I've been slacking in updating, but up until the last week or so, there hasn't been much to report.
Last week, I was lucky enough to be invited to a wonderful workshop centred around healing birth trauma. Thank you so much, Arie for organizing and hosting it, I found it to be a valuable experience and look forward to the next one.
She gave us some "homework", that I've been working through. Just a few questions about what I feel about this and that, and ultimately how I'd like to feel about it. I'm still sorting through a lot of those feelings, but I'll be happy to share them once they become a little more cohesive. She also encouraged us to share our stories, which I have in this blog. You'll find the details of Lyra's birth a few entries below this one.
In other news, and the news many have been waiting to hear: We had our big ultrasound yesterday!
I went in feeling nervous and frightened. I feared going through what we did after Lyra's scan:
My ultrasound was on a Friday at around 2 PM. If I had been more receptive, I probably would have picked up that something was wrong at the time. The sonographer kept leaving the room, and coming back saying that she needed to get more measurements. Little did I know she had been reporting back to the radiologist about all the abnormalities she was finding. By 4 PM I had two voicemails; one from the clinic I was currently seeing and another from the obstetrician who ordered the scan. I wasn't home in time to receive the messages and call back. Though I knew in the field of medicine that no news was good news, and that a phone call this urgently was surely not good news.
So I waited all weekend on pins and needles. Monday morning, both clinics called back. Momcare gave me a brief synopsis of the findings and asked me to come in. My boss drove me to the clinic right away. I was told that there were a handful of markers for Down Syndrome and Cystic Fibrosis. My baby girl had echogenic bowels (commonly found in babies with T21 and CF). Her umbilical cord was uncoiled and smooth, and she had several heart decelerations which were sluggish to recover. This could have indicated a congenital heart defect. The did some math with the results of my quad screen and told me I had a risk of 1:100 for chromosome disorder.
I was crushed. They quickly made arrangements for me to have a targeted scan at the Perinatal Clinic, and set up an appointment for us to meet with a genetic counsellor.
We had the follow up scan at the Perinatal Clinic a week or so later, and their result were inconclusive. They urged us to consider an amniocentesis, but I wasn't comfortable with the risk of losing what could be a perfectly healthy baby. We met with the genetic counsellor, who drew a confusing graph made of triangles and squares all joined with convoluted lines, and established that because my partner isn't caucasian, that it was unlikely for him to be a carrier for the CF gene. CF is a recessive allele, so we both would have to be carriers to result in an affected child.
We decided to decline any further testing, and hope for the best.
Of course, she is just fine.
You can imagine, after an experience like that, that ultrasounds are a nerve-wracking event for me. I was on edge initially, as we had the same "I can't find it!" sonographer as our early scan (go back a few entries for that gem of a story), but she didn't beat around the bush and she didn't force me into small talk. Though I wasn't allowed to seethe screen, she did walk me through what she was measuring. she didn't get edgy or nervous, nor did she leave me a lone at any point to go talk to someone else. She answered my questions to the best of her ability: I wanted to know the location of my placenta (it is posterior), and the lie of the baby (transverse/oblique at that time), and she answered them with no hesitation.
She finished her measurements quickly and allowed me to empty my bladder and get Chris, so we could look at baby together. She showed us the heart and we watched it beating, and she took a measurement of 144 BPM, she showed us baby's face and nose, arms and legs, shoulders, feet and spine, and then all the internal organs- stomach, intestines, kidneys. she assured us that everything looked great and baby was a perfect size per gestational age. Our baby, so perfect:
She was about to shut off the machine and go get our prints when I spoke up and asked her
"Do you think you could tell us what the baby is?" (I almost lost my chance! And I certainly didn't want to pay $125 at a private clinic just for gender determination)
"Oh, of course! I don't tell unless I've been explicitly asked, as I don't want to ruin anyone's surprise"
So she put the transducer back down and found baby's legs, showed us the thighs and zoomed in
"Well, if baby is a boy, there would be a scrotum hanging right about here..."
She pointed at the are with her cursor
"But, I don't see one.. So, tentatively I will say you've got a little girl. But that's not conclusive so lets get a closer look..."
She zoomed in a little more. Lo and behold, there were the telltale three white lines. Little tiny labia.
We are having another little GIRL, and we are so incredibly thrilled. I wanted Lyra to have a baby sister SO badly. Being a big sister and having a sister is the most wonderful blessing and gift. I am so glad that she will have the same chance to have a built in best friend forever. I am so very excited to see them grow up together.
What a wonderful, healing ultrasound experience!