We were blissfully unaware of Bekah’s congenital heart defects before she was born. Sure, we knew people who had heart problems, and we even knew people whose children were born with heart defects, but we were seeing my regular OB and a high risk doctor from about 13 weeks on, and so felt fairly reassured that our little bundle of joy’s entrance would be just that… joyful.
When it turned out to be one of the most terrifying, faith-building times of my life, it definitely changed my rosy outlook on the whole idea of having a baby. When Christopher and I started thinking about adding to our family (which we assumed would mean saving for a fertility doctor again), we did so with some trepidation. After a miscarriage in November, we were pretty sure we should just be happy with Bekah for now and if we decided to extend our family later we were ready to think about other ways, like adoption, to allow Bekah to have the fun of a sibling.
In March when a home pregnancy test prompted a visit to my doctor, we started to debate if we should tell anyone, who to tell, and when to tell them that there could be an addition right about time for Bekah’s second birthday in November. If something happened we didn’t want a bunch of sad looks like after our miscarriage, and even more than that, I didn’t want to answer a bunch of questions on the likelihood of another baby with a heart defect (as if we were too naïve to have thought to check out the risks and just rushed in like we hadn’t spent 10 weeks in the NICU and gone through open heart surgery with Bekah).
I am definitely a planner. I like to know everything possible about every situation before it happens, and so I had discussed the possibilities of a heart defect with Bekah’s doctors and my own only to find that the risk was only slightly increased. When we saw Dr. Smith at the Heart Ball in February we didn’t realize that his comment to not let Bekah’s heart stop us from having more kids was perfectly timed… it is something I’ve referred to a few times already. Most people don’t necessarily ask about the heart problem risk, but many seem to want to, and I can definitely understand that. It was our first question too.
We waited for as long as we possibly could (without me having to go into hiding) and finally cracked and let Bekah start telling people (family members included) when I was around 18 weeks pregnant. That still left us 3 very nervous weeks of waiting before my appointment with Dr. Vande Kappelle, Bekah’s cardiologist, to check the new baby’s heart.