Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
Tyler and I were so overjoyed the moment we saw the 2 pink lines staring back at us on the pregnancy test in July. We were going to be parents, something both of us were so eagerly looking forward too since we were married in 2015. Our first appointments were filled with excitement and nervousness as we made it through our first trimester. Pretty soon we were on our way to our 20 week appointment for an anatomy ultrasound. We had decided we were not going to find out the sex and we were looking forward to seeing our miracle. As the ultrasound tech scanned the baby's belly, she noted that not everything was in the correct place in our little bundle's abdomen and we heard the word "heterotaxy" for the first time. The tech left the room and returned with the OB to explain that our perfect little peanut's stomach was located on the right side of her body instead of left. He explained that while that's not necessarily bad, it's usually an indication of other issues, including congenital heart defects. Our world was turned upside down and I remember the distinct feeling of staring at him as his mouth moved but I heard almost nothing. I managed to decipher that they could tell baby H's heart was smaller on the left than the right and that they couldn't see the aorta at all and they were sending us to our first (of many) fetal echo cardiograms. The first echo was a blur but the cardiologist assured us that baby H still had a lot of growing left to do and that it was likely we wouldn't know everything until after birth. In terms of the heterotaxy syndrome and the stomach, the actual complications were small
Our care transferred to the high-risk pregnancy team with monthly ultrasounds and echo cardiograms. Each appointment was a whirlwind of emotions as they usually all went the same way..."Well, what we were worried about before looks fine but now we are worried about this." Thankfully, Tyler and I had each other and the wonderful support of our families to get us through the toughest of times. We were encouraged to know that with each ultrasound came news that baby was growing ahead of schedule and that the size discrepancy, while still present, was now growing proportional. They were able to see the aorta around our 28 week appointment but there was indication of an aortic arch coarctation, or narrowing of the vessel restricting blood flow. News of the coarctation was difficult because then we started to discuss the need for surgical intervention just a few days into life. A lot of questions came and went in the following weeks but we were going to have to wait until baby H was born to determine a definitive coarctation. We stopped fetal echos at 32 weeks at we waited for baby H to make their grand entrance!
On Saturday February 10th, I went into labor and at 11:53am Sunday morning Genevieve (Eve) Michelle Hunzeker came into this world with big lungs! She weighed 7 lbs. 3 oz. and was 19 1/2 in long. She was immediately transferred to a sterile room with IVs placed in her belly button and was prepped for transfer to St. Mary's via ambulance to have an echo and determine the extent of the coarctation and if other heart defects, not detected in utero were present. Tyler followed the ambulance giving me updates as he was given them since I had to recover for 6 hours at Methodist hospital. The fetal echo revealed our worst fears, the coarctation was present in 2 places and immediate open heart surgery was needed. She was placed in the NICU for 3 days and put on drugs to prep for surgery. On Wednesday, February 14th, valentine's day, at 2:00pm, they whisked Eve away and into an OR for open heart surgery with Dr. Said. The next several hours were the most difficult of our lives as we prayed and prayed and waited on word of our precious angel. At 11:00pm, Eve came out of surgery and up to the pediatric cardiac ICU where we currently are as I create this page. The surgery was a success and everything went well!
We are so very thankful for the care we have received here at Mayo and, especially after hearing other NICU parents' stories, how fortunate we are that Eve's heart defects were caught so early in utero so we could be prepared with the right teams for her immediate care. Tyler and I are so thankful for all of the thoughts and prayers you have sent us and we look forward to all of you meeting our perfect peanut, Eve. We will update the page with her recovery progress. God is so good!!