Day 40: Innocent murmur

We have a good night's sleep after hosting a dinner with friends, but Alex and I are both up at 4 am wide eyed. 

The windows in our bedroom face the backyard, so I'm surprised and scared to see what looks like a flashlight coming from the front of the house. I pick up Tommy and Alex scrambles for his phone. Alex says it looks like someone left a bag by our front door. I suddenly remember I panic-ordered saline spray for Tommy when he was congested yesterday morning. Can you tell we're first time parents who live in quiet suburbs haha

After all the excitement, Tommy is asleep in his bassinet, but we're awake because Tommy has a cardiologist appointment and I need Alex's optimism to keep my mind from spinning out. Tommy's pediatrician heard a heart murmur at his 1 month appointment. Her instructions were "do NOT freak out" and yet here we are, awake at 4 am.

(Per doctor's orders, I did not actively seek out any information, but Instagram did serve me this content which was not helpful.)

Thankfully our appointment is at 8:30. It's at Stanford Children's Hospital, but in Walnut Creek, right across the street from where Tommy was born. Tommy seems like a dream baby patient to me: curious about the EKG stickers and cords snaking across him, but not crying or fussy. But the nurse is not impressed. She needs us to hold him still. We try lullabies and pinky in his mouth but he just wants to keep moving his arms. Finally, we get an EKG and we move on getting blood pressure. 

Nurse says I can hold him, but she needs his right arm. I do that, but she insists I flip him on the other side. I say, "That's left arm." "Oh that's HIS left arm?" I want to say it's not specific to him, but ya, that's his left. She tries to hold his arm straight while the tiniest blood pressure cuff squeezes it. To me, it looks like she's twisting Tommy's arm right out of its socket. Understandably, he protests. I want to pull this nurse's frizzy hair.

While waiting for the doctor to tell us EKG results, we spot this white noise machine we've been eyeing. We turn down the lights and turn it on. It's nice!

The doctor is tall and model-thin and has the most gorgeous green eyes. She stands by the computer and types super fast while talking to us. She is surprised that Tommy is 5 weeks, says he has a knowing expression on his face. I hold Tommy while she listens to his heart with her eyes closed. She rocks to the beat of his heart when she finds it. She says the EKG showed a borderline abnormality, so we'll need an echocardiogram. I kind of black out not hearing anything after abnormal EKG but the doctor ends up holding Tommy and twisting her torso side to side with Tommy kind of going for a centrifuge ride haha. I take note that this is apparently ok to do.

Echo technician peeks in the room. She sees that I'm nursing and covers me with a blanket for our walk down the hall to the echocardiogram room. She sets up pillows for me to lay next to Tommy to nurse while she does the echo. The room is dim and quiet except for white noise and her click-clacking on the knobby echo machine. I fully realize that we're here getting the echo because EKG didn't look good and start crying.

Echo takes 45 minutes or so. Technician says she needs to discuss with the doctor but the doctor is with another patient. We wait. Finally, technician peeks in the room again and says smiling, "Nap time is over". We meet the doctor back in the first room and she gives us the good news. Tommy has a small hole in his heart (patent foramen ovale) which is normal for a 5 week old. She says it could still close, and even if it doesn't, it's totally fine. She says maybe he should be careful going scuba diving.

It's pouring rain on the drive home. I sit in the front seat for the first time since Tommy was born. At home, I sway with Tommy in the kitchen humming a lullaby and he smiles with his eyes half closed. I finally feel like maybeeee we'll be ok.