Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Oh, We're Half Way The-ere

Who-oah, livin on a prayer...

Loooooooong post ahead...story but no pictures ~ sorry!  Maybe tomorrow I'll try to scan some from the ultrasound :)

So this past Friday marked the half-way point of my pregnancy with Baby #3, who is as-of-yet unnamed.  For the record though we are NOT naming him or her Jad, Awesome Danger, Buh-Buh, Tree, Little Tree, Little Baby Tree, or The Other Charlotte.  Michael, Charlotte, and Maya have all been kicked out of the "name the baby" committee :)

(Random story that will make sense in the end)

When Charlotte was about 4 months old we discovered that she had a small hole in her ventricular septum (called, creatively, a Ventricular Septal Defect, or VSD).  We met with a cardiologist, had an ultrasound done of her heart, were told it would almost certainly close on its own, and by her 9 month check-up the murmur that had alerted the pediatrician to the issue initially was gone (prayers answered!).  VSDs are typically not serious defects, and are the most common type of congenital heart defect.  It was nervewracking at the time, but after we met with the cardiologist I rarely thought about it anymore.

Now fast-forward to 4 weeks ago :)

I met with my back-up midwife and, in going over my history, she asked (assuming the answer would be no) if either of the girls had any heart defects.  It almost didn't even occur to me to tell her about Charlotte's!  But, I did, and because of that she recommended that we meet with a pediatric cardiologist to have a fetal echo done to make sure there were no structural abnormalities in the baby's heart.  At first I declined, which likely will not surprise those who know me well, but after reading more, talking to friends, and really praying about it I decided to go ahead and schedule the test, along with an anatomy ultrasound (the "big" ultrasound that most pregnant women have at 20 weeks), another test we had initially declined.  Because of my history with Charlotte, and because we are planning on having this baby at home, we agreed that it was best to go ahead with the tests to ensure there were no major surprises at birth.

And now we fast-forward to today :)

I'll spare you the suspense and start by saying that the baby is perfectly perfect and healthy, baby's heart is awesome and currently doing everything that it is supposed to do, and we have nothing to worry about.  Well, except for adding a 3rd child to our family and suddenly being out-numbered...but we were already expecting that :)

But, as Michael put it today after our appointment, "well that was a lot more stressful than it needed to be!"  The day started with the hospital not having the "order" for my echo.  I was a little confused as I had gotten confirmation calls from both my midwife's office AND the hospital, along with an appointment reminder from the hospital.  Along with all that, I wasn't the one to set up the test!  Since I was already at the cardiologist's office, they let me use the phone (no cell phones allowed) to call my midwife's office to see if they could please fax it over immediately!  Fortunately (despite the office being closed on Wednesdays) they were able to locate the proper paperwork and fax it over ~ phew!  Because I wasn't already stressed and nervous going into the appointment!

When we went back to the exam room, the technician got my info and then set up the machine, and the doctor came in to do the echo.  For at least 45 minutes he was totally silent.  He took tons of pictures of the baby's heart, as well as a few of the brain, abdomen and legs, but didn't.say.anything.  At all.  It was... nerve-wracking.  Then, all of a sudden there is a knock at the door, and another doctor comes in.  At this point Michael and I were pretty confused, as we had *thought* the first doctor told us he was Dr. Patel (the cardiologist with whom I had the appointment) but then the second doctor also told us he was Dr. Patel.  Turns out the first doctor's name was Peter...we should have known he wasn't Dr. Patel in that he was (Michael's words again) "very Caucasian".  The real Dr. Patel sat down, reviewed all of the pictures and videos (over 100) in complete silence, then proceeded to repeat about half of the echo.  Though we both held it together, Michael and I were both freaking out a little bit.  Why weren't they talking???  Why did he repeat the pictures???  Did Dr. Patel #1 (aka Peter) push some button that made the real Dr. Patel come in???  WHAT WAS GOING ON???

The doctor finally finished up, and then solemnly told me he'd turn on the lights and then we could "talk".  I'm surprised I wasn't crying at this point.  He started by telling us, in a very somber and unenthusiastic tone, that the good news is that the baby's heart looks perfect (emphasis on heart important).  He proceeded to tell us about all the chambers, what each one does, how the blood flows in and out, what the different valves do, the function of the placenta, and how the baby's lungs transition upon birth to breathing rather than receiving oxygen through the umbilical cord.  Throughout the whole talk, he would say things such as, "in most babies, what we expect to see is..." or "usually what we find is..." or "now what we want is..."  After each of these ominous statements, he would follow up with, "and that's what we found in your baby, too"  It was very up-and-down.  As the talk went on, I was waiting for the other shoe to fall.  He'd made a pretty big emphasis on the fact that the heart was ok, but his tone was very suggestive of the fact that there was some "bad news" to go along with the good news.  But, there wasn't.  I mean, yay and I'm super happy that we have a healthy baby who is perfectly on track in terms of growth and development, but holy roller coaster!  Michael and I were both exhausted after that appointment!  Fortunately we've been joking about it all afternoon, and it made the anatomy ultrasound much more fun (the fact that the technician was upbeat and explained everything we were seeing helped, too!).

After seeing the baby on the screen, I am much more relaxed and feel like I am able to take on the rest of the pregnancy in a state of less-stress (I'd say no-stress, but that's just not who I am! :)).  Our birth plans are more solid now ~ yay! ~ and I'm so excited for August so we can meet the newest member of our family!

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