Tag Archives: trisomy 18

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.