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Fetal echocardiogram at 21 weeks looks promising

At 21 weeks everything is looking good.

At 21 weeks everything is looking good.

We met Dr. Vande Kappelle when Bekah was about 52 hours old. Right from the start Christopher and I loved him and his incredible way of helping to calm us in the midst of one of the scariest days of my life. When testing and an early ultrasound confirmed that we were once again expecting a new little person, Dr. Vande Kappelle was the first person I thought of.

I knew from having researched Bekah’s heart problem, and from talking to Dr. Vande Kappelle, that at some point this new baby would need to have a fetal echocardiogram. While most women spend their pregnancy dreaming of names, decorating a nursery, or at least being mostly excited, I spent my time just waiting until week 21 so we could get a glimpse of how this baby’s heart was beating.

I didn’t realize beforehand just how much I was putting off. Each time I thought of looking for a new crib, or other baby items I thought to myself, “well, better wait until after we see Dr. Vande Kappelle.” It’s not that we would be able to change anything, but when we had Bekah I remember what it was like to come home (although I think I only came home twice out of the 10 weeks and that was just to exchange sizes of clothes) and have to walk past a room that was ready for a baby who was living at the hospital. I can’t imagine how horrible it is to have to go home knowing that the person you’ve been waiting for is never coming to live there, and I don’t want to…so, I put off even thinking about baby things, which was pretty easy because most people still didn’t know I was pregnant.

Bekah practices reading to her new brother or sister.

Bekah practices reading to her new brother or sister.

Then, July 11, finally came. Chris and I went to the Heart Center in Boardman where Dr. Vande Kappelle once again eased our anxiety as soon as he began the echo. I must admit though, that about five minutes into the echo when he said that everything was looking, “pretty good so far,” I actually thought to myself…hmm, I wonder if he means pretty good, like it’s fixable with surgery, or pretty good like he didn’t see any problems at all.

As the three of us spent time together in a dimly lit echo room discussing things like baseball, when to move a toddler out of a crib and into a bed and baby names (like Symphony or Phillips—after the echocardiogram machines), I realized just how much we’ve come to depend on Bekah’s doctors, God and each other. I also realized that no matter what the final verdict was, we (Dr. Vande Kappelle included) could face it together.

As Dr. Vande Kappelle finished the echo and discussed the results with us, I was relieved to hear that as far as he could tell, our littlest person’s heart looked just fine (as in no surgery). While there is still a chance that something could develop, it’s nice to know that so far, everything is good… and I can finally order that new crib Bekah and I have been cruising the internet for in our spare time.

About Sarah Plant, Patient Family

Sarah Plant and her husband, Christopher, live in Mineral Ridge, Ohio, with their daughter, Bekah, and a rabbit named Gussie. She enjoys bike riding and spending time with friends, family and her fellow church members. Sarah is a stay-at-home mom and former high school English teacher. In her "Following Your Heart" blog, Sarah shares her experiences as a first-time mom whose baby was born with a congenital heart defect as well as a mom of a healthy boy.