Trish’s First E-mail (8/8/08)

Hi my dear friends!

I haven’t been very good about keeping in touch lately but I do think of you often and miss you all…we have had a very lazy summer up until this week and have enjoyed taking the time to get to know our new community better.  It is hard to believe it has been a year since our move from L.A.!!!!!

I’m writing this morning with a deep need for prayer for our precious little baby.  I went for my routine ultrasound on Thursday and the attending doctor detected what he believed to be a congenital heart condition known as Hypoplastic Left Heart Ventricle – a serious condition found in 3 or 4 babies out of 10,000.  Rolf and I saw a pediatric cardiologist yesterday who, essentially, confirmed Thursdays diagnosis.  Unfortunately, his diagnosis was expanded a bit to Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome as the entire left side of the heart is severely underdeveloped (not just the ventricle).  As far as we understand at this point, the baby’s entire left side is not functioning at all and so the right side has grown bigger than normal to compensate.  The baby can survive and grow and thrive inside the womb because it has the support of the placenta, etc but life is not sustainable outside the womb without intervention.  The most common treatment is a series of 3 open heart surgeries after delivery…one at birth, one at 4-6 months and one at 2-4 years provided there are no other chromozomal  abnormalities and the right side of the heart remains healthy/functioning.  The treatment doesn’t correct or cure the left side…it reroutes the plumbing of the heart so the right side can do what both sides should do together.   So, that means this little one can certainly live an active life but will be under the lifelong care of a cardiologist and will need heart medications, etc.

Things being what they are and so we can pray specifically, we abandoned our usual practice of not finding out gender and are very pleased that we have a boy named Clinton Rudolf Geyling, a name chosen not out of political leanings, but for his maternal great-grandfather (Clinton) and for his paternal great-great grandfather (Rudolf).  We’ll use the full name when he’s in trouble, but otherwise “Rudy” fits the bill. J

Right now, everything else looks fine.  He is big for his age and is seemingly healthy in all other areas.  There is no known reason why Rudy won’t develop safely to term and be delivered naturally.  If the first surgery is successful, his stay at the hospital is expected to be 4-6 weeks at the least.  Unfortunately, none of this can be done in Santa Barbara so the doctors here are recommending we gather a team in Los Angeles (most likely at Children’s Hospital in downtown LA) that will include a pediatric cardiologist, surgeon and OB.  I’ll have to meet with them a couple of times before delivery to establish a plan as well as continue to see the team up here so they can monitor the baby’s condition and make sure the right side of his heart remains healthy enough for the procedure.  I won’t be able to deliver at Children’s so, for now, the plan is to deliver at another LA hospital and they’ll transport Rudy to Children’s.

Obviously, there are a ton of unknowns and with this being unchartered waters for me and Rolf, we feel a bit lost and scattered.  We are, however, absolutely confident that God’s hand is on this and though our hearts are grieving and our bodies won’t seem to let us sleep, we are at peace.  What we need now is prayer so please feel free to forward this on as we want to get the word out but find it overwhelming to contact everyone ourselves.  The children know as they were with us at the first ultrasound appt so they could see the baby and they are all processing it in their own, unique way…I think at this point everyone is wondering how life will look the next few months and concerned about how it is going to effect them and our life here at home which is totally understandable.  Provided we get that far in the process, I know I’m wondering how I’ll even be able to stand being away from home for the 4-6 weeks minimum the baby will need to recover after birth…it’s all a little scary for all of us.

We have plans for a little vacation for a week starting Sunday up at June Lake near Mammoth and from there we’ll start contacting doctors in LA and setting up a plan.  I’m due November 2nd so we have a little less than 3 months to prepare.  We are just taking things one hour at a time and sure appreciate your prayers and love.  I’ll keep you posted!!!!  Love you all so dearly,  Trish

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