John Luke had his two month well-baby visit and vaccinations this week. My little piglet weighs 13 lbs and 2 oz, and is 23 inches long. The tech who administered his shots worked really fast. He only cried briefly; and before I knew it, she was putting Snoopy bandaids on his chunky little thighs. I think it hurt me more than it hurt him.
The best news about this visit, was that his heart murmur was gone. The day after he was born, the hospital pediatrician detected a heart murmur. He ensured me that murmurs are common in newborns, and may go away in a few months. Josh being a nurse anesthetists, also validated this point stating that, heart murmurs are not uncommon in children, and that most children have an “innocent” or non-pathologic murmur at sometime during their lives. Because of their reassurance, I wasn’t too worried, but I knew in my heart, I would feel better once it was gone.
The murmur was detected again, when he was just a few days old, at his first visit to the pediatrician. The doctor recommended an Echocardiogram, and sent us over to the medical center. When we checked in at the desk, they asked us for our insurance, and informed us that after insurance, we would be billed $1200.00 for the remaining balance.
Josh had felt this was an unnecessary test to run on a three day old, when most likely the murmur would go away on it’s own. He stated even if the Echo detected a murmur, there wasn’t anything that could be done about it, except to monitor it, which is what we would be doing anyway. We called John Luke’s pediatrician to discuss holding off on the Echo, and giving the murmur time to close before proceeding with the test.
Josh cited to me the following reasons. The most common causes of heart murmurs in newborns is due to PDA- Patent Ductus Arteriosis; and PFO- Patent Foramen Ovale. These are due to the holes in the heart that are present to allow fetal circulation to flow through the placenta, and usually close soon after birth. Also, there are flow murmurs in which the blood makes a rushing sound as it moves through the vessels in the chest. These are not abnormal and quickly correct themselves with normal development. In the absence of signs and symptoms of heart failure or poor oxygenation, no further treatment is required. John Luke had good color and was breathing well, so this didn’t appear to be the case.
At his two month check up, the pediatrician informed us the murmur seems to have gone away. He said he will continue to monitor it to be certain. Josh will occasionally put his stethoscope to John Luke’s heart to listen for it as well. We wouldn’t hesitate for a second to have an Echo, if we felt there was a threat to John Luke’s health or well being. We would “move mountains” if we felt there was a problem that required treatment.
I am thankful for the doctors concern to request the Echo. We are just blessed that with Josh’s medical background, we can make informed decisions with the doctor about John Luke’s health. I am thankful the murmur is gone. Even if the murmur had led to something more serious, he is ours and we couldn’t love him more. God chose him to be ours. Any health issues that arise in the future, we will deal with them as they come.