Thursday, April 24, 2008
A few weeks ago at one of Luna's appointments, her cardiologist drew a picture of her heart. This is not anatomically correct as she wanted to make sure I told everyone, but it does give you a pretty good idea of what Luna looks like on the inside.
And this is a normal heart...
As you can see right away Luna's heart is flipped. That is due to her dextrocardia. Then you'll also notice she only has one ventricle, rather than two, and in fact where you see four chambers in the normal heart, Luna really only has one big one. (I know, it's almost unbelievable...I often look at her pink smiling face and think in amazement of how different her heart is from mine or Paul's or Sienna's). I am slowly understanding her anatomy (or anyones for that matter...why or why didn't I pay attention in biology class??...the fact that I can't even remember who my teacher was or whether or not I even took it is not a good sign!)
As I am finally understanding all this, most of Luna's surgeries are/will be like re-routing the plumbing of her arteries. One of Luna's diagnosis is Pulmonary atresia-turns out pulmonary simply means lung and atresia means 'missing'. Translation: Luna is missing a piece of the branch that goes to the lung. That was the first correction she had in her surgery at 2 days old. Now, as it turns out, she also has pulmonary stenosis...stenosis means narrowing. Translation: the branch leading to her left lung is narrowed. For this we'll all head back into Children's this coming Sunday so Luna may undergo a balloon catheter. This is a procedure that's been around for over 20 years. Luna will be admitted Sunday so she may be sedated and set-up on an IV of fluids for the night. Then on Monday morning the doctor will insert the cath into her groin, specifically into the main artery called femoral artery. The cath will have a tiny balloon on the tip. Once the cath is snaked through her body and up into her left pulmonary artery the doctor will inflate the balloon in attempt to enlarge the 'branch'. When I was first explained of this my stomach sank, but it turns out our arteries, and particularly those of babies', are really resilient. Realistically Luna may have to undergo this procedure a few times before the artery finally stays open on it's own, allowing for blood and oxygen to once again flow freely into her left lung.
So, please be thinking of lil' Luna this coming Monday. Hopefully this balloon is going to work it's magic and open up that pesky artery!
Here's Luna just yesterday...she's a big 5 weeks old now!
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
How funny is this. For the past few weeks, Paul and I have been standing on our heads, cooing and making silly faces, and Luna gives us nothing. Paul even dusted off his famous baby voice for Luna and still, all we get is a wide-eyed stare. Actually, we often get a frown or a pout, with an expression that says, "what are you guys trying to do and whatever it is, stop it!". Yesterday, my friend Kristen stopped by for a visit and as soon as she scooped up our little bundle, Luna was hooked. Luna couldn't take her eyes off "Auntie Kristen" the entire time. As soon as Kristen started talking in her baby voice (we all have one) Luna was cooing, gurgling and smiling. At one point as shown in this photo, she looked to be almost giggling! Once again, Kristen lives up to her 'baby whisperer' reputation. To be fair to the rest of us, she has a degree in childhood development. Hmmm...so it takes a degree to get a baby to smile these days. That must be it!
Sunday, April 6, 2008
...this was the scene at our house yesterday evening. This was not posed. Well, OK, Luna didn't exactly walk over and plop into her little infant seat-but the bunny and cat did arrive to this pose on their own.
For those of you who know the Stoucy, our cat, you realize how unlikely this sight is. Stoucy is, in a word, psycho. The only people who like her are Paul and my Dad-go figure. (I sense there is a joke there, but I'll let it be).
The rest of us can't stand her. The last time we weighed her she was close to 30lb. She weighs more than my 2 year old. She also thinks she's a German Shepard. As my friend Janelle can attest to, she once chased her around the house. It was truly frightening. I hadn't the time to warn Janelle one visit before she went over to pet and coo with the 'nice kitty'. Stoucy pounced. But she didn't stop-she chased Janelle up and down the hallway and around the living room-Janelle had to jump on the couch to escape-and Stoucy, who is too fat and too lazy-gave up and walked away. Even Sienna yells at her-something I'm to blame for, and feel a tinge of guilt-every time I hear Sienna scold, "Stoucy, No!". This command is hollered often when Stoucy is sitting cleaning her paws-completely minding her own business.
The poor bunny is another story. One freezing night, Paul convinced me to join him in a ride to some God-forsaken place called Mechanic Falls, Maine so we could check out a lop breeder. He thought Sienna would like a bunny for Christmas. Turns out, Sienna is like me, bunnies bore her. A few days after we brought the tiny furball home the novelty had worn off and no one could even be bothered with naming the poor thing, so we all call her 'Bunn'.
So, I guess it's nice to see that Stoucy and Bunn have bonded. At least we can feel good knowing that if no one else seems to like them, they have each other.
Friday, April 4, 2008
That's what her cardiologist told us while at our appointment on Monday. Paul, Luna and I trekked into Boston for her routine follow-up. It was different-mostly because I'm so used to being on the prenatal side of things-I wasn't prepared for all the children!
The appointment began with a weigh-in. Luna impressed us all with a weight of 7lb 14 1/2oz. Less than a week earlier she weighed 7lb 5oz. This is with me exclusively breast feeding or 'EBF' as we say in cyberspace. Both Luna's cardiologist and pediatrician agreed that we needn't implement with formula bottles due to her consistent weight gain. I was thrilled but not surprised because if anyone remembers Sienna when she was an infant she was a lil' porker! It was not until I stopped EBF that she started to level off with her weight. For the first 7 months or so she was always in the 95th percentile. Not until we introduced table foods and then she endured a few good rounds of stomach flu did she drop to the 50th percentile for weight-where she's remained ever since.
Luna's appointment continued on with an EKG-and nope, the leads weren't placed on her body opposite of what they should be. I asked... The nurse replied it was a good question but because Luna has only a single ventricle there is no need to reverse the leads. Either way, Luna's read was perfect. After the nurse listened to her heart and lungs-again all clear there-we all headed downstairs for an XRay. Paul and I braced ourselves for the worst as we entered the darkened, lead-lined room. But Luna's amazed us again. When the technician pulled out the infant box and placed our baby inside, Little Luna raised her arms above her head just as she should have-without us having to force them against her will. She's laying the very same way now as I look down at her sleeping in her bassinet. (There's something about infant arms-with their lack of intent and floppy motions that remind me of Grover arms-something that I find so cute.).
After the XRay we met with Dr. Brown, Luna's cardiologist. He again marveled at her recovery and health, at one point saying, "I bet people who don't know her have no idea of her condition". Yep, that is the truth. She's an adorable, good natured, happy baby girl! We discussed her next surgery, which Dr. Brown said would be in about 4 months. This took me by surprise, but it's really a good thing. Since she's gaining on a good curve she most likely will outgrow her current shunt sooner rather than later-hence her next surgery will most likely happen closer to 4 months rather than the usual 6.
So, until then we'll have monthly cardiologist (card) visits up here in NH and we continue to monitor her sats. Once they start to consistently drop from the 80's into the 70's we'll know she's ready for the next step-the Glenn operation. Until then we look forward to enjoying the spring and summer!