October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month. Unfortunately, many of our heart families walk this impossible road. Help-A-Heart wanted to share the story of one of our heart angel families this month to help raise awareness. Thank you to Nate & Emily Forsythe for writing & sharing the story of their precious daughter, Kennedy Ren Forsythe. Nate & Emily are the proud parents of Kennedy & Oliver (age 1). This is Part 1 of 11.
It was October 30th, 2015. I was comfortably (comfortably?) 24 weeks pregnant with our little lady. At our 20 week scan we were told that they couldn’t see her hands and her feet – she was quite a wiggle worm, and went out of her way to avoid the ultrasound camera, so that made sense. They recommended a high resolution ultrasound, just to make sure she had hands and feet. Since it was just a quick check (silly me), we decided that I would go alone. After all, if she doesn’t have hands or feet, we would figure out what to do next.
The scan begins. It’s a new place, so they have to do an entire scan, instead of just looking for her “missing” parts. That’s fine, you guys are the pros and I like to watch her move around. The scan goes on. And on. And on and on and on and on… Lindsey (the ultrasound tech – I remember everything about that day…) smiles and says “There’s just one thing I need a doctor to check on – something I can’t see very well.” (Still utterly clueless and naïve) I smile, “No problem, I’ll be here!” (Har har har, she’s got jokes.)
The doctor comes in and they resume the scan together, whispering, talking in code. Then “MmHmmm. You’re right. I see. Thank you.” And the doctor leaves. Lindsey says “She has all her hands and her feet! But the doctor wants to see you about something.” I think to myself – Something? What something? We were just here for hands and feet and she has them. Again. Naïve, first-time-Mom stuff.
The doctor was all business. No fluff, no bedside manner, no nonsense. “Is the father here?” He wasn’t because – well, we were told she was just missing her hands and her feet, it didn’t really take two of us to figure that out. I’ll skip over the noise that followed – he was old school and the father should *always* be here blah blah blah. What’s this about? And then, without easing into it, he just said it:
“There’s something wrong with her heart.”
There it was. The trapdoor opened and I fell.
He went on to explain it – Transposition of the Great Arteries, he suspected. (We would find out later that her diagnosis is actually unknown – that’s for another day.) He drew a rough diagram, explained that I needed to be transferred to another hospital to deliver, and some other stuff. My ears were full of cotton and my head hurt from trying to hold back tears. I left, utterly overwhelmed.
The next several days were a blur. I avoided the internet (nothing good can come from researching a heart defect on the internet). I cried a lot. And when I emerged from the darkness, it was time to prepare. And so we did.