We had a Fetal Echocardiogram done on Mary today. Once we got the Down syndrome diagnosis, the doctors told us that they wanted to take another look at her heart. Heart defects are a common health issue with this diagnosis, a 50% chance! With the preferred time for this being between 26 and 28 weeks, I ended up getting it scheduled for 28 weeks on the dot.
I was nervous about it but I wasn’t scared. My last 2 ultrasounds showed nothing wrong with the heart but I still had that “what if?” going on in my mind. What if they missed something? What if she has a hole in her heart? What if she needs surgery? What if it’s something else entirely that I am not even aware of?
I was not scared because my cousin’s daughter was born with heart condition that required surgery at 3 months of age. Now, she is an energetic 5 year old that was running around and playing with Alex when we visited earlier this year. I know that open heart surgery is scary but I have also seen how effective it is and how great a life they can lead afterwards. It’s not an unknown to me, but a lot of possibilities.
I got to the hospital about 15 minutes early. I always prefer to be early rather than be late. They called me back not long after I got there. I got set up and they did a limited ultrasound first. Not long after we started, I felt off. I was having a hard time catching my breath. From previous (non-pregnancy) experience I knew that I needed to get some deep breaths before I went into a panic attack. They sat me up and gave me a wet washcloth and that helped a bit. But then I started feeling hot, like I had a fever. I tried to tough it out so they could get the images they needed, but it got to be too much. They lowered my bed and had me roll onto my left side. I started feeling better shortly after that. I kept apologizing, feeling like I was being an inconvenience since now she needed to reach over me to do the ultrasound. She kept assuring me that I was fine and this was actually rather common. The ultrasound was over shortly after that and the doctor came in to do the echo-cardiogram. She set me up so that I was a little more leaned back, but still on my side. I had no other issues while she did the imaging. It was focused on the heart, looking at the valves, blood-flow and a long list of things. All told, the appointment took a little over an hour.
The great news is that they did not see anything to be concerned about! The doctor did tell me that they can miss things like a small hole in the heart and they might check for those after birth, but at this moment she sees nothing major that we need to worry about. This also means that no more fetal echo-cardiograms during the pregnancy. That was a huge relief to hear.
Stay healthy little one!