I don’t think I’ve ever written about the story surrounding our youngest son’s heart defect. I’ve Facebooked about it for sure.
Here are the details:
Not even 24 hours after Collin was born, we were sent to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to have an EKG and ultrasound of his heart. Couple the shock of your newborn having a heart defect with the mere 24 hour old trauma of having an unmedicated labor and delivery (medicated or not, labor and delivery is a traumatic experience), absolutely no sleep, and my husband and I were barely coherent.
I just wanted to snuggle my newborn little person, but instead had to huddle over him and hold his startled little arms as the ultrasound tech rubbed Collin’s chest with an infant-sized ultrasound wand: rubbed his newborn, sensitive skin which grew redder with every 10 minutes that passed. For an hour and a half, my husband and I stood with our boy who wailed, drifting in and out of sleep and discomfort.
I was allowed to nurse him, but not to continue to hold him. At one point I nearly flipped out when a third nurse tiptoed into the room with a syringe behind her back. Why would they hide the fact that they might want to sedate Collin from my husband and I?
Thanks be to God, my husband and I were able to pacify our son with a little sugar water on a finger tip, and no medication was necessary. (For me, breastfeeding is my main concern, and any medication can make it more challenging for the establishment and continuation of breastfeeding. Having struggled with breastfeeding our first child, I’m slightly military in zeal about not allowing interference with breastfeeding)
Finally, with the ultrasound and concluding meetings finished with the cardiologist, we were allowed to travel the hour home.
Collin has VSD: Ventricular Septal Defect.
It’s a hole in the septum (the central wall) of his heart. There are many people and children with VSD. It is a common uncommon defect. The location of Collin’s hole is the more sensitive issue, however.
The hole is located much higher up than the “normal” septal holes, closer to the valves which separate the upper chambers from the lower. The positive fact is that Collin’s hole is very small. I’ve had the privilege to listen to his sweet heart with a stethoscope and the murmur is very loud and very prominent.
This is a good thing: the louder the murmur,the harder the blood has to push through the hole, because the hole is smaller. If the hole were large, the murmur would be much quieter because it would require less pressure to pump blood through the hole. You follow? Have I lost you? I hope not… The point I want to focus on is that our cardiologist has informed us that there is a %10 chance that his heart may heal on its own. We went for a 6 month cardiology checkup Monday of this week, and his hole is still present. We must go back in 6 months and, if the hole has not closed up, Collin will be sedated and given another sonogram.
We pray for the %10.
The funny thing about my Christian religion is that whether or not Collin is spontaneously healed, I have peace about his condition. My favorite bible verse that brings me comfort in every challenge of my life is John 16:33:
“I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”
Call me a fool, but I’m not terribly anxious about Collin’s VSD. If he has to be operated on, down the road… well… my sister told me to “worry about it when it gets there”, so I won’t be thinking about that just yet.
But I do ask for healing prayer for my innocent boy’s heart of gold, through the intercession of Bl. John Paul The Great. Thank you all!