To catch up on Ellie

Ellie is 7 months old!  She is such a happy girl.  Whenever we go out, she smiles at everyone so she gets lots of attention.  She is beginning to sit up for a few minutes at a time.  She has been wanting to sit up for months now (it looked like she was doing crunches) so I’m sure she’s glad to finally see the world from an upright position.

We went back to the doctor recently to get a check up on her ears.  There was still a little residual fluid from the last ear infection, but otherwise, looked good.  She weighed 16 lbs 4 oz.

Today, we went to the pediatric cardiologist to check up on her congenital heart defect.  She still has the ASD.  It’s very small (5 mm), but it should have closed up by now.  At this point, the only thing we’ll do is continue to get a check up by the cardiologist so he can monitor it.  Other than that, there’s no reason to treat her any differently.  If, by some reason, she is in the hospital one day and needs an IV, we would need to caution the staff that she does have a heart defect.  There’s a very rare chance that oxygen could enter the IV, and because the two chambers of her heart are connected, could make its way to the brain.  I can’t remember the name of that condition, but it’s bad.  At any rate, she’ll most likely have day surgery (by cardiac catheterization, not open-heart surgery) when she’s about 5 years old to close the hole.  The doctor said the device used to close the hole is made perfectly for her case.  Apparently, the hole in her heart is in the center of the wall separating the two chambers, so there is plenty of room on all sides to insert this device.

If you didn’t want to know all the details, I’m sorry.  I’m recording all this information because it’s fresh.  I know that in two years time when we go back for a check up, I will have forgotten all these details.  Like most blogs, I use this place as a record!

Ellie’s Cardiologist Appointment

Ellie had her appointment with the pediatric cardiologist this morning.

She had an EKG first with about a dozen sticky monitors. She wasn’t fond of them being pulled off. Then she was weighed and came in at 8 lbs 6 ozs. That’s my growing girl!

When the doctor came in, he listened with his stethoscope and said everything sounded normal. Then we put her up on a table for the sonogram. He looked all over her heart, examining each of the 4 chambers and watching each valve. She has an atrial septal defect. It’s an opening in between the two sides of the upper chambers. All children are born with it, but it usually goes away within a few weeks after birth. (This explains why NICU didn’t note it.) Her’s is still abnormally large.

Over time, the right side of the heart would have to work harder, and the blood vessels in the lungs could be damaged. However, it would take many years for something like that to happen. In our case, we will go back when she’s six months old for him to reexamine. If it still hasn’t healed, when she’s about school age, she would have surgery. They wouldn’t have to do open heart surgery. They could go in through a cathetar and place a meshy wire thing. He described it as a top hat with two brims: one at the top and one at the bottom. For the sewers out there, I thought of it as a bobbin. It would plug the opening, and the skin of the heart would eventually grow around it.

So, hopefully she’ll continue to grow and it will heal itself. Otherwise, she’ll have a minor surgery. Either way, the doctor did not really seem concerned. Heart murmurs are fairly common (some literature they gave us said as many as 1 in 5 adults had a murmur, or has one and may not even know it), so I know she’ll be fine. I feel great to be in Birmingham where we are surrounded by great specialty doctors.

In other news, Ellie started smiling last week! Brian still hasn’t seen a smile since she still sleeps a good bit, but I know he’ll see one soon! It’s very sweet!