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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Heart Matters

My boys, with their ridiculouly close birthdays, went to the doctor last week. Daniel had his one month check-up, and Nathan had his 3 year check-up. The big one with the amazing blue eyes is 75th percentile across the board, weighing in at 34 pounds. I'm not sure where he puts it because all of his 3T clothes fall off of his body. Also, he eats nothing. One day last week, he had half a piece of turkey sausage and some whipped cream. That's it. All day. He's awesome.

The little one with all the crazy hair landed just below the 50th percentile for height, weight, and head circumference. He weighs 10 pounds. This is so shocking to me, because he and Nathan were just four ounces apart in their birth weights, and Nathan didn't get back up to his (8 lbs 1 oz) until he was six weeks old. Way to go, Danny Boy!

While the doctor was examining Daniel, I noticed that the usual ten seconds of listening to his heart was taking way longer than normal. I played with Nathan while my mind raced. After a while (three or four minutes) the doctor said that she detected a heart murmur. My stomach sank. I'd heard of them, but didn't really know what they were. And honestly, who wants to hear anything abnormal about your four week old, especially something with the heart?

The doctor calmly explained that this is a condition that can frequently appear in infants, and most often is nothing to worry about. But, we needed to schedule an echocardiogram at Children's Memorial just in case. We set up the ultrasound for Monday.

I called Joe just before we left the doctor's office and he gently reminded me that he had a heart murmur and it had never limited him in any way. I was still scared and twitchy.

This is where I should say that my heart goes out to families whose children struggle with illness. This was simply unexpected and I'm ignorant.

Monday rolled around and it seemed like the time was flying by. Joe and the day off and we had initially planned on taking the boys to the Children's Museum at Navy Pier, but we couldn't fit it in before our appointment. So, we puttered around most of the day, then dropped Nathan off with a friend before going to the hospital.

The test itself lasted an hour and Daniel was a champ. He nursed off and on throughout the test (I cannot tell you how many people have seen my boobs in the past month!), making him less screamy than normal. The echo tech didn't tell us anything one way or the other, which only made me more nervous. After we finished, I said repeatedly to Joe, "He's going to be okay, right?" He kept assuring me that he was.

Thankfully, before I drove myself completely crazy, our pediatrician called at 8:00 Monday night. She apologized (can you believe it?!) for calling so late, but wanted to let us know that everything was fine. The heart murmur should have no impact on Daniel's life in any way.

I'm so grateful. I do feel partly stupid for getting all worked up, but really ... I'm just thankful. I'm so so so glad that this tiny little gift is totally okay. I firmly believe that you don't really know what fear is until you become a parent. If we all thought about all the bad things that could happen to our kids, we'd be basketcases. I'm glad my crazy only lasted for a few days.


ashley @ twentysixcats said...

Aww I'm glad it ended up being nothing! I can't even imagine how scary the "unknown" time must have been! Paul has a heart murmur too. I wonder if it's hereditary?

Sarah said...

So, so, so glad to hear he is okay! How scary for you-- thank goodness you were able to get in so fast!

(My kids also ever eat-- it is weird).

Becca said...

We had the same experience with James at 2 weeks. It was SO scary and I was very happy they could get us in quickly (but that also worried me, if they can get us in quick, are they really worried too?). Everything is fine in his case too, but he has to go have a followup at six months. Glad Daniel is alright!

Shannon said...

Oh, sweetie, what a scary time. I am so thankful everything turned out wonderful.