“We Can Fix It”

The day following Walter’s diagnosis Dan and I both got ready for work and put on a strong smile for our little warrior. We weren’t sure whether we should be happy or sad: happy that we had a diagnosis or sad at what that diagnosis was. Going into work we each knew we would face questions from concerned friends and co-workers, as our absences had not gone unnoticed. We hadn’t yet articulated exactly how to respond, and the words felt like jagged wounds so fresh on our lips. We both mourned the bliss we had for my pregnancy and for Walter just a day before, and mourned the routine, happy, and simple expectations we had for his birth. Still, we are not in the business of sorrow, pity, or remorse, and armed ourselves with the facts we had, an upright chin, and the confident hope we have for the months to come, and headed off.

That morning, around 9:30 am, I received a call from the head nurse on the DC Children’s Fetal Heart Team. She spoke with me about what we had learned the night before, and indicated that our perinatologst and the head doctor of the Fetal Heart Department felt it was urgent I be seen as soon a possible. As the summer months are upon us, doctors begin to take vacation, and the nurse advised that all of the fetal cardiologist’s appointments were booked for the next two weeks, and after that she would be on vacation for another week. The nurse then told me that our cardiologist was off today, but would come in to meet with us if I can get to DC Children’s Hospital as soon as possible. With a hop, skip, and a leap, I was out of the office and on my way to DC for Walter’s echocardiogram and a visit with the Fetal Heart Team.

After navigating my way through the busy DC streets and then the enormous Children’s Hospital, itself, I arrived on the third floor to the Fetal Cardiology Unit. They were expecting me – with paperwork printed, and most information already updated, I was whisked in to one of the “Echo” rooms, where a specialized sonographer took over 200 ultrasound images of Walter’s heart, measured direction and rate of blood flow, captured visual movements, and listened to his strong cheerful heartbeat. I was then taken into a comfortable conference-like room with big windows and a long table, where I would meet our team.

Shortly, the head of the department arrived (a fetal cardiologist), along with the fetal thoracic surgeon, head nurse, and social worker/advocate. They were warm, inviting, knowledgeable, and provided us with the best news and answers we could ask for. Walter’s diagnosis for Tetralogy of Fallot was confirmed (independently from the perinatoligist’s) and she, like our perinatoligist, advised that in her professional opinion, she did not believe that our little boy has any kind of chromosomal defect.  Our doctor began by asking if we knew our baby’s gender, and if we had a name. I told her yes, and that his name is Walter. For the rest of the visit, our team referred to our sweet little boy as Walter (and his nickname, Wally). In that they affirmed his humanity, and his survival – it made every bit of difference. In fact, she began our meeting with four simple, remarkable, Godly, lifting words: “We can fix it.”

From there, our team answered many of my questions and then some. They are summarized in my next post for easy reference.

(Also many people have asked me what my – or Wally’s – bump looks like about now. Below is a photo Dan took of me starting out week 21).


Picture of me (and Wally!) at the start of 21 weeks.
Picture of me (and Wally!) at the start of 21 weeks.

8 thoughts on ““We Can Fix It”

  1. Yes, We Can Fix It. We will all pray for the doctors and Medical team…may God guide them. Frances, you look so pretty….I love that dress!


  2. Hi Frances! Just to let you know that we are all standing behind you in prayer, and we can stand strong even when you may not feel like it. We pray for you and Dan and your entire medical team, which sounds pretty remarkable. Keep that chin up, you look great 🙂 Laurie, Rob, John and Katie


  3. Hi Frances,
    I haven’t seen you in forever, but your mom has been updating me on you and Dan. You are a remarkable young woman! You have the gift of expressing yourself so eloquently in your writing, and even in this difficult time, your strength comes through. I am keeping you and Dan in my prayers. I know your faith is strong and God will grant you both strength and hopefullness thru this journey. He has lead you to a medical team that does sound remarkable and will empower you with knowledge. I will continue to pray for your little warrior as he continues to grow and become stronger. You look fantastic and can’t wait to see more pictures of you as Walter grows. :-).


    • Thank you Zorkita! I am so glad that running into you at St. Rita’s has allowed my parents to reconnect with you. (Thanks for keeping them entertained, too 😉 ) We feel so very loved, and I’m pretty sure Walter can feel it to. 🙂


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