As some of you may know, our daughter was born with a severe birth
defect that required cranial surgery at both seven weeks and nine
months. It was not detected on an anatomy scan as it should have been. Or rather, the defect was shrugged off as a faulty equipment reading caused by a the position of the baby. We were shocked and unprepared for a challenging delivery and infant with an obvious issue. Nothing bleeds like a mother's heart for her suffering child. It was horrible and life changing, but it was over as quickly as it began and she is fine. Through that ordeal, I grew an
incredible compassion for families affected by childhood medical
issues. My heart literally aches for those whose defects or illness aren't so
swiftly and permanently corrected.
I'd like to talk to y'all for a minute about my little friend St. George. He's a dragon slayer.
George was one of 1-100 children born each year with a heart defect. Think that number is high? It's not. How many of you were told just after delivery that your baby had a slightly irregular rhythm or small hole in their heart that would most likely heal itself? That was my second child, and it did within weeks. Remember how frightening and devastating that felt?
Imagine if it didn't go away on it's own. Imagine if your baby had a defect so life-threatening that it would take a lifetime of surgeries and procedures just to keep he or she alive. That is little George's reality and his incredible Mama, my friend Elisabeth, has used her platform to share George's courageous story and to help bring some awareness to Congenital Heart Defect Awareness.
In return for our public awareness and prayers and encouragement for her sweet baby boy, she offers the world the gift of sharing a glimpse into the life of her two well-dressed, outrageously adorable boys being little boys. Pretty fair trade-off. She is showing the world what the face of a life-threatening birth defect looks like and how you can over come.
Many people think of the 20 week anatomy scan as the “gender reveal” ultrasound but the point of that ultrasound is actually to check ALL the baby’s anatomy - heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, brain, etc - development. Sadly, not all stenographers are created equal so there are some key questions people should ask at their anatomy appointment. Also, it is so important to get second opinions. George would not be alive had his parents not insisted on a second opinion. I’m not being sensational, it is fact.
Elisabeth was part of an awareness video before George was born, developed by Boston Children’s Hospital and these are the questions George’s cardiologist (and a panel of other cardiology experts) put together as what needs to be asked about the heart at the anatomy ultrasound. Asking this as well as insisting on a pulse ox scan (a non-invasive test to determine the oxygen level in the baby’s blood) after birth can make all the difference in early detection.
1. Can you see all 4 chambers of the heart?
2. Do the two upper chambers have valves? Do those valve appear to be controlling blood flow correctly?
3. Are there two lower chambers that are pumping blood to the body?
4. Are the valves / vessels exiting the heart in a crossing fashion?
5. Do you see any large holes in the heart?
Here is all I'm asking of you today, just to be aware.