PAC (It's a Heart Thing...)

I'd like to begin this post with a belly pic...
22 weeks, not much change from 20, just a little rounder :)
Please excuse my rough appearance, house work days are
not "get pretty" days :-P

Yesterday was our 20 week anatomy scan - to make sure all of baby girl's parts are developing appropriately. As hubs just got back from training there is so much for him to do at work, so my friend Lori came with me to the scan. Thank goodness for good friends :)

Everything seemed to be going well. We watched her little heart beating, her little legs and arms kicking, her whirling all about. Found her little nose and lips and saw her brain development. Her heart rate was at 150 and she weighs somewhere around 1lb 3oz, where the tech told me we've got a big baby girl growing in there!

The tech said she had to have the doc sign off and she'd be right back, so I assumed this was just standard - doc says A-Ok before you head on your way. The thing she forgot to mention (which I don't think she is allowed being only an ultrasound tech and not a doctor) is that she had noticed something a little "abnormal" and that is what the doc had to sign off on.

Apparently our baby girl has a PAC, Premature Atrial Contraction. Basically what it is, is a little extra beat before her regular thump-thump. It doesn't occur every single time her heart beats, just sometimes it goes thump thump-thump, like a little stutter. The doctor didn't seem too worried about it, but we now have to go see a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist (who should be calling me today or tomorrow and may be the reason I haven't left the house today). He said the next step is up to the specialist but it usually includes possible weekly monitoring of the heart rate and a nonstress test. He also said the specialist is going to further and more closely look at baby's heart to make sure there are no structural abnormalities they missed in the ultrasound. He said they didn't see anything that would indicate something structural but it needs to be double checked just in case they didn't catch it.

Of course, needing to be prepared for the worst, I had to ask him Worst Case Scenario. He said worst case scenario in this case would be her heart rate going way high (above 160 bpm) and overworking her little body, in which case she would have to come out early for medicinal intervention (as the medicine they give her would take effect on me too and they don't really wanna slow my heart down...). But, he said, this is very rare, and PAC in babies this age is, while not the "norm," fairly common. It's just something that needs to be watched and monitored to make sure nothing comes from it.

Mom and I have both done a little research since, and mom found an article that said this is relatively common (as I said above), usually has no impact on the baby, and if the baby is born with the PAC it is usually gone within one month of life, but it is typically gone before baby's grand arrival. I also found a forum on it, where the other moms who heard the news didn't seem so worried, which is always a comfort.

So for now, I could just really use your prayers that it really is "nothing to worry about" and everything is fine with our baby girl. Hearing that something may not be right with your baby is definitely a feeling that floors you and all I can do right now is wait and pray that every thing is good to go.

4 comments

  1. aww, I will definitely pray for you all!! It sounds like it will be okay. You seem like you are staying very strong about it!! I would freak out…and this is exactly why I am so nervous to get pregnant- I will make a big deal about every little “symptom”, ha, probably even heart burn! For example, last year, I got heart burn for the FIRST time in my life and I thought I was having a heart attack and went to the walk in Doctors! (not quite Emergency room, but close enough).
    Thanks for sharing this. I had never heard of PAC. Again, I am sure your little girl and you will be fine, and I will keep you in my prayers!

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  2. I'll be thinking of you girlie :) I thought of you today actually at the obgyn's office (yuck) but I walked past a room where someone was getting an ultra sound and I heard the "whoosh whoosh whoosh" of a little heart beat. :)

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  3. babies! there's so many things to worry about. i'll send some positive baby vibes your way :)

    ps i love your pictures!

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