A Volume Problem

I recently had a follow-up echo with the pediatric cardiologist.

There was some good news. A little glimmer of hope.

Baby Ocho was finally resting and the images of the heart were much better. The cardiologist (Dr. G) was able to ascertain that the apex of the left ventricle is the same as the right ventricle. Which is a fancy way of saying that the ventricles are the same height. That is the good news. Unfortunately, the widths of the ventricles are still significantly unbalanced. The team of doctors reviewing the baby’s case all agree with Dr. G’s diagnosis.

More blood continues to flow in the right ventricle. This allows the right side to expand while the left side continues to be deprived of blood. The only way for the ventricle to grow is to be filled with blood. This puts pressure on the walls and expands the ventricle, much like filling a balloon with water expands it. Unfortunately, there is no technology to support this expansion in utero.

By the way, I do like Dr. G’s drawings. It helps me understand exactly what is going on with this tiny heart. Plus, if you step back and squint, I’m pretty sure this could be a road map from our house to the local Aldi.

The discussion of height versus volume brought to mind a story about Michael. When he was a toddler, the pediatrician was concerned about his height to weight ration, or Body Mass Index (BMI). Which is comical now that he is 17 years old and solid muscle with practically no body fat. It seemed a bit ridiculous to me at the time but my pediatrician was all bent out of shape by his numbers. So I said, “Let’s think of this another way. Perhaps my son doesn’t weigh too much for his height. He is jut too short for his weight.” She didn’t appreciate my humor. I promised to switch to sugar-free popsicles.

The glimmer of hope from my appointment? Dr. G doesn’t see anything to indicate that Baby Ocho will be in distress immediately at birth. He thinks the baby will breathe, pink up, and cry. I am so fearful of not getting to hold my child. Of there being an emergency when the cord is cut. Of people running my newborn into a surgical suite. This gives me some hope that Sam and I might get a chance to hold Baby Ocho and wish him/her a happy birthday. Maybe sneak in a few pictures and kisses. The prognosis is still serious but we might have some time to prepare for the surgery.

I’m also learning more about the baby’s medical team. I asked Dr. G if he would care for Baby Ocho just until birth. He responded that he would likely care for our child until the end of his medical career. I said that we are going to become great friends. He replied, “We are going to become family.”

Queue the tears.

He said his greatest joy is watching a child from 20 weeks gestation all the way to leaving home for college. I don’t know what the future holds for my child. But I am thrilled that Dr. G is joining our family.

You can never have enough family.

8 thoughts on “A Volume Problem

  1. Somewhere out there, there must be a genius who could figure this out. We’ll pray to find that genius to help your little baby.


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