Saturday, March 20, 2010

In the Beginning...

Over Thanksgiving weekend in 2009 my husband and I learned that our trying had paid off and we were to expect our 2nd child. We were so excited that it was hard not to tell our families, as we wanted to wait until I had seen my midwife so she could confirm the pregnancy and give us a due date. We wanted to be at least 8 weeks along before we shared our news.

We ended up telling everyone during Christmas, and we were happy to learn that my sister and sister-in-law were both expecting as well. It was a joyous time for the family; to expect 3 new grandbabies/cousins all within 7 weeks time! My sister and sister-in-law were delighted that we could share in eachother's experiences. Pregnancy is often easier on you when you have other women to join you in the process of awaiting a baby. No one understands the difficulties of pregnancy better than someone who is currently going through it.

The first few months of pregnancy proved difficult for me; with nausea, exhaustion and hormone headaches. Not only did I have to get through these common pregnany symptoms, but I also had the added stress and worry that I would miscarry as I had once before. Though I knew this apprehension was irrational, I couldn't shake it and I spent many nights lying in bed, praying that God would let me have this baby. I began praying for my sisters who were pregnant as well; asking God to protect all pregnant women and their babies. My fears never disappeared, but they did subside as I reached my 2nd trimester and heard the baby's heartbeat for the first time.

Weeks and weeks had gone by, and with me having the latest due date, I was also the last one to have my regular 20-week ultrasound. My sister was eager to announce that they were having a boy! Several weeks later, my brother called with the news that they were having a girl! How thrilling all of this was for us. We became even more anxious to have our ultrasound and find out whether we would have another girl or our first son.

Finally, the day had come when I was 19 weeks and 5 days pregnant. We went in to our local hospital for our ultrasound and we discovered we were having a boy! We were so happy as we watched the ultrasound moniter. The technician pointed all the organs out to us and let us know the measurements of the baby. We got to see his tiny heart beat and watch him jump around in my womb; putting on a show for mommy and daddy. It is such a comforting feeling to see that your baby has all of his limbs and is measuring a normal size for that week in gestation. We were finally at ease as the technician moved to the last area of the body, the head and brain.

We were watching the screen as the technician measured the head circumference. I grew antsy since she seemed to be spending a lot of time on this particular view. I guess she could tell that I was bothered because she asked if I was doing okay and assured me that she just needed a particular view and he was moving too much to capture the still frame she needed. I watched her expression as she repeatedly leaned in toward her moniter and back upright again. I knew that the baby wasn't moving and that was not the reason she was studying the brain so closely. I felt in my heart that there was something more she wasn't telling us, and I knew I couldn't ask her about it because they are not allowed to discuss results with the patients.

After several minutes, the technician called in her supervisor to have her see if she could "get the view they needed." We waited as the other technician studied the brain and I noticed the same expression on her face that I saw on the first technician. I just knew that they were looking at something they didn't want to tell us about.

I was grateful that I had a prenatal appointment the next day. I knew that my midwife would certainly tell me anything she knew about the ultrasound report. She performed her routine exam and I told her of my ultrasound experience. She said she hadn't received the report yet, but she'd see if they would fax it over so she could put me at ease. She went to her office to get it and I sat alone in the exam room for what seemed like an eternity.

When she returned, she showed me the paragraph in the report where the findings were listed. To my dismay, she delivered some news that failed to calm my fears. She explained that the technicians noted some asymmetry in the baby's head. This suggested a thing she called a "choroid plexus cyst" might be present in the brain. According to her knowledge of this type of cyst, they are usually found to be harmless and most of the time, they go away on their own. Then came the unnerving part; though they are usually harmeless, they are sometimes linked to trisome 18, which is a chromosome that if defected, usually results in fetal or neonatal death.

My heart sunk, but I somehow managed to deliver the news to my husband in a calm manner. He did some research online, and found that she was right in saying it is rare to see the cyst cause a problem. To our hope, only 1 in 300 babies with such a cyst actually has trisome 18. He assured me that we should hope for the best because there must be a positive result for us in the future. In the mean time, I was supposed to schedule a Level 2 ultrasound at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago so a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist could have a look at a high-quality ultrasound and give me his input.

Luckily, we only had to wait 11 days from the first ultrasound to the Level 2. It was still nerve-racking, but we grew to have faith in God to handle our situation for the best. We decided not to tell our family members and friends about the cyst until we had more concrete knowledge of it. We decided instead to tell everyone of the good news...we were having a boy!

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