More about Molly’s echo today

by Kathy on March 12, 2008 · 2 comments

in Bob, CHD, Digoxin, Echocardiograms, FET #1, Molly, Sean, Terbutaline

As I have done in past weeks, I am cutting and pasting the email that I have just sent to family and friends and will also share the same information on Molly’s CarePage.

Dear family and friends,

Thank you for your cards, emails, phone calls, messages (on Molly’s CarePage), thoughts and prayers since my email last week regarding the latest update on Molly, as well as those related to my birthday on Thursday. As always, your support and encouragement means so much to Bob, Sean, Molly and me. We did have a nice birthday celebration, just the three of us, on Thursday evening and though we had hoped to also be celebrating better news about Molly’s prognosis that day, it was still fun and special to be together as a family. Bob and Sean surprised me with a portable Global Positioning System (GPS) for our minivan, which I have been wanting for some time. I continue to be very excited to be able to use it to keep from getting lost when we are out and about. Sean has also been having fun using it with me to get around this past week (he especially gets a kick out of the lady’s voice who directs us where to turn next and how far we have to go)!

Today Molly is 24 weeks and 4 days gestation. Her atrial heart rate was still irregular today at her echocardiogram (echo). Her higher atrial heart rate measured 153 bpm and her lower atrial heart rate measured 87 bpm. Her ventricle heart rate measured 56 bpm. Last week her higher atrial heart rate measured 153bpm and her lower atrial heart rate 89 bpm. Her ventricle heart rate measured 58 bpm. So her heart rate was not indicative of heart failure and was similar to where it was last week.

Again this week there were signs of fetal hydrops (abnormal accumulation of fluid within tissues of her body). The echo tech saw fluid today is in Molly’s abdomen, as she did last week. However, she said the fluid only increased mildly. She also told us that there was not any fluid in Molly’s chest at this point, which she explained was good.

As I have shared in previous weeks, a healthy fetus’s heart should not be more than 1/3 the size of its abdomen (33%) and last week Molly’s heart was about 47%, which Dr. Cuneo described to be solidly abnormal. This week her heart measured about 48%. So though still abnormal, it did not get significantly worse.

We also got updates on the condition of Molly’s umbilical vein and her ductus venosus (which shunts a significant majority of the blood flow of the umbilical vein directly to the inferior vena cava). The echo tech told us that both her umbilical vein and her ductus venosus are still abnormal, however their condition was the same as they were last week and she considers no change in these areas to be positive.

So I will stay on the Terbutaline and Digoxin oral medications at the same dosages and the same intervals that I am taking them and we will return for another echocardiogram next Wednesday, March 19 at 10:30am. Prior to the echo we have an already scheduled Level II ultrasound with the Maternal Fetal Medicine (perinatalogist). At that appointment they will measure Molly to find out if she is continuing to grow and develop on track, with the exception of her heart. At last month’s Level II ultrasound we got to have a 3D/4D ultrasound, so we are hoping we might get to do it again this time and maybe get an even better look at what our daughter looks like. If we get pictures again we will certainly share them on Molly’s CarePage ( and Care Page name: BabyBenson2008).

Dr. Cuneo was actually not able to get into the office this morning while we were there. We were given the option to wait for her to talk with her in person or have her call us later. As much as we like to meet with her personally, we wanted to try to get Bob to train station in time to get him downtown to work at a reasonable time. So, we were told she would follow up with us later by phone to confirm what the echo tech told us and answer any questions we might have. I have still not heard from her, but figure she will call later and if she doesn’t, she always emphasizes that we are welcome to call her cell phone or page her. I do hope to talk with her at some point in the next day or so, as we found out this morning that she will actually be out of town next Wednesday and thus we won’t get to talk with her then either. The echo tech, who we really like and have had for all but one of Molly’s nine echos since her first one on January 2, told us that another good pediatric cardiologist would be there to review the measurements and talk with us. So that was reassuring, as much as we would prefer to have Dr. Cuneo. If I learn anything worth sharing when I speak with Dr. Cuneo between now and next Wednesday, I will update you on Molly’s CarePage.

So that is where things stand this week. We are encouraged by there not being significant changes in the condition of Molly’s heart. However, after everything we have been through with our baby girl to get to this point, we are cautious not to get our hopes up too much. Please do keep those positive thoughts and prayers coming our way. We have not given up hope that our daughter will survive and intend to continue to take this journey with Molly one week and one day at a time. Take care and may God continue to bless you and your loved ones.

Love, Kathy

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Fertilized March 12, 2008 at 4:17 pm

i am glad that you are getting great care! thinking of you. Happy belated birthday


2 Annalien March 13, 2008 at 12:42 am

I am so glad Molly’s condition has not deteriorated. I am praying for you all!

I have been reading your blog now for a few weeks, although this is the first time I commented. I have a few general comments that are not specifically related to this entry:
1) This is maybe a bit frivolous, but I want to say that I love the absolutely gorgeous picture of your family at the top of the blog. Those are stunning jerseys that you wear – did you knit them?
2) On a more serious note – thank you for sharing your faith so openly on here. It is not always easy to do, especially in the midst of such very difficult circumstances. May you experience the Lord’s blessings and presence, regardless of what happens.
3) Finally I just want to say how incredible and humbling I find your positive attitude throughout. I am sure that often your heart must be very heavy and full of “why me?” questions, yet I have never detected any bitterness from you.

God bless!


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