I hope you mama’s out there had a fantastic mother’s day! I have a whole post reserved for my first mama-to-be day, but I’m saving it for later as this is a little more important at the moment…
This will most likely be one of the hardest posts I’ll ever have to write and I know this because it’s already been an hour and I’ve managed to already enter a vicious cycle of typing, only to press the backspace button repeatedly. I’ve never found myself very good with the words, but writing this is necessary.
When we found out the gender of our baby, we had a follow-up appointment a few days later. We were then told that the ultrasound measurments showed a small amount of fluid around his heart (the technical term being Pericardial Effusion) and that my pregnancy would now be flagged as high risk and we will need to be seen off base for a level 2 ultrasound. I remember sitting in the room trying to hold myself together as my OB said “It’s probably nothing, but for something like this it’s better to get sent off base where there is better equipment to see a more detailed ultrasound of the baby and doctors with more experience.”
That was in March.
We’ve been going to those appointments and getting monthly level 2 ultrasounds along with my regular appointments with my OB’s on base. But this last appointment brought us some hard news to swallow and we are now finding ourselves desparate for support and to be covered in prayers by our friends and family. We found out that our son has IUGR (Intrauterine Growth Restriction) and is also at risk for Down’s Syndrome. For those of you that don’t know what IUGR is, to sum it up it’s basically when the baby is smaller than expected and their weight is below the 10th percentile for their gestational age. We were told that below 10th percentile is when they can be diagnosed with IUGR, and the 5th percentile and below is grounds for severe IUGR. Our boy is in the 7th percentile, hovering just in the middle. There are a number of reasons why a baby can have IUGR. It can be because of an issue with the placenta not growing properly preventing enough oxygen flow to the baby, chromosomal abnormalities (like DS), or sometimes a small person can just have a small baby.
In our case, it looks like the first two, and more than likely the third. We were told that there are a few markers in the ultrasound showing that he may have DS, and that my placenta isn’t giving him enough oxygen than he needs. The fluid around his heart is still present as well, even increasing a small amount since the first 19 week ultrasound measurment when they detected it. We were offered the amnio test a second time, which we declined again. I’m sure the doctor noticed the look of horror on my face as he quickly tried assuring that odds are, the baby does not have DS. He also made it a point to let us know that his concern isn’t as focused on the baby having DS or even the heart fluid anymore, but that I can carry our baby longer and we will not need to induce labor due to him not recieving enough oxygen.
I am now 28 weeks along, and the doctor expressed hope that I make it to 32 weeks without needing to deliver and hopefully seeing some progress from that point on. Full term would of course be ideal, but as his oxygen flow is the most important issue now, he may very well be born prematurely. He also informed me that we need to walk in to our now weekly ultrasound appointments being prepared to deliver just a few hours later, if needed. It all boils down to his oxygen, or lack thereof.
I guess now is the time I express my feelings.
I’m scared. Jimmy is scared. We found out everything less than a week ago and it’s been hard for me to go a day without shedding tears and feeling emotionally and physically drained, or the urge to just sleep my fears and worries away. Jimmy is in somewhat of a numb state, and struggling with anger towards the situation. Of course raising a child with DS would be challenging, but as of now all we want is to carry this baby longer. I’ve found myself clinging to my blanket every night asking God to just let me carry him…just a little bit longer. It’s terrifying to know that each week we will be walking in to our appointments and could get told at any moment that we need to deliver a tiny little boy that will more than likely weigh 2 pounds or less within hours.
And I just want to be real with this. I know that God doesn’t give us what we can’t handle, and if we were blessed enough to be given a DS baby, it would be because He knows that we would be capable, special parents who are fit to care for such an amazing little boy. But I’m still scared. I’m scared that I’ll deliver a preemie who will live in the NICU for months and we won’t be able to take him home. I’m scared that our precious baby boy won’t be able to breathe and we can lose him at any moment, whether it’s in the womb or as a stillborn. As a young, healthy (albeit petite) 25 year old I just assumed I’d have a smooth pregnancy and a healthy baby. I assumed that only women a certain age and beyond had babies with DS. I just assumed and wrote so many things off because hey, I’m young and in my prime. I may have been naive to think so, but now more than ever do Jimmy, I, and baby boy need your prayers.
At this point Jimmy and I attempting to transition from fear, sadness, and bitterness to acceptance, trust and thankfulness that God gave us this sweet boy that we are madly in love with already. It’s not safe for me to be constantly worrying as it’s not good to put stress on the baby. From this point on begins an attempt to constant prayer, cherishing the kicks of our still very active (and sometimes feisty) little boy, and enjoying however much time we have left until we get to meet him. Please keep our family in your prayers…not only for our baby boy’s health, but for our hearts to mend as his parents and to trust in our Lord whatever the outcome. It would mean the world to us.
We will be updating the blog and Facebook as often as we can to keep everyone in the loop. Thanks dear friends and family, for taking the time to read through this and allowing me to share a bit of my heart!