Anatomy Scan & Deciding How Much to Share

On the 9th I went in for my anatomy scan. Since then I have been debating with how much to share with my readers. So after much debate, I’ve decided to share everything. Just to get it all off my chest.

We received a little bit of tough news during my scan. Not life-threatening, world-crushing, or heartbreaking news. Just tough. And when I say tough, it basically means that it could be nothing or it could be something. Right now there are no additional tests to be done. And the chances of it being something are slim to none.

However, to me, it’s something. I’m the one carrying little G (He has a name, but we’re not sharing that until birth, so he will be G until June). I’m the one growing him. And for me to be told that there could be something wrong … it’s hurting me. Terribly.

So, now that I’ve been pretty cryptic, I’ll give you the whole scoop.

First I go in for my regularly scheduled doctor appointment. I’m up 1 pound, my blood pressure was a little elevated (shouldn’t have had those chips with lunch right before my appointment!), we found his heartbeat on the doppler and it was normal, and all my screenings came back negative. I left there feeling pretty good. Then it was downstairs to go to the anatomy scan.

I had read a little bit about anatomy scans, so I knew pretty well what they were going to be looking for. But I was still a little bit nervous because this was where we could see if there were any major problems. Unfortunately, I was alone at this point because my mother had a previously scheduled appointment of her own in the same building and since we were running late she couldn’t go to the scan with me. But I was fine with that. I would have liked for her to have been able to experience the ultrasound with me, but whatever.

The technician was very nice and thorough. She took a lot of images and we got 5 or 6 keepsake pictures. She confirmed that G. is still a boy – we had found out with an elective U/S at 15 weeks, and I wanted to double check because I actually do know people who have been surprised in the delivery room … when they didn’t really want to be! She went through everything, but I noticed she was focusing on the heart quite a lot. I didn’t think much about it at the time, I just assumed that since the heart is such an important organ that it’s commonplace to look so in-depth at it. But she quit saying as much to me. I still didn’t think much about it, mainly because he was moving around a lot and giving her heck about staying still to get the images. It wasn’t until she was completely done and started printing our images that she asked if I had been scheduled for a consultation as well. I told her I didn’t know, this appointment was made for me through my OBGYN and all I knew was when and where to show up.

This was the red flag. I thought to myself, something isn’t right. If the technician suspects there’s a problem, then it must be a big one. The images haven’t even crossed a doctor’s desk yet. She leaves the room and I’m all alone and panicking. You can imagine how I felt at this point. Apparently, the doctor who reads these images was working out of a different office that day. But I had signed a teleconference release form while in the waiting room. So I got to teleconference with the doctor in a little room with just a chair, desk, TV … and tissues. More panicking ensues.

I’m sitting there waiting for the doctor to come into the room on her end. She finally does and she sits down and says that everything looks normal, but that he has an Echogenic Intracardiac Focus (EIF). My heart broke. It’s basically a white spot, a calcium deposit, on his heart. She starts talking about pediatric cardiologists. Then she asks me if I had done any of the prenatal screening. I told her yes and that I had just found out that everything came back negative. But then I remembered the nurse telling me before they took the blood work for the screening, that there are false negatives. So, more panicking.

At this point my head is spinning, my world is crashing down around me, and I don’t know what to do. She indicated that this could be nothing, that sometimes they just pop up on ultrasounds, and then in a routine 3rd trimester ultrasound, it might be completely gone. Or it could be something that we would have to deal with after he’s born. I asked if there was any additional tests that I would need to have done, she said no. Okay. So by this point my parents have re-joined me in this little conference room and they only hear the tail end of all this. At this point I can’t even remember what the name of the problem even is. That’s how much my head was spinning.

Then they send me on my merry little way. I drove separate from my parents to the hospital, and we were going to go and do other things after my appointment, but first we were going to take my car home and that way we would only have one car when we met up with my husband for dinner later that night. So I called Nathan in my car on the way home. I’m crying and trying to get all this out to let him know what’s going on and I can’t even tell him what the name of the problem. All while trying to drive home. I’m sure I looked like a crazy woman! He calms me down and reassures me that we will deal with what we have to deal with as it comes to me.

But by this point I’m stuck on the word Intracardiac. I have a friend who has a 3 year old little boy who was born with a heart problem and actually had open heart surgery 3 days after his birth. That was just the first of many heart surgeries that he has had to go through. Now they have been told that he needs many more surgeries, but that it’s only going to get worse from here. They can choose to do the surgeries, or they could let him live out the rest of his life without the surgeries. Either way, she will be burying her baby.

By this point I’m in an absolute panic, worrying that we will have to be going through the same thing.

I put it out of my mind for a while and tried to put on a brave face for my parents. I didn’t really want to have to deal with it. I just didn’t. Nathan naturally had to Google it and he came to dinner saying, oh it’s common for these things to show up on ultrasounds, but they normally don’t amount to anything after birth. And from what I’ve read, this can be found in 3-5% of all pregnancies.

I made it all of 24 hours before I had to Google it for myself. Turns out, it has absolutely NOTHING to do with his heart.

I never thought my world could crash any further. But it did.

It can be a marker for Down Syndrome.

Now I understood why the doctor asked me if I had had the prenatal screenings. I understood why she kept saying that pediatric cardiologists usually aren’t very concerned about these. I’m way under 35, I’m not at risk for Down Syndrome. Yet, there it is. In black and white.

Obviously, we will love G. whether he’s a happy normal healthy baby or a Down Syndrome baby. That’s not going to change for us. But it’s very disheartening to know that this is a possibility. And while it is a slim possibility (based on my age and the fact that the screenings were negative) it’s still there. I still have to deal with it. It’s definitely made me view things completely different.

It has given me a newfound respect for parents of special needs children. Knowing that I could be in their boat, it makes me realize that while I never considered having anything but a normal healthy baby, I can deal with anything. If G. does indeed end up being a Down Syndrome baby, bring it on. I’m ready. If he’s not, I’ll be extremely grateful.

It’s just amazing the amount of love that I feel for someone I’ve yet to meet. And no matter what happens, I can’t wait to be G.’s mommy.

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2 thoughts on “Anatomy Scan & Deciding How Much to Share

  1. I admire your candor, applaud your courage and hope against hope that the tests are wrong and that your little G is born healthy and without any complications. However that being said with the love in your heart that you feel now if your baby does indeed turn out to be born with “special needs” than you and your family will still be blessed with a child that you will cherish all the more with every obstacle that you all overcome over the years!
    Chin up and good luck and keep us updated Tara, baby G is going to beat the odds just wait and see for yourselves.

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