The day O was born, we seemed to be inundated with people who would come in to my little booth on the ward to emphasise how healthy he looked, how his colour was amazing and of course, the whole, “isn’t he beautiful, look at his hair!”. I was so happy that my labour, despite it being 3 days of torture and ending up with a c-section, had been okay and that I had my little baby sleeping soundly beside me. I sat back and relaxed, waiting to go home.
Along came the baby doctor who had to do her routine checks just to make sure everything was fine before we got sent on our way. I was watching her anxiously, although I still felt like everything would be fine. His bits and bobs were all as they should be, his legs and arms could bend in all different directions, but as soon as she listened to his heart, the atmosphere changed.
I asked her multiple times if he was okay, but she just had a puzzled look on her face. She kept telling me to be quiet, and I was so worried that I wanted to just scream “WHAT IS IT?” in her face. After about two minutes of silence, she told me O has a heart murmur.
A heart murmur? How can he have a heart murmur? What the hell is a heart murmur? Will he be okay? Will it change his life? How come they didn’t pick this up on the scan?
She explained to me that the murmur was so quiet, she had no idea whether it even existed, and that, because she knew I was worried, she would ask the heart doctor to examine him and scan him properly to see if he could give me any concrete answers.
So there he was, my day old baby, laying in a glass box getting his heart examined.
After a lot of to and fro between two doctors, the specialist heart doctor confirmed O had a VSD (ventricular septal defect). Because I am definitely not a doctor and still find it difficult to understand, here is an explanation I just found on google:
VSD is a hole in the wall separating the two lower chambers of the heart.
In normal development, the wall between the chambers closes before the fetus is born, so that by birth, oxygen-rich blood is kept from mixing with the oxygen-poor blood. When the hole does not close, it may cause higher pressure in the heart or reduced oxygen to the body.
As well as the holes separating the two chambers not being closed, he also had an extra hole in one of the ventricles. In total, he had 3 holes in his heart.
The doctor explained to us that it was likely if things didn’t change, O may need an operation in the future, but he also explained profusely that in 90% of these cases, the hole will close itself after a few weeks. So we waited, and we hoped.
About a month ago (O was 6 months) we had a follow up heart scan to check the holes, to see if they had got any bigger, or any smaller, or if there was any change at all.
After getting lost in the hospital and waiting a short while, they finally told us that O still had his murmur.. but the holes had closed!
He no longer had a VSD. Isn’t that amazing. The fact that his little human heart healed itself made me so proud, even though he had absolutely no idea what he had even done.
I see a lot of blog posts about VSD’s where they haven’t closed up and an operation is needed, which is why I worried so much. My main reason for posting my story, is that I know how common this issue is. Whenever I have asked anyone about it, they can tell me at least one person they know who went through the same thing, and in 9/10 cases it ends up like mine. A lot of people with a success story don’t post because they feel like it isn’t important, but I know if I had come across stories like this I may have worried just that little bit less.