Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Another ultrasound

I was aware from pretty much the beginning that my worst days were yet to come, but I had never expected one of them to be so soon. I never saw this one coming. I had a doctor's appointment with my OB/Gyn. Usually, Dave went with me, but this time, he had some things to take care of at school, so he didn't go. I had told him the night before that he didn't have to go, but if he got finished early, give me a call. You see, an ultrasound was scheduled for that day, but I didn't know if they were going to go through with it.
My doctor's office is weird. You go into a waiting room, and wait. Then you go back and see the lab techs for blood, bp, weight, etc. Then they put you in another, smaller waiting room. It began to hit me in this smaller waiting room that maybe this was a mistake. I was closely surrounded by pregnant women who (I assumed) had "normal" pregnancies. Thank goodness I had a book; it was a good distraction, but I had to try hard to be distracted.
I was called into the ultrasound room. The sonographer went through the routine stuff and told me to get up on the table. Once again, I swallowed hard. It's not always easy to tell people of Lily's condition, but I wasn't sure if I even needed to go through with this. The girl told me that she had never seen a Trisomy 18 ultrasound before, but in this past year, she had seen three.
How can I express how hard it is to look up on that screen and see what looks to my ignorant eye to be a healthy baby yet to know how fragile the life I beheld actually was? I sobbed, again. I know the sonographer felt bad, so I told her not to worry that it was the first ultrasound I had had since finding out. My heart hurt so badly. She told me that Lily was moving, movement I had not felt much of, couldn't even feel while she saw all that was going on. For lack of better words, it was a touching sadness. I asked her about certain problems I knew characterized T-18 babies, but she really couldn't see all that much. She did see three vessels in the umblical cord (sometimes there is only one). That was good. No cleft palate/lip. The feet seemed fine. Size was about 1 week off. That happens with these babies. A little low on the ambiotic fluid, but not much. I think she was trying to be positive. For the life of me, though, I don't understand how all these good markers are here, yet every cell in my baby's body has that extra chromosome and tries to label her "incompatible with life." When she was done, the sonographer must have really felt bad because she printed a lot of pictures for me.
I cried a little more. As I was leaving the room, Dave called. I lost it out in the hallway. It was so hard to speak. Dave just said, "I'll be there in a minute."
I was led into the doctor's office, not the exam room. I sat in the chair with my face to the wall and cried. And cried. When the doctor came in, we talked about Trisomy 18. He reminded me that this child is IWL. We talked about hospital choices, our choice for keeping or terminating, specialists we might need, how much we should put into the baby's survival. These aren't routine doctor visit questions. He told us that this year, his office had seen three trisomy 18 babies. One woman had recently had her child. It lived 22 minutes. Twenty-two minutes. I turned that number in my mind. How do you deal with that? How are we going to deal with that if something similar happens to us? How will Rani and Autumn deal with that?
We left the doctor's office, deflated. I should have known that appointment wasn't going to be easy. I don't know why it never even occurred to me that it wouldn't.

1 comment:

  1. Jill - This comment is from your mama. I have been reading your "journal". You amaze me with your writings, where all your wisdom comes from I do not know. I love you so much and I hate this is happening to you and Dave as well as to Rani & Autumn and also to Lily Grace. I pray that you will keep close to your heart all the wise words, phrases, thoughts and prayers you are writing down because you have it all right. Sometimes our mind tells us one thing and then the reality steps in and we wonder how we can handle it. I believe with all my heart that you can handle this. With God being your strength I also believe that Dave is your strength too, your love for each other makes you both strong. I love you and I am with you all the way on this.