|Left: Ultrasound taken on October 22 that caused the scare | Right: Ultrasound taken November 5 that showed the baby is just fine|
There are just some things you don’t do to a pregnant women, and that’s tell her something may be wrong with the baby and then make her wait almost 2 weeks for answers!
The day after we publicly announced that we were pregnant on Facebook, my OB called me and asked if I was free to talk. It was about 3pm, and I was still at work. She started by saying they got my ultrasound results back and they needed to send me for another ultrasound right away at Foothills hospital with a specialist. She tried to explain that they were viewing these results as unreliable, as the Maternity Clinic doesn’t generally deal with Canadian Diagnostic Centre (which is where my family doctor sent me for this ultrasound), but they still needed to follow-up and get me another ultrasound right away at EFW with a perinatologist as soon as possible. She went on to explain the results, and the words “mass” and “baby’s spine” were in the same sentence. Things kind of started spinning at this point, and I really couldn’t talk, so I wasn’t able to think of questions, or ask her what she meant by “mass”. I don’t know how long the conversation lasted, but it seemed like was a long time. The doctor kept talking in circles trying to reassure me to some extent, but at the same time not sugar coat the seriousness. I was trying my best to not choke on my words (because I was definitely crying at this point), and kept my answers extremely small.
Eventually that phone call ended and I left my office to call Nick. He was at school for his last week of reviewing before his big ACP exam that was less than two weeks away. I was bawling hysterically. I don’t think Nick could quite understand what I was saying because a when we meet a home a half hour later, his eyes were red (from tearing up) because he thought I miscarried (like I said, I was hysterical on the phone, so he had thought the worst). After calling Nick and trying to tell him through my sobs what happened, I went back to my office and pulled my co-worker aside and again through my sobs told her what was going on and that I needed to go home. She agreed right away, so I went back to my desk, finished up the request I was working on, packed up and left.
Here is where I would like to note that this happened to be my FIRST shift at South Health Campus. I came in this happy go-lucky pregnant lady, and left in a big blubbering mess. GREAT first impression.
So I went home where Nick was waiting for me. He just comforted me, and we talked about it for a few hours. It was hard having so many questions, yet no answers. With the word’s “mass” and “spine”, spina bifida and tumours quickly came to mind. I had called my mom, and again through sobs, told her what happened. She asked if I wanted my dad to come over so he and Nick could give me a blessing, and I quickly said yes. Nick’s mom was also coming over to pick up something, so we told her what had happened when she got there. After Sandy left, we walked over to Sobeys to grab some groceries and I remember I was in a complete daze the entire time. Soon my dad came over, and the two of them gave me a blessing, and then my dad gave Nick a father’s blessing for Nick’s upcoming exam.
Nick and I spent the rest of the night watching TV to help keep our minds off things, and then we went to bed. I fell asleep very quickly (crying tends to take a lot of energy), however I woke up around 2am. Unable to go back to sleep, I said my own private prayer, went downstairs to grab something to eat, and fell back asleep on the couch while watching TV. I finally woke up at 6am, got ready and went to work. I know I could have stayed home, but it was better for me to go to work because it would help me keep my mind off things. Every couple of hours I would start crying a little at my desk (I was so glad that I was working in a corner with no one around). Finally at lunch, I knew I needed a friend, so I called up my friend Whitney and we meet up for lunch and I told her what was going on. I was so glad I did because I went back to work in such a better and happier mood. The next few days I was still pretty upset, and still shed some tears, but by Sunday I was able to finally control my emotions a little better. Nick was extra attentive and tried his best to comfort me as much as possible.
We found out that I wasn’t going to get in for my ultrasound until November 7 (so that was basically 2 weeks!), which almost made things worse. The maternity clinic told me to call EFW on Monday to see if they had any cancellations to get me in sooner, and eventually I was bumped up to November 5 (only two days difference, but a little bit more bearable).
I spent the next week and a half trying to occupy myself and stay busy to make the time go by fast. I told a few more people like my grandparents who submitted my name to be placed on the temple prayer list. I didn’t want to tell many people because I didn’t have any answers, and for the first time I really didn’t want to talk about my pregnancy.
The weekend before my appointment, Nick left for 2 days to go up to Edmonton to write his ACP exam. My mom picked me up on that Friday to help run errands, do a little shopping and do my hair. I think she was trying to help keep me occupied and busy. I ended up buying a maternity winter jacket and a new pair of maternity pants. After doing my hair, my family and I went to see “Ender’s Game” in Calgary that evening and then my mom finally dropped me off back at home. Nick got home the next afternoon. He told me he passed his scenarios and we were just waiting on his written results. It was nice to have some good news and we only had a few more days until the appointment.
Tuesday (November 5) finally arrived, and I did not sleep that well at all! I probably woke up every half hour, and finally got up at 4:30am, took a shower and got ready to leave. We arrived at the clinic by 7:30am, and checked in. Reception was very kind, and told me how I could pick up the picture after my appointment, but at that point I wanted to scream “I don’t care about the bloody picture. Just do the exam and tell me what’s wrong!” Don’t worry, I was polite, but that’s what I was thinking. We finally got into the exam room at 8am, and spent the next hour taking over 100 photos. They had me on the table three separate times. First with a full bladder, second with an empty bladder and a third time because the specialist wanted a few more pictures. By the third time I almost fell asleep! After not sleeping well, the darkened room, warm gel and “stomach massage” that I was getting, it was so hard to not nod off. Yes it’s exciting to see the baby move around, but after an hour of watching the same thing, I just wanted to close my eyes and sleep. The tech was really nice (we liked her a lot more than our last 2 techs), but I wasn’t in the mood to be overly friendly. I feel bad, because I probably came off as a little moody, but she was aware of why I was there, and that this wasn’t necessarily a happy appointment. Finally after waiting what felt like forever, we meet with the perinatologist in a private consultation room. He explained that from the results he was given from CDC that it looked like the baby had cystic hygroma, but it was hard to tell because they didn’t include measurements in their report. He said it wasn’t exactly abnormal to have some fluid build up in the beginning stages of development, and technically and medically it isn’t something they worry about unless it persists in the second trimester. He went on to say that from this newer ultrasound they couldn’t see anything. He said the baby looked fine, and all of its measurements were within normal limits. He still suggested we do blood work that same day as a precaution, but had this been our first ultrasound he wouldn’t be sending me for blood work at all, because of how normal everything looked.
This being his specialty and seeing this on a daily basis, he was relatively confident that everything was alright, and I didn’t have to worry anymore. Of course cautioned that he couldn’t guarantee anything, but just him saying that he couldn’t see anything in the photos they took brought my stress level completely down.
We left Foothills hospital and Nick drove me to work at Rockyview Hospital. Before starting work I went to the lab onsite to have my blood work drawn.
On Friday (Nov 8) I got a phone call from EFW and they had received my blood work and it had come back negative (which is a good thing!). Just another positive that I needed to bring my stress level down. They however changed my appointment and location for our next ultrasound in December. Originally I was suppose to attend their EFW clinic in Quarry Park on December 9 for the detailed ultrasound (the one where we find out the gender!), but they would like to see me back at Foothills on December 10th instead just as another precaution. They feel because they have and know my history as well as having a perinatologist onsite who we have already dealt with, that it would be better for me to return to Foothills hospital.
Anyways, it’s been a scary couple of weeks, and to those who weren’t aware of what was going on, I’m sorry. We didn’t have any answers, and the less people that I had to explain it too, the better for my own emotional state. It may also help explain my mood and attitude the last few weeks as I was clearly not myself. I just wanted to wait until we knew what was going on before telling people.
I also want to say thank you to the people who did know and were so supportive. I received so many texts the day of our ultrasound filled with support and prayers for a positive outcome (which we got!).
Hopefully the rest of my pregnancy will go smooth, because this experience was not fun at all and I don’t wish it on anyone.