The Francis Family Foundation, generous CaringBridge donors, are honoring supporters like you by doubling all donations to CaringBridge, up to $25,000. Make a donation by December 12 to be counted.
Hazel Grace Nelson
Jun 20, 2017 Latest post:
Oct 27, 2017
On February 8, Brandon and I were set to have our 20 week ultrasound of our "Grand Finale" baby. It had just so happened that day, school had been cancelled due to ice and snow, and by the time we had our appointment the roads were cleared, and Brandon surprised me with bringing Jacob and Cooper to the appointment, so they could get to see their little brother or sister for the 1st time! I was thrilled to get to see their smiling faces. We waited in the waiting room for our name to be called, super excited to get to see our little one. For many people, this is the time during a pregnancy when they get to find out what they are having, but for Brandon and I, we wanted to keep the gender a surprise, just as we had with our other two kiddo's. All we wanted was a healthy baby with 10 little fingers and 10 little toes to complete our family, and of course, I wanted a good 3D picture to share with everyone!
As the ultrasound tech was taking pictures, she kept focusing on the heart, not saying much, and was clearly NOT focusing on getting very good profile pictures of the baby, which had me rather annoyed. She asked me to use the rest room to try and get the baby to move. I came back in, and straight to the heart she went. I was not thinking about anything but wanting to see what our baby looked like and was complaining to Brandon about it. She got up and said she would be back. When she returned, she brought with her a Maternal Fetal Medicine (high-risk OB), Dr. Nakad. Dr. Nakad begin to closely look at the heart. They had not showed any signs of worry or given us any indication anything was wrong up to this point. Dr. Nakad finished looking at the ultrasound, and began to give us some news that didn't make much since to us. He told us they suspected a congenital heart defect in our baby, and from what they could tell from the pictures, it was blah blah blah. All I had heard was congenital heart defect and I went numb.
As Dr. Nakad began to go over the next steps, Brandon and I got emotional, which in turn, scared the boys bit and they two began to get upset. We don't hide real life things from our kiddo's. They get to see the world as they take it in, and that may mean a baby calf being born, or a horse being bred, a days of work in the tractor, affection from a loved one, you name it, they see it, but on this day, they got to witness their parents break down, at the news we had just been given, and they got to feel the hurt that we were feeling. It was really hard to concentrate on what Dr. Nakad was telling us. The ultrasound tech stepped out to verbally let Dr. Karen Carlson, my ob/gyn know what was going on. l was not scheduled to see her that day, but when the tech came back, she brought Dr. Carlson with her. When she came in, she gave Brandon and I both big hugs. It was at that time I felt this overwhelming sense come over me, and I knew this was a serious situation.
While we were over-whelmed, I felt so grateful at this moment for Dr. Carlson. Dr. Carlson was the 1st real ob-gyn I had ever seen. She had delivered both our boys. I was induced at 38 weeks with Jacob due to having high blood pressure and being diagnosed with preeclampsia. After 26 hours of labor and not being able to have him on my own, I had a c-section, delivering the cutest little cone-headed baby boy ever. I had never been so scared in all my life to have a c-section. I had never had a major surgery such as this. I was tired, sick and afraid. When we got to see Jacob for the 1st time, all of my fears were gone, and it was love at 1st sight. Dr. Carlson was off that weekend that I was in the hospital after delivering Jacob, but came in to see how I was doing anyway. Her and the nurses took such good care of me. With the next baby, I requested no induction unless I had preeclampsia again, and I also requested a v-bac if possible. I had seen Dr. Carlson the week before Cooper came. At this point I was 40 weeks pregnant. She told me she would be off for the weekend, but if I were to go into labor, to tell the nurses and she would come in to deliver our baby. Sure enough, Cooper came on the Saturday she was off. The nurses were reluctant to call her, but they did, and she was there to deliver our 10lb, 1oz, healthy baby boy. So you can say, when we received this news about baby # 3, although it was devastating, and not what any parent wants to hear at their 20 week ultrasound, I knew I was in wonderful hands, and there would be a whole other team that I had a personal connection with that would be taking care of my baby, the Cardiothoracic Surgery Heart team at Children's, who I had the privilege of working with for 5 years as they are dual employees of both Children's Hospital and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Dr. Nakad and his team scheduled us to have a fetal echocardiogram at Children's the following week, to confirm his diagnosis. We walked away from the appointment literally heart broken and for me personally, I felt ashamed. All I had been worried about, was getting a picture of our baby. I think we as a society tend to forget what these 20 week ultrasounds are for. They aren't for the pictures to show off our babies to the world, or to even find out the gender of our baby. They are to take measurements and assess the health of our baby. At Nebraska Medicine, you only get a ultrasound at your 12 week, 1st trimester screening, and your 20 week ultrasound, unless their are other complications. That is all that is really needed, and any more then that is just added expenses to our health insurances companies, which in turns causes our premiums to go up. So to say I was ashamed of myself for being disappointed about wanting a picture was an understatement. What I should have been worried about was our babies health, and the worry became a reality that day.
I couldn't sleep that night, and I was so confused as to what they thought our baby had. I decided to email Dr. Carlson the next day. I couldn't bear to wait a week to learn about this suspected diagnosis. Dr. Carlson replied within a couple hours, telling us they suspect Baby to have Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA). I begin to pray that at the appoint the following week where they would perform the Fetal Echo, and we would meet with the Pediatric Cardiologist, they would tell us they were mistaken. Instead, Dr. Jennifer Winter, a pediatric cardiologist confirmed the diagnosis. They spent around 4 hours that day with us talking about what TGA is, how it is fixed, and what the outcomes are. They were very kind to us, and now we began to prepare for the next 19 weeks until our due date.
Please stay tuned for future posts. We will try to do our best to keep people updated on Facebook and Caring Bridge. We can't thank all our family and friends enough for the support they have given us.