Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Miles Walker Northcutt
Miles was born this morning, July 31, at 8:46 a.m! He weighed in at 8 lbs, 6 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. He has lots of hair and chubby cheeks. The operating room was full of doctors awaiting his arrival. We learned after his birth that there were 8 doctors present just for Miles, and then 3 in the room for me. Upon delivery, we heard him let out about 3 or 4 little cries and then they took him into one corner of the OR to stabilize him. We were told that he was very blue when he was born, so they put a breathing tube down his throat, started giving him oxygen, and he "pinked up" after that. We were also told that he was extremely "vigorous" so they had to sedate him. They did a 5 minute echo-cardiogram on his heart to quickly try to determine his needs. So many doctors kept coming to our bedside while my OB was stitching me up to give us small reports. First it was that they were going to wisk him away to Children's Hospital immediately, then 5 minutes later another doctor told us that they decided to take him to the NICU at Parkland first before taking him over to Children's, and then another 10 minutes later they determined that he was stable enough that they were going to leave him in the NICU at Parkland until they did a more extensive echo later that afternoon. Each report was a little better than the last. I'm telling you, to hear those little cries was the best sound I've ever heard, because it meant our baby boy was alive! And finally, they brought him over to me as I was still on the table to let me have a tiny glimpse and to kiss his forehead before taking him away to the NICU. Jeremy and I were both overjoyed, to say the very least. Our baby was alive!
Around 4:00 that afternoon one of the cardiologists came in to our room to give us the best news in the world. Our baby's heart was fully functioning!! The official diagnosis was that he had premature closure of the ductus arteriosis. Here is a link that Jeremy found which describes it. http://www.thefetus.net/page.php?id=1071 Personally, I find it hard to understand, so here is my interpretation. Basically the PDA is one of two holes in the heart of a fetus. These holes are completely normal in every fetus, as they serve as a bypass for the flow of blood. The normal function of the right side of the heart is to pump blood to the pulmonary artery and out to the lungs. Since fetuses don't really use their lungs until after they are born, there is no need for the blood to flow to the lungs until after birth, so the PDA allows that blood to bypass flowing to the lungs while the baby is in utero. Upon birth, the PDA closes. This closure allows the high pressure in the lungs to drop immediately, and all the pressures and blood oxygen levels reorganize as infants take their first breath. In baby Miles, his PDA closed prematurely while he was in utero, and this caused that right side of his heart to work extra hard to try to pump blood through his pulmonary artery and out to the lungs. That is ultimately what caused it to become enlarged. Because his PDA was already closed, and because there is high pressure in his lungs (which should have normally fallen immediately upon birth as the PDA closes), it is called pulmonary hypertension. In a nutshell, after an extensive echo the cardiologists are saying that his heart is functioning normally - the holes are closed, and no arteries are blocked or narrowed. Instead, his sickness is the pulmonary hypertention that was caused by the premature closure of his PDA. Clear as mud? That's the best I understand it, but of course I may have some of that screwed up. So if you're a doctor and reading this - I'm sorry!!
Anyway, his heart is healthy. Praise God! Now we just need the pressure in his lungs to decrease and his blood oxygen levels to increase. The more the pressure in his lungs decreases, the less strain there is on his heart and it will be able to heal faster (remember his right side is still enlarged even though it appears to be functioning normally).