In March of this year, Chad and Jen found out that they were expecting baby #2 - another boy! The usual doctor visits showed the baby was growing well and appeared to be as healthy as can be. Fast forward to the 20 week ultrasound to measure growth and check organs, bones, etc...Chad and Jen were told that they would need to come back in a few weeks to recheck the baby's heart as the doctors weren't getting a good reading. At the follow-up appointment, the doctors were able to get a better look at Zach's heart and there was a definite issue. After seeing more specialists and receiving more tests, Chad and Jen were finally told the diagnosis - Zach has Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) with Pulmonary Atresia, which includes four heart defects.
(1) Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) - a hole in the heart between the two ventricles
(2) Pulmonary Stenosis - narrowing of the exit from the right ventricle
(3) Right Ventricular Hypertrophy - enlargement of the right ventricle from pumping blood against resistance
(4) Overriding Aorta - blood from both ventricles enter the aorta
The doctors also found out that Zach has a chromosomal micro-deletion known as DiGeorge Syndrome (22Q11.2 Deletion Syndrome), a disorder caused by a defect in chromosome 22. Unfortunately, there is no real way of knowing how the 22Q syndrome will affect Zach aside from the heart defect, or if it will affect him at all. Symptoms range from asymptomatic to severe cognitive and developmental delays, poor immune system function, and calcium deficiency.
To obtain the best care possible, Chad and Jen will be delivering Zach in Denver at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, where a specialized team will have to operate on him shortly after birth. The combined procedures involve increasing the size of the pulmonary valve and pulmonary arteries, patching the wall between the ventricles, separating the pulmonary artery from the aorta, and placing a conduit to connect the pulmonary artery to the correct side of the heart. Additional surgeries are likely later in life to keep Zach's arteries clear and to ensure the conduit in functioning correctly/replaced when necessary.
As of recent, Zach does not appear to have a cleft palate and his facial features appear to be normal. Jen will now be monitored very closely, visiting a specialist every three weeks, in addition to her regular OBGYN appointments. Hopefully they will receive more clarity when they travel to Denver later this month to meet with the team at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. Prayers and support are greatly appreciated as Zach and the rest of the Armstrong family continue on this long journey.
All of the funds collected through this campaign will go to Chad and Jen, to fund the heart surgery and treatment needed to give Zach the best life possible and to persevere in the face of this challenge. Thank you in advance for your donations, prayers, and words of hope and encouragement!
Please click on "Ways to Help" to donate. There you will find a link to Zach's GoFundMe page :)