The week leading up to our 20 week scan was a terrifying one for me, for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on. I was so worried about the upcoming scan with our gynae and then the full fetal assessment scan (FAS) at the fetal assessment centre (FAC) following on 6 days later. I have been worried about all our scans since that scan at 7 weeks, but nothing like this…for the week leading up to it I had this feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach, I didn’t sleep well and I was snappy with my wonderful and patient hubby…but he understood, because he was feeling it too. This was when the serious stuff starts, when they fully monitor the heart, the brain and all the organs to check if they were functioning properly, so this was the most important test our baby girl had faced yet…even more important that the 12 week downs and nuchal fold check.
So, the 23rd October found us in our obgyn’s waiting room and he was running an hour and a half behind… yet more time for my mind to torture itself on what could be found. We went into our appointment and started the scan after the usual questions on bleeding (no), movement (not yet 😦 ) etc. The minute he put the scanner on my belly, yup came baby girl’s head and the measuring began. For the next 10 mins or so, we got to watch our beautiful girl bounce around while doc took measurements and then he moved back to the brain and said the words that stopped our hearts once again…”here’s something that I am not happy with”.
He went on to show us that baby girl’s ventricles were enlarged and then my mind shut down and I can’t remember much else of what he said…all I could think is “why is this happening to us again? Haven’t we been through enough to a) get pregnant and b) to 20 weeks???” He decided to pull our FAS forward to the next day, as the doc there is a fetal medicine specialist and would be more qualified to advise what’s what. Now, the FAC is a very busy place but, when doc made the phone call, he mentioned what he had seen and that we were an IVF pregnancy (as if that makes us that little more special and important, which was nice of him) and they squeezed us in.
So, we left his offices in tears of disbelief and shock and worry for our beautiful girl and we had to drive home in different cars…in rush hour traffic, which made a 15 min journey 1,5 hours. I used the time stopping and starting to bawl, bellow, scream and get out as much of the emotions that I was feeling, as I could. Plus, I began googling to find out what I could. By the time we got home, hubby and I were emotionally finished and just sat on the sofa holding each other, heads filled with lots of different outcomes and possibilities thank to flipping Dr Google (darn those smart phones!!). We hardly got any sleep that night but we were armed with some questions for the doctor and knew more about ventricles in the brain than we had done 10 hours previously.
We were emotional wreck’s as we sat in the waiting room, knowing that this was pretty much it…when we find out what our baby girl is facing in terms of potential disability and brain damage. As soon as we were called through, I burst into tears, the emotion just getting the better of me. I composed myself and we started the scan. Doc measured everything, including the ventricles, which were presenting at 14.7mm…the limit for normal for girls is 10mm, so hers were 50% bigger than they should of been. She wasn’t too worried about it (having seen many cases like this in her career I guess), but that measurement freaked hubby and I out big time, as we were hoping for under 12mm. She suggested that we had an amniocentesis there and then to rule out chromosomal issues that may cause it, especially that, during our 12 week scan our bloods showed a 1:152 chance of Trisomy 18. We agreed, knowing the risks involved, but also knowing that she did these on a nearly daily basis and so she is proficient and we trust her ability. I am not going to lie, it did hurt, but it was bearable. She offered us the option of getting interim results within 5 days (which we had to pay R2k for), or just to wait 3 weeks for the full results (that the medical aid paid for). Of course we opted for having interim results before the full ones, how could we possibly be kept waiting for 3 more weeks?? She then said that, without any chromosomal abnormalities and, taking into account that everything else was forming perfectly ie brain stem, heart, liver, spleen, body parts (it was the most amazing experience watching how proud hubby was of our precious one, every time doc declared something as “perfect” during the scan, he had tears in his eyes and his face was filled with such love, it was heartbreaking and beautiful, all at the same time), she thinks it could be a blockage causing the cerebral spinal fluid not to drain into the spine, from the brain as it should. This would mean a shunt being inserted into our baby girls head the day after she is born, to drain the fluid away 😦 Her head was currently measuring a week ahead of her body, but that in itself wasn’t a concern, as some babies do just have big heads.
So, we left and the waiting resumed…
As much as I know God has a plan for all of us, I just can’t help dwelling on the unfairness of the situation…how can some people have perfectly healthy babies that they don’t even want?? How can some grow 2 or even 3 perfect babies in their bellies and I can’t even grow 1?? And, the most important question of the lot…why us?? Haven’t we now been through enough?? Am I not a good person? Do I not help others when I can, give willingly to charity, live a good and God loving life? Have I not behaved myself impeccably during this pregnancy? Instantly giving up the wine I enjoyed a glass of every day, eating healthily, not smoking, taking all my vitamins…why can some people drink and smoke their way through 9 months and give birth to a healthy baby at the end of it?????
I just can’t get my head around the unfairness of it all…but I guess I will have to, or it will drive me mad 😦
Interim results: no signs of down syndrome nor any of the trisomy’s, we can start to breathe a bit easier again and now we wait for the full results.