New Bday, Oxygen Test + Event

First –  A new birthday! After having a little chat with my team of doctors, we decided it might be good to have our heart surgeon ready and available for Luca’s birth.  Now reread with sarcasm. Therefore, the c-section has been moved to August 28th when Dr. Starnes will be ready and waiting for Luca’s septectomy. He will be born at 37 weeks and 2 days.

Second – I had a maternal hyperoxygenation test done which measures the baby’s vasoreactive response to the oxygen. Medical jargon aside, they are checking to see how muscularized the valves are from the heart to the lungs (remember, the atrial septum restriction is causing pressure back into those valves because the blood cannot flow freely between the right and left atrium).  The test is comprised of three phases while measuring the usual stats during an echocardiogram.  In the first stage, the measurements are taken as usual.  The second stage occurs after I’ve been on oxygen for 10 minutes and measurements are taken at that point while I’m still on oxygen.  The third stage occurs after a five minute recovery period post-oxygen where measurements are taken for the final time.  The cardiologist wants to see the baby’s valves “relax” (via measurements) during the oxygenation period.  Luckily, we saw a change in Luca’s stats! However, prior testing has indicated that any change <10% still requires immediate intervention (the septectomy).  Without officially crunching the numbers right there, Dr. Pruetz said we are right around the 10% mark.  I chose to do this test last minute and was forewarned that no matter what the results were that we should still plan for immediate intervention.  Also, this test has only been performed on about 50 mothers/fetuses, so it’s still somewhat experimental (also why we were still planning on immediate intervention despite the results).  We just went into it figuring that knowledge is power and were hoping for good news.  The good news is that Luca’s valves ARE able to “relax” to an extent, which suggests that some oxygen will have the ability to flow to/from his lungs.  The not so good news is that they’re not going to be totally open and we’re still looking at immediate intervention and a long, long road ahead.

Other good news from this appointment – Luca is 6.1 lbs! 6.5 lbs is the magic number for surgery, so he should be a good and hefty size by delivery.  Additionally, all other functions of his heart are working properly.

Third – Our Luca Knows Heart fundraiser last weekend was such a tremendous success!!!! We cannot thank everyone enough! From our friends who put this entire event together, to those who got tickets and came out to support, including our friends in town from DC and all of our SoMD friends who now live in Cali, to those who made donations for the silent auction and raffle items, to those who bid on these items, to those who made donations in general, including so many people who don’t even know us, just everyone! It was such an overwhelming success. We are surrounded by people who truly know heart. ❤

If anyone reading this lives in SoCal, I would highly recommend any of the vendors below.  This list is just a start of those who contributed, and we’ll update as we get the entire list, but many, many thanks to…

Jen + Meaghan – You both need to quit your day jobs and go into event planning. You are two of the most selfless people and we can’t thank you guys enough for putting this entire event together. The Deck Hermosa – thanks for closing down business for our event.  We were at capacity with those who purchased tickets!  Karah Nall – graphic design for the shirts and invite. Robert Mora PhotographyThe Stylist LABacchus Wine Shop, The Yoga Loft, Simmzy’s, Tin Roof Bistro, Silvio’s Brazilian BBQ, Fresh Window Tint, My Happy Place Shop – the bracelets, which sold out so quickly!, all of our MLS friends who donated apparel and more, Passion Flowers, Anna Trebunskaya – private dance lessons, and anyone else we’re missing. THANK YOU!

LKH Fundraiser

For a blog that started out to keep our friends and family back home updated, we’ve had over 16,000 views.  We’ve had countless people wish us well, pray for us, support us, and check in on us. We’ve had so many people offer to do so much for us, and we are so grateful. The countdown is on for August 28th and we ask that you continue to keep us in your prayers – we are praying for a miracle, whatever it may be.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!

3 thoughts on “New Bday, Oxygen Test + Event

  1. Hello. My families thoughts and prayers are with you, AJ, and Luca and the rest of your families during this time. I didn’t have much time to get into it, but I told AJ at the recent Macy’s signing in Santa Ana that our daughter, Emma, also had heart surgery performed by Dr. Starnes at CHLA. Emma was born with Down syndrome and required A/V canal repair as well as work on her mitral valve. That valve was what need two more surgeries, ending up with an artificial valve being put in. As she grows (the surgeries were all before she was 1 1/2, and she is now going on 9) she will require at least one more surgery to replace the artificial valve with a larger one. Tell Dr. Starnes he can’t retire for a long time! Seriously, as you know, you are in very capable hands with Dr. Starnes. Continue to lean on each other during the coming days and weeks and if it gets hard, remember to lean on God. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13

  2. One week left! I hope the good vibes that have been sent your way this pregnancy are carried into the hospital when you guys check in. I wasn’t able to buy the bracelet, but my family and I will be drawing the “Luca tattoo” on us with marker that day to show support and love for the sweet angel on his birthday 🙂

  3. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you both as you get ready to meet your sweet baby boy.
    Much love,
    Ms. Lopes, Lackey

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