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Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Elizabeth Archives - Pregnancy Update

Hi Everyone,

For the 2nd time this month, we are writing to share some GOOD news! This afternoon, we had a follow-up echocardiogram to check the progress of our baby's heart development. Thanks to our daughter's kicks, punches and twisting, it took 2 1/2 hours of scanning to obtain the pictures they needed. The official statement from the pediatric cardiologist was something like, "I'm not saying that you're all free and clear, but this is definitely a better picture than we were seeing last time." To translate- "Somebody's been praying, because things are looking up!"

To be specific, we've been following the size of the first portion of the aorta and the left ventricle with great interest. If the aorta stayed as narrowed as it looked before, it would need open heart surgery to reconstruct it immediately or soon after birth. If the left ventricle continued to stay small even as the body grew, it would risk a condition known as "hypoplastic left heart syndrome," which could be fatal or require even more dramatic surgery or even heart transplantation.

Today, the first pictures of the aorta looked so good and close to normal that they spent 40 minutes trying to get a different angle to confirm that fact! They were unable to get the exact confirmatory angles they wanted, but were optimistic that the coarctation has "definitely NOT worsened, and appears to have gotten some better." We also learned that the left ventricle is still smaller than expected for this stage in development, but nothing near the range of being "hypoplastic." The fact that the left ventricle remains small leads them to suspect a small amount of coarctation is still present, but we won't be able to tell until birth.

Simply put: by the end of our first echocardiogram, we were on a trajectory toward open heart surgery immediately after birth and ran the risk of potentially fatal hypoplastic left heart syndrome. After the improvement seen today, hypoplastic left heart seems extremely unlikely to develop and open heart surgery may not need to be immediate, if it's necessary at all. In addition, if she ends up needing surgery, it might be a much simpler operation than they previously expected.

As you can imagine, we are thrilled! In the days after we first received the news of our daughter's diagnosis, we believed that God wasn't done knitting her together, and asked you to pray toward that end. Indeed we are seeing evidence that the One who says He knits her together, isn't limited to fetal development timelines. Thank you for continuing to stand with us in prayer as well as for your encouragement and support. Our daughter's life and future are literally being changed as you pray.

Gratefully yours,

Matt, Sara and Baby Girl Harms

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