My Story: the Pediatric Cardiologist

Baby

I remember the hope of this appointment with the cardiologist. Finally, we could get some concrete answers about Hadassah’s specific case of ectopia cordis. I wrote about this experience in my journal:

“We met with the cardiologist. I really liked her because she explained so much about how the heart works. She sat in the ultrasound room with us, explaining what she saw about the heart and where outside the body it was located. I held my breath as she deemed picture after picture as normal development of the heart.

‘I will consult with some other specialists and give you a call in a few days,’ she said at the end of the visit.

I was so thankful to finally meet someone who could give us a detailed answer. This cardiologist could see ribs on the right side of Hadassah’s tiny body, confirming that only the heart’s ventricles were outside the chest. She saw the liver outside as well. She was, however, unable to confirm ribs on the left side, posing concern for the left lung not developing normally. The doctor wanted to monitor our baby’s heart as I got closer to delivery since the ventricles could grow too large with no wall to stop them. We scheduled a follow-up appointment.

While we waited to hear from Dr. Mehta, we saw my midwife Jenny again. We discussed the information from the cardiologist visit with her. We must have seemed quite encouraged.

‘You do realize that the prognosis for this is still very poor.’

We nodded, a little deflated.

‘Ultimately, you will have to make the choice to either go through with these heroic efforts or to hold your baby in her last moments.’ Her voice quavered, and she wiped her eyes. ‘I know that God gave you this baby for a reason and that you will be strong enough to make the right choice.’

Even with this cautioning advice, we couldn’t help but feel uplifted by the cardiologist’s words. Jenny led us to the ultrasound room to get several cute ultrasound pictures. Hadassah kept moving her hands in front of her face. The technician finally caught a few snapshots of her contented smile and a couple of wide-mouthed silly faces.

‘She definitely has your nose.’ I smiled at Kenny. I loved her so much already. Lord, please let her live.”

by Sarah George

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