Friday, November 16, 2012

Kendall's Heart

     I’ve hesitated writing this post. I’m not always super open on my blog for fear of what others with think and I’m just generally a private person. But this is something I want to document for our little family. And maybe someone going through a similar experience will stumble upon this post and find comfort in it. 

     At my 20 week appointment, we were on cloud nine. My first ultra sound at five weeks hadn’t shown much more than a heartbeat. It was so special now to be able to see our baby and finding out “it” was really a she. It seemed like a dream watching her twist and turn. She is so her father’s daughter! As the tech pointed out her organs and such we did the appropriate “ooohhing and awing”. I remember even saying, “Aw, our baby has a brain.” 

     After the ultra sound we went back to see the doctor. This is the first we heard of the calcified spot on Kendall’s heart. Our doctor mentioned that it is a pretty common thing, only Kendall’s spot was much larger than normal. I didn’t hear much else after I heard what I interrupted as a “heart defect”. The doctor never even said those words but that’s so what I heard. It only added to my fear when she informed us that she wanted me to see a high risk doctor. It had to be bad to require a doctor with the prefix “high risk”. It kind of put a huge damper on our fun day. We had planned to take some special pictures after finding out the gender. So we continued with that, even though my heart wasn’t fully into it. It was much later that afternoon before we were able to do a little internet research. 

     Everyone says not to look up things like that on the internet, that it will only scare you worse. It actually helped us. There is so little information available on a baby with a calcified spot on their heart. Mostly what we found were discussion boards where parents were posting about being told the same thing we had. Come to find out the spot is actually thought by some to be a marker for a condition our doctor never even mentioned. Down Syndrome. 

     As strange as it may sound, it was a huge relief reading those words. There were no other problems (that we could find) associated with a calcified spot on the heart. At least I could stop worrying about the functioning of her heart. But was God really giving a child with special needs? Honestly, it didn’t make a difference. If God chose to bless us with a special baby we were willing. The biggest part that worried me is how little I know about DS. And I don’t have any close friends who are familiar. It was more isolating, just feeling alone. 

     We got to ponder and think on all of this for a week and a half before they were able to get me into the high risk doctor. The ultra sound tech at the high risk doctor was terrific—so good at her job. 

     The verdict? There was nothing out of the ordinary. Calcified spots are very common. There is actually no actual defect on the heart. The appearance of these spots is caused by the way the sound waves are hitting the heart. Kendall has two small spots that are right together which made my regular Ob think it was one big spot. They will most likely be completely gone by the time she is born. They are becoming less and less thought of as a marker for DS. After a second visit to the high risk doctor I was deemed normal (if they only knew!) and released to continue seeing my regular doctor. 

     Down syndrome would not have been the end of the world. It was a semi-shock because we weren’t expecting anything out of the ordinary. God blesses families with babies with special needs every day. I don't look down on those families at all. 

     But for us…Kendall’s heart is perfect! And our hearts….well, they are overflowing with joy! 


Peggy said...

I can only imagine your overwhelming feeling of fear and apprehension. So thankful that we serve the God of all peace and comfort...and glad things are well!

Lauren said...

We had the exact same thing happen to us! My usual OB knew that we didn't care if our baby had Downs Syndrome so he didn't even mention it. When I had to see someone else in the practice because my normal doctor was ill, she sent me to a high-risk specialist at 33 weeks. I was beyond scared and didn't google it, afraid that I would be even more worried. Turns out, our baby (now 9 months) is 100% fine. When I learned that it was just an indicator of Downs Syndrome, like you, I was relieved. We were willing to have a baby with special needs... I just was happy it wasn't a life-threatening problem.