Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lub-Dub, Swoosh, Click

When BabyGirl was born, she had a slight murmur and irregular heartbeat. They kept me in the hospital an extra day to watch it, and sent us home saying it was so slight, they were not concerned. It is not uncommon for babies to have a murmur, so I never really stressed it. BabyGirl has grown so wonderfully over the last 4 years- emotionally, physically and mentally. Ups and downs with random viruses and the beginnings of asthma her daddy passed on to her were things we just dealt with as they came. I am not the kind of mom that looks for things to be wrong with her kids, nor am I the mom who freaks out over a runny nose. I am proud of how I handled being a 'first time mom'. Kids get sick, they get hurt, they grow.... and it is my job as a mom to hold their hand and get them better.

When we went to BabyGirls 4 year well-child visit, everything was status-qua. Weight, height, vision chart, say your ABC's, check your ears, reflexes, and heart. Um, lets check the heart again. Now lay down..... listen again. Hummm....... Now, I adore my pediatrician beyond words. He is a good man, Christian, and strongly relies on mothers instinct when it comes to the care of a child. He also has a nack for talking down the nerves of a mom. He gently told me that he heard the stubborn murmur still and wanted me to go get it checked out by a pediatric cardiologist. He reassured me it was probably nothing, but he just wanted to get a second look at it. I wasn't very freaked out, mainly because his calming effect when he talks about something with reassurance to not worry, but also because, come on, she's so healthy. There's surely nothing!

It took 2 months to get her into the pediatric cardiologist. We went on March 18 for a general visit. They listened to her, did a quick monitor of her heart to record the rhythm, and the cardiologist said he heard the same thing my pediatrician heard. He explained that a 'normal' heart makes a 'lub-dub, lub-dub' sound. BabyGirl's heart was making a 'Lub-dub, whish, click' sound instead. Leave it to her, being an overachiever and all, to add her own soundtrack. He said it was a common sound for a bicuspid aortic valve, which was generally common and problem free. Simply, the aorta normally has 3 valves and hers potentially has 2. He scheduled an echo cardiogram to get a closer look, and confirm his suspicions. We went back yesterday, March 24, for the echo cardiogram. My sweet little girl had to stay completely still for 30 minutes, in the worst possible position, so they could monitor her heart. There was something nostalgic as I watched all the different images on the screen. The little flicker on the screen we so anxiously waited to see nearly 5 years ago as she was growing in my belly was now this massive muscle, contracting and pumping and working- giving her life. I had no clue what I was looking at, but watched the tech monitor the smallest details of this complicated image, and marveled as God's handywork.

Luckily, the cardiologist was still in the office and wanted to review the test while I waited. We sat in the waiting room waiting to be called back again. When he came out and took us into the exam room, I was expecting the "well, everything looked fine! It's just something she will outgrow over the years!". Instead, his words were "Well, lets talk about what I found.". Without realizing it, I stood up from the chair and crossed my arms unintentionally, in a very defensive stance. He explained that he did see the bicuspid aortic valve issues and drew me a picture of what it looked like. He said it appeared to cause no problems, and it was functioning strong. No worried there. He also explained that she had a small hole leading into her right atrium, also called a Patent foramen ovale, or PFO. Somewhat common, appearing in about 25% of people. Would have probably never caused a problem. Hers is tiny, and seems to be fine. Then he got a bit more serious (as if a cardiology doctor could be anymore serious). He told me his concern was the dilated left atrium of her heart, which was significantly larger than it should be. He said he can typically see a vessel causing that section to be dilated, supplying it with additional blood flow or something, but he can see no visual source for the enlargement. His first concern was checking her lungs. Supposedly, this section of the heart, when enlarged, can put pressure on the pulmonary artery and cause breathing issues when she exerts a lot of energy (shes a KID!). This may possibly explain her so-called asthma?? I was in shock, and felt that if I lost one bit of control, I could start hysterically crying. It was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. Hearing all the descriptions and words he was using, diagrams he was drawing, and I could cardly absorb the words and keep my composure at the same time. And he surely did not So we went over immediately for a chest X-ray to see position of her lungs.

I swear that little girl was a trooper through all those tests yesterday, and never once complained. She has yet to ask me about it, and really has no idea there could be anything wrong. It is so foreign anyways for a 4 year old. She said we go to the heart doctor to fix her heart, and thinks that because they took pictures, they fixed it. So sweet, so innocent. Overall, I am grateful we were lead to find something, if there had to be something. Better this way than finding out as she passes out on the soccer field one day from 'so-called asthma'.
Add-on: The doctor just called to follow up. He saw the dilation on the Xray also, but her lungs seemed to be okay. He consulted with his colleague and they both agreed doing to do a cardiac catheter to get a better look and in hopes of finding the source of the problem. I am not excited for that, but will do what I need to. Just the thought of this process kills me.
Keep it together. Keep it together.

11 comments:

Kristen said...

Oh my dear sweet friend and future DIL. You will be in my constant thoughts and prayers. I am so sorry you're going through this. I love you both.

Mary Ann said...

Oh wow Kristi. I hope you all get answers soon and I hope it is all good news. I can't imagine what you are feeling right now. I will keep baby girl in my prayers.

Noah said...

Lots of prayers. Hopefully if it does need to be "fixed" it's an easy one.

suzy2110 said...

I am so, so sorry to read this- you are definitely in my thoughts and prayers. Please keep me posted when you can. ((hugs))

Karen said...

Oh honey! I am so sorry to hear all of this. But know that your sweet daughter is in Jesus' hands... My thoughts and prayers are with you as you process all of this, and prepare for the road ahead... (((HUGS))) ♥

Amanda said...

Much love and prayers, Kristi. And don't forget to breathe. God is bigger than this. ((hugs))

Laura said...

Oh my...*tears*

I can only imagine the worry. You and sweet G will be in my prayers, and I'll be trusting God right along with you, that this whole situation is in His mighty hands. Hang in there, Mama! Much love.

Disneyfan said...

Oh my...from one mommy to another I know you have that "momma bear" instinct to protect your baby right now! Remember the words of Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not tremble or be dismayed. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." He will be with you throughout this entire process - no matter how scary, overwhelming and big it feels! I'm praying for you!

Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

Oh, friend. I am so sorry. I missed this yesterday . . . I'm glad I caught it tonight. I cannot imagine how horrific hearing those words must have been. I know I would have completely fallen apart. I'll be praying as you move forward with this.

Corey~living and loving said...

I'm sorry I missed this. :( Don't know where I've been????


lots of prayers, and hugs! I'm thinking of you all.

Bailey said...

My Gosh...I hope God helps her through this time of struggle. Let's hope she heals

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