At his 28 week visit to the ob/gyn we were referred to go to a high risk pregnancy doctor just to be reassured that his heart was alright. They couldn't get a good picture of his heart on their ultrasound equipment, and they felt the high risk doctor would get a better look.
The following week we found ourselves waiting nervously at the high risk doctor waiting for the results. We got the most adorable profiles of our little man. Unfortunately it is also where we found out that there were definite concerns with his heart. They knew he had a heart defect, but unsure of the degree of the defect. At that point we were referred to the pediatric cardiologist at Wolfson's Childrens Hospital.
The following week we had our fetal echocardiograhm. The whole echocardiograhm took about three hours, and they were some of the most stressful three hours of our lives. At the end of the visit we were told that Dominic's heart had a very small right ventricle, along with several other heart problems as well. Two valves that needed to be opened were in fact restricted. Not only were there some problems with his heart we also found out that his umbilical cord was not pumping blood the way it needed to so was becoming unstable. We were told at 30 weeks that we would more than likely lose our baby boy by the end of the pregnancy since he would be too small for surgery. At this point I took my leave of work with being so distraught after learning all of this. The following week we found ourselves back at the high risk doctor and were given a glimmer of hope after praying daily for our baby boy. We were told that his umbilical cord was abnormal, but it wasn't critical as to what we were told by the cardiologist. We were over the moon thrilled to learn that he still had a chance if he could just gain the weight he needed , and stayed in the womb as long as possible. At this point I started seeing the high risk doctor twice a week.
Our next doctor's visit which was week 32 of my pregnancy, which also fell on my birthday, would be the day we met our little Dominic. We went in and strapped up my tummy to the heart monitor like normal so we can check his heart rate for 30 minutes. The nurse noticed a dip right away in his heart rate and first assumed it was because of his heart defect. Then the scariest noise was heard, and that was no noise. We heard silence. At that point they rushed me to labor and delievery downstairs at Baptist Medical and strapped me up again and were able to get his heart beat. They monitored him for 4-5 hours. His heart rate kept dipping, and it was at that point the best option for Dominic would be an emergency C-section. They weren't sure of what the outcome could be since they knew he was very small, and he had a congenital heart defect. Dominic proved everyone wrong, even his mother and father, and was born into this world June 29th 2017, weighing only 2lbs2oz. He was born on mom's birthday, and was the greatest gift given to her. He was then rushed to NICU where he was stabalized, and has been thriving in NICU! He has proven doctors wrong, and has shown how tough he is, and what it means to be brave, and a heart warrior!
Not only has Dominic been born premature at 32 weeks, he also has a spectrum of Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome.(ex picture 1) The spectrum he falls under is having Tricupsid Atresia, where for whatever reason his tricupsid valve never developed.(ex picture 2) He will have at least up to three different surgeries all before his 4th birthday, and two of those surgeries being within his first year of life.His small size of being 32 weeks along and only being 2lbs2oz was also due to the fact that his umbilical cord was extremely small, so he was not getting the nutrition he needed inside the womb, thus stunting his growth. He has his own battles in the NICU, which he is doing wonderful in, but also even more hurdles with his surgeries. He is strong, and we know he can overcome anything thrown his way.
This Gofundme has been set up to help mom and Dominic. All donations will go toward any medical expenses that will come up along the way, as well to help support mom while she is out of work, and pay for gas to get to and from the hospital while Dominic is in the NICU. Any amount will help, and will be more than appreciated! We have gotten so many thoughts and prayers from friends and family already, that we can't help but think this has helped Dominic preservere some of his already large hurdles in the NICU!
- Dominique Marvin
- Nancy Appleton
- Lori Appleton
- Gene Englese
- Rhiannon Schafer
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