Monday, November 17, 2008

Cain Austin Clinkscales

I’m sure most of you know by now that Brad & I will be adding a new addition to the Clinkscales family in February 2009. That’s right; Cain Austin Clinkscales is scheduled to arrive on February 4, 2009.

I was 20 weeks into my pregnancy at the time of my 30th birthday. As a birthday present to myself, I scheduled an ultrasound on the day of my birthday, September 22nd. I was totally expecting it to be the best birthday present ever! How could it not be? I was going to find out the sex of our first child.

We were immediately elated to find out we are having a boy! However, we also received very sad news during this ultrasound. We found out that Cain has a rare congenital heart defect.

The following Thursday, September 25th, we had our first appointment with the Pediatric Heart Institute at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. We met with a pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Michael Liske, who performed a fetal echo. Afterwards, Dr. Liske sat down with Brad and me and explained to us that Cain has several congenital heart defects. The following are his defects.
1. Tricuspid atresia
2. Hypoplastic Right Ventricle
3. Ventricular Septal Defect
4. Transposition of the Great Arteries
5. A small aortic valve
I will explain each defect and the surgeries needed in detail in later blogs.

As unlucky as this may all seem, we are very lucky for several reasons. One of those is the fact that we live in a town where we have access to a wonderful team of physicians who are dedicated to the care of patients with heart disease. We are also very lucky that the Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt has a surgeon who performs surgeries on babies born with Hypoplastic Right Hearts. The surgeons name is Dr. David Bichell. He is the chief of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery at Vanderbilt and is the only surgeon in Nashville who performs the operations that Cain will need.

We were able to have a consult with Dr. Bichell on October 14th. He explained to us that Cain will have to undergo multiple surgeries after birth. As it stands now, he will have his first open heart surgery during his first week of life. They wait a few days after birth to let the lungs strengthen. The second surgery will occur at approximately 4-6 months. The first two surgeries are designed to temporarily relieve blood flow to and from the lungs. His third surgery will occur around 18 months and it is to improve overall circulation. The procedures do not cure the defects, but rather re-routes the blood flow around the defective areas. We were told Cain will be at high risk due to his number of complications. Essentially, when the procedures are completed, he will be functioning on the use of the left side of his heart only. We were also told there is a possibility that he will need a heart transplant later in life depending on the outcome of these procedures and how well his left ventricle holds up under the extra stress of supplying blood to the entire body.

So, with all of this said, I have decided to start a blog. We feel so grateful to have our family and friends. It is during times like this, we realize how truly blessed we are. We can’t thank each of you enough for your prayers and support thus far. My hope is for this blog to keep each of you updated on my pregnancy and updated on Cain’s progress.


Sharon said...

I found your blog through Kathy's blog ( and wanted to stop by to tell you, I will be praying for all of you. I know Cain has a lot ahead of him (and that's putting it mildly) when he enters this world but faith in God will get all of you through. I'll put your blog on my blog roll and will be visiting often.

God Bless,

Suth-ern Mama said...

Catherine, what a great blog you have, but more importantly what a fantastically cute and amazing son you have!!!! My daughter, Maia, born last Oct. 29, 2009, also has HRHS. I am glad to see that Cain is progressing so very well! Maia is doing great also. I look forward to reading more about your lives and Cain's adventures! God Bless!


About Me said...

i just added you to my blog roll. My son Mason, now 6 months, was also born with HRHS. He had then BT at 10 days old and should be going in for the Glenn at the end of February. I didn't get a chance to read through most of your blog but I will later. It looks like Cain is doing great!