Owen, born 2008Nothing could prepare me for what should have been a routine 20 week ultrasound during my last pregnancy. I can still picture the ultrasound tech scanning the heart over and over and remember watching her type in "4 chamber heart". It wouldn't be till one week later that we had our level II ultrasound and fetal echocardiogram to confirm the fears - our baby had a heart defect. The next few months continued to be a roller coaster of emotions - mainly because we couldn't lock in a diagnosis. What we did know was that the entire left side of the heart was underdeveloped and that there was a coarctation in the aorta. Our little boy had a quirky little heart and no one could tell us with any certainty how it would or would not work after he was born.
While with this dire news we were given a precious gift - time. We had time to educate ourselves, choose our surgeons and hospitals and prepare our other two boys for their new baby brother. We told our sons - 5 and 4 years old - that their baby brother's heart was broken and that the doctors would try and fix it. Most important was that we name our little boy and spread the word about his future arrival - never hurts to have too many people thinking about you during your darkest hours.
Owen was born on March 12, 2008. He was four weeks early, but arrival could not have been planned any more perfectly. Just the day before we had a meeting at Northwest Community Hospital to plan Owen's birth and transfer to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. When the meeting ended, we were confident that everything would work on our planned induction date later that month. That night Owen decided he was tired of waiting and I went into labor and delivered him the next morning. By 3:00 pm he was on his way to Wisconsin while I recovered in Illinois.
Owen's first 48 hours was busy - two echocardiograms, drugs to keep his heart working and a possible infection kept everyone on their toes. We were blessed with our time - Owen arrived on a Wednesday and the surgeons discussed upcoming complicated cases on Thursday mornings. On Sunday, March 16th - Palm Sunday - Owen had his coarctation repair of the aortic arch with the hopes that by doing so his heart would grow enough to support itself.
Before Owen was born we anticipated a lengthy hospital stay. After just two weeks Owen was given the thumbs up to go home - and we early drove three boys back to Illinois. Of course the first few months of life have been different with Owen than our other two boys. We have frequent trips to the cardiologist - and Owen is still not out of the woods yet for another surgery. Come October 20th, we go for another echocardiogram to see how his heart has grown. His main trouble areas in his heart are his aortic arch, mitral and aortic valve, along with his left ventricle that still is a bit undersized.
Story by Owen's mom, Tiffany - Illinois
Wren, born 2006
Mason, born 2010