Last Thursday I went to see the perinatologist for the fetal echocardiogram.
I was kind of a wreck when I left. I hadn't slept much the night before, was worried about the outcome of the testing, and felt guilty for leaving the kids ALL DAY with Grandma and Grandpa in their camper when they were busily trying to prepare to go to campmeeting early the next morning.
But the drive down did a lot to relax me and I enjoyed being able to drive with the windows down (without hearing "Mommy, I COLD-Y!), listening to music (loudly) that had nothing to do with any sort of Wee-Sing-type theme or Your Story Hour story I've heard hundreds of times (Mom, can we listen to "Little Bad Legs"....again???).
By the time I got down there I was excited to get a peek at the baby again and felt more able to handle bad news if that's the direction it was going to go.
First the u/s tech did a routine growth ultrasound and did all of the same measurements they did at the 20 week ultrasound. She really didn't get very good pics to print, though. But now and then I got a glimpse of a little face, with rounded little cheeks that just need kissing.
The best of the pics
She tried repeatedly to get another look at the gender, but baby was VERY modest and kept her legs closed tightly the whole time. I'm still betting on a girl, but there have been an awful lot of stories lately of girls turning into boys at the last minute. Just heard another one this week at campmeeting. Well, it's probably a good thing my mom is bringing along a few boy things "just in case".
The growth ultrasound showed that baby was 3lbs 3oz. and measuring 31 weeks (a week ahead of where I was at the time). That's not surprising. My babies tend to be above average size at birth and this one will likely NOT be a 6 pounder. Did you know the average baby is 6.5 - 7.5 lbs? So yeah, a baby measuring ahead for me doesn't mean she'll come earlier than we thought, just that she'll be bigger than average.
Anyway, after the initial ultrasound, then the cardiologist came in and we proceeded with the echo. By that time baby was sick and tired of being poked and prodded so she turned and twisted this way and that to get away from it all. So... that meant I got to be the one compensating by turning this way and that on the table. Toward the tech, away from the tech, back to center, again and again. Felt like a fish in the bottom of a boat. Except I got to make an attempt at modesty while flopping back and forth keeping my shirt up around my ribs and my pants down around my hips.
Her heart looked great. We got a GREAT view of her aorta all the way from the top of her heart to her arch to her bladder (where it splits). It looked like a dark candy cane on the screen and it was the most beautiful sight!
After the echo, I met with the perinatologist to discuss the rest of the growth ultrasound and any further concerns there might be. He pretty much walked in and said: "Heart looks normal, kidneys, stomach, brain all look normal, fluid levels are normal, baby looks great! Any questions?"
And that was it. Our baby will be seen by our pediatrician (who knows all the history and stuff) after she's born. Coarctations can occur after birth, or be missed easily until the child begins to grow (while a small portion of the aorta fails to grow) causing problems the farther along the disparity in growth is allowed to go untreated. As long as our kids are watched for this, knowing the predisposition genetically to it, that's the best we can do.
I feel better. Every time I meet with the pediatric cardiologists I feel like I am learning new things, getting better acquainted with this particular CHD and the more knowledge I have, the better equiped I am to deal with it and handle its particular challenges.
I was met at home by a little boy with a board and a softball who just wanted very badly to have a little practice at bat. So before I even made it to the door I was out tossing the ball for him while he tried desperately to swing the board at it. I finally found a lighter piece of trim he could use and that went much better!
Just outside the door (when I finally made it there) I found a huge bouquet of bracken ferns and tree branches. On their nature walk with Grandma, my son had gathered up all of them for me and Grandma had tied it all together with twine. It sat on the doorstep and so I scooped it up and brought it inside. All night it sat on the kitchen table and filled up the house with the most delicious woodsy smell. I LOVED it. It crept into my sleep and colored my dreams with pictures of my childhood and the Sabbath walks we used to take down to the river.