Thursday, January 20, 2011

How it Began

When I was pregnant with Doug, the ultrasound technician slipped out of the exam room and quickly returned with the physician, who took charge of the ultrasound wand with a concerned furl to her brow. Ryan and I were soon informed that the baby’s heart didn’t look quite right. No one explained what the repercussions of a heart with only three chambers might be, but the gravity of the problem wasn’t lost on us. I remember all of the “what ifs…” that circled my brain, but never touched my tongue out of horror that the scenarios might actually come true. What if this child will be disabled for life? What if he needs a heart transplant? What if he doesn’t… make it?

The next day we got a second ultrasound with similar findings and were sent to a hospital in Dallas for a fetal echocardiogram. To our relief, the cardiologist was able to locate all four of the chambers and told us that baby Douglas looked healthy as could be. We asked the cardiologist about the funky ultrasounds and he shrugged. “Maybe the way your fetus was positioned hid one of the ventricles from view.”

I have a different hypothesis.

Doug was born a healthy, hearty 8.2 pounds, but the doctor thought it best that we do an echocardiogram just to back the cardiologist’s findings. That’s when we found the holes.

The doctor said they were small and would likely fill in on their own, but I needed to visit a cardiologist when Douglas turned four. As we moved from place to place, Douglas switched pediatricians several times before his fourth birthday, none of them noticing the faint murmur that must have been present. This past year, remembering the instructions I was given when Douglas was born, I took Doug to a cardiologist to make sure the holes had closed up. Instead, we learned that the holes were bigger than we’d originally thought and, without repair, Douglas would not survive past thirty-five. Doug’s heart had already started to swell and the only way to fix the problem was open-heart surgery.

I believe that we would not have known about holes in Doug’s heart had it not been for the ultrasound scare we had while I was pregnant. Surely we would have found out later in his life when problems became more evident, more serious. But Heavenly Father wanted to give us the heads-up, even if He had to scare the boogers out of us to make it happen. Heavenly Father can be tricky like that sometimes.

Because Douglas was able to get this surgery early in life, his recovery was quick and—if you saw him today, one week later, you would agree—miraculous.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Utah Pride

People told me not to do it. They said it was "Utah Hair."

Well guess what? I like Utah. And I like Utah hair.

So here it is, Kiana's haircut (and this time, not at the hands of her naughty big brother.)

A-lined and stacked in back. Just so you know, we condition her hair in green jello because that's what people from Utah do.

And here is Doug. He is five today. I love him.