Breaking up with Maternal Fetal Medicine

At least we are on a break.

Some relationships are toxic from the beginning. Others sour as time goes on, the manipulations of one side causing nothing more that stress, dread, fear, and sobbing episodes on the other.

Initially, we felt relieved to be followed so closely by not only our OB but also by MFM. We knew someone would catch any sign of Sophia’s condition in Baby Sprout early. We watched each week (or sometimes sooner) as the ultrasound showed time and again our little Sprout growing, moving, waving and kicking. We were nervous, but relieved. MFM was functional, and even became a bit less threatening. Our guards were let down inch-by-inch. We starting thinking of baby names. We starting believing this was for real.

Then our 17 week anatomy scan happened-a defining moment altering our hopes, dreams, relief, and quite possibly our outcome for Sprout. Alarmist and demanding, MFM had us return no less than a week later. With each ultrasound, new tears on our cheeks drowned the words of “this may be atypical” or “she may have a constellation of anomalies that may indicate something…”

We questioned how things changed so fast; yet things changed slowly. One week at a time, something new appeared from the depths of the blurred shadows on the screen. How do feet turn clubbed in one week? How do wrists stay bent in a week? A tiny shape in her brain structure may now be not “rectangular enough”? Her aorta may be “shifting to the left”?

The wild speculation, giant leaps of conclusions being made, and the lack of empathy as we left each appointment too distraught to return to work, eat, or do anything but cry ourselves into a long afternoon nap swirled with toxicity. Putting those of us who have the worst of pregnancy histories through more uncertain doom week after week is beyond cruel. We already cling steadfastly to any positive moment of pregnancy, frantically attempting to muster a minute fraction of the pleasure other parents glean from growing new life. This noxious relationship poisoned the remaining fleeting moments we had of excitement, joy, and hope.

And so, this is where we part. This is where we draw the line on extraneous ultrasounds, ominous musings, and artificial empathy. We press on with those who can provide support, positivity, and faith. We consult with those who can see the good signs and the healthy development in Baby Sprout as important as the concerning ones. We lean on those who have our backs on this emotionally draining ride.

Reluctantly, we may someday (possibly sooner than we’d like to admit) need MFM again. Until then, we shall turn off the machines, quiet the gloomy words, and enjoy Sprout’s tiny fluttering movements and beautiful profile pictures.

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.

3 thoughts on “Breaking up with Maternal Fetal Medicine

  1. I’ve been thinking and worrying about you but not wanting to press. It is good to see a post from you yet painful to read of the distress you’ve both been put through unnecessarily in recent weeks. I am so glad you have chosen a less toxic path for now. I keep Sprout in my hopes and prayers and will continue to do so. stay true to yourselves and gentle with each other – you know what you need. Thank goodness you have each other through all of this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. On my calendar, on Sunday May 3rd, we see clearly printed “21”.
    I had thought that this might be a problem, and I am heartened by your response. Some times people look too hard to see something. There is a book out called “The Extraordinary Healing Power of Ordinary Things.” Naps, gardening, hot baths, tears and miracles were on the list. Medical literature frequently has pieces on interesting cases that end with “…and then the patient got well.” God bless you.


    1. Thanks, Doug. When we first thought to ditch the high risk docs, I thought there would be backlash, especially from the medical folks following us. The support, instead has been overwhelming and much needed. I can only hope we come out of this in a better place than we are now.


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