We found out about Luke’s heart when we were 18 weeks into the pregnancy. Luke was our second child and we were going in for what we thought was going to be our routine, find out-the-sex-of-the-baby, big ultrasound. I noticed the tech studying the heart a little more that other parts of his tiny body but thought nothing of it… until she said, “There is something wrong with his heart.”
With it being April 1, I was thinking to myself, what kind of prank is that?! Only, she wasn’t joking. We were scared, angry, a mess and in tears. We were then sent to a perinatologist a couple weeks later to confirm the deformity.
Soon thereafter, we went to the Heart Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital to have an echo done on Luke’s heart. There, they told us exactly what was going on with his heart and drew pictures for us to “visually” understand. He was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot with a VSD, Pulmonary Atresia, and Collateral MAPCAS.
The rest of pregnancy was filled with cardiology appointments and high risk prenatal appointments. We were some of the lucky ones, knowing about his condition before he was born, but there is no was one can prepare for anything that comes with this.
Sure, I suppose you can do your research on the diagnosis, but how do you prepare yourself to see your little newborn with so many tubes and wires coming off of them? How does a mother, hormones a mess, go days without being able to even hold her precious babe?
After a week stay in NICU, we were transferred to Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Luke’s cardiologist, Dr. Pophal, was in the room with my husband when I arrived.
Dr. Pophal had something with him I would have never imagined. He reached in the pocket of his coat and pulled out a 3D replica of Luke’s heart. I was in awe. The first words out of my mouth were “ Do we get to keep this?”
He then proceeded to show us on Luke’s heart, exactly what was going on. Everything made complete sense then.
Luke has had 2 open heart surgeries in his year and a half of life, with more on the way, and is thriving!
If this 3D technology was not available our amazing team of doctors, I have no idea if Luke would even be here today. We will be forever grateful to the engineers for dreaming this up and bringing it to life and to the doctors for being open to using this incredible technology!