The office was nice. She was friendly. But she quickly began to talk about our baby’s potential genetic conditions. She asked what we had researched (Downs, heart defects, Spina bifida, others), then she began to talk about more possibilities beginning with Turner’s Syndrome.
A week ago Megan called me at the church office. The morning sickness has been terrible. A medicine that helps leaves her exhausted. I expected she was just getting out of bed and probably had a craving (morning sickness – in her case, all-day sickness – hasn’t slowed cravings). Instead she was upset. She was spotting.
The Genetic counselor continued by turning to another possibility, Noonan Syndrome.
A call to the doctor brought an unscheduled ultrasound. I raced home and we were again contacting a friend to watch the girls. We arrived in the dark room and gel was squeezed onto Megan’s stomach. We held our breath and hands as we watched the screen… there was our baby. There was a heart pounding away, but then she got the Doctor. He was brief. Your baby’s nuchal translucency is enlarged, this is a sign of genetic defect. You need to see a specialist.
The counselor began to talk about other tests to run. Tests that would be more accurate. Some brought risks to the baby. 1 in 500. 1 in 100. I responded, “1 in 100 seems like a big risk.” “Not to some people.”
On Sunday I told the congregation about the ultrasound. Only a week before I had announced we were expecting. I debated waiting (when I need the most – I want to stay the quietest), but we decided I should not go to Haiti in two weeks. I felt an explanation was in order. It was a brief part of the message, but during the invitation Tim came forward. He asked if the church could pray for me, Megan, and the baby. He lead a prayer. People joined him and laid on hands.
In our Google search studies the nuchal test was not always accurate. So I asked the counselor the percentages the test may not accurately predict a defect. Looking at the paperwork from our first sonogram, she said we should anticipate a defect. Then she directed us to their ultrasound room.
Again holding hands we watched the screen. I instantly saw the nuchal translucency, but I also noticed how big our baby had grown in just a week. Life is amazing, even in our struggles. We both stared, the mouse moving across the screen taking measurements. The baby’s nuchal had measured 4mm a week earlier. Well beyond the 3mm, when defects become likely. While under three is normal, everyone mentioned numbers in the ones as expected. The mouse dragged a measuring line: 1.91mm. Another angle: 1.76mm. Another angle… 1.91mm was the highest they could find. The baby had not doubled in size. The nuchal translucency had shrunk. The doctor was present in the room watching the test. Her questions changed from introductory to queries about the first ultrasound. Both ladies announced measurements were now in the normal range. The person performing the ultrasound questioned if the original was done right. The doctor responded that some things change quickly in the early stage of pregnancy. But Megan and I thought,
With our worry and stress, it was hard to believe it had only been a week. The Perinatal Specialist scheduled to see us again for more tests, but we left relieved. Each pregnancy is a journey. This one has especially opened our eyes. We feel blessed and thankful. Undeserving. Glad for prayers. You can read Part One and a few reactions in Part Three.