It is 4:30am Friday morning and before I head to bed I will do my best to chronicle any news related to our 4th child while it's still fresh in my mind. I think it will be helpful to just write it all down for family and friends who are interested and so that one day we can look back and trace God's good providence from post to post.
Yesterday was Thursday. We had a routine ultrasound appointment at 1:30pm. Before we left, we had a quick Bible time and read from Psalm 90. We prayed for the baby to be healthy as we normally do as a family and quickly left for the appointment with no time to spare.
We made it there. We waited for our name to be called and was ushered into the ultrasound room. We had all 3 of our children with us. They did great by the way. We ended up being there for over 3 hours total and I was really proud of our kids. They didn't complain at all and Justin fell asleep in my arms a few times.
Anyway, the lady there was very nice and she started taking the routine ultrasound pictures. Our primary concern was actually with "placenta previa." At a prior ultrasound, we were told that Jamie had "placenta previa" which meant that she might have to have a c-section if it did not move. So naturally, this was on our minds as we watched the ultrasound screen. To our relief, the placenta did move and so we breathed a sigh of relief.
But that relief was short-lived I'm afraid. It seemed a bit odd to us that she was taking a lot of pictures and trying to get the a variety of shots from different angles. It looked like she was trying to look for something very particular so I asked (after several minutes of looking and looking) -- "are you looking for something in particular?" She said that she's trying to get one last picture of the heart but can't seem to get the proper shot since the baby was not "cooperating." It was shortly thereafter when she said that she would get the doctor to see if he could give it a try.
It was already well over an hour and that's when we felt something was not right.
Anyway, the doctor came in and looked for himself. He got Jamie to turn from one side to the other to see if the baby would shift position. He turned on a setting on the ultrasound that showed blood flowing -- this was new to us. He was taking pictures from various angles and doing ultrasound stuff for a while when he had to take a break to see another patient (with twins). He returned after several minutes and tried again to find what he was looking for.
I believe it was around that time that he announced that there was a problem. I think he wanted to really make sure of things and took the time to be thorough. It's very unusual for a doctor to be doing the ultrasound for so long (in our experience anyway). He told us that the baby has a heart defect and showed us on the screen everything he had been tracking. He showed on how one side of the heart (the left side) was not pumping like the other side (the right side). He showed us how the blood was not flowing on that side like the other side. He even showed us what appeared to be scarring on the left side of the heart.
He said that both chambers in the heart need to be pumping. Only one appeared to be. The right chamber goes to the lungs. The left chamber goes to the brain, hands, and other areas. Turns out the left one was not pumping. "But how is blood getting to the brain then?" I asked. To which he replied that in the womb, the heart has a way of re-routing blood through other open valves. But once the baby exits the womb, those "alternate routes" get permanently sealed and so the danger is that after birth blood will not reach the brain and the baby will die. So, he said "it's serious but there's something that can be done about it."
We went on to talk about "what can be done about it" for quite some time. The baby has "hypoplastic left heart syndrome" which can be treated with heart surgery right after birth. He said that no hospital in Greenville can do this but there is a specialist in Charleston who deals with this very condition. So, it will be important for us to deliver the baby in Charleston. He said he has a friend whose baby boy had this exact issue, and this doctor did the surgery and today the boy is 9 years old and is in every other way, healthy. So, there is certainly hope.
But he did say that there may be other genetic defects that they cannot conclusively determine unless they do an "amniocentesis" (where they insert a needle into the womb and extract fluids for study). He said there is a risk involved with that as well and it would simply be to get more information about the baby's condition. After much discussion, it turns out there's nothing that they can do differently even if they had more information anyway. He said there would be counseling, etc if we needed it. He said he could do it right then and there if we wanted and so he left the room for a moment for us to talk about it in private. We prayed together and wept at all of this news. We decided to not do the "amniocentesis" procedure because we didn't want any further risk and there was nothing that could be done anyway. We decided to leave the baby in the Lord's hands at this point.
There's probably a lot more to say. We were there for over 3 hours after all. But for now, I will close this post simply to say that we have great appreciation for the doctor and nurse there. Yes, we are thankful for modern medicine that gives us a ray of hope -- humanly speaking. But we are also very conscious of the fact that ultimately, the hope of our new baby's survival lies squarely in the Lord's good providence. He uses means. But ultimately, He decides the fate. I know this situation is for our ultimate good. I'm not just "saying it" to drum up positive feelings. I KNOW it. At the very least, it will give us a new appreciation for those who are going through or who went through similar hardships. Will it be hard? Of course. I'd be lying if I said that I'm not dreading the future -- after the baby is born. Right now, he is safe in the womb. But once he is born, things will be very trying. The surgery will be hard for us to witness. It is hard for us to imagine them doing open-heart major surgery on a baby so small. And then a second time in 6 months. And then a third time at 2 years.
We ask for your prayers for our new baby and for Jamie. Pray that there are no other "defects" with the baby and that the delivery will go as smooth as it possibly can. Pray that the Lord will give skill to the doctors and that our faith will be unshaken. Pray for a miraculous healing if it be His will. This will definitely shape our future and change our lives. Let's give God the glory in all things. We learned this Psalm together as a family some time ago and it's very fitting: "I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth." Psalm 34.
Martin Alan Sang-Hoon LeeHere are some ultrasound photos of our newest baby boy!
Pastor Murray brought this to my attention via his Head Heart Hand blog and a link to this page. I'm sure many people, including me, will be praying for your family. I can't imagine what life used to be like without SermonAudio.