Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bellie's Heart

Atrioventricular Canal Defect
  1. Canal defect (also known as atrioventricular septal defect or endocardial cushion defect) means there is a large hole in the septum. The septum is the wall that separates the right and left sides of the heart. A canal defect may be classified as partial or complete. In a partial canal defect, either the upper (atrial) or lower (ventricular) part of the septum may be affected. A complete canal defect, which is more common, means that the hole is located where the upper (atrial) and lower (ventricular) parts of the septum meet. 
  2. Normally, the tricuspid valve directs blood from the upper-right chamber (the right atrium) to the lower-right chamber (the right ventricle), and the mitral valve allows blood to move from the upper-left chamber (the left atrium) to the lower-left chamber (the left ventricle). But with complete canal defect, just one large hole and one valve are present, and the valve may not close all the way. This allows blood to flow in all directions inside the heart.
  3. What are the symptoms?
  4. Usually, the result is that too much blood flows to the lungs, and the heart becomes enlarged from working too hard. Infants with canal defect often have trouble breathing, and their bodies may not grow normally.
  5. A canal defect is often associated with Down syndrome.
  6. How is it treated?
Surgery is usually done in the first few months after birth to correct a complete canal defect. The hole may be closed with one or two patches, and the single valve is split into two, making a tricuspid valve and a mitral valve.

 The Scar
And the Silly Girl that owns that scar

Belle had her heart surgery when she was 1, I can only assume her surgery was very urgent.  Her cardiologist here says the surgeon did a beautiful job and her echo is virtually normal.  Every time he sees her he can't believe how good her heart looks and sounds!!!  He tells me each time that she was very lucky!!! And I always think to myself - "lucky?" , no way Dr. she is BLESSED!!!  And so ARE WE!!!!

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month
Many of my wonderful friends who have a  child with Down syndrome have committed to posting every day this month to help raise awareness.  Since I plan on meeting a handsome young man this month on the other side of the ocean I am unable to make that same commitment.  But I will post every day that I can about our sweet little Belle who sports an extra chromosome.  Until the day that I meet our new son, then our posting will be all about that beautiful boy with the designer genes!!!

I want to be very honest about something.  We don't know much about Down syndrome - that is a fact!  We did not read any books, we did not do any research.  We wanted a chance to get to know Belle - not have any preconceived notions on who she is!!  I hope this makes sense.  I understand some people will probably not understand and would advise we do our homework.  But I promise you, Belle is teaching us everything we need to know, every day!!!!  And I couldn't ever read in a book or article what this girl shows me every moment of every day!!!  


  1. Summer I didn't know that little tid bit about you. Going the opposite route that most people go and not learning and driving yourself nuts about Ds before meeting Miss Bellie. I think that's just beautiful. Wish I had been bright enough to do that, lol I wonder why i have so many flippin gray hairs!! Should have just let Em do all the teaching... next time!

  2. Belle is definitely a blessing and so incredibly strong. That is quite the scar on such a small little body. What a cutie :)

  3. LOVELOVELOVE the Silly Girl pic of BEAUTIFUL BELLIE. That gorgeous smile saves my day!!!!