Thursday, March 08, 2007

Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst

Overall the ultrasound was really fun. It was neat to see that there actually was a baby inside me wriggling all over the place. It was fun to see her hands and feet and face, and even finding out the gender was pretty fun, too, although she didn't cooperate until towards the end (she's a very modest baby, apparently). She was really active the whole time, moving away from the probe and kicking at it (I don't think she enjoyed the experience too much).

Everything was happy until the last 10 seconds or so of our ultrasound. That's when the doctor showed us this:

This, if you can't tell, is our baby's brain. On it she has what is called a choroid plexus cyst, which is basically just a little pocket full of fluid. If you look in the middle of the red circle (really closely) you will notice a really dark black part. That's it. It's kind of hard to see.

As this website says, this feature is loosely linked to Trisomy 18, a chromosomal disorder similar to Down's syndrome, only on the 18th chromosome instead of the 21st. Most babies with Trisomy 18, though, die either in the womb or shortly after birth. That was not exactly what I wanted to hear about my baby. At all.

However, the doctor assured us that it was probably just an isolated choroid plexus cyst since he couldn't find any other abnormalities (the cyst itself isn't even abnormal, it just is linked to Trisomy 18). Some of the other things that they look for, according to OBfocus, are: cleft lip/palate, small jaw, low set ears, club feet, clenched fists (undeveloped fingers), growth restriction, single umbilical artery, extra amniotic fluid, kidney problems, and heart defects. They also look at the size of the uterus because even though these babies are usually small the uterus is abnormally large.

Before the doctors told us about the cyst, they showed us the heart, that it was shaped properly, that all its ventricles were working correctly, that it had a steady heartbeat, and they turned on the color so they could watch the blood pump through all four chambers. Not that I understood what I was seeing on the screen, but they said she had no holes in her heart and everything was normal there.

They also checked out her umbilical cord to see if it was "branching" correctly (no, Andrew, this does not mean it branches out into multiple cords). They used the color for that, too, to look at the blood flow.

They took some good shots of her face and profile to make sure that everything was in the right spot: ears, nose, lips, eyes, jaw. They actually said she had a very nice, well-defined nose (it's probably Andrew's).

They took some good shots of her hands and feet to make sure that they weren't clubbed or malformed in anyway, and she looks perfect. 10 fingers, 10 toes.

They showed us her kidneys. They were both fine. They showed us her tummy and bladder, which were both full of fluid, a good sign that they are working fine. They also showed me my bladder, which happens to be Baby's favorite resting spot...

They said she had a fine amount of amniotic fluid, and her growth is right on for her fetal age. My uterus is also pretty much exactly at my belly button, so it looks like we're in the green.

The doctor was so confident that he didn't order a second ultrasound or anything. Had he seen anything other sign of T18, he would have, but he didn't, so he simply told us there is a chance that our baby could have T18 and could die shortly after birth and not to worry about it.

He asked if we had any questions. We'd never heard of T18, so we said no...and the doctor left.

And I became OCD for, well, really up until now. I read everything I could find about it (don't, most websites are horribly pessimistic). I cried. I almost lost my mind.

But, I've decided that it's okay. I mean, really, the doctor said she was most likely fine. Andrew gave me a blessing and said everything would be fine. I know that everything will be fine. And I try very hard to convince myself of this, but...

I come from a family of worriers. It's what we do best. As my mom said, "You try and try to convince yourself that everything is fine and think you've succeeded until you wake up in the middle of the night worried." Which I did, on more than one occassion last night...and then spent all morning crying at work...

I emailed my mom and she made me feel a lot better. We went for a walk at lunch and talked some more. I felt a lot better after that. My mom always makes me feel better. (Andrew is good at it, too, it's just that he was busy all day and my mom could take an hour off to talk some reason into me).

I decided that my baby is most likely fine...but if she's not, that's okay, too. She needs a body and so I can give that to her, even if she only needs it for a few hours. I'd prefer to keep her around for a few years (like my whole lifetime), but if not, I can get over it. After all, virtually everyone in my family has lost a baby--all for different reasons--but they all went through it and all came out okay.

I ended up going back to work with a song stuck in my head that we used to sing in Young Women's:

As I ponder on my life and who I am,
I think of God and His eternal plan.
The spirit guides my thoughts and I know
In my heart that His way is true...

Or something like that. Anyway, that's the only verse I had stuck in my head and it really helped me get through the rest of my day.

So, on a happier note, here's my baby sucking on her hand. I'm going to have quite the time trying to get her to give up that nasty little habit once I'm able to confront her about it. Although, she'll have been doing it for 6 months inside of me and will lose interest in it after a year out, so what's the point in even trying to break the habit?

I suppose that would be my best case scenario: having a baby who sucks on her hands.

I'm okay with that.


  1. By the way, the probability of her actually having T-18 is between .02 and .2%, or near to nothing. So, we may just be blowing this out of proportion. Why did the doctor even mention it?
    So everyone, expect a healthy baby girl in July!

  2. Nancy, I'm sorry to hear about that. But I really think everything is going to be fine. Doctors have to mention this sort of thing. Sometimes I think they know it will make us worry, but mostly I don't think they realize what we pregnant ladies are like. We're afraid to eat lunchmeat, for heaven's sake!

  3. Hi guys - I hope you are both doing alright. I understand what you are feeling Nancy. But everything is going to be okay!

    I know it's hard but try not to worry, that'll just make you stressed. My recent experience was very difficult, but I knew the Lord was watching over me and that he was taking care of me. He is in control and he's aware of our needs. So take a deep breath - or a few (this can help whenever you get those "worrying" feelings). :)

    Try to enjoy this part of your pregnancy - for me it was the period when I felt the best. So enjoy this time before you get big and uncomfortable. Then again you may never get that way (me jealous still). :)

  4. Nancy, hey, things will be fine. Doctors do mention things so that we may be aware of stuff, and hey, at least you know a little more about T18 now then you did before :). I am glad that you could feel better about things and remember the eternal perspective. Maya's complication was something that wasn't even detected until almost too late, but we got through it, and she did too. You guys will be fine no matter what and the baby will too :)

    It is all in GOd's hands, if anything were to be in anyone's hands, I would want it to be in HIs :)

  5. Nancy and Andrew,

    This little girl is going to be the most special thing in the whole entire world and will be the reason you work so hard, you wake up unexpectedly in the middle of the night, you learn all those silly nursery rhymes, you'll hold her when she's sad, you'll cry for her, with her and about her, better yet, you'll laugh with her and at her sometimes! Most of all, you'll worry about her.
    Nancy, you're right to some extent, we are a family of worriers... I happen to think that I thrive off of the stress of it! If I don't have anything to worry about, I'll create something!
    Andrew, I think that the doctor said something about it simply for the fact that in this day and age... if he hadn't and the T-18 occurs, and you find out that is the reason you lost your baby and you could have been more prepared for it... some people will sue for that reason. So they are obligated to report everything as they see it.
    I am sure all will be well with her and she will be fine! Having lost so many babies myself, (two at just about five months,) I know your stress and can empathize with Nancy... however, I think that I would rather know then not know because I've been in both positions.
    I love all three of you and hope you are feeling better Nanny! You can talk to me anytime I love you!

  6. Thank goodness she's fine! You truly have one of the most intelligent, beautiful babies there ever was. See? There's hope for me. :)