We have a squirmy child. The people in the cardiology department remembered us from our last visit 2 months ago. We're the ones who have one of the most active babies they've ever seen. I'm not sure if we're supposed to be proud or embarrassed. Even though Baby Roberts was still extremely active this visit (including a bout of the hiccups), the cardiologist was able to identify his heart defect. It's called an atrioventricular canal defect. The doctor said it can be a complex defect, but fortunately, we're looking at something less complicated. In November, the cardiologist thought the baby had a chamber that was too small. That would mean he would need surgery to make his heart work with 3 chambers rather than 4. That was bad and complicated. He mentioned that it's rare to see a chamber get bigger over time. Once it's small, it stays small. But here we are 2 months later, and all 4 chambers are the right size. What will need to be repaired is the wall between the chambers. The wall isn't complete and that creates a large hole in the heart. This wall keeps oxygen-rich blood from mixing with the oxygen-poor blood. This type of defect must be repaired in the first year of life - usually before 6 months.
Right now the doctors can't tell us exactly when the baby will need surgery. The timing will depend on how well the baby eats and if he gains weight after he's born. (It's hard for babies with heart problems to eat because eating is a workout and it puts a strain on their hearts.) We still can't rule out a chromosomal abnormality, but the prenatal specialist didn't see any other problems during the ultrasound. Even though the AV canal defect is common in babies with Downs Syndrome, the doctors haven't identified any other markers that could indicate Downs.
We know now that the baby will be taken to the NICU right after he's born. From there, the doctors will monitor him and determine when he'll need surgery. The longer he can wait, the better.
We have another ultrasound scheduled for February 4. We'll also be having another echo sometime in February. The cardiologist said that things can change. I'm not sure how much can change or if anything will, but we're still praying for a perfectly formed little heart come March 30.