This week we had our anatomy scan (the ultrasound where they assess the organs and other structures to ensure all seems to be developing properly) for baby Jay. And he looked healthy, and for this we’re so thankful.
NOTE – This post is probably kind of “blah” (i.e. boring), which, given the topic, is an extraordinary thing. But I feel compelled to update, as I think some might be interested nonetheless.
Good news doesn’t provide much comfort though. Everything looked/was perfect with Matthew too. But Mark keeps reminding me that this is the best news we could’ve received in this moment. And I agree. So I’m trying to celebrate/feel a bit of hope and joy about this important piece of positivity until the stress and anxiety sucks me back in (which could happen as soon as tomorrow).
So here’s a summary of our appointment:
Jay’s measuring ~one week ahead. He has long legs and arms like his big brother and his parents. But as pretty much everyone present pointed out, who in the actual hell would expect any of our children to be short? (I’m almost 6’0”, and Mark’s 6’5”.) No one smart.
Jay was fairly active during the ultrasound, performing a number of cute movements. Although I’ve yet to feel many kicks, based on what I’ve seen, I think Jay’s going to be at least a bit more active than Matthew, who I often refer to as my sweet, calm boy. But, at the same time, Jay was also cooperative, almost in a showoffy type of way. (Maybe he’s like Mark in this regard.) Like, for example, when it was time to look at his heart, he overtly gave perfect views of it for extended time periods. This made us laugh.
We received a few 3D pics! Babies don’t have much fat at 20 weeks, so, as a result, at this gestation, sometimes they look scary (almost alien-like). However, despite the creepiness and blurriness, I could still make out some cute features. Though it’s still too early to tell how closely Jay might resemble Matthew.
We’re planning an official umbilical cord pathology scan soon, and, although this wasn’t the purpose of this particular appointment, we definitely got some good practice in obsessing over the cord. In fact, once they determined Jay looked healthy, we ran through a battery of questions (mostly, but not all, cord-related) that I’m sure they receive on a regular basis. (Or not!)
We asked so many like, “There’s three vessels in the cord right? Is the cord insertion point in the middle of the placenta? Is there a velamentous cord insertion? Is the cord wrapped around his neck? Do you see any evidence of a knot? How’s blood flow looking? Can you measure the placenta? Does it look normal? Any signs of placenta accreta?”
One thing that we appreciated was that no one tried to feed us the bullshit that umbilical cords can’t be seen on ultrasound. (They likely know that if they ever try to pull this with us, we’ll politely jump their asses.) They actually did a great job answering our questions.
And no cord issues were noted, so we’re hoping and praying so hard that it stays this way.
Each one of these PAL ultrasounds has been extremely emotional for me. When I’m not terrified of getting bad news, I’m usually thinking back to my short time with Matthew. And one or both of these things usually sends me into at least one crying fit.
This appointment was no different. I started balling in the middle of the ultrasound, far past the point when we’d been most likely to encounter an ominous finding. So, of course, everyone wondered what was wrong with me. And then Mark had to explain that I was just missing Matthew.
I did this anatomy scan with maternal fetal medicine (the high risk or “MFM” docs). I’ve been so impressed with this practice thus far. To date, I’ve met two doctors, two nurses, and two ultrasound technicians. They’ve each been fabulous.
There’s one nurse in particular Mark and I’ve spoken with at length. And I swear, she and I are the same person in many ways. She’s not personally experienced a loss, but her work in this field’s made her sensitive to the subject/possibility of loss. And she seems to be just as terrified of pregnancy as I am. She also seems very smart and genuinely interested in all we’ve learned about umbilical cord accidents, which we totally appreciate.
You’re probably wondering whether this describes every nurse working in a high risk practice. It doesn’t. One of my biggest pet peeves is when medical professionals act oblivious to the cause of Matthew’s death, meanwhile, I’m screaming (in my mind), “How can you not acknowledge that cord accidents (and other bad things) happen? It freaking happened to ME! And here you are, conversing with ME, yet still denying it can happen, or pretending it’s like a one in one million chance!!”
But I’ve been lucky not to have encountered any of this as of late.
Also, the ultrasound techs at this practice have been amazing. This time, we had a different ultrasound tech, equally as awesome as the one we had for our first appointment here. And then, much to our pleasant surprise, towards the beginning of this appointment, the ultrasound tech from our first appointment decided to join us.
So far everyone we’ve encountered has shown a kind bedside manner and seems to possess the type of professional curiosity we’re seeking. I hope this continues to be the case!
And none of this is to say my high risk care wasn’t good last time. I truly believe it was. I’ve been over Matthew’s death one thousand and one times, and I don’t see how anyone could’ve prevented it. No one really screwed up. I think this is the most terrifying thing, actually. Even with exceptional care, I’m acutely aware that so much is outside of our control. The worst can and does happen. And it happened to me. To us. To Matthew.
But I feel (I think) as comfortable as possible with this practice. I’m confident they’re doing everything they can to make this journey less excruciating for us and to get Jay here safely. There are no guarantees, of course. But I’m so, so hopeful this time will be different.