I’ll skip to the punchline: Frank is heart healthy, and otherwise considered a perfectly normal, healthy 20-week old little baby boy in the making. Yes, he is definitely a little boy, and yes, he has a heart with all its parts (and in the right places, no less).
No soft markers.
No charoid plexus cysts.
No hard markers.
No genetic testing.
No quiet concerns, no hand holding, no tissues.
I just have to let that sink in for another moment.
Because we’re still coming to grips with reality, this time with the one we hoped and prayed for from the beginning: a normal, healthy, uneventful pregnancy with a little boy who has no surgeries planned in the near future.
And even with all of this, I know that for us, pregnancy, babies, and child rearing will never be quite the same. We’ve seen the other side, and all of our sentiments with and about Walter still hold true for Frank. Both our boys will be perfectly imperfect in their own ways, with their own limitations and own weaknesses. We know that with parenting comes the unexpected – just hopefully not with the open heart surgery, and emergency helicopter rides. It comes with bumps, bruises, and scars to show for it. (Lots of scars.) It comes with sickness, accidents, hospital stays, disappointments, and great victories. It comes with hugs, kisses, and frustrating speech delays.
Today was a day that lurked quietly in the back of our minds since Wally received his diagnosis. We had no idea what his Tetralogy of Fallot would mean for our future children. The cause of CHD is so unclear that no doctor can give clear answers of what to expect in terms of genetic linkage and family repetition. Numbers like “doubled risk” are thrown around, which translates to mean a risk of less than 1% of having a child with CHD hovers to somewhere between 1%-2% in subsequent children. We’ll still be following up with our cardiac fetal specialist to ensure Frank’s heart is on track mid-third trimester, and all our future children will need extra CHD screening.
But, today is a good day.
Today we can plan for things like holding Franklin right after he’s born (and not after he’s cleared by the NICU), bringing him home and away from hospitals for a good while, and getting to feel like “normal” parents for at least a moment or two.
We’ll take it. Let’s celebrate.