Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ultrasounds and Uncertainty

Back when I had my 22 week ultrasound, there was something I noticed. When both the tech and the doctor (who do separate ultrasounds) were checking the baby's heart, they spent longer than usual checking the blood movement. After the doctor was done, he asked that I come back in 6 weeks. He didn't say anything was wrong, just said that it was recommended that older moms get a followup ultrasound. When I was pregnant with River (and also considered an older mom), a followup ultrasound was mentioned, but just as an option, which I didn't take (I think we were going to be gone on vacation at that point).

Naturally, this had us a bit worried. We're guessing that the 22 week ultrasound was too early to tell for sure if something was wrong, hence the followup.

Adding to the worry that something was wrong: our changing insurance. Our current insurance is decent, but comes with copays, cost shares, and caps. Mr M's military job is changing, which will also change our insurance to one that doesn't involve copays or cost shares- everything is covered. Mr M and I both separately had the thought that maybe there's a reason for us needing the better insurance. We've agreed that this was not a reassuring thought when facing an unknown medical situation.

Possible heart problems were also in the back of my mind when I was trying to decide for sure about the half marathon. I did some research and couldn't find any evidence that exercising while pregnant affects the baby's blood flow negatively. But it was still a concern, since we just didn't know what might or might not be the problem.

On the bright side, not too long ago (but after the half) I found this article that described a study that shows that exercise during pregnancy reduces the number of heart defects in babies. So that was reassuring- at least I wasn't harming the baby or making things worse.

The General Conference Saturday Afternoon Session included a talk on fear and faith by Elder Bednar. As I listened to it, I considered whether I was afraid or not. I came to the conclusion that I wasn't afraid about what the future might hold for our baby, but I also recognized that it's easy to have that mindset since we hadn't actually received any bad news. The challenge would be holding off the fear even if we did receive bad news.

After 6 weeks of waiting, wondering, and praying, we had the follow-up ultrasound last week and:

Everything looks good! 

The doctor didn't see anything out of the ordinary and our little guy is growing properly. It's definitely a relief and it's nice to not have the uncertainty hanging over us anymore.

Regardless of the outcome, 6 weeks to contemplate all the "what-ifs" actually made the situation easier. We could calmly and rationally think about the ramifications and how we would handle things if the baby did indeed have heart problems. But at the same time, we could reassure ourselves that he was probably fine since the doctor hadn't said anything, which helped us not freak out too much. Honestly, we didn't stress too much about it all, though the last 18 hours before my appointment were a bit stressful as we approached the actual verdict.

Because we hadn't been told anything specific, we didn't tell our families since we didn't want to make a mountain out of a molehill. We didn't want to unnecessarily alarm them, but we also knew it would affect our support needs if there was a problem.

isn't he a cutie?

The week leading up to Valentine's Day is Congenital Heard Defect Awareness Week, and a blog I follow co-hosted a series of posts highlighting children with CHD and their families. At the time, when I read the stories, it wasn't on our radar that one of our kiddos might be in a similar situation. We never think something like that will happen to our family, and that was mentioned by several of the families writing about their experiences with CHD.

Back when we were filling out paperwork to adopt, one of the questionnaires asked which birth defects we were or weren't willing to consider in a potential adoptee. We talked about it and decided that we wouldn't place limits on a child we would adopt when there was no guarantee that a biological child wouldn't have those same issues.

When we got pregnant with River, people would ask if we wanted a girl or a boy, and we would answer that we didn't care, so long as the baby was healthy. After a while though, I stopped saying that because I realized that even a healthy baby isn't a given. Even if the baby had health issues, we would still love him/her, so using health as a criteria isn't truly indicative of how we would feel about our baby. Every child is a blessing, regardless of their state of health. And it's not like we're all super healthy and problem-free. Mr M has back issues, I have celiac and PCOS, Sunshine has celiac, and River has pectus excavatum. So we'll be happy with any addition we're blessed with :)

1 comment:

  1. Glad everything's ok! We had a funky kidney thing with E that required 2 followup ultrasounds. Super stressful, for sure!