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I went for my 20 week ultrasound last week! Don’t you worry, after the last blog post, Vivid Dreams, Hormones and Loneliness, I brought my best friend Cynthia with me so I wasn’t alone. It’s all good. Promise. I’m fine.
Cynthia was the perfect person to bring along because she’s a nurse, and has a better idea of what they are looking at on the ultrasound that most others I could bring with me. I shouted a million times at the sonogramer, “Don’t tell me what it is! Don’t let my friend look when you’re looking at the tiddly-bits cause she’ll know!!!!” (Oh yeah, Cynthia wanted to know if it was a boy or a girl BAD.)
We spent a whole 45 minutes looking at the baby! So cute. It was moving EVERYWHERE. Blocking all the good shots. My kid, obviously. Active AF. #cantstopwontstop. The sonogramer spent a lot of time looking at the baby’s heart, and said that spending a lot of time measuring and taking pictures of the heart are super important. She said because my baby was moving everywhere, she was having a hard time getting a good shot of the heart.
She was very cool. Kept switching to 3D or 4D or whatever they call it so you could see all the details of the baby’s face. TOTALLY looks like one of my brothers. Amiright?
She sent in a nurse to take my blood pressure cause the machine wasn’t working (it was a little low but fine) and said she was going to grab the doctor to come in and review the pictures with me.
Doctor came in, whipped out the ultrasound machine again, and went strait to the baby’s heart. Didn’t say anything, but was studying it. Turned on a filter that shows the blood flow. Zoomed in. Studying it. I said, “Cause for concern doctor?” He responded after a long pregnant pause. “Yeah, I think so. I see a hole.” Praise the Lord I had Cynthia there because we both are very stoic in time of crisis. It’s our superpower. We calmly ask questions instead of reacting when stress levels are at an all time high. Some silence happened. Cynthia said “How big is the hole?” The doctor then zoomed in and explained what he was seeing and what he should see. She asked again. He said, “It’s small”.
Thanks to This is Us I’m into asking… “Worst case scenario?” The doctor said, “We don’t need to go there.” I said, “Give it to me anyways.” He explained that worst case scenario it’s a fatal Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) OR best case the hole in my baby’s heart heals itself by the next ultrasound. He asked if I had gotten genetic pre-screening done and I said I had and it had come back negative. He said that was good because chances are it’s not one of the most common genetic disorders, but instead is probably a one-off situation. (Which is good for my future offspring. I’ll potentially have to run some tests on myself though.) He said this particular heart defect, referred to as a Ventricular Septal Defect or VSD, can heal itself before birth. He said about 2% of 20 week ultrasounds show a heart defect and VSD is the most common. Still a critical CHD, but common.
He referred me to a prenatal cardiologist for a month from now.
So. We aren’t freaking out yet. In fact, we aren’t freaking out ever, because everything happens for a reason and everything happens according to The Plan and we are so freaking lucky to live in present time with such amazing access to technology and advanced medical care that allows us to identify heart defects like this as early as they have.
I did have some emotions about it though, I’m not going to lie. Those emotions basically consisted of selfish thoughts like “How will the baby and I get to take our first international vacation together over maternity leave if they have to have surgery?” and “Oh yeah great, this will make it even harder to find a dude because now I have to find a guy strong enough to be able to deal with a kid who needs extra attention AND me” and other ridiculous thoughts that 100% don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I also processed the worst case and best case scenario in my head. Because of Private Practice (as you can tell I’m obsessed with Medial Dramas) the worst case scenario being a fatal defect means that I could potentially still carry the baby to term and they could maybe be a angel hero baby and donate all their good organs to babies who need them and save some lives. Best case scenario, the hole closes before the cardiologist gets to see it and we pretend this blog post and mini mind crisis never happened. Or anything in between.
I saw my OBGYN doctor after that, who is chiller than a actual cucumber. After a hug and some small talk, I told her I just had my 20 week scan. She said “I know. Are you freaking out?” I said, “I could be, I’m not, should I?” and she said “no.” I asked if I was now considered high risk and she said no I wasn’t and that I was doing great. She said I could still do my non-Zika New Years tropical vacation (still looking for someone to come with me… anyone want to disappear somewhere warm with me after Christmas?)
We won’t know any more until early December, but until then, I choose not to sweat the small stuff. Again, let me reiterate how grateful I am that I was able to get pregnant and that I’ve carried this wiggly nugget for 22 weeks. It’s been an absolute joy and my pleasure to carry a life inside me and whatever happens, happens. And if this baby does need extra attention, I know that I’m up for the challenge and capable of overcoming anything thrown my way. I trust God has a plan. Put a quick little prayer to the big guy for me and this little nugget if you don’t mind, will ya?
Thanks for being on this journey with me!