By the way, after my last post, we have received lots of offers for babysitting. Wow - we feel so blessed by such wonderful friendships in our lives. Thank-you. Several days ago, we asked if we could return to the Hospice for a few days respite and we just received word that we are very welcome to stay there from Wednesday to Saturday of next week!! We are really looking forward to it!
This afternoon, Dave and I and Rachel headed off for her apointment with the Cardiologist. First, we had a chat about how things were going with Rachel. A nurse checked her oxygen levels and heart rate. Her oxygen levels are about the same as last time. Her color is still good. And we weighed her for the first time in two weeks.....and she's heavier than her birth weight!!! She is 5 pounds, which means she gained 12 ounces in two weeks. I was thinking she seemed a bit heavier to carry.
Then we did the echocardiogram. Rachel was a perfect angel and lay really still for the echocardiagram - the warm blanket probably felt great. The last time she had an echo was just after birth so we were pretty curious about what we might find out. We didn't expect anything too different because Rachel is still doing so well - she only has minimal blueness etc.. But there was something different. Dr. Fruitman was not able to find one of the heart arteries or the curly veins (it may just have been a bad time) but the real difference was in the right heart artery. She pointed it out on the screen. There was a definite narrowing, like it was pinched. She expects that either the same thing is happening on the other artery she can't see, or it is still open.
Later, she showed us the two echo videos side by side, the one at birth and the one today. She showed us how the blood flow has greatly decreased and how the flow through the right artery had changed. This was surprising for us. We're not sure how to feel about it. I think I might feel a little more on edge, like something might happen. And yet, our Cardiologist said that she may yet keep living for awhile - and there's no way to determine how long. Even if the right artery (that she couldn't see) was actually closed, it is still possible for her to live with blood flow to only one lung and at dimished capacity for some time.
It really is amazing how her heart has compensated for itself. (it is a kind of sad amazement) And because of the diminished blood flow, there is less energy expended in making her heart pump etc.. so she is able to use more energy to eat and grow. And because she can eat more, her oxygen carrying ablities are higher as well. (and she doesn't turn blue) At least that's how I remember it being explained. summary: So while she seems to look better, her heart is really doing more poorly than it was at birth. The real question is how long the arteries will stay open. The answer: unknown.
ok - I have used up all my brain power for today. Thank-you for your continued prayers for us and Rachel.
Abigail hugging the big green dragon at the Parade today
Dave, what happened to her cowboy hat? :D