My Baby Has a VSD (Ventricular Septal Defect)


March 15th, 2019. That was the day we found out about Baby E’s VSD (Ventricular Septal Defect). My heart is carrying a heavy burden ever since.

We woke up earlier that morning to get ready for Everlee’s first checkup at the pediatrician. We had dropped the older kids off with the grandparents and headed off to the doctor. When we arrived, we got checked in, filled out all of the necessary paperwork for a newborn and waited. I was so excited to see how much she had “grown” the last three days and hear the doctor tell me how perfect she was when it was almost over.. That’s when reality hit me dead in the face.

“Everlee Palmer,” we heard the nurse calling. We headed back to the room, got her undressed for a weight and height check. Baby E was 6lbs 3oz and 19 inches long, she had lost about six ounces since leaving the hospital. Which was pretty normal for a newborn. The doctor soon came in and began asking us the routine questions, I answered them. She was breastfed about every two hours or taking 1.5 ounces of pumped milk, she was sleeping great and everything seemed normal. The doctor checked her umbilical cord and ended up cutting the large clamp the hospital had left on. Then, he began listening to her heart. He asked if we had noticed that she would breathe faster and slower at times. Shockingly, I nodded my head and said yes, but I thought it was just those normal newborn dreams where they breathe hard and their little eyes open and close. He continued listening and kept making slight facial expressions while listening and didn’t say anything. It’s like he kept re-checking something. 

After he was finished, I wondered, but didn’t yet ask any questions. He quickly left the room, came back about five minutes later and then told us that Baby E had a slight heart murmur and that he would like to have it checked by a Pediatric Cardiologist as soon as possible. He told us he would like it checked that day and asked if we could go that day. Of course, without hesitation, I said yes. He then told us he would call them and let them know we are coming. We left the appointment and drove as safely, but as quickly as we could. We were a nervous wreck. 

We arrived at the East Tennessee Children’s Koppel Plaza and followed the map which led us to Dr. Sharma, the Pediatric Cardiologist. We got there, filled out tons of paperwork about our family histories. I never realized until that very moment how many heart issues our families had. And it was on both sides of my family and one side of Jordans. While I was deep in the paperwork, they called us back. They took us back to a tiny little blue room. There was pictures of hearts everywhere, from ones that children had drawn to paintings and pictures by Andy Warhol. 

The nurses had me undress her, took her vitals, weighed her and measured her as well. They began to put these little plastic 3M stickers all over her tiny little chest, then hooked her up to a machine by placing little clamps onto the little stickers. The screen which she was hooked up to, looked very similar to the heartbeat screen while she was in the womb. She kept wiggling and moving which caused it to throw an error message, so they proceeded again and I had to do my best to her as still as possible. After this, they printed us a piece of paper which we took down the hall to the Echo Lab. This is where it all began.. 

As we walked into the Echo Lab, I had to fill out a little bit more paperwork and give our insurance cards. They receptionist was so sweet and kept telling us how beautiful E was. After we were finished with that, she gave me a tiny yellow card that read “parking pass,” I thought to myself that was nice. We sat down and waited to be called back. About 15 minutes later, an older lady came out with scrubs on said to follow her. We walked down this long hallway and into this dark room. It was very similar to the layout of an ultrasound room. She had us lay Everlee down on the table and unfold her swaddle. Then the test has started. It took about 30 minutes. Constant weird faces while she moved this little probe around on E’s chest. And even more reasons to make me more nervous than I already was. 

After the test was finished, she led us back to the waiting area and told us to go back to the Cardiologists waiting room. We waited and waited and then a taller, darker skinned man walked out and told us to come back in. He led us to a room where he drew out exactly what was wrong with Everlee’s heart. He said he thought would be able to process it easier with a picture, rather than him telling us in words that we probably wouldn’t understand. Long story, short, Everlee had a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), which is a hole in the wall separating the two lower chambers of the heart. He mentioned how he was so confused as to how the hospital didn’t catch it and neither did my OB. He was even more confused when he found out I had a normal pregnancy with Everlee and was not high risk. It was all the craziest thing. Then he proceeded to tell us that everyone is born with two holes in their hearts, but they generally almost always close up, but even if they don’t, it normally doesn’t cause any issues. Well, one of those also had not closed up yet in addition to the VSD. He reassured us multiple times that it was nothing we had done and that many people live with this and how for most it doesn’t cause any issues, because they either stay the same size or get smaller. But he said if the VSD got bigger then surgery might be required to close it up once she was a little older. Then of course, he had to read us the symptoms of heart failure and that if we noticed any of those to call him immediately. Other than that, he wanted to see us back in April once she was six weeks old and that he would continue monitoring it from there on out. 

That’s when the tears began to flow. My perfect newborn babe that I had only gave birth to, three days ago, was now diagnosed with a heart issue. I remembered how he told me not to Google this condition because it would scare me even more and that’s exactly what I did. I had to know more. In all reality, it didn’t scare me. I actually found lots of success stories about them closing up before 18 months. I just had to pray and I prayed hard. 

•••

Everlee Jane is now about 6 weeks old. She just had her six week check-up with Dr. Sharma, her Pediatric Cardiologist and so far things are exactly the same as they were six weeks ago. She does weigh 7lbs 6oz now. She is growing more everyday. And I am praying harder everyday. I was shocked at how content and calm I was with the news he gave us the other day. Of course, I would’ve loved to hear that everything was perfect, but knowing that they have stayed the same size gives me hope. They aren’t getting bigger and that’s a huge plus! We will go back in another six weeks, in June, and they will do another Echocardiogram and we will go from there. That will give us more in depth details. Until then, we will just remain as calm as we can and pray that God will help heal our baby girls heart. 


• more pictures of E at six weeks old •















— More about a VSD: 
What a VSD is?
VSD is a hole in the wall separating the two lower chambers of the heart. Normally, the left side of the heart only pumps blood to the body, and the hearts right side only pumps blood to lungs. In a child with VSD, blood can travel across the hole from the left pumping chamber (left ventricle) to the right pumping chamber (right ventricle) and out into the lung arteries. If the VSD is large, the extra blood being pumped into the lung arteries makes the heart and lungs work harder and the lungs can become congested. 

What are symptoms of a VSD? 
So far, in Everlee, all that we have noticed is rapid and heavy breathing. However, other symptoms for babies can include tiring while eating, fatigued etc. 

— According to her PC, he says unless it happens every single time she eats, then it’s more than likely not heart related. Which is good. 


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I chose to share this to bring light to these times in our lives. I would love to hear success stories. Please share your experiences with us! We definitely could use the support right now, as this is the scariest thing I’ve ever had to deal with in this journey through motherhood. As I’ve been told before, “you’re strong, but she is stronger” and I truly believe that with all of my heart. God is so good and I know he doesn’t make mistakes. He will heal our baby girl. I have no doubt. Thank you so much for reading! 

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