18 Weeks

Today marks our 18th week with Baby Sprout.

At 18 weeks with Sophia, we found out she had severe genetic problems and was not viable.

At 18 weeks with Sophia, we saw joint contractures lighting up crosswise lines on the dark ultrasound screen.

At 18 weeks, we were told to consider termination.

This past week, Maternal Fetal Medicine did an anatomy scan of Baby Sprout. A little early to see everything clearly, we still bypassed the threat of Spina Bifida that came about from an elevated alpha-fetoprotein test. Audibly exhaling when we heard the technician’s glorious words, “I don’t see anything that I don’t like with the spine and brain”, Jason’s relief filtered through my own tension-filled thoughts.

Reprieve lasted 30 minutes. As the doctor entered, bringing a second reinforcement doctor, she started the scan all over. Through the strained silence, her face revealed little through its grim stance. The second doctor, rubbing her own large pregnant belly, agreed with every whispered commentary, nearly inaudible to us.

The words, “I see fluid around the heart, and I suspect there is likely a severe heart defect with the bottom ventricles” nearly knocked us over. Had I not been lying down, I may have been prone anyway within seconds.

Followed up with, “She also has her hands bent forward, and hasn’t moved them the entire scan” sent us in a frenzy. Cue the flashbacks to Sophia. Cue the panic. Cue the nightmare. Cue the heart palpitations. Cue the uncontrollable sobbing.

Leaving the office in a state of shock, our fried nerves have sparked new life–and new questions: How can her hands be bent this week when just seven days ago she was waving on the screen? How can we go from Spina Bifida to heart defect to possible joint contractures all within a few days when the first 16 weeks were filled with optimism? How can all this be happening again? How do we find strength to make it through? When do we deserve to enjoy this pregnancy?

After the tears dried and our words were exhausted, I realized all hope is not lost. The doctor admitted the bent wrists were currently unexplainable after she saw the other ultrasound pictures. She admitted she didn’t get a good picture of the heart and therefore did not know for certain what was going on. She (briefly) admitted that while she suspected it was a serious heart condition, it could be nothing.

As we wait for our impromptu ultrasound with my regular OB this week, I obsessively stare at the ultrasound picture from 16 weeks. I neurotically try to make sense of this. I cling to the positives we have had to this point. I linger on the hope that threatens to disappear for the sake of Baby Sprout.

Published by lkgaddis

I have been working on this memoir-style project for a while now, and I'm excited to share it with others. My hope is to get as wide an audience as possible, and to receive comments, suggestions, and ideas to improve and expand what I have. I also want to encourage others to become curious about the topic of babies, and the loss that can come with the adventures of trying to start a family. In the world of celebrating healthy babies, we who know otherwise need a voice too.

20 thoughts on “18 Weeks

    1. Thank you! I agree…I don’t know how much more our hearts can take. The constant stress through each pregnancy has clearly taken its toll on us.


  1. Hoping this is “nothing”. With our current pregnancy, there was calcification in the heart for the first half of the pregnancy which indicates down syndrome. Then, at this last ultrasound it was miracously gone. I know how sad and worried I felt….and then felt guilty for being sad as it is ok for a baby to not be perfect. I can only imagine how you feel with your history. Hoping for some comfort as your princess grows and you get more information. While we always hope for perfection, remember your princess is your princess…you love her no matter what and she is the perfect she is supposed to be. It took me awhile to be ok with that statement.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing and the encouragement. I am glad to hear your baby’s heart is better! The worry and anxiety all these tests create sometimes makes me wonder if they are even worth it! There is something to be said for blissful ignorance.


  2. Oh good God. I’m so sorry. I don’t even know what to say, words just don’t cut it at a time like this. The one thing I can offer from my own false positive serum screen for Spina Bifida this pg’y is that there is medical research and literature on the false positives being a potential indicator of placental issues (poor vascularization among them). I don’t know if this could possibly be related to the potential diagnoses you are facing but I mention it in case it may be of assistance. I have some articles from my RI on this; if you wish I can email them to you. In the meantime, I will keep you and Jason and Sprout in my thoughts and prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so sorry to hear that you are going through such turmoil! I am hoping against hope for you that this is nothing or at the very least something that they can fix. Fingers crossed for you. We are all here for you x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so so sorry to read this and that you had to go through an ultrasound like this, after everything you’ve already been through! The mind boggles. Praying for answers this week, and peace in your heart going forward x

    Liked by 1 person

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