Avery, born 2008
After a long and stressful pregnancy, our daughter Avery was born on February 12, 2008. We thought everything was normal and took her home from the hospital on Valentines Day. The next morning, we took her to her pediatrician for a jaundice checkup and were whisked away to MCV in Richmond, where a pediatric cardiologist was waiting for us. After an echocardiogram, we were told she had a PDA, two ASDs and a large VSD.
We went home and tried to be "normal" but we were stressed out. She had a difficult time eating, because her lungs would fill with fluid from any sort of "exercise" (eating). Her lungs were also overworked from recirculating the oxygenated blood. She would breath fast constantly and her extremities would turn blue when she cried. At one month, we met with another pediatric cardiologist who became her permanent doctor. At that time the PDA and ASDs were resolved, but the VSD was still large. She was put on Lasix to help with the feedings. She was very closely monitored, and we were blessed to have Dr. Doug Allen on our side. He knew how nervous we were, and promised to "wait and see" rather than sending her straight to the OR. We started out going every 3 weeks, then a month, 2 months, etc. She was very small for her age because of the feeding problems, and was always in the 3rd percentile for weight.
Over the last few years, we have walked the tightrope waiting for the scar tissue to fill in the hole. It hasn’t happened yet, but we are optimistic that it will resolve on its own. She only has annual cardiologist visits now, unless there are any concerns. She has had a few growth spurts and has caught up with her peers. She is very athletic and never slows down. She plays coed soccer in the fall and softball in the spring/summer. Just this past year, she was on the Virginia Dixie Darlings State Championship team that traveled to the World Series in Louisiana. We still worry from time to time, and pray a lot, but she has shown us how strong she is. She still has a very loud murmur and it can be heard without a stethoscope. We are not planning on any intervention unless it is deemed absolutely necessary. As long as she is thriving, we will be waiting patiently!
Story by Avery's mom, Jessica - Virginia