Dominic's story started back sometime in Sept/04 when I became pregnant with the little boy that would change my life like I never realized was possible. My daugther Jodi Lin would be two in a half when this baby was sepose to come and that just seemed like the perfect gap, we were so happy, to be having our second child. I decided I wanted to find out the sex of this baby, so I was ready when He came. I had my first ultrasound a little late at 21 weeks, I was so excited to find out who it was that would be joining our little family.
The technician said the baby was moving too much and they couldn't tell the sex, She also said they weren't able to get the pictures that they needed of the babies heart. They weren't able to see all four chambers, and I would probably need to have another ultrasound scheduled. That was fine, then maybe I could find out the sex the next time. I had no idea, that I should be worried, the baby was just moving too much they said. I figured, "well that's great atleast this baby is active."
At 23 weeks, I had my next doctor's appt. with my family doctor who was expected to follow me through the whole pregnacy and deliver the baby. He never called me with the results to the ultrasound he just waited until my appointment and then told me that he was sending me to McMaster Children's Hospital for the second ultrasound since they had better equipment. I still had no idea that this was serious, I thought it was a little strange that they would send me out of town, but I figured it was just because McMaster was the best.
I called my family doctor again before my appt. at McMaster just to check about where I would go when I got there. After talking to the secretary for a bit, she ended our conversation by saying, "Good Luck, I am praying for you". THAT scared me, why was she praying? Should I be worried? I thought this was no big deal. Praying meant it could be a big deal, so I decided I better start praying for myself and my Baby too.
I was still calm when I left my daughter that morning with my mother, The day my husband and I went for the appointment that would change our lives for ever. When the technician started looking at my ultrasound, she seemed confused, and then all of the sudden their was three other people in the room, all looking at my babies pictures, one was a cardiologist. They were discussing and trying to figure out which chamber was what and where was the fourth. This was getting really scary. I remember still thinking though "This can't be real, we are both healthy, Jodi Lin is healthy, this couldn't happen to us." Some good news though, the technician reassured me that this baby was a boy, no doubt about it. I was finally getting the baby boy I longed for, or was I?
After the ultrasound we had to go to genetics and talk with a doctor there and fill out questionaires that asked us everything about our families, including whether my husband and I were related by blood. (Ewww, Gross). Nothing, no questions applied to us, no babies with any problems in either family. We were going to be the first. Why us?
The doctor came in and explained so many things to us that we were so overwhelmed. They weren't sure what the problem was yet but, their was definetly something wrong with his heart, and it was bad. We were scheduled to come back for an echo, to see exactly what the problems were if we could, and if I didn't want to terminate the pregnancy. Yes abort, they encouraged me to abort, this child at 24 weeks, who had been playing football inside me for weeks now. I loved this child way too much, there was no way, were these doctors crazy? We figured this was our child and we needed to do the best we could for him.
We left the hospital that day, dazed and confused. What was life going to be like now, could we lose a child. That has got to be the worst thing that could ever happen to anybody, and it was becoming a clear possibility for us. What were we gonna do? we both have always been so strong, but how were we going to get through this? How were we going to tell our family? I didn't want to speak of the possiblilities the doctor had given us.
When we got to my mother's we acted as though everything was fine. My mother knew there was something wrong though, and of coursed she asked how everything went, all I got out was tears. I was able to eventually explain what the doctor had said, but I needed time to calm down, I can't even talk when I am upset.
We had the echo done about a week later and it was amazing what the doctor was able to see in the picture on the screen. To us it looked like a regular heart, it was beating and it seemed to be a strong beat. But to the cardiologist there was a lot more to see. His heart had 4 different defects that the cardiologist could detect. He had Transposed Great Vessels (TGV or TGA), Coarctation of the Aorta (CoA), Tricuspid Atresia (TA) and Ventricular septal Defect (VSD). The doctor gave us diagrams to try and explain the defects and the difference between the babies heart and our own. He told us that he would likely need 3 surgeries in the first 3 years of life, the first one being in the first few days of life, the second somewhere between 3 and 6 months and the third at 2-3 years old. He also said that these surgeries are just a temporary fix and that eventually a full heart transplant would need to be done, but likely these surgeries would take him through his childhood. We were also told that of all the children with these sorts of defects about 75% are still alive at the age of 21. It was scary to hear this but we knew we needed to have faith.