This is a difficult post to write.
Earlier this year we learned that we are expecting our first baby in October. The excitement was overwhelming. The news came after several years of trying unsuccessfully to conceive due to my having endometriosis. When we found out we were so happy and blessed to finally start our journey of parenthood. Little did we know that the struggle of infertility would be replaced with an even greater one.
Just as a little background, I am currently 23 weeks along and so far the pregnancy has gone very well. I had minimal nausea and have felt great for the most part. At the outset of the pregnancy I was diagnosed with slight hypothyroidism but the doctor was not too concerned. I was put on a low dose of Eutirox and that seemed to fix things. Nothing was out of the ordinary and our busy schedules continued as normal with the addition of monthly OB appointments in Rome. A few weeks ago I started to be able to feel the baby kicking. It is such a weird and awesome feeling. Ryan has even been able to feel a few of the stronger kicks. We also found out that we are a having a girl!
Last week we had our morphological ultrasound and the doctor spotted a focus, or bright spot, on the baby's heart. He told us that it was probably nothing to worry about but that we should have a fetal echocardiogram just to make sure. The first echocardiogram was yesterday, Monday. The baby was being very uncooperative and the doctors were not able to get a good view of the heart. They were able to confirm the presence of a focus in the left ventricle but they could not see the aortic valve very well. It was the doctor's recommendation that we see a pediatric cardiac specialist today, Tuesday. It was the pediatric cardiac specialist who told us today that something is seriously wrong with our baby's heart. While I do not pretend to understand the full diagnosis (trying to translate medical Italian is not easy), the information that we received was that there is something seriously wrong with the baby's aorta. This has caused a number of problems including putting a great amount of stress on the left ventricle. This is a problem that will only continue to worsen as the pregnancy progresses. There is a chance that the baby's heart will fail before it reaches full term. If the baby does reach full term and is delivered successfully, she will require immediate surgery. The list of possible complications and genetic birth defects is long.
At this point we are just taking our time to process what we have been told and to pray. We will begin to make decisions regarding medical care in a the next day or two. We will try to keep you all updated on the baby's status and our plans as the information becomes available. Right now we ask that you please keep us in your prayers. We are especially asking for the intercession of Blessed John Paul II who is due to be canonized in October around when the baby is due.
Thank you to all of you who have already contacted us with words of encouragement. We are obviously struggling right now and your love and support mean so much to us.