Prior to her open heart surgery, Genevieve had a very pronounced heart murmur. It was so turbulent that I could place my hand on her chest and feel the vibration, it was audible when you put your ear close. To compare, I would put my hand on my son’s chest and I could faintly feel the steady even beat of his heart. If Harry’s heart beat is a constant steady rhythm then Genevieve’s was an angry hornet’s nest before her aortic valve repair.
There has been a lot of snuggling on the couch during Genevieve’s recovery. I feel my hand drawn to rest on her chest – seeing if I can still feel the turbulence. I cannot. I used to be able to close my eyes and know which heart beat belonged to which child. Now her heart still feels louder and closer to the surface then Harry’s but the buzz is gone.
Yesterday, I asked her about it. Genevieve, does your heart feel different?
I expected her to look at me like I was crazy. I think of myself, even when I focus on it, I am not sure that I have an awareness of my own heartbeat – especially when at rest curled up on the couch with my daughter. She stopped for a moment to think about the question before answering.
“Yes, it feels different. It feels slower and instead of going bump-zzz-bump-zzz-bump, it goes bump (pause) bump (pause) bump”, she replied before turning her attention back to the Disney channel.
How odd it must be to have your heart beat change.