I have learned so much anatomy from parenting Catherine!! As an infant, she had heart surgery to correct a hole in her heart. The surgeons installed a tornado coil and we have had no problems since then. But, for the past five years we have been monitoring her subaortic membrane. Apparently Catherine has an extra membrane in her heart, where none should exist.
Right now the membrane is thin enough that most of the blood passes through it with no problem. But, it is getting thicker each year and we have had three cardiologists tell us that we will have to have it removed in the next year or two.
We take her to the cardiologist every three months to have her heart examined. Being still a child, she finds this to be play time. She gives her stuffed animal a cardiac ultrasound:
The mere idea of this surgery terrifies me. In order to cut the membrane out, the surgeons must crack open her chest, re-route all of her blood through a bypass machine, put ice on her heart to stop it from beating, cut her heart open, remove the membrane, sew her heart closed, warm the heart up, and close her chest. I am slightly comforted by the fact that heart surgeries are somewhat common in children and Egleston has a great cardiac center.
But, it has taken a few months for me to be able to talk about this surgery without crying. I pray that the membrane never thicken and she never needs this surgery. But, every single time we have gone to the cardiologist it has become thicker. Three separate doctors (well, they actually all work in the same practice so they are not independent of each other) have told us the surgery will someday be needed.
All three of those doctors have also told us that the larger she gets (even if just a few pounds) the safer the surgery will be. So, we will continue to get her tested every three months. And, I am certain that her stuffed animal will continue to be tested as well.