Yesterday I headed to the cities to have my 2 month check up.
I was a bit nervous about this appointment because typically they do not have me come back so soon. I had added 2 new medications and switched up another one, so part of the appointment was to see too, how well I was adjusting to the new medications
We always go into these appointments with a bit of anticipation, knowing that open heart surgery is on the brink. Yet we just keep hoping now, that it gets put off, with Mazy being so young. My mom reminded me that I would not able to pick her up for weeks (b/c they have to saw the sternum in half to get to the heart). Not ideal with a young one!
With this appointment, I had no clue which way it was going to go. I still feel symptoms, but I feel I am able to live a fairly normal life – that is a life with a heart condition.
Dan and Mazy planned on accompanying me, but Mazy had a rough night of sleep and woke up with a cold, so we decided it was best for her to just stay home and rest. Wise choice because she ended up sleeping a LOT! Plus, waiting rooms aren’t necessarily conducive for sleeping and infants (especially the adult heart congenital building).
So I made the trek to the University of Minnesota, where my heart doctor is located. I must say, it is an amazing facility with amazing doctors! I could not speak more highly of my doctor and doctors there! I have seen 2 now and each time, I feel like I am not a number, but truly cared for!
I first had my ECHO done (like an ultrasound of the heart). I always strike up conversation with the person doing the ECHO. He was surprised to see my heart history of ALCAPA (Anomalous Left Coronary off the Pulmonary Artery – pulmonary and coronary arteries are connected). He said that it is a rare heart condition and they just had a 17 year old girl come in with the same issue. He said they maybe have one a year, which is including infants. Many do not live until they are 17, so that is why it was a bit of a surprise to him. He also told me a bit about how open heart surgeries came to be and it was really interesting to hear his experience – he started back in 1979.
Anyways, I had to wait a bit until my meeting with my doctor because she was running a bit behind.
When she did come in, she asked how I was feeling and I told her I feel my exercise tolerance is increasing a bit, but I can really only walk yet (no exercise videos or jogging). Also, I feel my heart beats hard sometimes too.
The first thing she said was…
“Well, I see improvement!”
The best words I could’ve heard! I was fearing the opposite. My “squeeze” rate (how well my heart is actually pumping) went from 49% 2 months ago, to now 57% and it was 58% before I had Mazy (which 57 is considered “normal”). So I am to complete functioning again, which is an incredible answer to prayer! After having Mazy, I had 2 valves that malfunctioned and the actual function of my heart decreased significantly. So now to almost be back to “Kristin” normal is huge!
I did have a heart monitor a bit ago and it did find that my heart does beat irregular at times, but it isn’t at a level they are concerned about. Mine was at a 8% rate and they said above 10%, then they start to talk about it. So no worries there!
As for my mitral valve, it does still leak moderately, if not slightly over moderate. She said it’s not like I need surgery in a month and possibly not even 6 months. It is just one of those things that they will just have to keep an eye on. She did say that I should get a MRI done of my heart to see where my scar tissue is at, how the artery connection looks now that I have had a child (from my first surgery), and just to get a baseline. Then when I need surgery, they will have a bit more information. Again, we hope that it is 5 years yet before I need a new one and it could be she said! This is where living one day at a time and not worrying about my tomorrows kicks in (easier said than done!)
I am going to be staying on all of my same meds because they are working! And it isn’t just my meds that are working – I know God is busy knitting my heart back together!
And the elephant in the room…another child/pregnancy.
She kindly asked what Dan and I’s thoughts about pregnancy were. I know this is something personal between Dan and I, but I know many of you have prayed for us. Right now, we are completely content with having just one child and that is what I told my doctor. She said that she’s not going to tell me to NOT get pregnant, but if we wanted to have another child, I would possibly have to have open heart surgery first.
We just aren’t ready for that yet and we may never be. We just enjoy the time we have with little Mazy Grace and want to embrace every moment we have with her. We never even dreamed of having these moments in having our own child, so we don’t want to hurry them away with another child. Plus, Dan said he enjoys having both his daughter AND wife around. We don’t want to jeopardize my health again because heart failure is something you can’t always recover from. And we are just thankful that God has healed my heart to where it is today. As for adoption, like I said, God has given our hearts contentment. We couldn’t be happier right now!
We love our family of 3 and oh do we love our “big family” of youth group kids!
What more could we ask for?