VSD & ASD: Mercie’s Story

Mercie was born with a ventricular septal defect (VSD) and an atrial septal defect (ASD). Her mum, Natasha, tells us about their journey:

I started my pregnancy with diabetes, so had extra monitoring and was put on insulin.

At my 20 week scan, the sonographer found a discrepancy with Mercie’s heart so told us to come back in two weeks. We came back, the sonographer found what she needed to, and that was that.

The rest of my pregnancy was pretty smooth, until 33 weeks when I started experiencing less fetal movements. By week 35, I was in pain, with high blood pressure, so my booked C-section was brought forward by a week. They kept me until I was 36 weeks, and then said they were going to send me home. However, between one consultant coming in to a registrar checking me, they said I’d have the baby within the hour. 

When Mercie arrived, she had to go to neonatal for her sugars but overall  she was a good weight at 7lb 4oz.  Days went by and I noticed her heart was in the 177s. I mentioned this to the nurse, but she said this can happen and it can take a few days to settle.

The day we were going to be discharged, Mercie was a week old. One consultant came to do a newborn check and noticed a murmur. That evening, Mercie took a turn for the worse.

It was horrible. They were taking blood from her feet, doing x-rays etc. The following day, she had an ECHO which showed she had large VSD , ASD and Hypoplastic Aortic Arch.

We had to go to Birmingham. I was reassured we had a chance of coming home the same day, but the moment I walked through the double doors of Ward 11, I knew we wouldn’t be leaving.

From the Wednesday to the Monday we played the waiting game, but on Monday we finally walked our two week old baby girl down to the theatre – the hardest and longest six hours of our lives.

Everything went well and we were on schedule for being discharged a week after surgery. However, Mercie had other ideas…

Myself, a nurse, a sister and a registrar were waiting to take out her line and pacing wires, when Mercie decided to turn blue. We got moved out of the way and people flew in from areas I didn’t know about… Mercie was reintubated and sent back down to PICU. It was the longest afternoon ever.

Mercie went into atrial flutter. They tried giving her potassium, but one of the consultants accidentally nicked her clotted artery, so they attempted her shins. Eventually, they gave her a shock and she was stable. An x-ray showed she had a collapsed lung. She picked up a few nicknames from the nurses! Drama Queen, Diva… 

The medical staff were amazing and now Mercie is a sassy three year old!

Find out more about VSD and ASD.