Friday, November 6, 2015


Around a year ago, my sister found out that she had an aortic aneurysm.  She recently found out that it was caused by a congenital heart defect (that she was born with) called Bicuspid Aortic Valve Disease.  (Your aortic valve should have 3 leaflets, and hers only has 2.)  If not caught on a prenatal ultrasound, it can go undetected, without symptoms until your 30's or 40's.  Her doctor recommended that the entire family get an echocardiogram to make sure we didn't have it too.   Being 7 months pregnant with an upcoming c-section and about to turn 31 (My sister's aneurysm was found when she was 32),  I was eager to find out.  


I contacted my primary care doctor and my OB for a referral to a cardiologist.  No one in NWA would see me, since I was pregnant.   I had to get a referral to UAMS in Little Rock.   They called me on Friday, October 30th & I set up an appointment the following Thursday with the director of cardiology.    {I had my 28 week appointment the following Tuesday, when I found out I was measuring 4 weeks ahead....}  After much debate on what to do with the girls while we went to Little Rock, we asked Chris's dad to come over early (since we had to leave our house by 5:30am for my appt.) and take the girls to school, and pick them up.  I think I was more stressed out over the girls than anything.   I left extremely detailed instructions, and he did great!  

We left our house around 5:30am.  It of course rained most of our drive.  We got there around 45 minutes early,  (had planned to eat breakfast, but were so anxious, we ate a granola bar and went straight there) parked in the parking deck, and went straight to check in.   We used a really awesome kiosk to check in.  It took all my information, and even took my picture.  No need for lots of paperwork!   We got called right back.  I put on a gown, and had an EKG.   Dr. Rutlen came in for my consult.  He was extremely nice. He asked me a million questions, then listened to my heart.  He said usually he can hear blood regurgitation when it's a bicuspid, and said he did not hear anything on me, and doubted that I had anything wrong.  He referred me to get an echocardiogram anyways to rule it out.  We went down the hall to schedule it.  We were SO fortunate to be able to get right in for it.  We ran upstairs, I got a band on my arm, and got called right back.   I put on another gown, then he put some sticky things to my chest, and did like an ultrasound around my left breast and under it.  (3rd person to see my breasts at this point.... Chris was getting a little jealous by this point.)  The tech said that he couldn't officially tell us anything, but he saw 3 leaflets in my aortic valve!! yay!   Such a huge weight lifted! 

"An echocardiogram is a type of ultrasound test that uses high-pitched sound waves that are sent through a device called a transducer. The device picks up echoes of the sound waves as they bounce off the different parts of your heart. These echoes are turned into moving pictures of your heart that can be seen on a video screen." 

  We got out of there right at 11:00.  I knew if we got in the car and drove straight home, that we could get back in time to pick Bryn up from school at 2:00!   I was still having major anxiety about getting back to my babies.  We didn't even stop for lunch.  Drove home as fast as possible in the rain!   Bryn started bawling as soon as she saw me, and said she wanted Grandpa Jeff to pick her up.   Ha!  We went to Whataburger and ate our first real meal of the day, and she straightened up!  Hollyn was happier to see us picking her up!  She was a little more concerned about why we had to go to Little Rock. 

They posted all my test results on their patient portal that night, and everything seems to be fine!  Thank goodness!!!!  

Right on time picking Bryn up!

"lunch" at Whataburger