Laughing, Weeping, Living

Life happens. You laugh about it or cry about it, sometimes both.

Update on the Baby Girl

This is the fourth installment of my account of the ongoing medical issues surrounding my current pregnancy. To read the previous installments, follow the links.

Part One: Ven-TRIC-u-lo-MEG-a-ly.

Part Two: Oh Baby.

Part Three: Ventriculomegaly Update.

Agnes Ultrasound 001


Today I had my first visit with a perinatologist in Akron, OH. It had been three weeks since my last in-depth visit to the docs in Albuquerque, and four weeks since the last time I had an ultrasound to get the growth measurements for baby girl and the progression of her ventriculomegaly.  So I was a little anxious. What if we got in there and her brain ventricles had ballooned in the intervening weeks? Or what if her growth had stalled?

The visit started out a bit rocky when the genetic counselor we met with first thing said to me, “So, do you have any concerns?” And I was like, “Uh, other than the vetriculomegaly?” And the woman seemed to be under the impression that the ventriculomegaly was a concern with a previous pregnancy and she didn’t have any of the records my Albuquerque docs had faxed to Ohio. But she left the room to track down my file and we did get to go in for the ultrasound so things were looking up.

The awesome news is that in the four weeks since the last growth ultrasound, the swelling of baby girl’s ventricles has not increased at all! The measurement was almost exactly the same as last time. Plus the doctors here are saying it’s a “mild case” of ventriculomegaly, where the docs in Albuquerque led us to believe it was bad but not quite severe. The other awesome news is that baby girl now weighs in at approximately 3 lbs 3 oz. Her abdomen still measures very small, so she still technically has intrauterine growth restriction, but that is old news for us at this point.

More awesome news: the doctor said there is nothing about the baby to indicate that I won’t be able to have a natural delivery (after they induce, of course), and more importantly, nothing to indicate that it will be impossible to breast feed. In fact, they want the baby to nurse super badly. Like, it sounds like they will do everything in their power to support breast feeding for baby girl when she is born. So that’s all a huge, huge relief to me. I was really scared about the likelihood of needing a c-section, and I was sad about the possibility that I would miss the opportunity to nurse because she would need immediate care. The doc said baby’s condition does not appear to indicate that immediate surgery and complicated care will be necessary. We may even be able to take her home at the usual time, notwithstanding any underlying genetic anomalies that will not be apparent until after birth.

There is quite a strenuous program set out for me for the coming weeks. The doctors want me to go in twice a week to sit for what’s called a “Non-Stress Test,” which is basically where they strap a doppler monitor to my belly and listen to the baby’s heart beat for a 30 minute stretch of time. They want to make sure her heart rate stays steady when she’s just floating around, and they want to hear the baby’s heart rate increase slightly when she moves around. That’ s normal. Then if anything along the way indicates the baby is in distress, they will consider delivering her.

Agnes Ultrasound 002

I also have scheduled a fetal MRI to get good, clear pictures of baby’s brain. This will determine for sure whether all the structures of her brain are present and accounted for. It will also make clear the nature of the blockage or obstruction that is contributing to the extra fluid in her ventricles.

I also have scheduled a fetal echo, which will provide detailed pictures of baby’s heart. The doc said any time there are issues across multiply systems, they check the heart carefully to make sure everything is a-okay in the cardiac area.

The perinatology clinic is also going to schedule a big team meeting for Jeremy and myself, together with the perinatologist, my regular OB, the pediatric neurosurgeon, the neonatologist, the heart guy, the other brain guy, the genetic counselor, and whoever else might possibly be involved in my care and the care of baby girl when she’s born. It should be quite a party.

So, to sum up, it’s very encouraging that the ventriculomegaly has not worsened in four weeks. It’s very encouraging that baby has grown significantly in four weeks. It’s very encouraging that her heart rate is strong and her movements are vigorous. It’s very encouraging that I will most likely be able to deliver her naturally, and begin to nurse right away. There is a lot of care still required, and lots of questions that still need answers, but there is much to be hopeful for!

Saint Maria Goretti, pray for us and for our baby girl!


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