Thursday, April 16
NOTHING IS WASTED: PART 1
I love pregnancy, I always have, from the very beginning. What a gift to be able to not only create a life, but carry it, feel it, nurture and grow it, birth it, and then be it's complete food source. I love when Jim Gaffigan talks about a woman's body versus a man's. Men, you're great and all, but seriously, how amazing is a woman's body? I'm also one of those weird chicks that actually enjoys childbirth. I mean, I'm not throwing a party when it's happening or anything but I long to feel that alive again, those feelings I can only feel when birthing that baby you love so much. It's the most amazing, out of body, out of this world, journey.
I've been blessed with three healthy pregnancies, my fourth precious child through adoption, and our sweet baby number five who I'm currently a-growing. This baby was so very much prayed over and planned for. I couldn't wait to be pregnant again and add another crazy to our little family. We got pregnant in November, and somehow managed to keep it a secret until Christmas. Which a) IS SO HARD TO NOT TELL ANYONE. and b) if you're me, and look 6 months pregnant the minute you pee on a stick, how can you hide that bump? Ya can't, people, ya just can't. Amazingly enough, we surprised our families on Christmas and all rejoiced for the blessing of a new life.
Everything was going a-okay, minus the all-the-time nausea until I got this blood clot in my eye. I honestly didn't even know you could get a blood clot in your eye until it happened. We had this rigamarole going with my amazing team of midwives, some doctors, a hematologist, and an ophthalmologist -- mostly surrounding the fact that I am positive (heterozygous) for a blood clotting disorder called Factor V Liden. At first there was talk of putting me on daily blood thinner injections, but after going over everything we ended up settling on a daily dose of baby Aspirin and postpartum I will go on blood thinners for 6-8 weeks. That was the first minor bump in the road.
Fast forward a bit.
The night before I was going to leave for Hope Spoken, I got a call (I always, never fail, get these calls moments before I am going to fly across the country...bless.) The nurse, so sweetly, started the call with everything is fine! But... You know there's always a but when you get a phone call like this, right? You are going to have to go for a level two ultrasound to get some more images of the baby's spinal cord, the three vessel cord, and a shadow on the right ventricle of the heart. Cue my evening of crying and packing and praying. What a gift it was to be in Dallas with some of my favorite people in the world, worshiping our creator. There's no where I would have rather been, while in the waiting.
I tried to hold off on googling for as long as possible and did pretty well until a couple days before the big ultrasound. I've been to multiple ultrasounds in previous pregnancies where they had to continue to get more images of the heart, or the face, etc. I knew this was quite possible, but I also knew that this was how anything, that wasn't just an image or positioning issue, started.
The ultrasound happened on Thursday the 9th. We went to a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist and I had my, official, longest ultrasound ever. The tech was cheerful and explained what she was looking at, as she looked it. We talked about our children and she had us look away when it was time, so we wouldn't get a sneak peek of the gender. At one point she had me get up, walk around, and go the bathroom, as the baby would not move it's head off my hip, and she needed to get more images. After a good two hours she was finally done, and we waited for the doctor to come in, who would continue with the ultrasound and go over everything with us.
She came in and asked us if we knew why my midwife sent us there and I told her the reasons. She then said the spine and three vessel cord look great. I was so thankful she told us that right away, but What about the heart? was the obvious first question I blurted out. She said the 'shadow' on the heart wasn't really a shadow but a calcium deposit, or an echogenic focus. We could all clearly see a small white spot on the upper left side of the heart.
She explained that, in most cases, this goes away on it's own, and does no damage to the heart, or the baby. When seen with other "hard markers" it could be a sign for a chromosomal disorder but she did not see any other hard markers on our baby. Growth was right on target, etc. In my mind, I'm thinking Okay, so we're done? But we're not done yet, she said.
She recommended that we do a blood test, where they took 2 small vials of my blood from my arm, and send it all the way from New York to California to test for Trisomy 21, 13, 18 and a slew of other things, most I had never heard of. We agreed, and I sat in amazement that my baby's DNA could be extracted from my DNA to provide us with 99.9% accurate results of these chromosomal disorders. The results for this blood work will be back sometime next week.
After all of this, she wanted to look more at the baby's brain, what the tech was looking at for quite a while as well. The baby was still in the same position, and I moved from side to side, and back onto my back, and every which way possible to get the baby to move.
Nothing. This kid is stubborn. Must get it from their father.
Finally, she said Okay we're gonna stop. She explained that she was trying to get a view of the corpus callosum. This is, essentially, a bundle of nerves that connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain. She couldn't see it, and at 23 weeks she should be getting at least a glimpse of it. It may be that the corpus callosum is absent, which is called agenesis of the corpus callosum, or ACC. She recommended that, at this point, we don't just schedule another ultrasound, because we need to find out for sure if this is there or not. She scheduled me for a fetal MRI. She said the biggest thing, is that she wants to get us started in genetic counseling asap, if it's absent.
On Tuesday we had the MRI... my first one ever. A lifetime seemed to pass from Thursday to Tuesday. I learned more about the brain and waiting on the Lord in the past six days than maybe my whole life. I was prepared for what was to come.
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