So I have had a day to process what happened at Wren’s appointment yesterday and spoken to a few of my friends and relatives who are in the medical field. Honestly, I spent yesterday in shock. I went into the appointment confident that her heart condition is mild and they would tell us no further action was needed and send us on our way. I didn’t even tell my husband to come with me because I figured the appointment would be unremarkable. But when the doctor starting talking not only surgery, but open heart surgery as a necessity for Wren, I couldn’t process it.
When we went into the office, the sweet nurses did her EKG (and danced around to keep her from crying, thank you sweet nurse!) When the doctor came in to discuss the results with me, I could tell they were bad. He couldn’t contain his surprise that Wren was healthy and thriving. He showed me the dips in the EKG where peaks should be, and told me he was going to do an echo to see what was going on with her heart.
The lady doing the echo put the wand over Wren’s heart as I danced around and did all I could to keep her from crying and keep her from sensing my anxiety. I could tell Wren sensed my mood, and was fussing accordingly. The lady doing the echo was the same one we had last time. She is a really tense lady who stiffens up every time Wren whimpers and looks to me to make it stop immediately. She was so serious about Wren being completely calm the last time we had an echo, she made me breastfeed her while doing it. Awkward to say the least, especially when the doctor came in. “Doesn’t she take a bottle?” Sore subject, lady.
The doctor explained to me that the problem isn’t with her pulmonary valve, as he initially suspected. Instead, her pulmonary artery is bottle-necked, causing a backup in her right ventricle (I think it’s the ventricle), which makes it work harder to pump all the blood out to the lungs. He said that the solution would not be a simple catheter, like he first supposed would be the worst case scenario. Instead, heart surgery would be needed to widen the artery and patch it back up. He seemed torn as to when to have a follow up appointment to do another EKG and echo, and finally decided upon waiting another six months to follow up and see how she and her heart are doing.
I know I have to be strong for Wren. If my husband and family were sobbing and carrying on as they wheeled me into the OR for my C sections, needless to say I would have found it discouraging. But I am distraught anyway. I find myself worrying about stupid things, like will she always be self conscious about her scar? Or will she wear it as her badge of courage? What if something goes wrong during surgery? What if her heart goes into distress before they can fix it? And most importantly, how will I be able to watch her hurt after surgery without going crazy? I know it is what every parent says, but it rings especially true with me now: I wish I could go through surgery and recovery for her. I wish her heart would be whole and healed so that she can live a long and full life. But any time I find myself throwing a pity party, I step back, take a deep breath, and remind myself that some moms are going through much worse with their children’s health. Then I feel kind of guilty for being so upset.
We’ll take this one day at a time, little Wren. Know that we all love you and are praying for you. And when you are a teenager and tell me no one loves you. I will show you how many people offered up their love, support and prayers just for you and your sweet heart.