Approximately one of every 100 babies is born with a congenital heart defect. ONE IN 100.
In the United States, that translates to one baby every 15 minutes. How is it possible that I knew nothing about the defect most likely to affect my baby? I was five times more likely to give birth to a child with a CHD than Down Syndrome, but I could tell you 100 percent more about Down Syndrome than CHDs. After finding out the sex of our baby at the 20 week ultrasound, we were told to schedule a follow up ultrasound for the following week because the tech said she couldn’t get good pictures of the heart do to positioning. We didn’t think anything of it. The following week I went to the OB’s office during lunch thinking it would be a quick appointment. I began to get nervous when the tech left the room for a long time. When she returned, a doctor was with her. He told me it looked like there was a large hole between the ventricles (ventricular septal defect or VSD) and perhaps an enlarged aorta. He couldn’t tell me much more – we would have to schedule an echocardiogram with a pediatric cardiologist from Lurie Children's Hospital to diagnose the defect/s. I was terrified – partly because there was something wrong with my baby’s heart and partly because I had no idea what that meant. For a week I looked up every heart defect I could and (rightly) scared the shit out of myself. There was a lot of information out there about CHDs, but I didn’t find it until I had a reason to look.