...unless you have a pacemaker. And thankfully Lauren does!

We went in for her to have an appointment at the cardiology clinic on Thursday and they checked her pacemaker. In my planner I have recorded each time that Lauren has vomited or gagged and the approximate time. I had sixteen recorded potential episodes in my planner. Three of them had stars because I was pretty sure that those episodes would have forced her pacemaker to kick in. The electrocardiologist (who, like all the other doctors and nurses, is absolutely delightful) scanned Lauren's pacemaker and it showed that it had kicked in not one, not two, not ten times, but a whopping twenty one times! Praise the Lord that she had that episode in the hospital and they put the pacemaker in. It was a little shocking and scary to hear that Lauren's heart has needed that much assistance, but it is so reassuring that not one of those twenty one times has resulted in Lauren passing out or even fading for a moment. I'm sure that it feels much better for her now too that her heart doesn't skip beats like before. That probably doesn't feel wonderful.

Lauren has a special type of pacemaker that allows is incredibly smart. For the most part, it just sits and listens to her heart as it beats. Any time that her heart rate goes below 70 beats per minute (read, she's eating), her pacemaker gets ready. When her heart rate goes below 60 beats per minute, her pacemaker shoots out a signal and forces her heart to beat up at 120 beats a minute. The pacemaker holds her at 120 until her heart goes above that or two minutes is up. At two minutes the pacemaker slowly pulls off and allows her heart to take over again, or paces her back up to 120 if it falls below 60. In the report from the pacemaker they can retrieve recorded heart patterns for each episode, see the time and date of each one, and see how long the pacemaker assisted her. In the grand scheme of things, Lauren's pacemaker only less than 1% of the time. That means that over 99% of the time, Lauren's heart is able to keep her going. During that other 1% of the time, Matt and I can breath much easier knowing that our baby CPR skills don't need to be put to work.

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