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Oct 22

Posted by: ACHA
10/22/2013 10:12 AM  RssIcon

By Meghann Ackermann

It started right after we got married.

“When are you going to have a baby?”

In case my in-laws find this blog, no, this is not an announcement, but it’s something Victor and I have talked about. And, of course, his congenital heart defect has colored some of those discussions.

After talking to Victor’s cardiologist, we found out that the risk for any of our future children to be born with congenital heart defects is only slightly higher than the risk for a baby with two heart-healthy parents. It also helps that it’s Victor who has the congenital heart defect; apparently the risk goes up a bit more if it’s the mother who has a heart condition.

Knowing that medicine and technology is improving exponentially and seeing how “normal” of a life someone with CHD can have now is also very encouraging.

At the same time, I realize that CHD encompasses a wide range of issues, including many much worse than we’re dealing with. And, of course, any surgeries do come with some risk.

Fortunately, I guess, I’m OK with taking calculated risks. How this will work out for our family is yet to be seen, but the more I learn, the less scary it seems.

Meghann Ackerman is a writer, cook, cat fancier, crafter and zombie enthusiast living in Boston. In 2011, she married Victor Morse, a graphic/web designer, video gamer, comic book reader and punster who has aortic stenosis. Armed with a poor understanding of science, Meghann is learning all she can about congenital heart defects and how they may affect her family.

Copyright ©2013 ACHA

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4 comment(s) so far...


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Re: CHD and Baby Talk

Meghann......Hopefully many will respond to your question of whether or not to have children because of CHD. I wanted to share my story: My husband and I have no history of birth defects in our families. I lost my first two pregnancies, then gave birth to a daughter with 5 congenital heart defects: transposition of the great vessels, coarctation of the aorta, atrial septal defect, ventrical septal defect, and patent ductus arteriosis. Her first year of life was a rough one. Two bypass surgeries and a stroke. I found out I was pregnant when she was in the hospital for her second bypass surgery. I had 3 doctors advise me to terminate the pregnancy. Our son was born just 16 months after his sister. He was completely normal. I went on to have another healthy baby girl. And the daughter with the heart defects....she will turn 30 this year. She had open heart surgery at age 6 and again in Sept of this year......and she gave birth to two completely healthy little boys....now ages 10 and 5!! They are glorious! I was very afraid of her being pregnant, but she did fine. And the baby the doctors had advised I terminate? He served 4 years in the Army, 1 year in Iraq, is now a registered nurse running a dialysis center and has a beautiful healthy baby boy of his own. Good luck!!

By Colleen Lachenman on   10/27/2013 11:03 AM
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Re: CHD and Baby Talk

My wife and have a 13 month old baby boy. I am a 40 year old with a congenital defect - I have had an artificial aorta for 30 years now. I too was nervous about bringing a child in to this world and possibly passing on my defect. We were told the same thing from our doctor and went for it. It is easily the best decision we have made. Our baby is perfectly healthy and normal. We are now trying for number 2.

Good luck to you and your husband. I wish you the best!

By Clark on   10/27/2013 11:04 AM
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Re: CHD and Baby Talk

I know your fear. I am the mother of three perfect, healthy, wonderful young adults (26,24,20). I am also the one who was born with Tetralogy of Fallot and grew up with an uncertain future. I was told at one time not to have children then later learned the there was really only a slight elevated chance of a child having a heart defect. Only you two and your doctors can make an informed decision, but I am so glad despite my own fear that I did.

By Tamera Guarnieri on   10/27/2013 11:04 AM
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Re: CHD and Baby Talk

Meghann - My husband and I were married last June and are starting to have simmilar discussions. I am the one with a CHD (coartation of the aorta) and we've been weighing the pros and cons of me carrying a child. We are scared about the possibility of passing on a CHD to our baby, but I am also worrying about what the pregnancy will do to my body. I want to ensure that I am around for a long time to watch our baby grow! From what I've been told by my doctors, I have the green light to carry a baby. I've also been told that although there is an increased risk to pass on CHD, the risk isn't high enough NOT to have a baby. I hope this helps! Good luck!

Colleen - As I'm deciding whether or not to have a baby, I am looking to speak with another woman with coarctation about her experience with pregnancy. Do you think your daughter would be open to connecting with me?

By Abby Despins on   10/29/2013 9:47 AM

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