Monday, 13 September 2010

Just an innocent murmur

Baby Badger's eight-week check went almost without incident. (This was, of course, several weeks ago.) Feeding and weight gain were coming along nicely; hips were fine (although it was a little disconcerting to be told by the doctor that she was "trying to dislocate them to prove that they wouldn't"); the fontanelle (soft spot on the head) was the expected size. The only slight concern was a heart murmur.

Unsurprisingly, my own pulse raised a little when I heard this. The doctor told me that Baby Badger would be referred for a further examination at the local children's hospital. She went on to reassure me that one in four babies have a slight heart murmur at this age and she'd probably be made to look an idiot when the murmur had disappeared by the time the referral came through. As promised, a few weeks later a letter arrived and I was given a choice of hospitals I could attend for the examination together with a number to ring to arrange the appointment.

That appointment was today. Father Badger was working so my mum came along for some company. To be honest, I wasn't particularly worried - I make it a policy to assume the best case scenario until proven otherwise, as it leads to a much happier experience of life - but it was nice to have some company in the waiting room. Although we weren't kept waiting too long, Baby Badger was starting to get a bit hungry (and therefore cranky) - it had been a couple of hours since the last feed due to the time it takes me to get from our rural area to the hospital via the park and ride. I prepared myself for the inevitable screaming when the sleepsuit was removed and cleaned my hands in order to provide my little finger for sucking!

The doctor arrived and I made to hand Baby Badger over only to be told to keep hold of her as she'd be nuch happier. I cradled her in one arm while the poppers [a.k.a. press studs to the Americans reading this] over her torso were opened and braced myself for the scream and... nothing. The doctor was cooing and wiggling her eyebrows and Baby Badger was smiling beaming back at her! The whole appointment went smoothly as the stethoscope was applied across her chest and back and her pulse was taken at wrist and hips.

The outcome? Baby Badger has an "innocent murmur": the heart is fine and it's actually the blood flow that's being heard. As she puts on weight, there will be more body mass between the heart and the stethoscope and eventually the murmur will not be heard. Phew!

Image: jscreationzs /

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