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Thursday, December 29, 2011

I was born just over three months ago, the smallest of our three babies, despite the fact that she was predicted to be much larger--her estimated weight at 35 weeks was just a few ounces shy of what she was when born at the end of week 38. The MFM clinic where I went to see the perinatologist had a pretty accurate record for weight measurements so it was surprising. But at 19 inches and seven pounds eight ounces, she was tiny and adorable and wonderful :)

we enjoyed twenty-four whole hours with her before they told us she had a heart murmur, one that was pronounced enough that they wanted her to have an EKG and an Echocardiogram and see a cardiologist before we even left the hosptial :\ They ordered the tests to be done on Saturday and said we'd see cardio on Monday since it was a weekend--I must admit, it scared me a bit when a nurse told us to expect cardio on Sunday. They sent over her tests and cardio said they were coming to examine her right away. eep.

She had a large VSD and a medium ASD, holes between the chambers of the heart. As she got older, oxygenated blood would flow through the hole and back into the other side of the heart instead of going out to feed the body. Her first month was pretty good--she gained two pounds, she was as alert as any other baby her age, she loved to nurse. But when we had her followup with cardio, her holes had not closed at all :( So it was back to waiting to see what her two month birthday would bring.

That second month saw her sleeping more and beginning to breathe harder. There was a hitch in her breath and it didn't come as easily. Her next cardio visit when she was two months saw her start medications--her heart and lungs were working overtime trying to compensate and her heart would race and her breathing become shallow and fast. The medication would flush out some of the excess fluid building up in and around her heart and lungs so she could breathe more normally. And we saw a big difference fairly quickly--she was more alert, she played more, she was happier. But she still slept more than my other two did at that age and that little hitch in her breath would come back when she had been up and playing for too long.

The first two months, when life was basically business as usual, it was easy to let her condition slip from my mind. She looked and acted like a normal baby. But fixing her syringes of medicine twice a day and having to watch for the list of symptoms that mean she has to be rushed to hospital are a constant reminder that she is not like every other baby. On an emotional level, it is hard not to spend large amounts of time wondering "what did I do?" I am told that the majority of heart defects have no known cause. I am not supposed to think it is anything I did or did not do to cause them. But its hard not to wonder--after all, I grew her inside me for all those months. She depended on me to make everything right for her and somewhere along the way, something, no one knows what, went wrong and that little heart didn't form all the way. But despite its problems, it sure does have a lot of love to pour out on me and her Daddy and her brothers. That smile of joy when she sees us goes a long way to ease the fears and worry :)