Chase Nicholas Bower was born Thursday, December 1st at 8:03pm! He was 7 lbs, 0 oz, and 20 in long. He is currently hanging out in the NICU at American Family Children's Hospital, flirting with all the nurses. Chase was born with Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21) as well as heart defects and a gastrointestinal defect, all of which need to be fixed with surgeries early in life. Thankfully, we learned of all these things before he was born so we were able to work with the wonderful medical staff at Meriter and AFCH to formulate a care plan and prepare ourselves for a difficult journey after his birth.
Chase's Heart: Chase has a possible coarctation of his aortic arch. The aorta is the large artery that supplies oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body and a coarctation is a narrowing of the blood vessel. This means there is a section of his aorta that is too narrow to let enough blood flow from the heart to the rest of his body. When babies are in the womb, they have an extra little blood vessel called the ductus arteriosis that delivers blood from the pulmonary artery directly to the aorta, bypassing the lungs since they are not being used. Once the baby is born and starts using his lungs to breathe, the ductus arteriosis naturally closes on its own to allow blood flow from the heart to the lungs. Right now he is on a medication called prostaglandin, which is keeping the ductus arteriosis open to support blood flow through his aorta until it can be fixed. In order to confirm the coarctation, the prostaglandin will need to be stopped to allow the ductus arteriosis to close and the blood flow through his aorta will be closely monitored in the days following. Heart surgery will follow immediately to repair the coarctation if the blood flow is not adequate.
He also has an atrioventricular (AV) canal defect, which is a hole in the inner wall that separates the four chambers of the heart. This is allowing oxygenated and deoxygenated blood to cross that wall and mix, making it more work for his heart to get good oxygenated blood out to the rest of his body. Doctors believe the hole is small and the surgery needed to repair it can be put off for several months, maybe even up to a year.
Chase's Tummy: Chase has a gastrointestinal condition called duodenal atresia, which is an obstruction in his duodenum, the first section of the small intestine that meets the stomach. This prevents anything from passing and causes a buildup of gastric juices in his stomach so he has a nasogastric tube inserted into his stomach through his nose to suction those fluids out. With an obstruction in his bowel, he is not able to feed orally so he has been receiving hydration and nutrition through an IV since he was born. Once this is repaired with surgery, he should be able to start with very small feedings most likely with a feeding tube and slowly work his way up to feedings by bottle or breast.
Chase is in for a wild ride but he is just the sweetest, most adorable baby we've ever laid eyes on! We are so in love!
If you'd like to visit, please just shoot me or Nick a text or phone call ahead of time. Chase loves meeting new people but only four visitors are allowed for each patient at a time and Nick and I count as two of them and one of us must be present for other people to see Chase. Please also make sure you are feeling healthy and have no signs of infection, even a minor cold. We'd also appreciate if you're up to date on your vaccinations, especially this season's flu vaccine. And unfortunately, visitors under the age of 16 are not allowed in the NICU so any little ones will have to stay at home. I know that all sounds a bit over-the-top but keeping this boy as healthy as possible is our number one priority. Thank you!