Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Price family heart story submitted by heart mom Sue Price.


Oh what excitement! Our daughter is just turning four years old and we’ve got another baby on the way. The days that led up to the 25th week ultrasound were filled with joy and excitement. When the day arrived, I asked lots of questions, too many actually, because the ultrasound technician seemed to really be concentrating. She asked that I hold all of my questions until the end. I thought that maybe she was having a bad day, when actually she was looking for something specific with my baby’s heart.

After the ultrasound, she said that she would like to bring me back when the baby was a little bigger. I asked if everything was okay and she said not to worry, the baby probably wasn’t big enough yet for her to see the crossover in his heart. I had no clue what she was talking about. The doctor agreed to give me another ultrasound a little later. I dismissed the “fright” as nothing and went about my daily business as usual. Then, I began to notice that we were “looking” at the baby regularly on ultrasound and I couldn’t understand why. I still dismissed the fears and went about my daily routines.

When I came back to the physician’s office for the official re-check ultrasound, there was still a look of confusion on the tech’s face. Then, the doctor came in and said that she was going to send me to a high-risk clinic for a second opinion. She told me not to worry she would just like to get another opinion. This is the appointment that changed our lives forever.

The day came when it was time to have my appointment with the high-risk group. I went back for my ultrasound, still not knowing what was going on or even what to expect. When the ultrasound technician brought in her supervisor to look at the ultrasound, I got worried. When I began asking questions, they told me that I would have to wait for the doctor. I was terrified and began to sob uncontrollably because I knew at that very moment something was terribly wrong.

The doctor came in and explained that my baby boy has a heart defect. His heart had not formed correctly. More specifically, the two main arteries of the heart were reversed. He continued to say that the defect is called Transposition of the Great Vessels. I was devastated and worried about my baby. I couldn’t help thinking, what had I done to cause this to happen? I even asked the doctor and got the reply, “it isn’t anything that you’ve done wrong”.

We immediately were sent over to see a pediatric cardiologist at the children’s hospital. She confirmed our fears. Our baby has “transposition of the great vessels” and he possibly has an additional hole in his heart. They don’t know why the heart sometimes forms this way. She told us that his condition would require immediate attention at birth because he wouldn’t be able to get oxygen to his lungs after birth. She also said that there weren’t any surgeons in our area that performed that type of surgery. She also assured us that these problems could be corrected. We discussed our options with her and told her we would like to research some of the surgeons and facilities available before making a decision.

We read, researched and finally decided where we would go to have our baby. We wanted the best of the best to care for our baby. We didn’t want to lose him even though we knew there was a chance that he might not survive. Our due date was March 2, 2006. We began making plans: talking to the hospital’s coordinator, planning our drive, finding a place to stay. It was all so overwhelming! Then unexpectedly, I went into labor in mid January. The hospital stopped my labor and we decided to make the trip earlier than originally planned. We quickly packed our bags and off we went. We were so scared!!

Our son was born early, a little over a week after we arrived. He was stabilized and quickly sent to the children’s hospital where they could better care for him. He was placed in a pediatric cardiac intensive care unit (CICU). In the meantime, the surgeon planned with the cardiologist to perform the surgery the next day after he was born.

When that morning came, Zachary quit breathing. They spent the entire morning working to stabilize him. Nothing could have ever prepared us for what we were about to see. Our sweet, precious little angel wasn’t even moving. The machine was breathing for him, his body paralyzed from the medications. It was such a horrible sight to see this innocent baby in such peril!

The surgery was performed two days after Zachary was born. He proved to be such a fighter, overcoming obstacles and healing faster than we expected. We had to teach him how to eat since he didn’t get his first bottle until he was about 4 days old. Unbelievably, we went home when he was a little over 2 weeks old. He went home with no medications, no feeding tube, and once he was home began eating a full 70 cc’s of milk at each feeding.

He still proves to be a little fighter. He is healing wonderfully and is a very happy baby. His last echocardiogram showed that he is healing nicely, but has both valves leaking. We pray that he will not require any future surgeries. We are extremely thankful that God has worked such a miracle with our baby! We want to make other people aware of congenital heart defects so that we can hopefully help other babies to survive.

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