So one of these days I will post a blog that isn't depressing in some manner. At least I hope I will.
Today we had to take Elijah for an echocardiogram, at least I think that was what they called the procedure they did. Basically when we were in the hospital, the on call pediatrician heard a heart murmur and then when we went for Elijah's first checkup, his regular pediatrician listened and heard the same thing. Both of them acted like it was most likely nothing and that we need not worry, but that just as a precautionary measure, we should schedule this echo procedure with this cardiology specialist guy at Children's Mercy to check it out. I was determined not to worry unless and until someone said there was something to worry about.
We arrived at 12:30, but didn't get out of there until past 3:00. First, they hooked him up to this machine that monitored his heartbeat for awhile. Then we had to wait for the doctor to come in and tell us that his heartbeat looked normal, but when he listened to Elijah's chest, he, too, heard the murmur and wanted to do an ultrasound to check it out. So then we had to wait for the ultrasound tech to come in and take us into the ultrasound room. Then, of course, they performed the ultrasound which took much longer than any ultrasound I had while I was pregnant, but I guess his was more important.
After that we went back to the exam room to wait for the doctor again. By then it was time for Elijah to nurse again so I got out my cover and other equipment and began to nurse him. Incidentally, it is very hard to nurse with that cover thing on because I can't see what I'm doing. Plus, I don't think Elijah likes having it over his head. But, I'd rather not flash everyone, particularly the cardiology doctor that we just met. We were almost done nursing when he finally came back, though.
The doctor said he had two problems: small ventricular septal defects (VSDs) and an atrial septal defect (ASD). The VSDs were just tiny holes between the left and right ventricles that he seemed to think would close up on their own, so there was no need to worry about them. However, the ASD was more serious. It is a hole between the left side of the heart and the right atrium that was supposed to close on its own when he was born, but it did not.
The doctor still tried to downplay it, as if a heart defect wasn't anything to get upset about. I suppose if you work in a field where you see heart defects all the time, maybe this one seems like nothing. But this was my two week old baby and hearing that he has a heart defect that won't necessarily fix itself was not nothing to me. The doctor said it was possible that the defect would correct itself, but if it did not then when Elijah is about five, six, or seven, he'll have to have a procedure to correct it. He said most likely it would not need to be a surgical procedure, instead they could likely do a cathertization procedure that would correct it. Again, I suppose the reassurance that my baby would not need surgery was supposed to make me feel better, but it did not.
After that we got to go home, but I was wracking my brain to try to determine if I had done something while I was pregnant that caused this. Had I not eaten enough vegetables? Not drank enough water? Drank too much caffeine? Or perhaps the zofran I took for nausea--and was supposed to have no side effects on the baby--caused this. But how could I ever know? And even if I could know, there was nothing I could do about it now.
So while I was still wallowing in sadness and guilt, our pediatrician called my cell phone to ask how things went. I was very impressed that she went to the trouble of calling us to find out how it went, especially since she would get a report from the cardiologist in the next few days that would tell her everything. I told her as best I could with my layman language what we were told. She, too, seemed optimistic and seemed to think that we shouldn't worry. However, at least she acknowledged that no one was really okay with their baby having any kind of invasive procedure. And she explained that if he had to have the cathertization procedure, they would thread the catheter up through his leg. And I know it would be when he's somewhere between five and seven, but he might as well be a baby. How am I supposed to sit by while they thread some kind of tube up my baby's leg and into his heart? The only thing I can hope is that it will correct itself. But given how things have gone thusfar, I'm not holding my breath. And I am no longer determined not to worry since I think I have ample reason to worry now.