Health, Parenthood

Baby K’s Heart Health Check

january 30, 2019

Ever since that second line appeared on the test stick I have had my fingers crossed that Baby K wouldn’t have the same heart problems that spring up on my side of the family.  I have lived with my own heart murmur all of my life and it doesn’t often come to mind until I’m partaking in an activity that makes my heart work harder and thus makes me tire quicker.  Even though I know how to live with this, I hope Baby K never has to.

My case has been followed by specialists all my life and when I got pregnant with Baby K, I was refered to a specialist that works with pregnant women who have heart problems.  This is what led to my entire pregnancy being followed in Toronto, despite living in the Niagara Region.

I was sent to the Hospital for Sick Children to have a Fetal Echo done at 19 weeks.  It was basically just an ultrasound on my baby, but they blow up the image of the heart to take pictures.  After the pictures were analyzed, we were seen by a pediatric cardiologist that told us that he didn’t see any major signs that something was going on in Baby K’s heart, but that another echo should be done once Baby K was born.  At that time, the heart is tiny enough that you can’t always see if anything is going on.

Fast forward to Baby K’s birth, nothing was said about this second echo for him.  We weren’t seen by any of our regular doctors while we were at the hospital.  A pediatric doctor did come in, but only to do a standard check up, which I think they do with every baby at the hospital.

After leaving the hospital, we still didn’t hear anything about this second echo.  I asked our family doctor every time she listened to his heart if she heard anything out of the ordinary, which she said she didn’t so I didn’t pursue it further.

It wasn’t until my follow-up appointment with the cardiologist in December that followed me during my pregnancy when the subject came up again.  Baby K was just past the 4 months old mark.  The doctor told me that they always refer the babies born of the mothers they follow to see a pediatric cardiologist.  I was vaguely told the name of a doctor, but I was being ushered from room to room to get my own ECG and Echo done that I wasn’t told that I needed to get in contact with the doctor or if someone would contact me.  I hoped that someone would contact me since I left without contact information.

It was just last week that I got a call from the receptionist of a pediatric cardiologist to book the appointment.  I was also told at that time that a requisition was sent to McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton to get an ECG done.  They couldn’t do it all in the same place because of the scanners not being sensitive enough, or something like that.  I was also told that most new bookings were going into May, so, you know, try not to cancel.

The appointment was for the next day, so the next morning we drove to McMaster to get the ECG done.  Baby K was a champ and just laid there smiling at the tech.  We were still to early for the Echo at the doctor’s office in Burlington, so we went home for a little while.

Getting the Echo ended up not going well.  Baby K was too upset and moving too much at this point to get all of the pictures of his heart.  The doctor told me that usually the referrals come when the babies are born.  I told her that a cardiologist didn’t see us until December, which explained why Baby K hadn’t been referred to her earlier.  Basically, the best window to give a baby an Echo is before 2 months old.  They get wrapped up, which usually puts them to sleep and then the Echo can be done.  After that point, they are just too squirmy and wiggily to get a conclusive Echo done and you have to wait until you can convince them to lay still and maybe watch a cartoon on a tablet.

In then end, there was nothing that would suggest that further testing would be needed immediately.  Which would’ve resulted in sedating Baby K so that he would be still for the Echo.  We were told to book again when he was 3.5 to 4 years old and he would be checked again.

In the end, I probably should’ve pushed for it when Baby K was born.  He seems okay right now though, but next baby, I’ll remember to get on that earlier.

Anyone been in any similar situations?  I want to hear your stories!  Leave me a note below or send me a link to a post if you’ve posted about it!

Until next time,

SPark

 

 

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