1 Year, 7 months Post Op - 2 Weeks Until My Son Arrives!
Journal posted on August 25, 2016
Hello all! It’s been 1 year and 7 months since my aortic valve replacement and aortic aneurysm repair, so I thought it was time for an update. As you can see from my new picture, I am 2 weeks away from giving birth to my first child! As “my story” tells, part of why surgery was recommended was because I wanted to have children. Since my aneurysm measured 4.7, my cardiologist, surgeon and ob/gyn all recommended having surgery before I even thought about getting pregnant. The consensus was that a pregnancy would put too much strain on my already strained aorta.
So I opted to have surgery, and to go with a bovine valve. The bovine valve will have to be replaced much sooner than a mechanical valve, but with the potential for pregnancies, I decided it was the best choice for me since it does not require blood thinners. I’ve heard of many women who had perfectly healthy babies with a mechanical valve too, but bovine was right for me. But my surgeon, Dr. Ryan, was very clear that my window to have children was small – my valve will need to be replaced again in 7 to 10 years. So I needed to get serious about trying to get pregnant as soon as I felt back to normal after surgery.
We waited 6 months after surgery before we started trying and I found out that I was pregnant on my one year anniversary of surgery. It was a wonderful way to celebrate. When I had my one year surgery follow-up, I was able to tell Dr. Ryan that I was pregnant. His response was, “I love it when a plan comes together.”
My pregnancy has been very uneventful. In addition to my regular OB appointments, I have been followed by a perinatologist (high risk pregnancy doctor). The upside is that I was able to have a sonogram every month to check that the baby’s heart was forming correctly. Because I was born with a bicuspid valve, there was a slightly higher risk that the baby would also have a bicuspid valve or a different congenital heart condition. But all evidence thus far is that his heart is perfectly normal.
My heart is also functioning perfectly normal. I had an echo at the beginning of the third trimester and the bovine valve was still performing exactly as it should. I am so glad that I went ahead and had surgery when I did. It was by far the hardest decision of my life, but the upside is that I was able to have a regular pregnancy and the chance to become a mother. I want all the other young women out there who are facing surgery to not give up the dream of motherhood. I am living proof that it is possible! Good luck to all the upcoming surgeries!
A year and a half after aortic valve and aneurysm surgery, I am two weeks away from giving birth to my first son!
Update on Kimberly Biddick
Journal posted on November 11, 2015
Hello everyone! I just heard from Kim's husband who said she is out of surgery! Dr. Ryan repaired the aneurysm with no problem. He was also able to repair her leaking aortic valve instead of replace it. So that's the best news that they could've hoped for. I will keep you updated as I hear more!
It was 6 months yesterday since my AVR and aneurysm repair surgery. Time has flown! If it wasn't for this scar down the middle of my chest, I could almost forget that it happened. I saw my cardiologist yesterday and he said all sounded great! He doesn't see a need to do an echo until my one year anniversary. And he took me off the beta blocker. I still experienced dizzy spells occasionally and he said it could be due to low blood pressure. So now I'm down to only a baby aspirin!
I listen to a local Christian radio station every morning. And the other day they were talking about a fifteen year old boy who was going to undergo open heart surgery to repair aortic stenosis. What a small world! They are asking for people to send in get-well and encouragement cards before his surgery on July 22. I immediately wrote the radio djs an email to direct him and his parents to this site. I hope they've found us and are getting encouraged by all of your stories. This site was such a help in preparing me for surgery and I feel so blessed to be able to share it with others. Please keep 15 year old Jeffery in your prayers on July 22!
Hello heart friends! Like a lot of people have been posting lately, I too have been experiencing trouble sleeping. In the grand scheme of things, I feel lucky that this is my only complaint. Back and neck pain wake me up every 3-5 hours, but I'm typically able to go back to sleep (sometimes after pain med, sometimes not).
I had my first cardiologist appointment on Friday and he was amazed at how well I'm doing. It was good to have him confirm that my back pain is just back pain. It's not an indicator of some internal trauma as my imagination kept worrying about. :) I've been walking in 15 minute increments on the treadmill at home to get my stamina back up. I finally broke down and borrowed a recliner. Not to sleep in, but to sit in during the day. I found that my couch is not supportive enough to sit on and read without my neck /back hurting. That's it for now. Good luck to everyone with surgeries next week! I will keep you in my prayers!
I was discharged to go home this morning! I never thought that I would feel this good only 6 days after heart surgery. I know there will likely be bad days when the pain resurfaces, but right now I feel great. I strictly forbid any photos of me whilst in the hospital but upon release I allowed one with my heart pillow. Needless to say, I look exhausted. And I am. I look forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight without anyone poking my finger every hour.
I signed up for rehab but that doesn't start for 4 weeks. So until then I will walk around the neighborhood and enjoy this great Dallas weather (while it lasts).
Once I've had a few more days to process what my body just went through I'll write more about my post-op experience. But for all of you anxiously awaiting your surgery day, let me just say, that you can do this! I was a ball of nerves and tears on the morning of but the doctors know what they are doing! Trust in them and trust in The Lord to bring you through successfully!
Hello! Everyday gets a little bit better. I had a little Pneumothorax that they saw on the day of surgery and the day after it grew by 20%, and they next day it had increased by 40%. So they had to put on another chest tube yesterday morning. The chest tube was not comfortable but it did it's job of draining the air pocket around my lung. My other drainage tubes were removed yesterday as well. Pain hasn't been too bad- the nausea has almost been worst. But that seems to be under control now. I did a full lap of the floor this morning. So things are progressing!
Hey guys, this is David, Emily's husband. Emily is out of surgery and in her room. We appreciate all of the thoughts and the many prayers. We are so thankful God has brought us through this part. I'll post an update as things progress.
I can finally say that I'm ready for tomorrow. I spent the morning speaking to my surgeon and that put me at ease for the rest of this day. I trust that God is in control of everything. And I've chosen to trust Dr. Ryan with this surgery. Thus I know that God will guide Dr. Ryan's hands tomorrow to get me safely through the procedure.
Friends have been sending their favorite comforting, encouraging verses all day, and here is my favorite that I will lean on tonight and tomorrow,
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
This is just a step in a long life to come. I am confident that good will come out of this surgery. If nothing else, it's provided me a chance to share this part of my life with others going through it. Before I found this site I felt like I was the only one! I will keep updating once I'm in recovery! Thanks for your support!!!!
Both of these guys have been getting me through this week. And I will have both with me on Thursday!
Last Day at Work
Journal posted on January 19, 2015
Tomorrow is my last day of work for awhile. I've got most things wrapped up at least to a point where someone else can take over. I'm kind of looking forward to that. :)
I'm trying not to stress about Thursday. I had a minor meltdown yesterday and today. However, after calling my doctor first thing this morning, I feel better. What hit me hard, was that I scheduled surgery back in November and it's now January. And I hadn't spoken directly to my doctor in two months. There is a definite difference in two months out kind of questions and week of type questions. I also need confirmation of exactly what he plans to do. He's in surgery until Wednesday so I have an appointment on Wednesday morning to review the procedure. Even though it's the day before surgery, I felt instant relief after I hung up. I don't expect anything to have changed since the last time we talked, I just want to connect with him and make sure we're on the same page prior to him cutting me open.
Thanks to everyone for the constant encouragement. I feel at peace again. I hope I'm done with meltdowns. :)
The cath went great today! They went through the groin and apparently my femeral artery is too small to put a collagen plug in the incision afterwards. So we did it the old fashioned way with a guy putting pressure on it for 20 minutes. And no bruising! I had to lay there for four hours which I mostly slept the entire time. The cath showed nothing new, just confirmed what we already knew. Having not had a lot of experience around hospitals, going through the check-in, prep, and recovery today was like a dress rehearsal for next week. So I feel a little more prepared for what I'll go through next Thursday. Although I'll be in for a longer stay than just 4 hours. :)
I'm down to 10 days until I get a new aortic valve. I have a catheterization scheduled for this Thursday. It's been 16 years since my last cath and I've been told that it's changed a lot since then. :) It's now out-patient instead of requiring an overnight stay. I still remember the gigantic bruise that covered my thigh after my first Cath. However, my cardiologist has assured me the techniques to plug the entry point have gotten much better over the last decade and a half. I go into this procedure knowing it's the last milestone before the Big Day next Thursday. My mental preparedness gets better everyday. Thank you for your prayers and please keep them coming!
Hello everyone! I am 32 years old and facing aortic valve replacement and aortic aneurysm surgery in January. I was diagnosed with a bicuspid valve at 3 months old and I've been followed and monitored for aortic stanosis ever since. Surgery was always going to happen at some point in my life and its just happened to come up a little sooner than I had hoped. At my annual checkup earlier this year, my husband and I discussed having children. It prompted my cardiologist to order a CT scan "in order to get the whole picture" before we went down the path to pregnancy. Well, unfortunately (fortunately?) thats when they discovered the aneurysm (4.5cm) on my ascending aorta. Children are out of the question until the valve (which has always been borderline severe) and aneurysm are fixed. It took a year of research and second and third opinions to decide to go ahead and have surgery.
So here I am, almost a month away. I'm not quite ready yet. I'm still scared about the procedure and recovery. But reading all the other journals is definitely helping.