Thursday, December 30, 2010

Parenting Scare

Thanksgiving Day,day two of Naomi's life in the outside world came with a scare. Jamie went home mid-morning to care for our dogs. As I sat alone with our daughter, a nurse came to get her for a check up with the Pediatrician. When they returned to the room the nurse said the doctor found a heart murmur and as a precaution he called a cardiologist to come take a listen. Also someone from radiology would come get her for an EKG and chest x-ray. While the nurse was explaining how common heart murmurs are and how it is just standard procedure to run such tests I was not worried. I thought to myself how I've known others to have heart murmurs and they live normal lives. I even called Jamie to say what was going on and not to worry. It was when radiology came within less than 10 minutes that I became a little more concerned. Then I called my mom to ask her to pray, it was then that I just fell apart. Why, after all we've been through, would God allow our baby to be anything less than 100% healthy? I prayed for her the entire pregnancy. Was I not specific enough, was it because I didn't say, "God please form our baby's heart to NOT have a murmur." This is totally minor- I know, but jeez, why can't we be the parents who don't have to have any freekin' tests run on their newborn- yes, even for something perceived as common and minor.
 She came back from her tests screaming her poor little head off. In a matter of an hour the cardiologist (who by the way, I was told, was called in from home so he might not make it right away) was there, so the nurse took her to the nursery again. I thought the worst. It was a holiday for one and what doctor gets to the hospital that fast unless it is something to be alarmed about!? Those moments she was gone were torture. To shorten my long story...the Cardiologist came in to tell us the diagnosis and asked us to come to his office the following week for yet another test, an echo cardiogram- basically to find out the severity and whether she would require"treatment" or not.
When we arrived at his office I made eye contact with a woman who was there with her son of about 7 years old. She smiled at us with a certain sincere empathy. I thought, "oh God are we about to become a part of another club no parent signs up for? The kids-with-heart-problems-who-need-lots-of-appointments-and-surgery-club?" I had been pretty calm over the 4 days leading up to this. I told myself that lots of kids are born like this, we'll get there and they will determine that she won't be affected by it.

The moment we sat down in the exam room an overwhelming fear came over me. The ultrasound tech- that's what an echo cardiogram is-started the ultrasound on Naomi's heart. As I sat there all I could think was that something was horribly wrong. The tech said nothing. No small talk. This only made my fear worse. I'm used to tech's not saying what they see ( remembering my miscarriage) but jeez,say something! Talk about the weather even! I started bawling. We sat there for over 30 minutes. I used tissue after tissue, sobbing convinced I would lose her too. I had two choices for a view, either watch the screen or look at a bulletin board filled with family pictures. Tech chic had three beautiful kids, which I hated her for. I thought, "she probably doesn't have babies in heaven. She obviously has no idea what it's like to sit in this chair. Very wrong of me to think -I know, I know. So, then she got the doctor who came in and with terrible body language took a look at the recordings she took. He looked for probably five minutes which felt like another hour. I cried even more, thinking, "I know something is really wrong, would you just give us the news already!" Here's the worst part, there was a seahorse on a shelf in the corner of the room. The exact same seahorse I bought Naomi, the first thing I bought her when I was pregnant. I sat there thinking over and over about how when she is dead I will remember her and this awful day that we get the bad news by the seahorse. And that will always be 'her thing'. I know, horrible isn't it? Get a grip right!? I really couldn't control myself and I thought I might go into a full fledged panic attack.

Well, finally the doctor said she has a very small hole in the muscle between the two bottom chambers of her heart. As she grows he expects this hole to close because that muscle will be bigger, which is the best news you can receive if you have a murmur. Her diagnosis is Ventricular Septal Defect. These are pretty common and there are three ways this could go. 1. She can grow out of it without symptoms 2. She could be given medication if she develops symptoms.3.She could have a balloon procedure to repair it if it becomes even more troublesome There are a few things to watch for as far as heart failure goes, so he warned us of those and wants to see her back in six weeks. He then disclosed that the reason he had us come to his office is because sometimes when a baby is born with this, it can also mean there are abnormalities that caused the defect and those are much bigger problems. They ruled that out. Okay, phew, we can handle that. I could sense that, from him- even when he talked to us that day in the hospital. Even though everything he said made us believe it was minor I could sense there could be more going on. I apologized for crying so much and he was so sweet to say, " This is a scary place for any parent to be and you are just 5 days post partum so you can cry all you want to." What a nice guy! Can't say the same for Tech chic, she was still in the room and remained stoic even after we were relieved at the news. Meh

So now we wait and watch. You know how hard that is? Believe me I am so thankful that she is so healthy and this is minor, I know.There are a million other things that could be so much worse! I guess the combination of loss plus,being a first time mom who was sleep deprived and overwhelmed with breastfeeding-which is a whole other post-equals a paranoid, crying mama! It has taken me weeks to complete this post, so her follow up appointment is in just 11 more days. Yes, I am counting them down. I feel like I will be able to relax a little when he hears of her sleep, awake and eating schedule and weight gain...if he thinks she is on track. I do-think she's okay and not needing treatment- but there are days when I worry.

In better news, she smiled at me last night. It was such a glorious moment! Moments like that make all the pain and worry worth it! We're getting  a little better at multi-tasking so I will be back to update you all on her progress and post more pictures.

Naomi meets her seahorse


  1. Oh Michelle! That is scary! I'm so sorry! I am so glad that it is minor and I will be praying that it is just something she grows out of. (I had a heart murmer when I was born too and just grew out of it.)
    I hope you have lots of support IRL but know that I am always just an e-mail away! And I've had issues with breastfeeding too with my first.
    What a happy moment to have lovely Naomi smile at you! It is just the greatest delight, isn't it?!
    Sending you much love!!!!

  2. Err! I hate it that you've had to carry this concern/worry with you! I'm so sorry! It sounds like she'll be just fine though. Please keep us updated - I know it's hard with an infant demanding your attention every minute - but know you have friends out here who love you and are praying for you!


  3. I can't believe it! What else can you possibly have to deal with! I am so relieved that things are not as bad as they could be, but OMG!

    Happy that she is home with you and so beautiful.

  4. I'm so sorry that you had this scary moment and you have Naomi's heart to worry about! I am glad that it is minor. You handled it really well I think - I am quite positive I would have screamed at the stoic lady! Anyways... you are in my thoughts and prayers! SHE IS BEAUTIFUL! <3

  5. So sorry for the scare. I would have done and felt the same things. I will keep you guys in my thoughts and prayers. I can't wait to hear about a clean bill of health!!!

  6. ugh, what a scary , heat-wrenching ordeal! with my rainbow baby being 9 weeks early and going through NICU, it was terrifying. i am praying her hole closes on its own/

  7. I can completely relate to how you were feeling. Our oldest had problems with her heart as a little peanut too. (She's a totally healthy 7 year old now!) I am sure Naomi is going to be great. Hang in there, she's such a beautiful little one, don't let satan come in an add so much undue stress. You guys are going to be great. Remember Jeremiah 29:11, "I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, but to give you a hope and a future." God's got great plans for both of you!

  8. I will also be praying that the hole closes on its own.
    I dont know if it will help you but as an encouragement I too was born with a small hole (also a murmur as well) and it did close on its own as I got older, so it does happen. {{hug}}