Thursday, June 27, 2013

First Appt w/ UCSF Heart Specialists

Tuesday, June 25, was Gordon's 40-somethingth birthday and we decided to spend it at UCSF with some heart specialists! This made it more official that our heart baby, Maia, will be arriving soon! We knew it was going to be a long day, so we had Philz Coffee in our hands, and brought the phone charger so Gordon could play some games while I was being poked and prodded.  On our way to the hospital I was trying to imagine making this drive over and over and I think it's just something I will have to get used to. One way streets, construction site detours, and hills... all 3 of these don't get along with my driving skills! Anyway, so we arrived around 9:30am and headed to our first appt. for a Fetal Echo and Cardiology consult. We didn't wait too long before I was assuming the position! Trying to relax on that not-so-comfy bed, belly exposed and covered in gel, while the tech scans and takes pics for what seems like forever. By now I'm very much used to all this and I now know the heart's anatomy and functions pretty well!  After she's done, my neck now seems permanently positioned to look left since I stared at the monitor for pretty much the whole time. Then it's the doctor's turn. Dr. Moon-Grady, who is head of the Fetal Cardiovascular Program, scans me then consults with us. In her opinion, she feels that our baby Maia does not actually have HLHS (Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome) which was our original diagnosis, but has DORV (Double Outlet Right Ventricle). This comes as a pleasant surprise to us, since this was never mentioned before. She will still require at least 1 surgery, but at this time, we're not sure which one or which kind. She believes that it's still possible to use the left ventricle, instead of making the heart work with just the right ventricle. The left ventricle is still somewhat smaller than it should be, but it's not as small as they first thought. There are other things that will need to be addressed, such as a VSD (hole between the ventricles) that will need to be patched up, and also a Coarctation of the aorta (narrowing of the aorta- vessel that brings oxygenated blood to the body) that will need to be widened. Worst case scenario would be to have the 3-stage surgery that an HLHS patient would have, which is what we've actually been preparing for. So after hearing this we were actually in good spirits, and I think this kind of surprised the Dr. (she obviously doesn't know us!) So we backtracked and told her Marissa's story and that we know this situation isn't the end of the world, since what we went through last year was worse, but just as dramatic. At one point, we thought she was about to cry... but I think now the Dr. knows that we're prepared for anything and are ready to begin this adventure!... so now it was onto the Fetal Treatment Center...

We met up with the nurse practitioner who introduced us to another doctor. G and I were both tired and hungry at this point, so we honestly don't remember the doctor's name or what kind of doctor he is! He went over my pregnancy history and of course it got quiet and awkward for a little bit when Marissa's story was discussed... but we're used to it, and I think I was all smiles again when speaking of our little girl! Then we talked about the due date, which had gone from September 6, to September 16, and now back to September 6! Considering things like my history of fast labor and the drive to the hospital, we decided it would be best to induce @ 39 weeks. So as of right now, I will be induced Thursday night, August 29 and I'm predicting I'll give birth on Friday, August 30!!! I can't wait... it seems so close, yet so far! Anyway, at this point I need to eat, so they give us 30 minutes to grab a quick bite at the food court next door...

We are fed. We're not full, but we're fed. It's now time for our Level II Ultrasound. This usually takes a minimum of 1 hour, with my belly all gelled up again and techs and doctors taking turns to scan my baby. This time it was very uncomfortable since I just ate and the room seemed muggy, just like the weather outside. I started getting antsy and fidgety. I only calmed down because I started feeling sleepy! Then suddenly my right leg twitched violently because I woke up and forgot where I was! It was very funny... anyway, the ultrasound tech measured every single part of the baby which took about an hour, then we waited for the doctor who came in about 20 minutes later and did her own scans for about 30 minutes... only to tell us that everything else is fine, she found nothing new that we already didn't know about...

So now it was time for the Labor & Delivery Tour... woohoo! Our day is almost done! Unfortunately, the neonatal doctors were unavailable, so we would have to meet them another time. Everything is set up on the 15th floor, where I will have my own private room. When it's time to push, they'll move me to the operating room where there's enough room for all the baby doctors, nurses, plus the medical students...  what a lovely thought to know that many strangers will get to see me give birth! They explained to us that we may get a "few" minutes with Maia but she will need an IV right away so she can get the meds she needs to keep the ductus arteriosus open, a blood vessel that naturally closes hours after birth. She needs this to be kept open until surgery. After she's stable, we can then visit her in the ICN (Intensive Care Nursery) where she will stay until her surgery. Our tour led us to the nursery, which had about 8-10 babies that day. Each baby had different issues and were kept in their own decorated little bed. Seeing all the babies and equipment was a bit intimidating but now we know what to expect and hopefully with very few surprises, if any. By this time it was just after 5pm and we were hungry again! Since it was G's birthday and I knew we'd be in SF, I went ahead and made reservations at House of Prime Rib... so he went home happy!

So that ends our day at UCSF... next visit will be induction night!!!... but of course I'll be updating with more details, information, and probably a lil bit of nonsense too, just to keep things on a positive note! =)

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