Saturday, July 25, 2009

Where the heart is.


Now to the story of my first pregnancy and all the interesting twists and turns along the way. Scott and I had decided that we would stop using protection and if we got pregnant then it was meant to be. Our attempt at not trying but not preventing pregnancy lasted a few months before I decided to start charting my cycle. Pregnancy tests were just getting to damned expensive and the silent hoping and constant let downs just became to much to bear. I decided to take matters into my own hands and during peek ovulation in the month of July we did it, had sex, took a roll in the hay. Ironically, Scott got cold feet and we both agreed to wait one year before trying again. Turns out once was enough and the pregnancy test I took in the China Cup restaurant (a Chinese buffet of which I lost my appetite for ) quickly revealed a positive pregnancy test result. I came out of the bathroom with what I can only assume was a look of shock on my face and Scott mistakenly assumed I had received another disappointing result. When I sat across from him and blurted "looks like you're going to be a daddy" he thought I was teasing him and insisted on seeing the test before his expression took on a look of numbed shock as well. Within a half an hour we had phoned everyone we knew and told them the good news, never believing for one second anything could ever go wrong. Never believing that this pregnancy would be anything but perfectly routine and normal. Boy were we in for a shock.

My first prenatal exam (at ten weeks) revealed a healthy pregnancy, good hormone levels, a healthy blood pressure, and the most perfect sounding heartbeat I had ever heard. So when it came for the doctor to listen to my own heart her extended silence, the look of worry, and hushed meeting held just outside my room should have forewarned me to the problems to come.

When at last their worried faces reentered the room they informed me that I had a heart murmur and in their opinion it was my aortic valve, and could be a condition called aortic stenosis. Well let me tell you, anytime you hear aorta and problem in the same sentence you freak out a little. Now i wasn't an expert on the heart but isn't the aortic valve the most important?! Looking over at Scott's face confirmed my belief in the necessity of aortic valves and a slow sinking began in the pit of my stomach. "What does that mean", I finally had the courage to ask. They said it could mean nothing, lots of people have heart murmurs, or it could mean that keeping a close on eye on me, especially during the birth of my child, could be more than necessary. I didn't have a clue as to what that meant but it didn't sound good. They refused to elaborate sooner until they had some concrete results. They then informed me that I was in luck because the top cardiologist in BC just happened to be passing through town in a few days and they were going to get him to examine me. Call me a pessimist, but I sure as hell didn't feel lucky.

Now I'm not good at sitting around and twirling my thumbs while waiting for reassurance or information. So I googled aortic stenosis and from what I could gather it was an abnormally narrow valve which affected blood flow in and out of the heart. Well that didn't sound so horrible and in a few days when I got to meet the top cardiologist in BC I was assured that it didn't sound like aortic stenosis after all. Which would have been such a relief if the man hadn't easily been 80 years old and surely didn't have the hearing he once had. He must not have been convinced of the condition of his ears either, as he suggested that to be on the safe side I should receive an echo cardiogram. An ECG, he explained, was basically an ultrasound of the heart. So the oldest, cardiologist alive in BC set up an appointment for me, which thanks to the slow health care system was set for my 35th week of pregnancy, 25 weeks away.

To say my heart murmur played on my mind was an understatement and it was difficult to ignore since every time i went for a prenatal exam different doctors, nurses, and residents were called into listen to my heart. I was something of a case study. On the bright side, my pregnancy was chugging along beautifully. I hadn't had morning sickness, I wasn't overly moody, and I glowed just as people say happens when you become pregnant. I gained entirely too much weight, but I was enjoying all the little things along the way so much, that the 50 plus lbs I had packed on just didn't matter.

Around week 30 of my pregnancy Scott's mother convinced us to get married before the baby was born. We were already engaged, so why not? I feverishly began to plan our wedding, and I was finally able to push the possible, faulty, aortic valve out of my mind. We had the venue arranged, I had my dress, and we had hired a commissioner we both liked. The last few things I needed to wrap up (the cake and flowers) could be done in a day. We travelled to Prince George in my 33rd week of pregnancy to put the final touches on our wedding and spent all day cementing the plans on the upcoming nuptials. That night we decided to stay at my mothers house (she was in Mexico) before travelling back to Fraser Lake (our home, an hour and a half away). I collapsed into bed that night elated. The plans were done, we were going to be married in less than a month and soon enough I would have my little baby in my arms. Little did I know how true this statement would become.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

Can't wait to read the rest!
Oh, and I hate when doctors avoid answering your questions! They divert you by talking about some other nonsense, you don't understand, so you realise later that you weren't answered!