Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Single Umbilical Artery Update

Yesterday we had our appointment with the specialist to take a look at the baby in a more in depth way. The 45-minute drive to Geisinger consisted of Chris and I making small talk about our upcoming beach trip, the weather, Gabe's funny quirks... essentially anything to get the time to pass more quickly as we approached the hospital.

Unknowns make me nervous. I try not to pass that nervous energy on to Chris. Instead, I attempt to integrate humor and sarcasm at any opportunity. Chris knows me well and know this is my go-to course of action when I'm freaked out. He continued to drive, mostly silent except for a few smiles directed at my attempts to make him laugh.

I know he's worked up. I know he Googled. I know he knows so much about genetic and developmental disorders in children; these kiddos are his patients every day. I know he's worried about the news we might receive.

We pulled into the parking lot and prayed. Please be with us today. Help us trust you. 

After 30 minutes, we were finally called back to the ultrasound room. Our tech was warm and she began the ultrasound. She was so thorough! The entire ultrasound look 45 minutes; she explored every inch of the baby! She counted fingers and toes and heart chambers--- everything. We looked away at her instruction, every time the baby's gender might be viewable. We still want that surprise!

I continued make jokes and laugh through it, even though I was sweating and feeling quite nervous. There are few moments in life where you actually have the chance to really pause and consider that your life, with new news, could really, really change. Often we're not privy to such changes ahead of time. Instead, I was all too well aware that the news we might receive could be significant.

When the ultrasound was finished, the tech directed us to a room where we would wait to meet with the doctors. As we waited, I tried to talk about the baby's features; his/her nose and profile look just like Gabe's. Even in the midst of the stress, I will never tire of seeing the baby in utero! So neat!

With a knock on the door, the doctors came in to give us the findings. They introduced themselves as High Risk Specialists (that did not make me feel calm). They then told us that the baby looked great; he/she is measuring perfectly and there are no fetal abnormalities beyond the single umbilical artery issue that would warrant further genetic testing. The excess kidney/renal fluid has diminished as well and it is within a normal range.

An audible sigh of relief came from Chris. My shoulders fell, and I could feel relief wash over me.

The single umbilical artery, occurring in less than 1% of pregnancies, is still the greatest cause for concern moving forward. While the baby is growing and appears completely fine right now, we will need to monitor the baby weekly to ensure that his/her growth continues and that he/she is not stressed in utero. I will have more ultrasounds and twice weekly non-stress tests to make sure everything is still okay.

The doctors told me to pay close attention to the baby's movement-- If I don't feel the baby move for a signifiant chunk of time, I should get to the hospital to ensure nothing has happened. The umbilical cord is the baby's lifeline until birth, so we need to be sure it remains in tact. While the SUA issue makes me squirm a bit, I am just so relieved to know that is the only component upon which we need to focus right now.

Today, I continue to praise God, my Strong Tower for walking with me through this week!

And in two days, it's off to the beach! We can't wait!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

21 Weeks and Counting

I can't believe it's been over a month since I've posted. Summer is in full swing here and between swimming, church events, baseball games, camping, and family gatherings, we've been pretty busy! Once I turned the 16-week corner, I really have been feeling fantastic; I'm hungry again and my energy is back. I love being pregnant and I am continually reminded of just how special carrying a baby can be.

I've been able to feel the baby move a lot more recently; Chris even got to feel him/her kick a few times too. We had our 20 week ultrasound last week and it was really sweet to be able to see the baby on the screen moving and grooving around.

We did get some unsettling news at our ultrasound, however. The tech found that I have a two vessel umbilical cord, as opposed to the traditional three-vessel cord. We're told that 1% of all pregnancies occur where a two-vessel exists. Many of the babies are born without any complications at all, while in others, complications can occur.

We also found out that the baby currently has "excess renal fluid" which can be directly correlated to the two-vessel cord. Traditionally in a three-vessel cord, one of the vessels brings the baby nutrients, while the other two are used to eliminate waste. Because there is only one vessel eliminating waste in the baby's case, some additional fluid is present.

Because we were flagged as "abnormal" after the ultrasound, the doctor recommended we go see a specialist and have a more involved ultrasound to really get a detailed look at what's going on. The doctor also suggested we think about genetic testing as both the two-vessel cord and the excess renal fluid issue have been tied to syndrome diagnoses in SOME babies.

After we got home from the appointment, I Googled for about five minutes and then promptly shut my laptop. Google is not my friend right now and in fact, it only adds to my anxiety.

We are waiting for a call this week to head to our specialist appointment. Right now, the baby is not in danger and everything is okay. The doctor just wants us to be armed with additional knowledge and insight about the potential complications and impacts of this news. I totally get that. Right now though, I am just reminding myself that this baby is a a GIFT, a gift directly from God to us. I don't want to loose sight of that, ever.

We don't know anything else at this point, so we are working very hard (and staying very busy) so as to not fixate on the what-ifs of weeks down the road.

Today, I choose to trust that God knows exactly what's up, and we're not alone in it at all. Praise God for the peace I feel; it's only from Him!