When my wife discovered she was pregnant in early March 1994. During a routine prenatal checkup at 18 weeks, the doctor in our hometown of Moose Lake, Minnesota felt like Donna was too large for that stage of the pregnancy and recommended an ultrasound. A specialist in Duluth also did an ultrasound that showed a large cyst where the baby's lungs should be forming.
Filled with fluid, the cyst had shifted the heart to one side, causing a fluid buildup with the threat of heart failure, and not allowing room for the lungs to form. Doctor Farb informed us the situation was very serious. We were in shock. My wife had always been very health conscious so we could not believe this was happening. Donna had an amniocentesis done and chromosome testing for other defects. Having been recommended to UCSF, two days after the test results were back we were on our way to San Francisco.
Donna had a percutaneous thoracoamniotic shunt placed at 24 weeks to drain the cyst and take the pressure off the heart and allow the lungs to grow. After a period of careful monitoring, we were back in Minnesota where UCSF kept in close touch with us. Bridget was born December 12. The next day surgery was performed and she was transferred to the NICU. A second surgery to remove the upper half of the left lung was done on December 18.