Monday, January 12, 2009

Roller Coaster Weekend

We packed as much crazy into 2 1/2 days that one couple with one baby could. 

Marta had a doctor's appointment today, Monday, for the second echocardiogram of her little life. 

Brief backstory: When she was born she was diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve, after our pediatrician heard a heart murmur and sent us to our local hospital for an echo. Plan was to do a new echo every year to monitor it and make treatment schedules if necessary. When her one-year birthday came around, I (having a sneaking suspicion that they were wrong about the valve) requested we have the echo at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, where Berit was treated and, truly, SAVED, where doctors specialize in children's hearts and where they know how to deal with wiggly-squiggly babies who don't want to hold still for an hour while their necks are jammed with an ultrasound machine. Plenty of offense directed at our local hospital, by the way. Sorry if you work there, but Marta's first echo was ridiculous. Picture me on all fours, above her on the table, shirt OFF, nursing like I have utters, while the technician sits there sour-faced just waiting for Marta to perk up and enjoy her echo. This leads us back to our original story...

 I took Berit to her first gymnastics class (more on this later, with photos!) then we left her with Trevor's parents, because the appointment would take three hours and really, we just wanted to focus on only Marta. In hindsight, this was an awesome idea, and I'm so glad I didn't give in to my mother's pleading that I bring B. Next time, Mom.

So Trev, Marta and I went to 5 p.m. Mass and left from there, hoping our car-hating child would sleep on the way down. She did not sleep until we were nearly there, and screamed about her discomfort for most of the trip. Once we arrived, at roughly 9:30 p.m., I took her out of her car seat and she threw up on me. Hm. Car sick? She threw up again. Hm hm. Once cleaned up and properly aired, I figured she'd bounce back, and we waited for my family to come home from a dance recital they were attending. Just as they were walking in the door, Marta had throw-up #3, and the night went downhill from there. She threw up every half-hour consistently through the night, and only slept when I held her, save for a miraculous 2-hour stretch when I thought she was through being sick but her body was actually saving up for a double-whammy of vomit and diarrhea. The laundry was constantly going (I had only packed three pairs of pjs and three outfits, and we went through them all) and the poor thing was a wreck. My family members were amazing and held her and loved her even though they were risking their own healthy immune systems. It's good to have people who adore your children.

On Sunday, Marta headed for recovery with two giant naps and no more throwing up. Last night she slept like a champ and we woke to a massive blow-out diaper, the likes of which we haven't seen since she was a newborn. Into the bath she went, the laundry started again, and we were a half-hour behind in my schedule for getting to the appointment. We ended up leaving my mom with a house full of laundry and scattered toys, and if I know her she spent her whole day disinfecting every square inch of her gorgeous and big house, and she won't complain a bit to me about it. 

We arrived at Helen Devos Children's Hospital and Trevor dropped Marta and me (meaning, of course, Marta in her fleece snow suit, me in my slippery down coat and the giant diaper bag slung over my shoulder, so Marta kept slipping down my front while the bag was tearing off my back), and I asked a lady at the information desk to walk us to the appropriate place. Which was, after TWO elevator rides and a wing away the WRONG place, and we had to go back to the place we started plus another building over. (I'm not complaining, just illustrating the craziness of our trip.)

Marta had a general check-up and an EKG, both scary for her but she tolerated them relatively well. The pediatric cardiologist met with us and explained a bicuspid aortic valve, and listened to her heart. He then said, "Hm, I am really not hearing what I'd expect to be hearing from a bicuspid valve."

We went into the echo room and Marta did extraordinarily well for a baby who is propped on her side with stickers all over and gel covering most of her upper half, being smushed around by an ultrasound thing (wand? handle?). The tech was nice and full of good humor and listened to me sing in my really awful singing voice and played an Elmo movie for Marta. Afterward she told Marta what a good job she did -- I have to say, I appreciated that. And then we waited. 

A knock at the door, and the doctor came in with two thumbs up -- "Nothing!" he said. "She has three fully-functioning valves, looking perfect. She can do whatever she wants, she doesn't need antibiotics when she goes to the dentist, when she's big enough to do little person sports she can do them and she never has to come back to see me." 

Hooray! We've been celebrating ever since, kissing Marta with big smackeroos on her chubby cheeks and dancing her around like a doll. Besides Trevor spouting off every now and then with a mini tirade about wanting to sue someone for the shoddy first echo/misdiagnosis/insurance denial/new expensive insurance/money we pay out-of-pocket for these echos, we've been on cloud 9. 

Both babies are currently in dreamland, and all is well.

1 comment:

Liza said...

what a great reason for celebration! yea! celebrate. Sorry the trip was so hectic, messy, and not fun for the big girl(s)!