30 September 2012

Tetralogy of Fallot and Pregnancy

There seems to be some debate and concern about me getting pregnant again. Much of the debate is simply over not having facts and only knowing that "Kayte has a heart problem."

Now I can understand many concerns. I have not always followed doctors advice and I have not been followed by a cardiologist in several pregnancies. So I do understand the concerns and am learning from my past.

I do want people to know that this pregnancy I will be followed closely by my cardiologist, I emailed him the night I found out I was pregnant to make sure he knew that I was pregnant. He called me about 10 am the next day to talk over my first how I felt about being pregnant and to go over my past pregnancies. He is very much aware that I have had home births and that I was not followed for some time by a cardiologist. I have not hidden any information from him. When I first met him a year ago, we went over all my past pregnancies. He told me at that time, and in not the exact words this time that my heart condition tolerates pregnancy well. That is not to say that there are not things that he is concerned about.

There are 2 main areas in which he said he is most concerned and will be watching. The first is the delivery of the baby. The main concern there is that I don't push too long. He also said that he did not feel that this was going to be a big concern. This is an area I have gotten rather good at LOL. The last 3 or so babies have come out in less then 5 minutes of pushing, and my last guy was out in 3 pushes, it won't be too bad.

The second was the first few weeks after birth. He asked me how my energy was after the babies were born and I had to admit it was worse then when I was at the end of the pregnancy. He said that he hears that a lot from women like me. He also explained that the placenta absorbs much of the extra fluid in my body for the baby and makes it easier on my heart to pump that extra fluid. It is once the baby and more so the placenta is delivered that it can be harder on my heart and there I will have less energy.

I was so thankful to hear that news. I had been struggling for years to understand why so many of the women I knew while they were tired didn't seem nearly as wiped out 10 days after birth as I was.

The current plan for me is to see him at the end of October and see the high risk doctors at the same hospital. I will have 3 echos, one each trimester. He sees no reason right now that I can not have a natural childbirth.

It is also important to know that over the past year I have undergone a lot of testing on my heart, so they have a pretty good idea of where I am at.

If you have any questions feel free to ask and I will be more then happy to answer any questions.

Also this blog is not intended for medical advice, this is simply my experince and I want to share it so that others can be encouraged.

27 September 2012

God's curve balls

As some of you may have seen I have a heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot. After going through extensive testing November 2011 and a cardiac catheterization in March of 2012 it was determined I would need open heart surgery followed by another catheterization to fix an area going into my right lung to open it up and allow more blood flow into the lung.

The surgery was planned, the date was set. I got things taken care to make sure my children were taken care of. All we had to do was wait for the date to arrive. Sounds simple right....

Well God has decided to throw me a curve ball. Instead of having another surgery, I am having another baby. Yup baby number 9 is currently being formed. I have to admit I have freaked out a lot. I have freaked out at my older 2 kids (glad that understand and love me anyway. ) I have freaked out at God.

I have to be honest and say, at this point I am not sure how I feel about the idea. My emotions go back and forth.

What does my cardiologist think? He supports me and while he wants to watch me, he is not overly concerned. He feels that my heart can handle the pregnancy just fine.

07 September 2012

Preparing for surgery

In just a few short weeks I will be undergoing my 4th open heart surgery. You can read about my heart condition here and here for a current update. The goal of this surgery is to open up my right pulmonary artery so that I can get more blood flow to my right lung. This will make things easier for me and will protect my left lung from damage. The other thing that they are planning on doing is replacing my pulmonary valve. These valves have a lifespan of 10-15 years. While my valve does look good at this point in time, although it is starting to leak, they do not want me to have to undergo surgery again in a couple years.

How do I feel about this, it is hard to say. I am scared more for leaving my children then for anything else. I do not want them to be worried about me. I will miss them very much.

As far as my life goes I have begun to memorize Philippians 1: 21-26

 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith,