s the most common kind of congenital heart defect, but this was my baby. The pediatrician first heard the murmur the day she was born. The next day, she expressed concern about it, and the pediatric cardiologist came to listen to Gabby. He initially alleviated our concern and said her defect was likely one that would close on its own, would not require open heart surgery to repair, and was not something we should be worried about.
One month later, we returned for her cardiology clinic appointment to discover that her defect was in a spot in her heart that could cause issues if it did not close. We also learned that she’d need open heart surgery to repair if issues arose. While I was grateful that this was something that could be repaired, it was a bit disconcerting to think that my baby might need a surgery like that. It was more disconcerting that I wasn’t able to do anything about it. Just waiting.
With every appointment after that, the murmur could be heard. It was not closing. And Gabby was on the very lowest end of the growth curve. (VSDs can cause issues with growth.) The cardiologist spoke more about the surgery at each visit. It was going to require a month of Gabby staying home beforehand, a week in the hospital, and a month home afterward. We spoke of the risks of the surgery. She told us it could be scheduled in a month.
At this month’s appointment, we were hopeful. Gabby had been gaining weight. But we’d been hopeful before, and we didn’t want to have our hopes too high. (During my pregnancy, my obstetrician discovered a very rare umbilical cord defect that is associated with birth defects. Particularly cardiac and neurological defects. I had a fetal echocardiogram when I was pregnant and the cardiologist was unable to find any abnormalities. Gabby’s VSD couldn’t be seen that early on.) They did another echocardiogram. Gabby’s cardiologist came in to share the results with a big smile across her face! Her tricuspid valve was coming down and creating a pocket around her VSD. It’s looking like it’s going to close! Her pressures were great and nothing else gave the cardiologist concern. Definitely no surgery in the first year, and likely not at all. We don’t even need to return to the cardiologist until Gabby’s first birthday. Plus, look at how cute this chubby little baby girl is! How could we not be thrilled?
We’re also really fortunate to have amazing health insurance. Even simple outpatient visits for these sorts of things are massively expensive. So overall, I’m just on cloud 9 this month, even though the kids are puking. I’ll take that any day of the week. We know how lucky we are.