Tag Archives: heart defects

Newborn Heart Defect Screening

30 Nov

Whoa! The title there is a mouthful, huh? But, seriously, folks, Newborn Heart Screening is an issue I’m passionate about for all the obvious reasons.

This isn’t something I talk about a lot on this blog (it’s a focus on my personal blog) but our daughter, Nyx, was born on September 2, 2009 with undetected heart defects. I had a picture perfect pregnancy. Around 18-20 weeks, we were told about our two-vessel cord issue but were assured it was no big deal. (Wrong! It’s a marker for possible congenital abnormalities or birth defects.) We had the extra ultrasound, though, and had Nyx’s heart looked at again

Clearly, the radiologist who performed the ultrasound failed basic anatomy. Nyx’s heart in no way resembled a normal heart and had the tell-tale “boot” shape that so many Tetralogy of Fallot babies have. Still, he cleared us and told us everything was a-okay.

Thankfully, our OB had some suspicions something wasn’t quite right as I went through labor and delivery. She had the NICU team waiting in the room when I delivered. Kiddo’s pulse ox test (the red light/probe they wrap around a finger or toe that measures blood oxygenation) revealed she had some major issues. Within a few hours and further testing, we learned Nyx had Tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia plus an atrial septal defect. Later, we’d discover that her coronary artery was in a weird place, too.


So–anywho. That pulse ox test saved Nyx’s life. Having immediate access to a NICU that could offer breathing support and cardiac drugs like propranolol and a pediatric cardiologist who could review her echocardiogram saved Nyx’s life.

Nyx had two heart procedures during the first 6 months of her life, both done at Texas Children’s by rock star pediatric cardiac surgeon, Dr. Charles Fraser.

Typical “Blue Baby” Look of a TOF baby

BT Shunt September 17, 2009

BT Shunt Side View

Open Heart @ Texas Childrens, March 2, 2010

I encourage all pregnant mothers to educate themselves on heart defects. Yes, modern medicine is wonderful but it’s so ridiculously common for heart defects–SERIOUS heart defects–to be missed on routine ultrasounds. Stories of babies who did not survive are heartbreaking when the odds of lifesaving surgery proving successful are so incredibly high.

Nyx, Summer 2012

Every child deserves a chance at life. The simplest things–a pulse ox and EKG or echo follow-up if blood oxygen saturation is low–can mean a world of difference to a heart baby. Educate yourself. Educate your OB or midwife. Take the pledge for your baby’s sake.

*This post is mirrored at my other blog One Tired Mama.*


What I’ve Been Up To…

2 Oct

It was a ridiculously busy summer here. The fall hasn’t shown any indication of slowing down. So a quick rundown of what I’ve been up to…


I’ve started a new paranormal menage (and more!) series at Siren. The town of Refuge, Texas is an enclave of supernatural folk. You know, witches, werewolves, cat and bear shifters, vampires, fairies and more. I’m halfway through Book #2 (Erin’s book) and almost finished outlining #3. This is a series and a world I’m so excited about and love writing!


I published the first three books in my Holiday Menage series. Two drop-dead sexy Alpha males, one sweet but curious jewelry designer and seven holidays of deliciously naughty fun? What’s not to love?!

We had a great garden this summer. It was a fabulous teaching experience for our kiddo, too. We harvested right around 25 pounds of roma tomatoes, a few pints of cherry tomatoes, two beefsteak tomatoes (my under-producing plants this year,) two dozen zucchini, almost two dozen yellow squash, two cantaloupes, green onions, arugula, and more.

We finished up the fall planting a week ago and already have dozens of sprouting plants. This is a pic of one garden bed. (We have three raised beds at the moment with more planned.) We’re growing kale, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet yellow onions, radishes, arugula, carrots, spinach, two lettuce mixes and various flowers that Nyx chose.


I’m a huge fan of canning! I’ve been doing it for a few years but recently started preserving food hardcore. So far this year I’ve canned blueberry preserves, blackberry and blueberry jam, cherries, peach vanilla jam, pear butter, tomatoes, salsa and more. I’ll probably do applesauce and apple butter as soon as I get a good price on apples. (Did I mention I’m a frugal fiend?!)



Our little monkey turned 3 in September! What a wild, crazy three years it’s been! Kiddo was born with multiple severe heart defects. In the last three years, she’s had two heart surgeries, oral surgery and a hernia repair. We spent more time in hospitals and doctor’s offices than I ever care to remember.

But it was so worth it! Nyx is the sweetest, funniest kid and Dave and I can’t imagine a day without her. And, yes, she’s doing extremely well. She saw her cardiologist yesterday and got a clean bill of health. Her heart function is great and her pulmonary stenosis hasn’t increased. She gets a whole twelve month reprieve from having to visit his office!

So. That’s what I’ve been up to the last few months. I hope to have some good news regarding a new scifi/capture fantasy series very soon. Stay tuned!