I’ve learned in the past few days what a helpless feeling it is to know that no matter how much you want to, you can’t always protect your children from bad things that may happen. I’ve worked so hard on my blood sugar leading up to and during my pregnancy, but in the daily flow of testing, taking insulin and counting carbs, I got lulled into thinking that diabetes was the only thing that could negatively affect my child. But, when I went for my second echo cardiogram late last week, seemingly out of no where and apparently unrelated to my diabetes, they found an abnormality with the baby’s heart—something called Pulmonary Valve Stenosis. Basically, one of the valves in the baby’s heart is not working properly, keeping the blood from flowing the way it should.
When the cardiologist first explained what was going on, I felt waves of panic, which I tried to fight with reason. The words that the doctor was using—valve, stenosis, valvuloplasty—confused and crippled me. I tried to get my thoughts straight, knowing that I needed to ask questions that would help me make sense of the situation.
It sounded so serious when the doctor was first telling me what was going on, but as I kept asking her to stop using medical terms and to explain what this meant in layman’s terms, I came to understand that luckily, this particular abnormality is fairly easy to fix should a fix be needed. They may need to do a relatively minor procedure called a percutaneous balloon pulmonary dilation, or valvuloplasty, on the baby sometime after delivery to fix the valve and that should be it. It is also possible that nothing will need to be done, and the baby may just need to be monitored by a cardiologist throughout the early years of its life. In terms of heart problems, this is one of the more mild things that can go wrong, and I know I should be thankful for that. But, ever since I found out, I’ve felt an overwhelming sense of helplessness and fear.
My shower was this weekend (more to come on that), and while it was so nice to spend time with friends and family and it was a great day, as people kept asking how I was feeling and how the pregnancy was going, it felt like I was getting punched over and over. I smiled and said that everything was great, not wanting to get into it, but my head was spinning with thoughts of everything that could go wrong from here and I fought several times to hold back tears. I’m not sure why, but even after talking with all of my doctors and hearing how easy this situation is to handle, I am so upset over this whole thing. Every time I feel the baby move, I worry that it is straining it’s heart, or every time I get stressed, I worry that I’m putting stress on the baby too. I’m not sure if it’s the pregnancy hormones or what, but I hope in the coming days I can snap out of this fog.
So here we sit, both my baby and I, with broken hearts. I just hope that as I work on healing mine, the baby’s will begin to heal as well.