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Jamie & Henry Nowak - Thomas
Hearts for Henry
8/27/2016 Latest post:
Jamie and Henry first met when Henry's family moved to Dassel-Cokato, MN in 2009. They attended high school together and both worked at the local Subway sandwich shop in Cokato, MN. After briefly dating, they went their separate ways, typical of many relationships at that age. After high school, each of them pursued culinary degrees without the knowledge of each others ambitions. Jamie traveled to North Carolina to pursue her dream, while Henry attended Le Cordon Blue Culinary Institute in Eagan, MN. As new graduates from their programs, they both were eager to begin work after their schooling. The call of home eventually brought Jamie back to Minnesota. The two reconnected while fate seemingly stepped in and brought these two high school sweet hearts back together.
On February 21st, 2016 the news was shared to family and friends that Jamie was expecting. Being a young couple, you can imagine the initial shock followed by acceptance and then great excitement and joy in anticipation of our new family addition. Jamie's pregnancy brought her unrelenting morning sickness, body aches and pains, as well as feelings of exhaustion most of the time. She took this all in stride, though, being the trooper she is and plugged on through the worst...at least one would have hoped this to be the worst.
Monday, July 18th would be the day that a regular scheduled ultrasound at a well baby visit changed everything. The technician saw something on the scan that alerted the health care providers to seek a more specialized opinion. Just a few days later on Thursday, July 21st Jamie and Henry found themselves siting at the Maternal Fetal Clinic at the University of Minnesota. Jamie was feeling uneasy, while Henry was annoyed that he was missing work. The two were planning a move that very next weekend to Mankato, both working two jobs and trying to save money for the move and the baby. Neither of them had anticipated or were prepared for the news that was about to come.
Preliminary testing showed that the baby had a hole in his heart, fluid around his kidneys, a possible cyst on his spine, toes fused together and what appeared to be a shortened nasal bone. Another appointment was scheduled for the next week with the cardiologist. This appointment confirmed the baby's heart condition, Tetrology of Fallot. He has a hole between the two lower chambers of the heart, causing oxygen rich blood to mix with de-oxygenated blood and making the vessels overcompensate in size. Though, this condition by itself is known and can be treated with surgery, it was explained to Jamie and Henry that this would be in a best case scenario. A best case scenario for a baby with NO other issues. Another week had to slowly drag by before more news and hopefully answers that would shed light and possibly hope to what seemingly felt hopeless.
August 3rd, Jamie was nearing 28 weeks into her pregnancy. Her cute little baby bump had definetly popped. Little Henry had already began a regular routine of karate chops to her insides and yoga sessions on her bladder. This visit at Jamie's new doctor would be a marathon of testing. Four hours of ultrasounds, first the technician, then the doctor, then the technician again. Still not many hopeful answers today. The doctor did request that Jamie have an amniocentesis during this visit. The biggest concern at this visit was that the abnormalities the baby was presenting with was pointing toward a condition that could not only be life threatening to baby, but to Jamie as well. You can imagine the horror that was felt, knowing that Jamie was getting on an airplane the next day and not knowing if she was in danger of having a stroke or hemorrhage at any moment. We cried through the amniocentesis, 10 huge vials of fluid pulled from Jamie's belly. All that I could do was encourage her and stroke her hair until it was over. The tests would come over the duration of a few days to a couple of weeks.
We found out the next day, the worst was not to be expected from the possible genetic outcomes predicted the day prior. Jamie would be safe to continue her pregnancy and the baby did NOT have two conditions that were suspected. (Triploidy and Smith-Lemi Opitz Syndrome) There was, however, something...and we would have to wait more to find out just what that something was.
At this point, this is what we know: Baby needs heart surgery. Baby may have a piece of his brain missing (Corpus Callosum). Baby has two toes fused together. Baby has fluid around his kidneys. Baby has a small jaw which might mean a cleft palate. Baby is just so damn cute already from these amazing 4D pics, you can't help but love him so much already!