Tag Archives: genetic condition

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.