Mixed emotions after 20 week ultrasound

My husband and I just found out at our routine 20-week ultrasound that baby has a small ventricular septal defect between the heart chambers. It will be monitored further in case it doesn’t close on its own by birth. It caught us completely by surprise as our first pregnancy was straightforward for the most part. We already have a plan in place for the best and worst case outcomes (different delivering hospital, specialists, etc.) and hope it can help ensure a good outcome for baby. Please share with us any words of encouragement and your positive stories as well as any helpful advice for such pregnancies!

  • Sara
    Jun 20

    I can relate to how you're feeling. With my first daughter they identified a different issue during the 20 week ultrasound and I was not expecting it at all because up to that point everything was straightforward. I was monitored closely for the rest of my pregnancy and the issue ended up resolving on its own and she's a perfectly healthy 3 year old now. What I learned during that process is that ultrasound technology today is very sensitive and can pick up on a lot of things that turn out to be non-issues. Even if there is a defect that doesn't resolve, you're in great hands because it has been identified early and you're doing all the right things. Anyway just wanted to say hang in there and try not to let it stress you out (easier said than done).

  • Katie
    Jun 20

    @Sara Thanks so much for the encouraging words and very comforting to hear from someone who went through something similar, and had it turn out fine. Yeah, it’s definitely amazing we have the technology to see issues this far in advance. It would be so stressful just discovering this issue at birth and trying to figure out how to address it.

  • Mafalda
    Jun 20

    My daughter was born with several heart conditions! No one notice on ultrasounds and Thank God someone notice before she came home! She is 3 years old now, she had some surgeries but now she is great and have a perfect normal life! I know that feeling, and all the thoughts that you may have being but believe me that they are strong than they look like (and than us sometimes). We have incredible surgeons and medicine is so advanced that everything will be all right in a few time! For now you just have to focus on your beautiful baby, on you, live the moment and enjoy your pregnancy! You have to believe that everything is gone be ok and say it loud so you and your baby can hear! :)

  • Erika
    Jun 21

    I am a pediatric nurse and I have taken care of many babies with septal defects, as scary as it sounds, doctors are amazing and perform miracles every day. Every single baby I know who was born with that is absolutely thriving. You’d never know they were born with it. If it doesn’t resolve on its own, just know it’ll still be okay! As mentioned above ultrasounds are very sensitive. As baby gets bigger, you’ll figure out how to address it. Either way, baby will live a wonderful life 😊

  • Katie
    Jun 21

    @Mafalda Thank you for sharing such a positive story! Kids really are so resilient (even more than us!) It sounds like you were such a strong mama for your daughter and the surgeries went great. Our OB was telling us how far medical procedures have come due to advances, and you wouldn’t even know they’ve had procedures done. Thank you for the great reminder to live in the moment and try to enjoy the pregnancy - we do get so focused on addressing issues sometimes we forget to enjoy this precious time. Yes to staying positive!

  • Katie
    Jun 21

    @Erika your care of these babies is so inspiring to hear! They really do so well in the hands of loving nurses and amazing doctors. Yes we are full of optimism and hear about miracles all the time. I try to stay positive and think about how baby will be following in her sister’s footsteps in no time we hope!

  • Sara
    Jun 21

    I was born with an Atrial Septal Defect - I had a procedure to repair it (one night stay in the hospital) when i was in high school and I’m doing great! We didn’t notice an issue until high school when I started noticing a weird noise and got an ECHO. The hole was about the size of a dime.

  • Diana
    Jun 21

    I also have this condition. The one I was born with closed when I was a baby and a new one developed when i was a child that has remained open. It hasn’t caused me any complications, I just make every doctor I see aware of the issue. I hope everything is ok with your baby! You got this!! ♥️

  • Lisa
    Jun 21

    I was born with Tetrology of Fallet which is actually 4 heart defects, but one of them is this whole in between the chambers of the heart. At age 4 (1985), I had open heart surgery where they put a patch to close the whole. I have lead a perfectly normal life, even playing sports like Color guard and Basketball... I’m now 36 with 2 kids I had natural births with and I’m doing great, heart defects are not as scary as they once were, your baby will do great is this defect doesn’t correct itself by birth!!

  • Kathie
    Jun 21

    Hi Katie, I was born with the same defect and here I am 28 years later alive, healthy, and able to do anything anyone else can do. I was told I would not be able to have a baby because my heart wouldn’t be able to handle it. They were wrong. Times have changed, and bodies heal and become stronger. Although I cant speak for everyone with a congenital heart defect, I personally do not have to take any medication for it. I go to yearly check ups, but when I was younger they were every couple of months for monitoring. I didnt have open heart surgery until I was 3 years old because nobody knew. Your baby is lucky that the defect has been found before he/she has even been born. Everything will be fine, especially with the advancement in technology. Have faith! This defect is more common than you might think, and so many people live easy lives. All holes can be sewn. ❤️

  • Katie
    Jun 21

    @Sara i am so glad to hear you didn’t notice it much at all and later it only involved a one night stay at the hospital to repair! What a blessing. We are crossing our fingers that the baby will recover quickly from any minor or major procedures deemed necessary, even though with babies being so tiny it does make us as parents nervous, but I’m sure they will do fine!

  • Katie
    Jun 21

    @Diana We are hoping it will close in the baby period as it did for you - certainly the best possible outcome and it’s amazing how babies grow and develop! We also hope there will be no complications - it’s so reassuring to hear your experience!

  • Katie
    Jun 21

    @Lisa thank you for giving us this hope that the baby will lead a full wonderful life as you have as an athlete and mother!! When we got the news, our first concern was that it would set her back more than her sibling but with medical advances it seems we will not have to hold her back from doing any of the physical things that she wants to do!!

  • Katie
    Jun 21

    @Kathie it’s so great to hear medication wasn’t needed in your case! That’s so wonderful to hear it hasn’t limited your life in any way - and going to doctor visits are just a natural part of life I’m starting to learn haha. We did wonder how different feeding a baby would be this time with this condition and if they would need medication to eat better - I hope the doctors will explain it to us in due time :).

  • Lisa
    Jun 21

    Katie... the only restriction I ever had was no soccer or football because of the possible getting hit in the chest