Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sylvie's Update 10/31/12

On Halloween, Sylvie had an echocardiogram and EKG to check the progress of her heart's recovery.

As you may remember, her surgery back in June repaired her heart defects. Dr. Turrentine patched a very large hole in her septum, the wall between the right and left side of her heart. This hole caused her oxygen-rich red blood to mix with her oxygen-depleted blue blood.  He was also able to widen her severely narrowed pulmonary valve. This was an answer to prayer--we prayed her valve would be spared and he would not have to graft in a flap which would guarantee a second open-heart surgery in her late teens.

After Dr. Cordes, her cardiologist, took a look at her recent echo, this is what he had to report:

A small hole remains near the bottom of the patch. We expected this. Surgeons have found that it is better to leave small gaps near the bottom of the patch because less stitches mean they are less likely to hit a nerve. If he had hit a nerve, she would have had a pace maker for the rest of her life. Thank God he didn't hit a nerve! The current hole is very constricted and a very small amount of blood is mixing.  Our hope is, that as she grows, this hole will close naturally, and this is our cardiologist's expectation. 

Secondly, her pulmonary valve, is still mildly narrowed and the valve is a little leaky. Again, we'd rather have mild narrowing and a small leak in her natural valve instead of a grafted flap (which could initially and then would eventually leak). As with the residual hole in her septum, we pray that as she grows, the area around the valve will widen and that the leak wouldn't worsen. 

Everything Dr. Cordes found was to be expected. Of course this mother wanted to hear: No hole! Valve is perfect! So the appointment caused an ever-so-slight dip in my post-surgery bliss as we were faced with the realities of a congenital heart defect, even one that is repaired.

But again, will I ever be able to fully express my gratitude for her life? A few months ago Shawn and I watched Something the Lord Made which chronicles the first doctor and surgery technician who pioneered cardiac surgery in the late 1940s. It's stunning to think that only a few generations ago TOF babies had little hope of living into adulthood.

But here she is; perfectly round and pink, proudly pulling up on anything she can find. If she struggles it's because she is strengthening her muscles, not because she can't breathe. My heart could burst I'm so thankful!


  1. She is so round and healthy and I love those sweet cheeks! Sometimes when Ruby is tired her cheeks turn pink and I call her Sweet Cheeks. I'm thankful for this report even though I can appreciate your bit about it being a slight disappointment. We will continue to pray for Sylvie & all of you!