Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Doctors' Visits: All in a Day's Work

Today, we had a full day of consults and appointments at Duke...we were literally in with doctors from 9 to 5!  But it was a very good day overall.  We started with an ultrasound at Duke Perinatal, and for the most part everything looks the same.  Then we met with the Department Head there, and I must say, it was the best doctor's visit I have ever had.  His bedside manner was wonderful and he really put us at ease.  He gave us permission to Skype with Chris during the delivery, so if for some reason Chris can't get home in time, he can still see Gavin being born. 

Once we finished at Duke Perinatal, we headed over to the children's hospital for another fetal echocardiogram.  The news wasn't as uplifting as our last echo, but the doctor spent over an hour and a half with us discussing the results.  It really felt like specialized, red carpet treatment.  While it is difficult to determine the exact extent of Gavin's heart problems at this point, it seems that he isn't going to be able to wait until the 4-6 month window for surgery.  Most likely, he will either have a shunt put in or have full open heart surgery before he ever leaves the hospital.  The duodenal atresia surgery will still take place within his first 24-48 hours of life, and then once he's stabilized from that the doctors will decide on what type of heart surgery to do.  If Gavin only has a shunt placed in his heart initially, then he will have to return within 1-3 months to have the full repair. 

After our fetal echo, we had the opportunity to sit down and discuss Gavin's heart condition with a surgeon.  Chris said he felt like he went to medical school today!  We learned a lot about the different procedures and complications of Gavin's heart surgery.  To say it's difficult to have these discussions in regards to your child is an understatement.  But it certainly helps to have such a caring, knowledgeable and professional team involved from the very beginning.  It was hard to hear them talk about stopping Gavin's heart for surgery and risks involved with putting him on a heart and lung machine.  Medically (and practically), I understand stopping a heart for open heart surgery.  I get it.  But as a mother, it's terrifying.

We also took a tour of the labor and delivery ward and the pediatric ICU.  Seeing newborn babies with tons of tubes coming out of their tiny little bodies, and knowing that's what my son is going to go through, was another terrifying moment of the day.  But again, the preparation we are receiving prior to going through all of this is truly a blessing. 

All of the doctors and nurses we have met with have also been very vocal about sending any amount of letters, emails, faxes, Red Cross messages or making any amount of phone calls to make sure Chris can be back for the delivery.  They mentioned working with multiple deployed military members and adamantly fighting chain of commands to do what they can to ensure Dads can come back for these high risk situations.  While nothing is a guarantee, it sure helps to have that support behind us.

I have 10 weeks before my due date, so the goal is to keep my little guy in there as long as possible!  However, next week we will have our delivery date.  They will induce labor due to the high risk nature of the pregnancy to ensure that we have a whole team on stand by to take care of our little warrior when he's born.  So prayers would be greatly appreciated that Gavin stays put until our induction date, and that Chris will be allowed to return in time to be here for the delivery.

Gavin still has a very steep, uphill battle ahead of him, but I know he has a canvas of prayers over him larger than Chris and I probably even realize.  We are in the best care at Duke and we are confidant that they will get our son home to us. 

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