Innocent

So, April. April, April, April.

Last April I was worried sick over my new baby. I didn’t talk much about it in real time because 1, I was exhausted from sheer lack of sleep and 2, because I was busy convincing myself that it was completely my fault that we were struggling like whoa with breastfeeding. It took C six days to gain back her birthweight. I was racked with guilt for supplementing her with formula. I detest admitting fault (even when it’s not my fault) so I swept the entire topic under the rug and pretended that I was completely in control. Hint: I wasn’t. Another hint: no one is (except on those rare occasions that they are.)

Fast forward one year. Today C had her one year checkup. In the waiting room I checked off all the boxes on the worksheet that proved that I have One Healthy Child. It was a wonderful feeling to know that my baby is perfect perfect perfect and that this set of papers was just the document to prove it. She’s walking. She’s babbling. She’s expressing love and care. She’s feeding herself.

They checked her heartbeat.

“Hmmmm. It seems like there is a little murmur. I wouldn’t worry. This is very normal and most of the time it’s an ‘innocent’ murmur.”

Innocent. Like it’s just hanging out in her heart, waiting for the bus. No, ma’am, I don’t mean to cause any trouble. Move along.

But just to be sure this murmur is minding its own business and is really only at the wrong place at the wrong time, being accused of something that it has no intent of doing, C is going in for an echo sonogram next week. I’m worrying over a probable nothing and this is likely days-old April breastfeeding all over again.

It got hot within the last 36 hours. I took C out in her stroller for a walk this afternoon and put on my Teva sandals which I haven’t worn in a year. The leather on them is worn and soft because I traipsed all over Seoul in them during the Korean rainy season. They know my feet but my feet are acting like they are foreign. I had a blister by the time our one-hour walk was over. My feet and my mind are the same. Whenever life introduces a hiccup much like all the other hiccups they’ve known before, I am completely discombobulated. I worry and stress (what’s new?) over small things that will likely be completely remedied by infant formula, meds, and a bit more walking.

This, I am learning, is parenthood. I will worry. Sometimes it will be over small things that are innocent, and sometimes it will be over big nasty beasts that I will remove my gloves and bloody noses for. But I will always do what is best for my girl and care for her every time a new blister boils up.

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86 comments

  1. Positive thoughts are with you all!

    1. Thank you. I will take them ;D

  2. I still wouldn’t know how much a parent could love and fuss over his/her child but I think I have a fairly good idea–my mom made sure of that. My prayers are with C, it’s never good to see anybody so young to be sick. But nah, you’re doing everything you could. She will be fine. :)

    1. It is truly insane how my worrying capabilities got kicked into overdrive the moment I had her. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. We really appreciate them.

  3. Innocent until proven guilty! I’m thinking good thoughts about it for you. I’m a hardcore worrier, too. I think I’ve inherited that from my mother.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Katie! Moms are worriers to in the inth degree. We all need to lay off the stuff and listen to some Bobby McFarine.

  4. The worrying never stops. My 93-year-old grandmother still worries about her children.

    1. Bless her heart. I guess I should just settle in.

  5. It’s good to have a doctor who checks things out to be on the safe side. We’ve had doctors who’ve been opposite. Know it’s all right and move on. Hope everything is OK.

    1. That is my thought exactly. We have been told that a lot of the doctors just wait around and see if it remedies itself naturally. I’m grateful we have a doctor who is so proactive.

  6. twindaddy · · Reply

    It really probably is nothing, but it’s better to have it checked just to see. I’m sure she’ll be fine.

    1. I really hope so. Thanks, TD.

  7. I’m sure she’s fine, too, Emily. But the echo is a benign test and easy on her and definitely worth checking out for your peace of mind.

    1. That’s really good to hear. She’s getting to the age where going to the doctor scares her a little (she totally freaked out with the stupid tongue depressor) so it’s good that this test won’t be too “traumatizing.”

      1. Have you thought about getting her a doctor play set? I know she’s still a little young for the pretend play, but you and her could do doctor stuff with each other for a few days before an appointment, and maybe she’d see how fun it can be. Even bring the play set so she can give the doc a check-up or something, make it fun. :)

  8. Ashley Austrew · · Reply

    I’m glad the doctor is being proactive. She’s going to be just fine. She IS just fine. But I know your head must be about to explode from all the worry. Let me know how it goes and if I can do anything like move and become your next door neighbor so we can hang out and worry about our kids until we’re 90.

    1. That sounds excellent. Yes to it all. ;D

  9. Love to the 100th power = worry, so go for it ! I’m sending hugs & comforting thoughts your way.

    1. Thank you xoxox

  10. Babies are tougher than we give them credit for. The real fear is that we can’t hear them say “Oh it’s not that bad.” Keep an eye out on her and spoil her rotten. That always solves everything. I’m pretty sure all parents go through this which is why I know I’m not ready for parenthood any time soon.

    1. She is currently afraid of a couple of the toys she got for her birthday (they sing horrible shrill songs and have blinking red lights) so spoiling her would amount to taking them and locking them in the closet far, far away from her. That’s one easy thing, I suppose. Thanks, Tim.

  11. Good luck with the murmur. It’s never possible to not worry. Let us know what happens.

    1. You know I will. Thanks.

  12. Oh sweet friend, I am a worrier too. I am completely in love with Miss C and would drop kick anyone or anything that ever tried to hurt her. I know this is scary, but I am so happy you have a good doctor and that all of the outcomes are good ones, or, at least, manageable ones. Hoping with you for the very best!

    1. I love you too! We are very blessed to have a great doctor for her who is proactive and assuring. Side note, she tried on the little striped dress you and Eric sent for her birthday and ZOMG CUTEST THING EVER. Truly, truly adorable beyond comprehension. I will send you pics ;D

  13. I have yet to meet the perfectly healthy, problem free baby or the non-worrying mother. Lily has had random epileptic seizures throughout her life – more when she was little. The fact that they were random made my worrying so much worse, as you can imagine. They made me a nervous wreck. She also has one kidney with two ureters! My poor deformed, broken child!! Babies have stuff that disappears with age very often. I had all kinds of crap when I was young. I still have a heart murmur and it hasn’t stopped me from doing A N Y T H I N G. I’m super active and always have been. No worries, momma Em… little Cee is a perfectly normal and healthy baby, not to mention beautiful. Try not to be anxious because she’ll pick up on that. Just Kidding!!! LOL!

    1. I hope I am not totally inappropriate and horrible for giggling a bit at “my poor, deformed broken child!” In a strange way, I am a little glad that we’re all going through this right now because this whole murmur thing is growing hair on our collective family chest. OK now it just sounds like we are a three-headed monster with a ginormous torso. Thanks, Lisa. As always, your words bring me more comfort than you could imagine.

  14. I always think it’s better to know than to not know. I think your brain is a scarier place than any medical concerns could be in reality. Good to get things checked out though.
    And look how far you’ve come. Perspective means a lot.

    1. “Your brain is a scarier place than any medical concerns could be in reality.” This is SO TRUE. I may need to write that down and tape it to my bathroom mirror. Thanks, Tania.

  15. We are writing from opposite ends of the spectrum Emily. You are new to this, and I am much, much further in the game. The reality is that it never gets all that much easier. As moms, we worry. We care so much, and the stakes are big. They just are. We are raising, nurturing, loving, human beings… who will go out in the world and make their own impact. It’s so much bigger than I appreciated when I started. That said, there are things that feel big in the beginning that move to the bottom of the pile. Hopefully the tests all show that Cee is just as healthy and happy as you knew she was waiting for that appt. Murmurs are common, and often mean nothing… just went thru’ this with a good friend, when they found a murmur at her daughter’s 4 yr. check up. Scary, but all is well. I’m sure you will feel a lot better when this is done. What a wild and wooly journey it is, n’est cest pas?

    1. It certainly is. I have actually been thinking a lot about your recent post because what you said about the fears you have for your children never really going away, but just being replaced by other fears, is something I am beginning to understand. When C was first born and things were comparatively easy and boring, my mom told me that it would get a lot more fun and exciting, but with that added activity come circumstances that make you worry like a crazy person. It’s all true! But I’ll take the pain and the fear because it just means we’re living, y’know? That probably doesn’t make much sense but from one beginner mom to another who’s run the gamut, I truly appreciate your kindness, Dawn.

      1. My boy is turning 21 on Friday and is in some province in China, where I can’t reach him. I’m so excited for him, but some days I really am totally overwhelmed with fears. It’s not practical; I know that. It’s not practical to watch your new babies and worry that they might not be breathing… but giving birth just turns on some button we didn’t know we had, when we were out doing crazy things to make our own mothers lose sleep. For years we kept a suture kit at home (dad’s a dr.) and baby proofing is never complete… there’s no teen proofing, but man! I have stopped counting my gray hairs. They multiply weekly! Hang in there mommy; Cee will be fine. xo

  16. Sending you positive vibes and cuddles. My mum had a heart murmur throughout childhood. She was diagnosed shortly after birth, and her dad cried when they found out. He said she had a perfectly round head “like a football” (he was English, so not a Stewie head) and …she was perfect…
    Mum went for a heart checkup every year until she was about 12 or 13. Her dad always took her, and it was always just the two of them–the other kids weren’t invited, and they would always go for ice cream afterwards. The doctor was really nice and she came to look forward to the “five-armed octopus machine” (although they probably have something much more modern now). Going for the annual checkup became a really special day that they shared.
    By the time Mum was in her teens, the murmur was thoroughly undetectable. Shortly after, her dad died. The doctor had declared her done with his services, so their annual outing was finished in two senses. Every once in a while she asks her family GP to check for the murmur, but it’s gone.
    Mum has never experienced anything you’d call a symptom of the heart murmur. She works out a lot and has personal trainer certification, so it certainly hasn’t held her back from anything physically. And neither of the kids inherited it.
    Very worrying, though, so all our best wishes and thoughts are with you.

    1. That is a really beautiful story, LB. Who would have thought that going in for heart checkups would be something that would bond you mum and her dad? It’s little things like that that make me appreciate how we are given the best parents for us (except when we’re not, but I’m all kumbaya right now so you know.)

      Thank you for your encouraging words. I am remaining optimistic; just writing this post helped lighten the load a lot for me, and it’s extremely encouraging to hear of cases like yours where a heart murmur was not a damning thing. Thank you, my friend.

  17. Praying for you guys!

    My husband had a heart murmur as a baby. It repaired itself and he now trains for marathons. I’m praying C is the same way.

    1. Thank you! If C ever trains for a race, it will be because my husband’s genes are kicking in. I am crossing my fingers she does not inherit my inclination towards inertia.

  18. I’m with you, Emily. The worrying never seems to stop. I wish you well with that murmur and hope it’s just a little hiccup. I’ll think positive thoughts!

    1. Thanks, Amy! I certainly appreciate it!

  19. Ooooo, the waiting (so to speak) and discovery process (even if empty) is never fun. Yes, try to focus only on the positive in that you have a very healthy girl with no “other” symptoms… I had to take my daughter in for a heart round-up exam a few yrs ago because she gets terrible palpitations. They did the full spectrum including an ultrasound, and she wore a monitor for a week… found nothing. No leaks, no strange rhythms, no clock springs. I am glad for that, but still, in the back of my mind, there is a what-if… yes, parenthood.

    1. Don’t you just love how our minds go there? The what-if possibilities are endless and often extend into hellish territory that would likely never, ever happen.

  20. The worry never goes away–not when they’re one, and not when they’re a 15 year old teenager giving us grief. :)

    Innocent murmurs are indeed common–just the sound of blood whooshing through a child’s heart which beats faster than our own and thus makes more ‘noise’–but as a parent, I know any question of a potential problem in our children scares us, so I wish you well with the echo. The good news is, it doesn’t hurt to get one. Much better than blood draws!

    1. It is so good to hear your take on it! And I am extremely glad that it’s a pretty simple exam because she really freaked out at the doc’s yesterday when they used the tongue depressor on her tongue. She is a bit dramatic. (I can’t imagine where she gets it.) Thanks, Carrie.

      1. My pleasure. But although I can’t promise she won’t freak out, I can promise a heart ultrasound doesn’t hurt. :)

  21. *Hugs* Even when it’s probably nothing, a possible something feels really big. :/

    1. That’s true, but writing this really helped me get a lot of the anxiety out in the open and clear it away for clear thinking. Thanks, lady ;D

  22. I am a CHRONIC worrier, I couldn’t imagine how I’d be if I had a kid. A coworker once told me this, and maybe it will help you too: “Don’t worry about worry until worry worries you.”

    1. That is some solid advice. I’m not incapacitated with worry yet, so that is something to celebrate.

  23. I am keeping good thoughts for little Cee – sounds like it’s a precautionary measure to reassure you that it’s an ‘innocent’ murmur. It’s hard to not worry – but she’s not worrying at all – so be like the baby and giggle a lot (and spit up on her too – just for fun!)

    1. I should! I will also cuddle my bunny when I get anxious. It certainly works for her ;D

      1. Babies know best. Just don’t poop in your pants w/o a diaper

          1. Or you can – it’s up to you….

  24. They found Little A’s murmur at six months, recognized it again at nine months but it’s still “shallow” so they aren’t doing further tests right now. I can’t decide if that’s better or worse for my over-thinking hypochondriac yet shove-it-under-the-rug mind (which is also why I haven’t scheduled that damn hearing test yet). Keeping you in my thoughts!

    1. When they first told you, did you completely freak out? I don’t really have any frame of reference when it comes to heart murmurs in babies because I have no frame of reference for babies in general, but also because I hear “heart trouble” and my mind just goes to the worst possible place without taking into account how not big a deal it probably is. Our kids will probably end up competing on the same Olympic team together ;)

      1. I did, but then so many people told me about their heart murmurs or their kids murmurs or their second cousin’s uncles stepson’s murmurs that I was able to stop worrying. EXCEPT when the Little A’s heart starts racing when he gets excited or is crawling like a maniac. Then I’m all OMG THIS IS IT HIS HEART IS GOING TO EXPLODE IT’S ALL OVER.

  25. Worrying SUCKS. I hope that sometimes you catch yourself not worrying…..like the worrymonster forgot to visit this afternoon, or he got lost on his way to your dreams.

    1. I need to keep the worrymonster busy with something else. Maybe I can train him to do my taxes and clean the toilets.

      1. When you figure out how to do that, let me know!

  26. Here, I will tell you a funny doctor story to get your mind off things.

    Wee Amy was petrified of the doctor (who had the WORST bedside manner ever – he used to yell at me if I would even wiggle. I yelled at my mom recently for taking me to him and she agreed, he hated children. So, going into pediatrics seems a weird choice.) Anyway, he was super-diligent with the tongue depressor. He used to jam it all the way back to my uvula. So the first time he did that I immediately projectile vomited on him. He was FURIOUS. Then once he mopped up, he did that knee-hammer thing, and did it super-hard. So I kicked him in the face.

    From that point on, Mom had to bribe me to go to the doctor. I remember getting super-cool sets of Colorforms if I behaved. So I didn’t vomit on him again. Although MAN did I want to. What a jerk. He always gave me the stink eye when I went in there, so I made him THINK I might vomit. Have to keep these people on their toes.

    Much love to all of you today. I have very powerful good thoughts, when I concentrate. So therefore, all will be well. I just know it.

    1. You.Are.Awesome. I think your pediatrician was related to the wanker doctor who delivered C. If you want to compare notes, here is my account of him: http://notthehardestpart.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/born-this-way-part-one/

      Thank you so much for your positive thoughts, Amy. Just writing this and getting it off my chest has helped tremendously and it’s wonderful to be surrounded by a beautiful group of blogging friends (bliends if you’re nasty) who will be thinking of us. Oh Lord kumbaya.

      1. My doctor was Dr. B, but that’s not far from Dr. C. AND his son is now practicing! THEY COULD BE THE SAME PERSON*! (*no, they really couldn’t, but I like high melodrama a great deal.)

        Blogging does seem to help with some things, it’s true. And don’t we all have the best bliends? See, I’m totally nasty, yo.

  27. First, I can’t believe its been one year already! Second, C will be fine, she has you for a mom.

    1. You are so sweet. Thanks, Navi. It has been quite a year, eh? ;D

      1. It has been. And you are welcome!

  28. I think all loving mothers have the worry gene. It’s in their DNA. I think you’re handling this the right way. Hopefully, it really is innocent.

    1. Thanks, Lamey. (I’m going to call you that; is that OK? It sounds better than Lame-O, which you are decidedly not.) We are crossing our fingers and toes that all is well.

      1. I’m crossing my legs and eyes that everything is okay and health issues (preferably of a minor variety) will smack Cee after she turns 50. Call me V.

  29. C’s gonna ace that test. Make sure she studies. And Squatch is sending all his good jujus to North Carolina for a good result.

    1. Thank Squatch for me. We have her studying as we speak. It’s just gonna get her primed for the SAT.

  30. gavmomof2 · · Reply

    Worrying comes with the territory. It’s the added parenting bonus no one ever told you about. Here is your silver lining – she has no clue what’s going on and therefore, cannot worry. I was 7 or 8 when I was told I had a murmur. I can remember everything! It was scary! And it’s an innocent murmur that moved in and hasn’t moved out :). Good luck!

    1. That’s a really, really good reminder. My mom often reminds me also that I don’t remember going to the hospital when I was 3.5 to have tubes in my ears, although at the time it really scared and upset me. It’s comforting that even though these little ones are taking so much in, they don’t carry the details of their infantile fears with them throughout life. Thanks, Gavmom.

      1. gavmomof2 · · Reply

        You’re welcome – hang in there and keep us posted :)
        ~Maria

  31. I can imagine that this must be a stressful time, and I really hope everything is okay with Cee – in fact I’m sure of it! Every mum will worry, so don’t… worry about worrying ;) xxx

    1. Thanks, Pixie. Writing this out and hearing other people’s experience with heart murmurs has been really encouraging though. I am so lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful people.

  32. Murmurs are really harmless and boring about 90% of the time and the other 10% they are just mired in uncertainty. There is a long standing joke ‘how many nurses does it take to hear a heart murmur’. The answer is one to hear it and at least nine other people and a cardiologist with a fancy stethoscope. The last person will eventually order an echocardiogram and only then will we be kind of certain. It is probably the most annoying heart sound, because of how subtle and silent it is. Murmurs are really only useful as bragging tools for other nurses.

    Other nurse bragging tools

    Dobhoff tubes – Unlike nasogastric tubes these feeding tubes are slid down your nose and into your duodenum. The last part is pretty much done blindly. Thirty minutes later an abdominal x-ray will let your friends and other nurses know how awesome you are.

    Foley catheters in elderly obese women – It’s a jungle down there and finding the right hole can be difficult. Thankfully, you have a one in three chance of getting it right.

    IV sites and druggies – you haven’t lived until you’ve slid an IV site between the left big toe of a druggy who has destroyed every vein in their body. I’ve never done this personally, but I’ve heard tales of a friend of a friend who knew a guy once that someone else do this. Thirty seconds later this site will blow and someone will order a central line.

    Wow, this has become a really long comment. I should probably write a post about this and link back to your website. Stay tuned.

    1. Like I said to Carrie Rubin above who is also a health professional, it is really, really comforting to hear your take on this. Knowing that heart murmurs are often nothing much to worry over is extremely empowering. Now I can go back to worrying about her getting into college ;D

  33. [...] recently visited Emily at The Waiting blog and after leaving a comment on her excellent post about heart murmurs the narcissist in me was [...]

  34. Em Em Em. C is perfect and you have done an amazing job. The fact that you are worrying shows that you are a great mom. Like my mom said, I was practically a mutant when I was born and I turned out foinnneee. Don’t worry. C is strong and healthy. The murmur will get on it’s bus and head out of town soon enough. No worries. :)

    1. You are awesome, Lils. You were definitely a little mutant who could rock a bathing suit ;D

  35. unfetteredbs · · Reply

    I’m sure she will be fine.(sending my prayers) We moms have a built in worry-o-meter and it never stops clicking– I have the gray hair to prove it :)

    1. Hehe me too. I have sprouted my fair share of grays since she was born. Garnier Fructis is now my best friend.

      1. unfetteredbs · · Reply

        Be brave. Go gray.

  36. My mum once gave me a notepad which had the quotation: ‘Worrying works. 90% of the things I worry about never happen.’ Not that that stops me from worrying, usually! I hope everything goes fine with the tests… will be thinking of you and looking forward to an update to that effect!

    1. Thank you, Bean! I agree with that quote entirely. Thanks for your kind words and I will for sure post an update on how it goes.

  37. [...] a little more personal.  As fellow bloggers we often challenge each other; we roast each other; we comfort; we educate, we support each other in our journeys, and sometimes, we actually meet… face [...]

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