What should have been a normal checkup at the paediatrician's office ended up as a cause for concern. Our girl April was getting her vaccination and we realised something was amiss when the doctor took more than 10 minutes to listen to her heart through his stethoscope.
According to the doctor, our child had a murmur in her heart.
Naturally worried, we asked what could be the cause.
She told us that the worst possibility was that it was a hole in our baby's heart.
I could not believe that and looking at our active 2.5-month-old baby girl, we did not suspect anything. How could we?
We were then advised to monitor her condition. Should her body turn blue when she cried, we needed to take her to the hospital immediately.
We asked the paediatrician the many questions that popped in our heads. In the end she wrote us a referral letter to see a cardiologist for a further checkup.
It was really scary for us because our child had not had any problems before that and our 18-month-old son had not had any health problems either.
I had sleepless nights for a whole week after that. I began searching the Internet for information and asking friends and relatives for advice.
The more information we had, the more we discovered that the symptoms matched what our daughter had, and the more worried I became.
Imagine knowing that one of the symptoms of hole-in-the heart babies is slow weight gain.
Slow weight gain could be no cause for alarm and yet it could very well be one of the symptoms of a hole in the heart.
I became more paranoid.
Feeling helpless, I opted to go for a second opinion.
The second doctor said she did hear a tiny murmur but it was hardly audible. After a complete examination, she said it was a normal murmur and that we had nothing to worry about for now. She explained that the placement of the heart’s artery could cause a murmur.
As for the weight gain, she said it’s normal for breastfed babies.
Nevertheless, it is still safe to monitor our baby's condition.
I learnt a lesson from this and I hope other parents will also learn to get a second opinion before jumping to conclusions.
This article features at Parenthots September 2009.
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