Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ultrasound Results

Today, Dave and I went to our second Level 2 ultrasound. The primary purpose of this ultrasound was to get a better look at Lily's major organs so we will know what to expect, if that's even possible.
Ultrasounds are emotionally exhausting for me. Just sitting in the waiting area, I got a kick, and it reminded me that I was about to face a picture of my baby, squirming about. Then there's the reality of the situation--this might be the only way I'll be able to see her move. I had to pick up a magazine that I was not interested in just to focus on something else.
I had compiled a list of possible complications associated with baby's with Trisomy 18 last week. It was my own sort of list of things to (hopefully) mark off. Dave and I are no experts, but we've done so much research. I had to look at this as a scientist would, otherwise, my emotional dam would burst.
At first, it wasn't that hard. I told the sonographer to tell us all that she could and to be honest with us. We asked her about certain areas and what they mean. She looked at the brain, the spine, the kidneys, the hands, the feet, the stomach. And then she got to the heart. It's so hard to watch that one organ that beats life and to know that the 153 bpm could be fooling us. I'm sure the sonographer could feel my stomach rise and fall as I tried to keep the sobs from erupting. She saw my tears and asked if I was alright. I would be.
I do not know what to say about the results, whether they are good or bad. I would like to say that this ultrasound gave me hope, but I'm so afraid to get my hopes too high. I know the nature of this Trisomy 18.

The brain. Normally, the cerebellum looks like a peanut. In Lily, it looked like a banana. I have no idea what the implications are for this, but I do plan to research it. Another possible: there seemed to be agenesis of the corpus collosum. I know that the corpus collosum is the midline of the brain and that it is needed for crossover of information from left to right. The sonographer said she had trouble seeing it, but there was the presence of an artery that indicated the presence of the cc. The doctor said that even "normal" babies can have malformed cc's, but they usually have learning disorders. Honestly, I have no idea what either of these two findings mean for Lily. I don't know if this will have any bearing on how her brain handles her ability to thrive. After doing some quick research, it seems that the banana sign is an indication of neural tube defects, such as spina bifada or anencephaly, which is not compatible with life. I don't know why, but the doctor did not express any concerns over this.

The hands. Lily did not open her left hand during ultrasound, and the sonographer believes she saw overlapping fingers here. This has no bearing on her health, but it is a strong marker for Trisomy 18.

The feet. They looked fine, but she seems to have "sandal-gap" toes. This, too, can be found in "normal" babies and has no bearing on her health.

The kidneys. The right kidney seems normal. The left kidney is either missing or a pelvic kidney. People can survive off of one kidney, and people can survive from a pelvic kidney.

The esophagus. It seems to be connected to the stomach and all gastrointestinal organs seem to be functioning.

The heart. This has been our biggest concern. I still don't think we have all of the answers. Lily's heart has four chambers. According to the sonographer, the outflow tracks in the left ventricle were questionable. They seemed bigger than normal. According to the doctor, there doesn't seem to be a problem. Who to believe? We have the option of going to see a fetal cardiologist for a closer look at the heart. What to do?

I can't say that I feel much better knowing, but I didn't expect to. We still don't have any idea what this means for Lily. I guess it's good that what was seen didn't raise any flags for the doctor.

I think I'll keep my hope in check and continue to celebrate each little kick that I feel. . .one day at a time.

I thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers and support. It all means so much for me. I stumble when it comes to praying for Lily, not knowing what to ask for other than she not feel pain and that we grow from this trial. I would love to be able to look into her eyes, to hear her cry, for her to nestle into me or Dave or the girls. I would love to add to that list. But what if this is not how it is supposed to happen? I struggle so with that. I'm sure your prayers are braver than mine, and for that, I thank you.

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