This post was originally posted back in April 2015. One year and one more open heart operation later, much of what was said still stands. I continue to blog for the same reasons.
If I've helped another Mammi ask the right questions during the fetal anomaly scan, if I've given another set of parents the courage and confidence to seek and second (or third or fourth) opinion when it came to their child's medical needs then this blog has served it's purpose.
When I tell people Martha's story and list all of the Operations and Procedures she's had they look horrified, some people even sympathise with us for everything we've gone through. But we don't want sympathy, we don't want people to feel sorry for us because you see; we consider ourselves to be lucky.
Lucky that Martha's heart defect was detected at 20 weeks...luckier still that there was something which could be done to help her (I don't use fix/ correct - because that isn't what's done as far as Heart Parent's are concerned)
We've decided that we're not having any more children so we don't have a risk of it happening to me and Mark again. We don't run the risk of something being missed at the 20 week scan, or at the discharge check before bringing our baby home. I know that all of our siblings/ cousins/ friends will be 100% more vigilant during their future pregnancies and 20 week scans.
But will you be?
This is why I continue to blog, so that you will think of Martha if you or someone you know falls pregnant in the future.
Friend's of my Nan had a baby granddaughter born last spring. During the night after she was born a midwife checked the baby over and called for a Doctor as she thought something wasn't right with her. The following morning the little baby girl was transferred to Alder Hey as they suspected she had been born with a Heart Defect. While she was there she bravely fought, undergoing Open Heart Surgery and several procedures. Unfortunately, she passed away at just 6 weeks old.
I'm no Cardiologist, but I know that her chances would have been greatly improved had her condition been detected antenatally, where plans could have been put in place and she would have received treatment sooner.
We knew the risks, we knew there was a chance that we might not have brought our new baby home; but that wouldn't have even been a thought for them.
Please please please I implore you, the next time you or someone you know is going for their 20 week scan - ask the right question, question the sonographer on the Hospital's policy for Heart Screening during the scan and make sure you know what should be visible and what is "normal".