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Before we get too far along here, let me start by saying this: DON’T FREAK OUT. I know the title of this post might be a bit jarring. Believe me, when I heard the words “heart murmur” my entire body went numb.
That’s why I decided to write this post–just in case any of you other new mamas out there hear those same words. I can’t promise that your experience will be the same as mine but I can at least tell you what mine was in the hopes of calming your nerves (as much as they can be given the circumstances).
They didn’t catch it when she was born. They didn’t catch it at any of the many doctors appointments we had been to… It wasn’t until the home nurse visit that I was informed that my baby girl has a heart murmur.
She was over three weeks old! How did they miss it all this time?
That’s a question for another time, I guess. Because at the end of the day, it didn’t matter. What mattered was getting it looked at. I needed answers and I needed them RIGHT AWAY.
As soon as I found out, I called her doctor and schedule an appointment for the next morning. As we were hanging up the phone, they gave me directions:
“If she looks pale or seem to be breathing faster than normal, take her in right away to get looked at.”
I hate when they do that! Of course, the rest of the night I was staring at her, asking my husband over and over again, “does she look pale to you?”
The next morning finally came (longest night of my life, by the way) and I took her in. She did, in fact, have a heart murmur. The NP immediately made her an appointment with a cardiologist for that same day. It was something I never imagined having to do–take my baby to the cardiologist.
The tests made me cry. She had an echocardiogram and an ultrasound. It took hours. And I was a nervous wreck the entire time. When the results finally came in, I was both completely prepared and completely unprepared to hear what the doctor was going to say.
The verdict? Yes, she has a heart murmur. No, it’s not serious. Turns out, it’s super common for babies to be born with heart murmurs! The doctor went through a whole long explanation, using a little chart to show me what was going on and why the murmur was there.
It’s called a P.A. Branch Stenosis or a P.P.S. (Peripheral Pulmonic Stenosis).
I’m not going to lie, I only half paid attention. As soon as I heard that she was okay, I couldn’t focus on anything else. All I could do was breathe a sigh of relief and try to bring my nerves back down to a manageable level.
We’re not 100% out of the woods just yet. The doctor wants to see her again in 9 months. He said that the little hole causing the murmur hasn’t closed completely by then we’ll need to discuss other options. He did tell me, “treat your baby just like a normal baby. There’s nothing wrong with her.”
So, that’s what we’re doing. Until we go back for her follow up appointment in December, we’re not going to think about it. What’s funny is that I’ve discovered that so many people I know have heart murmurs and are completely fine (my grandpa, my friend’s husband who is a competitive cyclist)!
It sounds scary but it doesn’t have to be. If your baby has a heart murmur, get it checked! But, don’t get yourself worked up or worried until you absolutely have to be.