I Got 99 Problems But This Baby’s Heart’s Not One

Hit me. Bad blogger alert.  I’m 2 weeks behind on giving you an update on my little baby travel buddy nuggets’ heart.  Been too busy slaying hearts again.  Seriously, for some reason I am WILDLY attractive to men while being pregnant.  Can I always be pregnant forever? This time, I was asked out IN PUBLIC whilst being 6 months pregnant.  I’ve only gained 5ish pounds and it’s all baby, so from the boobs up I guess it must be hard to tell. And these boobs. Hubba Hubba. I was sitting at Camp Bar, the best bar, in the 3rd Ward with my friend drinking some hot chocolate (she was drinking a vodka for full context) and a couple guys came up and asked to share our table.  After a couple fun hours, dude asks me out on a date.  I told him that I would give him my number and my full name, and that he should google me and then text me and decide if he still wants to go out on a date.  Next day, he texted me saying he has some questions, but would still like to take me out.  Go figure. 

So back to baby.  2 weeks ago I had my ultrasound with the fetal cardiologist.  The ultrasound technician did about 25 minutes of work measuring, taking pictures, and listening to and recording flows of blood.  Heart rate was 123 for all of you tracking that with your baby gender guesses.  (You people better be gambling on this… I’m not giving you this opportunity to gamble against each other for nothing!)  Basically, she did a full echo-cardiogram on the baby. 

The fetal cardiologist walked in.  He was 14.  Doogie Howser, M.D.  I mean, obviously he was older that that but at my age they all look young.  (Can you believe I’m at that age where I say things like “they all look young”?)  He was the opposite of what I imagined a cardiologist would be.  He was calm, humble, and had great bedside manner.  Super weird.  Just kidding, he was lovely, obviously.  The first thing he said was “I’m not saying I’m a better doctor than the other doctor who told you there was a hole but all I do for a living is look at babies’ hearts and I don’t see a hole.”  To which my mom who was with me and I try to high five him and say, “Hell yeah you’re a better doctor!”  and he blushed and said “Oh no no no, I wasn’t trying to say I was, I was just defending him.” 

You read that correctly, baby does not have VSD.   Dr. Cardiologist says he saw the picture the other doctor looked at and said that he saw “an artifact”, not a hole.  But since they did do a full echo-cardiogram, Dr Cardiologist did find something out of sorts.  Baby has an extra vein.  Yes, of course, my baby is an overachiever already, what did you expect.  

It’s called Persistent Left Superior Vena Cava.  He drew me a picture because he was lovely.  1 out of 300 people have it but don’t know it because they have never had a full echo-cardiogram.  It’s usually found if someone is getting heart surgery for something unrelated later in life because they can’t put something in on that side?  Wow, I’m doing a great job explaining this. I guess it hasn’t showed up yet on any of my medical dramas so I’m not an expert yet. Just google it, it’s not that bad, I promise.  The baby can come out normal, it’s not in high risk anymore.  They will do an ultrasound of the baby’s heart after it comes out to check really good without all the goo and placenta and my stomach fat and my skin in the way.  Also they will check again in a month with Dr. Cardiologist as well. 

A rare piece of doctor art showing what a Persistent Left Superior Vena Cava is.

Great news, right!!!  Baby is currently trying to prove to me that they are healthy as a horse by using my insides as a punching bag.  Love this kid already because they only act up during the day.  We sleep like angel babies through the night.  Me, the little nugget face, and my other little nugget face Sushi.  Sushi is LOVING the new belly activity.  We just started feeling the baby on the outside so Sushi has been spending time laying her head on my belly bonding with her new little sister or brother.  I die.  It’s everything.

Watching my little babies snuggling in the morning… The smaller one is kicking the bigger one in the face in this picture.

I’m still doing amazing.  I’ve never in my entire life felt this good or happy or healthy.  I’m doing everything in my power to enjoy my final few months of freedom before I’m never alone again.  My only complaint is that after 4 o’clock, I’m literally a burp factory.  I try to burp it all out but can’t stop taking in air which just keeps coming out.  Buy stock of Tums immediately, I’ll make you an good ROI.  Oh shit, was that insider trading? 

Thanks for being with me on this journey!  I appreciate all the support. 

A Broken Heart

Don’t freak out yet, but we may have a little problem.

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?

Crazy 3D/4D picture of the little nugget at 20 weeks

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!


The bottom picture is the baby staring at the camera. So creepy, right?

Vivid Dreams, Hormones and Loneliness

It can’t all be unicorns and rainbows, can it? I know I normally make you laugh, but today I’m going to give you a little story about a reality check moment I had last week. For 19 weeks, almost 5 dang months, I have been an absolute emotional rock star. I’ve felt joyous and excited and strong and ready. I spent a year before getting pregnant preparing my mind for going through this alone. And one vivid dream activated the hormones.

One of my favorite symptoms of this pregnancy have been the vivid dreams. Most of them have been… ahem… really nice. The other night though, I had one that shook me. Let me tell you about it.

I walk into a bar with the man of my dreams. He’s brilliant, sharp, hilarious, attentive, patient, gorgeous, ambitious AND successful. Along with every other box checked on my dream man checklist. We sit at the bar, and he orders me a water and a juice without asking because he knows the baby only wants toddler food and drinks right now. He demands a menu because he knows I get lightheaded and hangry when then baby is hungry. When the bartender starts quizzing me on why I’m not drinking at a bar, he comes to my side with pride and explains that I’m pregnant. I order the mac and cheese because they don’t have peanut butter and jelly. Toddler food or bust.

Next bar we go to, same song and dance. At this point we are having a blast. I’m not hangry anymore so I’m back to my wild and crazy self, which he loves. He eggs me on and laughs with me while we make friends with everyone at the bar and tell inappropriate jokes. When I flirt with the bartender, he pretends he’s jealous, but he knows I’m obsessed with him and don’t have eyes for anyone else. I knew the second I laid eyes on him in the Cermak produce department that he was the one. He knows it’s important for me to have fun and be a normal person, not a recluse.

Next bar we hop too, he’s leading the charge. He’s making sure I’m hydrated and taken care of; he’s proudly telling everyone we meet about the baby. I’m next to him filled with adoration and gratitude to have such a wonderful man by my side. The bartender tells us how lucky we are to have found one another and how compatible we are and how he loves how we make each other laugh.

We leave in an Lyft to get home, and we tell dad jokes in the backseat, having a blast, making the driver of the Lyft laugh and just being crazy and having fun, just like we always do. We get back home and I wake up from my dream.

You know that moment after you wake from a great dream? You lay in bed trying to make the dream keep going. That moment when it’s no longer a dream, but a fantasy. I fantasized of all the memories me and my dream man would have over the next few months. Feeling the baby kick for the first time together. Going to the ultrasounds and seeing the baby wiggling around. Footrubs when my feet start swelling up. A Babymoon in Grand Cayman or The Bahamas because those are the only places the doctor will let us go because of Zika. The drive to the hospital when the contractions start. The final moments of it just being us two while I push and he holds my hand and then…

I had to cut myself off. Because I was sobbing. Because it was just a dream and a fantasy. And I’m alone. Those dang hormones and a dream finally broke me.

I’m an eternal optimist who lives and breathes by The Secret (The law of attraction and the power of positive thinking) so I do believe my dream man is out there and will find me some day.

Until then, I have reached the point where doing this alone has become a little sad and lonely. I used to brag that I get to make all my own decisions and don’t have to deal with someone else’s input, but then I’m sitting on the sofa a couple weeks ago, feel the baby move for the first time, and look to the other end of the sofa and realize it’s just me and I have no one to share that special moment with.

I know all my friends reading this are shaking their heads and wagging their finger at me saying, “you can always call me, I’m always there for you!” But they all know it’s not the same.

I debated writing about this and sharing this story because a) you’re all used to hilarious stories and clever tales from me and b) I don’t want anyone, especially my future baby to think I ever had one moment of pause on doing this.

Someone reminded me though that I have to tell this story and share my emotions for a few reasons. 1) all the single moms and future single moms out there reading this have to know that this journey isn’t all sunshine and rainbows and that it can be very lonely. 2) my child will read this some day and I never want them to resent me for doing this alone. I want them to know that I always planned on completing our family and giving them a father figure but I wanted them so desperately and didn’t want to miss my biological window 3) To validate for myself how much I do crave a partner and that even though I’m getting what I always prayed for with a baby, I remain diligent in my journey to also find love for myself. I remain hopeful that I will find a wonderful father for my child and supportive respectful partner for me someday.

I also want you all to know that it’s all good. I read this excavator book to my best friends child 14,324 times while snuggling on the sofa and I’m back to being so very excited for moments like this with my own little nugget. I’m so grateful that this worked. I’m constantly filled with gratitude that the Lord blessed me with this incredibly special gift when women and men all over the world including very good friends of mine suffer daily with fertility challenges. I’ll never take it for granted.

The excavator book. If you would like, I’ve memorized it and can tell you everything there is to know about excavators.

Thanks for your support on this journey, and I promise my next post will be filled with laughs.

A 20 Week Baby Bump to make you feel better after reading that post. Halfway there!