Thursday, August 14, 2014

Brielle's Heart

The days after Brielle's birth- I was over being at the hospital. I wanted to go home and just sleep in my own bed without nurses walking in every hour. I gave birth on Tuesday and we were to be discharged on a Thursday. Everything checked out with me and we were waiting for the pediatrician to come in and check on Brielle before she was to be discharged. On Wednesday, we had a pediatrician come in and he told us that he heard a small heart murmur but that it wasn't much to worry about. A lot of babies are born with a small heart murmur and it goes away on its own. I remember looking over at Daniel and we both had that look on our faces, like this does not sound good. Thursday came and an intern checked on Brielle. This guy definitely did not come off the set of Grey's Anatomy. I know, I know  that's mean of me to say but people- all doctors are not hot stuff. Okay, back to the story.

So, he checks on Brielle and says everything is good but that the main doctor will come in and do a double check. I honestly think he was trying not to worry us and wanted to wait until his superior checked on her. When she came in with another intern she checked her heart. The guy intern told her he heard a heart murmur. Wait! You said everything checked out! She listened carefully and confirmed it. Brielle had a heart murmur. She suggested we have a cardiologist look at her and perform an echo to see if it was something to take more action with. I'm worried already as it is and hours pass and we are still waiting for the cardiologist to come. I'm getting incredibly frustrated and I just want to go home. Now, I'm flashing back to when I was sent to the emergency room a week after Arizona was born for my pulmonary embolism. I just did not want to deal with another complication. 

Finally, the cardiologist comes and takes Brielle for her echo. I take a small nap and the cardiologist walks in with the news. It turns out that Brielle has what is called a pulmonary stenosis.  Her left pulmonary ventricle wasn't opening enough to pump blood. They wanted to transfer her to Children's medical center of Atlanta and open up that left valve. I was crushed! Here was this perfect angel that I wanted to take home with me and now she was being transferred to the NICU. 

Daniel and I drove over to the hospital and the doctors explained to us the issue and said they needed to run one more test to see if she needed a heart surgery or a valvioplasty.  They ran an echo the next morning and decided to do a valvioplasty in the afternoon.  The valvioplasty consisted of running a catheter through a vein in her leg up to her heart valve.  They then expanded a balloon to open up the valve and pulled the ballon out.  The procedure went very well but left her heart with some leaking (which apparently isn't that bad- because how could some leaking in your heart be a bad thing?).  I felt terrible because she wasn't allowed to eat until after the procedure. She was starving! And she had been a rock star latcher at the hospital and now I had to pump every 2-3 hours. Yes, this was similar to what happened to me with Arizona. I was in the hospital away from Arizona for three days and had to pump. I guess it's good it wasn't foreign to me, cause I knew what I was doing and I was able to avoid terrible engorgement and mastisis. 

Through this whole event we had an amazing amount of support from friends and family.  It was great to have so much love sent to us and Brielle.  After the procedure she was sedated for a few days. She was hooked up to so many monitors and a breathing tube. We couldn't hold her and just rubbed her legs and arms. It took at least three days until we could snuggle her again. It was the best feeling!! She spent her first week of life in the hospital and I made cupcakes for the nurses. Brielle had some amazing nurses that were so attentive and kind. 

At the hospital they had these knitted heart squares for the moms. I would take one home with me, slip it into my bra and then switch out hearts with the one Brielle had. That way, she could smell me and feel like her and I were close. 

I couldn't nurse her for a good while because they wanted to monitor how much she was consuming. We thought she would be home sooner, but she had to stay in the hospital for 10 days. Finally, on day 8, they gave me the go to start nursing. I was excited but really nervous about the outcome. She had been fed from a bottle since day five of life. The likelihood of her just latching on without a hitch was pretty low. I was optimistic though and stayed the night to see if she would feed off me. Well, it wasn't a complete success story that first night. She battled with me and got very frustrated. She just wanted the bottle!! I cried over it and thought- this is going to be a long road ahead. 

Friday the 8th came and we were told she was to receive another echo. If everything checked out- we would have her home by the weekend. Well, it turns out that the echo was perfect but that she had been losing weight for the past four days. They wanted to wait and see a weight gain before sending her home. Seriously! I was not having any of that, she was 11 days old and all newborns lose weight before going home, it was perfectly normal. That night- we fed her till she was ready to explode! Well, at least more than satisfied. Thankfully, that did the trick and as my mom and I were walking into the hospital on Sunday morning- I received a phone call from the nurse that Brielle was being discharged that afternoon. We would finally have her home!!! 

The day we were discharged. No more cords or wires. She was free!!

The doctors wanted me to supplement with formula so her weight gain can be on the up. Momma instinct kicked in and said- she doesn't need supplementation. Once I get her home and feeding on demand instead of the hospitals every three hour schedule, this little girl would be on track to growth. It's good to know that her pediatrician was on my side. He said her growth was looking good and breast milk was all she needed. Our little girl is looking great and doing so well with feeding. I got her latched on a few days after she came home. We're so glad to finally be a family of four. 

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