Now I'm back to talk my way through another pregnancy post... you know, because I don't do that in every other post. Yesterday was a pretty big "medical" day for us and we had been on pins and needles for 2 full weeks leading up to it. When I went in for my 22 week appointment, my doctor told me that they had found choroid plexus cysts on the baby's brain. I had absolutely no idea what that meant, and she was trying to tell me not to worry, but my mind was going a million miles a minute trying to process the information. She said 1% of babies get them in utero, and most of the time they resolve themselves. But then she said they can be soft markers for Trisomy 18. Again, I didn't really know what that was off the top of my head, but I knew it didn't sound good. She said I shouldn't get worked up, but that she would give me a referral to Vanderbilt for a Level 2 ultrasound. I walked out into the waiting room to find Mike and Toby (since it was a routine checkup I let Mike entertain Toby outside) and as soon as we hit the sidewalk I broke down. I tried holding it together long enough to make the mad dash to the car and then I was basically hysterical. At this point Mike had no idea what was going on or why I was upset, so I started to explain it to him. I was trying to explain something I didn't even understand, so right then and there we started reading articles on CPCs and Trisomy 18. Uh, big mistake! CPCs in themselves are not really a huge deal. They're not birth defects and they don't cause any functional damage to the brain. But Trisomy 18 is no joke. And right then and there my heart broke into a million tiny pieces.
I kept reading and reading and reading, trying to reassure myself that our odds were good for a clean L2 scan because my doctor didn't mention any other signs of T18. I had to wait 2 days for a phone call with my referral and ultrasound date. That date was yesterday. It was a long, hard 15 days. We only told our parents and maybe 2 friends, because we didn't want to worry anyone unnecessarily. Those 2 weeks were spent reading every article on every corner of the internet just to try and prepare myself for something if it showed up. Which, you know, is kind of not the smartest thing to do in a heightened emotional state. I came across a forum of moms talking about CPCs and how everything checked out perfectly fine and their babies were happy and healthy. I cannot tell you how much reading those accounts helped. Typically I stay far, far away from mommy forums (because those places are WHOA!) but I kept clicking, page after page, soaking in reassurance from strangers who didn't even know I existed.
my view at 24 weeks. hello baby!
Yesterday was our ultrasound appointment. We took Toby out of school for the day so he could go to the ultrasound with us and see his little brother for the first "real" time. We ran errands beforehand and I tried not to think too much about it. We showed up at the Vanderbilt Maternal and Fetal Clinic and I put on my big girl britches. Normally my ultrasounds take all of 10 minutes or so, but I was on the table for a solid 30 minutes this time. Mike and I would occasionally glance over to each other because we'd notice a note the ultrasound tech would write. At one point I saw her highlight several areas of the baby's brain and then label them "CP" (choroid plexus)... so I was convinced he had a half dozen cysts. Again, babies can be fine with multiple cysts, but the more there are the higher the likelihood of an abnormality like T18. I stared at the screen for the full half hour, watching every single turn the baby made and every little picture the tech took. I began to worry (again) and my heart was racing. Then the doctor came in... and she was lovely. She was so kind and she asked us questions. One of her first questions was "So how much do you know about why you're here and CPCs and Tri18?" and my only answer was "Entirely too much." (Seriously KB, stay away from Google!) She walked us through identifying features on the ultrasound and told us that in her professional opinion, she saw nothing else that would indicate T18. She reassured us that T18 comes with a multitude of other physical markers and our little guy looked perfect. At 1 pound 7 ounces, he was in the 44% percentile and looked as strong as could be. We said our thanks, gathered our things and headed out of the office.
baby's moses basket + rocker for our room
Mike cried in the elevator when he hugged me. He was so relieved. This was the news we had been hoping for! I sent off a few texts to my mom and friends letting them know that the baby checked out perfect, and then we were off to run more errands. 10 minutes later we're standing in the paint aisle in Lowes and I just lose it! I started crying in front of the drop cloths and telling Mike that my heart is just so full. It was such a delayed reaction but it felt so good to cry those tears, ya know?
I can't begin to imagine what it must be like to experience pregnancy and then have doctors tell you the reality of T18 and your baby. My heart breaks knowing that anyone ever has to go through that. I said it yesterday on Instagram and I'll say it again: I don't take even one second of this experience for granted. I wish I could bottle up this amazing feeling and keep it with me forever because there's nothing like it. I would find myself playing the "What if" game too much when I'd think about the chances of a poor ultrasound. And I even questioned whether we should order our stroller before our appointment... But ultimately we decided that we obviously have to live our lives and hope for the best. So that's what we did. Even if we were told our baby had T18, it wouldn't change our course of action. We wouldn't terminate, and we would love him just the same. Even if we never got to bring him home. Our stroller was delivered while I was on the ultrasound table at Vanderbilt... Maybe it sounds silly to say but it felt like a sign and a good omen to come home to. Mike put it together last night while I had a long phone conversation with Susannah. I walked into the house to find it in the kitchen and my heart skipped 15 beats! I know a stroller is just a material item, but it all feels so real when we start seeing his little things put together. It's a sign that he'll be here in a few short months and we'll get to share moments with him in and around these things. I just hope this sweet little baby knows how much we love him. He has already taken over our hearts.
baby's new wheels! and his sweet bassinet attachment.
This whole pregnancy thing is such an emotional rollercoaster. There are so many things you do in preparation, and making sure that the baby grows to be strong and healthy inside of you. But there are so many factors that are completely and totally out of your control. If anything the past several months has taught me that I can't micromanage every detail of every thing in life. We're so thankful for a good report and I knew this was something I wanted to share because it's been one of the only things on my heart lately. Thanks to everyone who left such kind words on the IG post I shared yesterday. Please know that every single comment was read and cherished. It feels amazing to have the support of so many people! xo