*Warning, this is a lengthy e-mail! We put in bold lettering the major things that went on*
Wow, what a day! This morning we left our apartment at 5am to drive down to the London Health Sciences Centre in London, Ontario (one of the oldest and largest teaching hospitals in Canada). Mark’s parents graciously offered to drive us down, which we are so thankful for! We finally arrived back home at 5:30pm and this is what the day held:
At 8am we had an appointment with the Paediatrics Cardiology Clinic for a fetal echo. They looked at Leo’s heart – which is the size of a quarter – for about an hour. Then they let Mark’s parents come in and they were able to see Leo for the first time (besides on a picture).
At 9:30am we met with the cardiologist at the Paediatrics Clinic, and she was able to confirm that Leo’s heart condition is Congenitally Corrected Transposition of Great Arteries (L-TA or CCTGA). Again this means, to the best of our understanding, that the heart has basically flip-flopped, and the left ventricle pumps blood into the pulmonary artery and the right ventricle pumps blood into the aorta, instead the opposite way around. The main concern with this is that the ventricles will pump too much blood into the lungs, and too little through the aorta.
They also discovered that Leo has a Ventricle Septal Defect, basically a “hole” between the pumping chambers. This hole can possibly heal before Leo is born, or at least become smaller during the remainder of the pregnancy, thus not becoming too big of an issue. If the hole is too big then Leo would possibly need heart surgery soon after he is born. They told us that any heart surgery would take place at Sick Kids in Toronto, Ontario – one of the world’s foremost paediatric health-care institutions.
At 10:00am we had an ultrasound to check how the rest of Leo’s body is developing. They said there are normally other genetic abnormalities associated with heart defects, so they wanted to make sure that nothing else was an issue. After the ultrasound we met with the radiologist and he informed us that they couldn’t find any other problems and that he was a normal healthy baby. Praise the Lord!
At 11:00am we went to the Fetal Development department and met with a genetic counselor. She took our medical history, and checked Lauren’s weight and blood pressure – which looked normal. Then we met with the resident along with our high-risk obstetrician to make sure we were understanding every that was going on. They were also able to answer some of our questions.
The resident then gave us a pager and told us that a group of people would meet over lunch break to discuss our case to determine what the implications and plans were, and who we should meet with us in the afternoon. So we were able to take a short break, take everything in, and eat lunch.
At around 1:30pm we met with a maternal fetal medicine specialist, two obstetrical residents, a clinical nurse specialist, a neonatologist, a genetic counsellor, a MFM fellow, and a reporting radiologist to again go over Leo’s condition, answer any questions we had, and to help us work through the implications and a plan for the pregnancy.
They want us to come back to London again on October 11th for another fetal echo, to determine if the ventrical septal defect (aka, “hole in the pumping chamber”) has changed – if it has grown or is closing up.
They highly recommended that we go to London for the birth, but because we live so far away they don’t want us to drive during the winter when she is in labor. So the recommendations were for Lauren to be induced at 38 weeks or for Lauren to stay with friends somewhere near London starting around 37 weeks. Neither of those we felt comfortable with, as Lauren didn’t want to miss classes for four or more weeks, nor does she want to be induced.
The other option, which at this point seems like the best decision, is to go ahead with having the baby at the Owen Sound hospital with the midwives (as neonatology is available there to support Leo after he is born, if needed). Owen Sound is only an hour away from Durham, where we live, and if there is a problem with his heart failing they can emergency transport him to London, or to Toronto if needed.
A few days after Leo is born we would have to go back to London so he can have an ultrasound of his heart, and from there they would be able to determine whether or not he is in need of surgery.
So as of right now, we are waiting to hear more from our appointment on October 11th before we make any birth plans. We most likely won’t know whether he will need surgery until after he is born, which will determine if we need to stay in Canada for a longer period than we had planned or not.
We are so thankful for all of the doctors in London, as they have been so friendly and helpful! We are praising God that there are no other heart defects, and that the transposition has been confirmed to be corrected!
How can you be praying for us?
- Please pray that the VSD (hole) in Leo’s heart will heal!
- For wisdom in deciding and weighing the pros and cons of which hospital to give birth in.
- That if we choose for Leo to be born at the Owen Sound Hospital – that he would be born healthy and in no need to be transported. Or that we can possibly find someone in London to stay with if the doctors recommend us to go there instead.
- Resting in God’s plan for our future. There’s a possibility of us having to stay in Canada longer than we were expecting after we graduate from the Missionary Training Centre.
Thanks again for everyone who has been praying for us and encouraging us! We definitely felt at peace today, and couldn’t ask for better doctors!
Trusting in Christ!
Mark, Lauren, & Leo