A few years ago I shared my experience of giving birth to a preemie. I meant to continue the story with a part 2, but life happened. Well, most of the rest of the story goes like this. Anabelle arrived as perfect as can be, weighing in at a whopping 3lbs 13oz. Other than the need to gain weight, she had to learn to maintain her temperature. She had some trouble with keeping her temperature up, and this kept her in the NICU for 54 days.
A Hanukkah Miracle – Anabelle Comes Home
On Hanukkah we were given the best news ever – Anabelle was coming home! It was a Hanukkah Miracle!
Everyone jokes that they wish babies came with a manual, mine did. A big fat stack of discharge instructions, follow ups and more. During her newborn screening at the hospital she had passed her eye and hearing tests. However, a heart murmur was heard and more testing was done. It was discovered that Anabelle had an ASD, also known as Atrial Septal Defect.
Anabelle’s Atrial Septal Defect
What is an ASD? Basically it’s a “hole” in the wall that separates the top two chambers of the heart. After birth this separation is no longer needed and typically closes on its own. Unfortunately this was not the case for Anabelle. The hole was still there. Thank Gd it has not affected her in any way.
However, we always knew that if it did not close over time – surgical intervention would be required.
Finding the Right Pediatric Cardiologist
After following up with a pediatric cardiologist, getting a 2nd AND 3rd opinion, I finally felt comfortable with the course of action. Anabelle was sedated and a scan was done of her heart to measure the opening and see what was going on. The right side of her heart was slightly enlarged, but otherwise she was fine. The doctor didn’t think it would close on it’s own due to it’s larger than usual opening. Anabelle would need to come back after her 4th birthday for a check up. This would allow for her to grow a little to be better equipped to handle a surgical intervention if needed.
In between that time I received a letter from her doctor that she was leaving her practice at the hospital. It was now time to find yet another doctor I felt was the right one for the task at hand. Our pediatrician referred us to a pediatric cardiologist nearby. The specialist did some testing, including an ultrasound, which showed that the opening was still there and the right side of her heart was still slightly enlarged because of it. The specialist referred us to a pediatric cardiologist at the local children’s hospital that was qualified to perform the procedure necessary. After discussing all the ins and outs of what the procedure entails, I scheduled an appointment.
The Time Has Come
This appointment felt so far away when I scheduled it, but now it’s just around the corner – tomorrow. In the morning we’ll be heading off to the hospital for Anabelle’s surgery to close the ASD. The procedure will be done by cardiac catheterization using a device inserted through the artery near the groin and into the opening to plug it. The procedure is done in the hospital and takes several hours. She will be kept in the hospital overnight for observation and Gd willing be home by the following afternoon. We’ve been very fortunate that Anabelle’s ASD has not been a burden on her life thus far and we hope that this surgery will close that chapter once and for all.
I still can’t believe it’s been almost five years since she arrived – and she’s brought so much joy into my life. She was just a tiny little peanut – my lucky little ladybug. She reminds me so much of my Mama and great grandma – she is sweet, kind and smart.
Anabelle is going to do big things in this world.
Whether you pray or not, I ask that you keep us in your thoughts and send positive vibes our way for an uneventful and successful surgery.