In my first bumpdate post (at 22 weeks, oops. I’m a slacker) I shared that we opted for the genetic testing this time around. We didn’t do any of those extra tests with our first pregnancy so this was something new for us.
First time around we didn’t really have an urge to go through those other tests. “You’re young, healthy, and have no other indicators of concern” the doctors told me. So I didn’t add any extra worry on myself. After all, first time moms have enough to worry about.
Our decision to pass up those early tests was never second guessed. We were having an anatomy scan at 20 weeks and that we thought would confirm that everything was trucking right along smoothly. And we were right. Everything was fine until Robert asked the ultrasound tech one final “So everything looks good?” at the end of the 40 minute exam and she replied “Yep. Everything looks good. But this spot on his heart…”
She shouldn’t have told us that.
The ultrasound technician wasn’t supposed to reveal anything beyond the basic things like “This is an arm. This is a foot. It’s a Boy.” But she chose to plant the deepest, darkest seeds of worry in our hearts because we, first time parents, asked “What spot? What does that mean?” She then went on a tangent about how those spots on a baby’s heart appear in 3-5% of pregnancies and are usually indicators of other genetic issues.
Well, y’all. That spot she pointed out wouldn’t have been even mentioned to us had a doctor been doing the ultrasound and if he did feel the need to mention it, he would have delivered the news much better than this ultrasound tech did. My doctor told us exactly that. He said “Those things appear sometimes but they often resolve themselves by the next ultrasound and are no cause for alarm. Most of the time it’s an unexplained calcium deposit and it goes away in a month or two.”
The cut and dry delivery of potentially bad news scared me so bad I heard no other word that came out of this lady’s mouth. I teared up. I was scared. I did not want anything bad to happen to my growing baby. Especially his heart.
My doctor, whom I trust completely with the safety of my pregnancies, was apologetic about this tech speaking out of line and scaring me but he wanted to assure me that they would address the “issue” by following the spot via another ultrasound at 34 weeks, giving it time to do whatever it was going to do – grow into a problem or disappear.
So that’s what we did. We waited and we prayed.
We scheduled an ultrasound for 14 weeks down the road and I worried for almost every single moment of that time. My husband handled it like a champ. He heard the doctor’s opinion and reassurance that everything was fine and he tried his best to convince me of the same, but I just couldn’t shake the idea that was planted: there might be something wrong with our baby’s heart.
I had to wait until that 34 week ultrasound for answers. The only problem was that little baby boy didn’t want to wait either. At 32 weeks I went into labor and a visit to the hospital labor and delivery unit determined I needed to be on bedrest as well a series of medications to try to stop my contractions from continuing.
Less than 2 weeks later, I reached a point where I could not handle the pretty much continuous contractions and called the doctor once again. I went in to labor and delivery one last time, where they attempted every medicinal trick in the book to stop my labor from progressing, but I literally blew right through every single one of them. My contractions kept coming and I found myself in a new predicament: stay in the hospital for the remainder of my bedrest and pregnancy, what could be weeks, or face being induced and deliver my baby early.
Then the doctor came in and said “The safest thing for you and baby is to go ahead and deliver.” So that was that. We delivered our boy the next day and a NICU team was ready for him the moment he was delivered.
He arrived. He was taken to be measured and cleaned up while I was tended to for other delivery reasons. Then my husband brought our son over to me and I held him for, no joke, 30 seconds before his special team had to take him on to the NICU to test and monitor his heart, lungs, and other vitals. I had to stay put in recovery for a bit longer. This is where, after a ton of testing, they would determine he was perfectly healthy and had no heart issue. But I was off in the recovery room and couldn’t go over to the NICU for another hour.
Saddest, scariest moments of my life.
I told my husband this is exactly how postpartum depression gets started… But while I was drowning in a sea of hormonal emotions, that sweet man went with our son and made sure he was settled in the NICU and then ran back to me in recovery because he knew I was alone.
I’m thankful our son was taken to the NICU so they could make sure any and all concerns were addressed, but it’s gut wrenching to think about having your baby, especially your first, and then have him taken away before you even get a good look at him. I’m so thankful my husband, who never takes photos, snapped a picture of me holding our boy moments before he was taken to the NICU.
Back to the genetic testing…
I kind of got sidetracked telling my boy’s delivery story. But this whole long post contributes to the mindset we have for this baby and this pregnancy. In our thinking, the genetic testing would let us know of any major concerns we needed to be aware of early on. This way we would know at 12 weeks what I basically had to wait until delivery of my son to find out. And there would be much less anxiety and worry in the process, thus allowing for a healthier mindset for momma.
This time around we said “Yes. Let’s do it.” Because we wanted peace of mind. While I know genetic testing might not be the choice for everyone (it wasn’t for us first go around), it was definitely the best choice for us this time. The scary clouds of worry we’re not something I wanted to weather once again. I’ve had the easiest time navigating this pregnancy (minus the morning sickness) and not allowing worry into my mind thanks to those early tests.
Super big bonus: we found out extra early that our baby is a GIRL. Cue up happy thoughts of having a boy AND a girl! Dump trucks and bows and legos and pony tails. YAY.
Once again, thanks for following along with this journey. It’s almost therapeutic to share my thoughts and my story with others. My sole hope is that maybe a worried momma out there can read this and find some peace in knowing she’s not alone. And if you’re that momma, you know I’m just a message away.
*Black and white images were captured by the ahhhmazing Kelsey Malicote of Malicote Photography. She’s the bomb!
More Bumpdate Posts…
[Part 1] Bumpdate: 22 Weeks
[Part 3] Bumpdate: The Preterm Labor Debacle