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Expected Yet Unexpected News

Updated on June 27, 2016

Graduation, Moving, Unexpected News

In June 2012, my wife and I found out we were expecting our 3rd child. It wasn’t really a surprise as we actually attempted to plan this one out using the fertility methods that I had recently learned in my Obstetrics and Gynecology class in PA school. We were pretty excited and I was very confident that this one would be our boy. It was a wonderful time as I was finishing up the didactic phase of my physician assistant program in San Antonio, TX. We had also just found out that we were going to Kentucky (Fort Campbell) for the clinical phase of the program. The rest of the didactic portion proceeded and concluded without a hitch and I was awarded my Bachelor of Science in Physician Assistant Studies on August 10, 2012. A few short days later, we were on our way to Fort Campbell via Dallas through Little Rock through Memphis and finally Clarksville, TN/Oak Grove, KY.

In October 2012 at the 20 week ultrasound, the radiologist discovered an abnormality after the ultrasound technician couldn’t get a good 4-chamber view of our baby’s heart. The radiologist, whom I had recently worked with in my radiology clinical came in and finished up the ultrasound. He told us that it appeared that our baby had a pericardial effusion, it’s right ventricle was enlarged and the mitral valve was prominent; basically, there was fluid accumulating around the heart, it looked like the right side of the baby’s heart was bigger than normal and the valve that separates the top right chamber of the heart and the bottom right chamber of the heart was larger than it was supposed to be and was larger than the other valves in the heart as well. Later that day, I visited him for a one on one chat and review of the ultrasound where he told me the same thing and mentioned a couple of conditions that could be a cause of this such as Down Syndrome and Fetal Hydrops. It was nerve racking but we did get some good news: the baby was indeed a boy.

We were referred to Vanderbilt University Hospital to an OB-GYN specific radiologist to determine exactly what the issue was. We received even worse news than expected when we had an ultrasound there; we discovered our child had hypoplastic left heart syndrome meaning that he didn’t have a left ventricle, the ventricle responsible for pumping blood to his body. It’s a rare congenital heart defect but is one of the most common of the congenital heart defects. From that point, instead of being followed in the military health care system, we were going to be followed by Vanderbilt University Hospital specialists in prenatal, obstetric, cardiothoracic surgery, pediatrics, and pediatric cardiology. I must say, our lives were turned upside down and we were not prepared at all for what was to come… It would definitely become more serious – I will discuss it in another hub.


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