The next step according to the doctors was to pick a location. Since we have several relatives that live in Washington and Oregon, and we don’t know anyone in Denver or Salt Lake, we chose Seattle. We told the doctors what our decision was and they proceeded to send all of our information and records to Seattle Children’s Hospital. The timing on all of this couldn’t have been more perfect (of course this is just a figure of speech because no time is ever a good time to find out your baby has health issues). What I mean is that, because Travis is a teacher and I was student teaching, and Spring Break was just around the corner, we took the opportunity to travel to Seattle over Spring Break for an initial visit.
The week off from school provided us with time to drive to Seattle, get tours of the University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle Children’s Hospital, and the Ronald McDonald House, meet the two main doctors that will be on Tucker’s “doctor team”, and have another set of tests done. The drive gave us an opportunity to get a feel for the area and locate all of the necessary places that we’ll be dealing with while we’re there. We had to get a tour of the University of Washington Medical Center because that is actually where Tucker will be born (Seattle Children’s Hospital, or SCH, is not equipped to do deliveries). Once Tucker is stable after birth he will be transported by ambulance to SCH where he will get his surgeries and do all of his recovery. We met Dr. Cheng and Dr. Lewin. Dr. Cheng or someone on her team will be doing the delivery and Dr. Lewin will be in charge of Tucker’s care at SCH. They did their own ultrasound and fetal echocardiogram so they could study the results, compare their results with what was sent over from Billings, make a game plan for Tucker’s care, and sit down with us to discuss it all.
The doctors’ conclusion was a little bit different than that of the Billings doctors. Since Tucker was a little bit bigger they were able to see things more clearly. They concluded that he indeed has Situs Inversus (the mirroring of the organs), however instead labeling his heart condition as Hypoplastic Left Heart they are now labeling it as Single Outlet Ventricle. They determined since the left ventricle is so underdeveloped that the right ventricle has enlarged itself to fill the gap. Therefore there is now one large ventricle that is responsible for the functions of both ventricles. As a result, both major arteries now share the same ventricle. The major concern with this is that the ventricle now has to do twice as much work as it is designed for and will thus start to deplete or disintegrate over time. This will eventually lead to further surgeries and/or a heart transplant.
The doctors’ biggest initial concern though is making sure Tucker is getting sufficient oxygen throughout his body upon birth. The issues with his heart may cause a severe oxygen deficiency, thus they have formulated several game plans towards assessing and correcting these life threatening conditions. Each game plan they have is based on different scenarios that could occur once he is out of the womb. Knowing that the doctors are prepared with several plans has given Travis and I faith that our little baby will be in good hands, and that even though the path may be a rocky one, Tucker will prevail.