Tuesday, April 20, 2010

This Mama's heart

is worried about her baby girl's heart.

We had our follow-up ultrasound last week to finish the routine fetal anatomy scan that Lucy failed initially because she was in the vertex position and proved quite difficult to see. With this scan, the tech told us that Lucy is breech and was much easier to see. The tech showed us many things this time we hadn't seen last time, and Lucy was a mover and a shaker as usual. She was bent up like a pretzel with her feet dangling over her head so she could play with her toes -- I smiled and smiled like a goofball because it was just so darned cute. She also showed us how well she's doing with her sucking practice; this little girl is going to come out hungry and rarin' to go on Mama-milk! The tech also confirmed (again) that she is indeed a little girl (thank God, because I've spent half a fortune cleaning up on clearance racks and in the TJ Maxx aisles to outfit this child in pink and florals and frills!).

We were having a great time in the ultrasound until the doctor came in to do his consultation with us. Right away I didn't like him. And I'm weird about my instincts with people...as in, I'm usually spot-on so I trust my instincts! The doctor told us that despite this second ultrasound, they still can't see Lucy's aortic arch. I asked why they couldn't see it and got the abundantly helpful answer of "For any number of reasons." Marty then asked if, by not seeing it, this was some kind of problem? The doctor answered, "No, it's no problem, we just can't see it." I think we both felt a little relief, but then the doctor said, "But we couldn't fix anything anyway until after she's born." HUH??? I can't describe how difficult it was to get this man to give us a straight answer. The one takeaway that was clear was that he wanted us to talk to Dr. Pickler about the situation and get her opinion on what to do going forward. I thought to myself, "You better believe I'm talking to Dr. Pickler, buddy, because you're just plain weird and I'm not trusting a word that has come out of your mouth."

So yesterday I had my 24-week appointment with Dr. Pickler and we discussed the situation at length. She carefully reviewed the ultrasound findings and assured us that we are not her first patients to express consternation over the vagueness of the consulting doctor. We asked her very similar questions to what we'd asked the consulting doctor, and this time we got straight answers. The aortic arch is on the fetal anatomy ultrasound checklist for a reason; this piece of anatomy is a good indicator of the baby's overall cardiac functioning. They need to see blood flowing in and out of it, because the aortic arch is key to oxygenating the blood as it comes from the lungs and is distributed to the rest of the body (at least, that's what I understand from one conversation!). Basically, they need to see it so they can rule out any cardiac problems. And they can't see Lucy's, even after 4 attempts (by 2 sonographers and 2 consulting doctors). I asked Dr. Pickler what would happen if we didn't see the aortic arch before Lucy's birth and there was in fact a problem with it. She said, "Well, we'd have an infant in cardiac distress within the first 12 hours of life." I think you can imagine how my stomach plummeted at that statement. I said, "Well we need to see it before she's born then!" And Dr. Pickler was in 100% agreement with us on this...she doesn't want any surprises, just like we don't want any surprises. I mean, if there's a problem, let's be aware of it and have a team of pediatric specialists on-hand! Heck, I'll deliver in the best hospital with the best cardiac NICU doctors in the world if it comes to that. But we need to KNOW. So we're going to keep looking until Miss Lucy shows us her stuff, good or bad. My doctor's office is scheduling another ultrasound, this time at another practice with a different doctor, who has a stellar reputation among colleagues and patients, according to Dr. Pickler. We are excited to see him and we have extremely high hopes that he will see Lucy's aortic arch right off the bat and confirm that all is well. Otherwise, that he'll see it, diagnose the problem, and get the ball rolling toward our next step of action toward planning a safe birth and whatever follow-up procedure(s) Lucy will need.

I would like to ask you, my friends, for prayer on this matter. The good thing is, Lucy is completely safe as long as she's in my belly. She doesn't need to use her aortic arch (in its full capacity) just yet because she's not breathing oxygen. In fact, her movements and her consistently good heart rate indicate that Lucy is a very happy baby, so she's golden for now. But we have an unknown lying in our path, and the unknowns are always the worst. I'm trying not to fret and be thankful that we're making steps to get to the bottom of this, one way or the other. I also take comfort in the fact that God has planned this little girl from the beginning of time for a very special purpose, and that He will fulfill this purpose in her no matter what. I don't have to carry this burden because God is doing it for me. He knows the outcome and I just have to trust Him along the journey.

I hope I don't sound too morose about this, because we still have an extremely good chance of hearing the good news that Lucy is perfectly healthy. This is my prayer! If you think about it, would you pray with us for this outcome? Thank you, friends.


Katie B said...

Have been and will continue to pray for Lucy-Loo. Let me know what the results are from the upcoming ultrasound as soon as you know!

Kristen said...

I have NO doubt in my heart of hearts that Miss Lucy is just as stubborn as her friend Miss Anna and is just not giving you a good, clear pic (remember the brain stem issue?). You have my undivided prayer as long as she's cookin'! When we were going through this, the Lord kept reminding me of Proverbs 3:5 - "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; lean not on your own understanding." Everything will be fine no matter what! ((Hugs)) Ugh. I live too far away!

Becky said...

I think it's ME who lives too far away from you all! Trying so hard to remedy that...

Thank you for the prayers and encouragement! There is no one more emotionally vulnerable than a mama-to-be, so we can use all the help we can get, am I right???

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Hi, Becky, thanks for stopping by! So glad you did find me & I look forward to getting to know you. There's something special about Southern girls. I think you'll enjoy my posts. I do a lot of decorating & DIY projects, always have some fun!

emily ann. said...

Becky, I don't know what to say. I will hold your family in my prayers as you asked. Hang in there!