Some of you may have noticed it’s been a while since the last update. I assure you, I did not forget you. It’s just been a stressful couple of months and I as a rule don’t like discussing a problem until I have a solution for it.
So, let’s cut right down to the dirty dirty and get that out of the way.
Jake and I went in for our 28 week ultrasound very excited because we were going to get to have a 3-d ultrasound and receive a 4- d video of the little guy wiggling around! I had big plans to post about my baby shower in Texas (I’d just gotten home from it 2-3 days prior), and show off our little fella.
Unfortunately there’s a whole rhyme about the best laid plans, and things indeed did go awry. In the middle of the ultrasound, the tech told us that it looked like a ventricle in his brain was unusually swollen. We smiled that off nervously, sure that it happened all the time.
Turns out it doesn’t. When my doctor (Jessica Williams) arrived she very gently explained that the condition was so unusual that it only happens in 1/1000 pregnancies and almost always to male children. She wasn’t trained on how to handle it so all she could do was refer us to a specialist. She also hugged me while I cried and Jake, ever the perfect husband, cowboy-ed up to be the tough guy because for once I was not in a place where I could compartmentalize and work through it. We called our moms that afternoon and they were both very reassuring, but that doesn’t help much when you’re flying blind regarding a neonatal neurological condition.
I did probably the worst thing I could do which was hop on Google and start researching it. It’s called “ventriculomegly” and it’s so uncommon, I couldn’t find any information on side effects or long term issues, which only served to wind me up more. Jake threatened to have the internet disconnected if I didn’t stop it. He’s a smart guy.
We intentionally decided to keep this very close, not because we don’t appreciate all of you and the love you send our way but because we were both barely holding it together. My mom probably fielded a dozen sobbing calls wondering what I did to hurt my baby, and we just weren’t in a place to answer questions or talk about it. We’re not religious so “God has a plan” and prayer aren’t comforting to us and we mostly just circled the wagons and worked on distracting one another.
The first specialist couldn’t see us for a month. Obviously that wasn’t gonna work, and Jake politely offered to go over and start pulling pipes out of the walls until they could work us in but as usual, my amazing OB/GYN saved the day. When she found out the wait she called around and got us in at another clinic within 5 days (it was an hour drive, totally worth it).
The specialist was great and let us know that the ventricle in question was at 12.5 mm. For perspective, 7-10 mm is normal. 10-11 is probably nothing. 11-13 is something to worry about. Anything over is in the Oh Shit range. He explained our options (we had none), told us what we could do to improve the situation (nothing), and ran through what would happen if the swelling didn’t go down or continued (c-section and immediate brain surgery). He was able to rule out brain damage, internal bleeding, and a host of other issues, which was comforting. With brain damage off the table it seemed a lot more manageable. We made an appointment for a 6 weeks later and went home, where I kind of turned into a vegetable and Jake played a lot of violent video games.
I’ll skip the details of that 6 weeks, nothing important happened. I stopped working on the nursery and we got really quiet about everything, all pretty depressing. I will say my best friend Serena helped snap me out of what was turning into a pretty intense depression by insisting we go to to Babies R Us and spend a couple of hours carefully picking a mattress, cover, and some adorable sheets and then marching my ass back home and insisting I put the crib together and get back to work.
So 6 weeks came and went and I went back to the specialist. Jake had to work so I was nervous, even more so when my sonogram took a full hour. The doctor kept flipping through my previous sono and comparing it to the current one and I was getting pretty freaked out. Then he finally said the words I was dreading, “Can we talk in my office?”. Something about being asked to talk in an office takes me back to a bunch of school nonsense and bad jobs.
We headed down to the office and he looked at me very seriously for a minute before speaking. He turned the chart around to show me two pictures that meant nothing to me, then began explaining that he’d expected to be giving me some rough news and to believe it when he said he was as surprised as me, but that the ventricle had gone down on it’s own. No swelling, no excess fluid, nothing at all to be concerned about or raise any red flags. He advised having the baby’s brain scanned after birth JUST to be sure, but as far as he could tell we were somehow completely in the clear.
That was pretty awesome for both of us because he confided in me that he’d been having an awful day at the Children’s Hospital to that point and it was amazing to be able to give some good news.
I just sat in my car in the parking lot for half an hour trying to catch my brain up with what had happened, then called Jake who was super happy, then the moms and the few others in our group who knew. And then I’m pretty sure Rainbow Brite picked me up with Starlight and we drove the rainbow bridge home because it was the best day ever.
So. There’s that, and why we’ve been very quiet and close to the vest lately. I’m still going to post my amazing Texas baby shower (finally got all the thank you cards for both showers done! But I feel like I had an excuse) later this week because our moms really knocked it out of the park. I’m sorry I didn’t open up to everyone about what was going on but we really needed to take some time with all this and just knowing we had your love and support was enough.
I have barely been able to look at these since we got them because they were this terrible reminder of what happened, but now they make me happy and I want to share them with you!
So we’re now at 36 weeks and counting, I’ll be keeping everyone updated, and thanks for being so patient!