Tuesday, April 3, 2018
So... SURPRISE, we are expecting baby Heck number 5! This was an interesting thing for us to discover, as we had not been trying to have more, and it was later than normal when I found out. Jonathan actually figured it out before me this time. Consequently, the pregnancy has been very different from the other 4 from the very start.
Then, this past Wednesday, in what was supposed to be our quick follow-up to confirm everything was okay at 13 weeks so we could announce our happy news to friends... things didn’t go exactly as planned. I had a friend with me, and when the nurse first came in with the doppler, she couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat (which in my mind is the whole purpose of this visit). So, she brought in the 2nd nurse, with “mad ninja skills”, who also could not find the heartbeat. They said the baby was “moving around and must be very active", so they would "send in the Dr. to check.”
They sent in my OB, Dr. Tadvick, who then brought in the ultrasound machine and quickly found a moving baby and heartrate of 161. I felt a wave of relief, until he noticed something “abnormal” on the ultrasound which looked like a pocket of fluid behind the baby’s neck. He explained that he would like to send me to a fetal maternal specialist right away to have it checked out and that I may want to also consider doing some bloodwork to help determine what might actually be going on.
Wednesday night, I received a blessing, and in that prayer, was told that I would gain understanding that whatever happens is the Lord’s will. That Heavenly Father was pleased with my decisions and that I would be able to feel peace with whatever situations follow. Or something like that.
So, on Thursday morning, in our visit with the fetal maternal specialist, our baby was diagnosed with cystic hygroma, often consistent with chromosomal abnormalities, or some other type of environmental factors. It showed fluid collected/swelling around the back of the baby’s neck and down their back a bit.
The fetal maternal specialist strongly urged us to consider doing a blood “screening”, not invasive to the baby at all – since they take my blood only (and look at baby’s cells found there), that would determine the likelihood of Turner’s syndrome, Down’s, Trisomy 18 or 13 (the 4 most common types of chromosomal disorders, in order of commonality). While she understood our perspective of it not affecting outcome in the sense of termination not being considered, she explained that it would be useful in determining care... if they needed to follow more closely in completing a fetal echo around 22-24 weeks, when heart is more developed, in order to determine heart defects. Also, it would help determine if they would possibly need to be delivered in a larger hospital outside of Abilene (perhaps DFW) if they might need heart surgery soon after birth, etc.
Since that diagnosis, I’ve had a myriad of emotions, thoughts and feelings, but Friday morning, I came across a quote from an author from ldsliving.com, Wendy Top, which said:
“Before we came to this earth, we were anxious to have a body of any kind. We understood what a transcendent gift it would be to have a body, even if not perfect. Now that we are here, many of us hate and berate our bodies when they deserve and need to be loved, respected, and cared for, just as our spirits do.”
As I read through this, tears came to my eyes as I thought about our unborn child and the fact that their body was already now, at 13 weeks gestation, imperfect. But yet, the Lord has blessed us with this child, which we had not planned for, and here they are needing love, respect, and care, as any child or spirit needs.
I then had a scripture story brought to my mind that I have not read in some time. I thought of the Savior, when he cast out the devils from some possessed and they begged to be cast into swine. Matthew 8:28-34. https://www.lds.org/
scriptures/nt/matt/8.28-32? lang=eng#p27 I realized that if they, even evil spirits, who
have no opportunity to have a body, were content to be cast into swine, how
much more true would it be that the spirit children of our Heavenly Father
would be grateful to have a mortal body, even if imperfect – and even if only
for a short time!
Another thing that has brought me much comfort is music. Particularly, this year’s (2018) youth album Mutual theme from church titled, Peace in Christ. https://www.lds.org/youth/theme/2018?lang=eng&_r=1
We were gone this weekend in Vegas and they got our blood work back yesterday, but tried to call twice while we were in airport and leaving to fly back to DFW, so missed both calls. I called back a different number I missed this morning and it was my OB, Len Tadvick, who gave me the results that the screening looked consistent with Trisomy 18. Then, a short while later, the genetic counselor called back from the fetal maternal clinic to give me the results herself with a little more detail/information. Basically, the results of the screening are not diagnostic by any means and from lab’s perspective, only have a 36% chance of being accurate. From the genetic counselor’s perspective, she does her own math/calculations based on more information, including peer-reviewed articles, taking into account things like my age, etc., and determined a 51 % likelihood of being accurate. So, she basically told me that the screening lets us know that there is a 36 – 51% chance of the baby having Trisomy 18.
Because they also screened looking for X and Y chromosome material, they can check for the gender. She told me that the results were consistent with the baby being a boy. On that, they are 99% certain because of the fact that they found Y chromosome material present. Obviously, there would be no Y chromosome material found in a girl.
Something I already also knew, but confirmed when looking up information shortly after regarding trisomy 18, when the gender is male, there are even less chances of the baby being born live, or living long after birth.
They also recommend doing an amniocentesis for official diagnostic purposes. However, there’s a .05% chance of miscarriage associated with that, and since I’m already considered high-risk, we see no reason to actually pay for that test. We’re trusting the Lord that all things will happen in accordance with His will.