This is where things get complicated. I had to break out my calendar to even try to write it out, everything just swims together in my mind, crashing like waves against each other. I spent a good amount of time not getting emotional about it at all, reactions like that just aren’t something I do often. I don’t handle other people’s reactions to my reactions very well either, however, just thinking about writing this next bit makes my stomach turn and my eyes leak. Sometimes Mary Poppins is obvious, you can see the perfection, other times Mary Poppins doesn’t look quite like herself and you’ve got to look hard to see just how perfect imperfection can be.
I took my glucose tolerance test in August. I failed, again. It’s a thing. So, gestational diabetes, again. I was bummed because it’s a pain in the rear, but I figured I could manage it just fine, I’m a big girl and it’s not gonna kill me. This is the only complication of pregnancy I ever have, so whatever, it’s all fine. I started sticking myself several times a day and watching my sugars, impressed with how well I was doing, really. My next doctor’s appointment was spent discussing management and the upcoming “old lady” ultrasound. I couldn’t wait to have it again, it’s always such a joy to see the baby in there. It’s such a great comfort, knowing everything is fine and all is well.
On September 18th I went in for the ultrasound, I just had my 11 yo aspergers son with me, my husband decided not to tag along this time, no biggie, just a routine growth scan, no need to take more time off of work when we were saving up the time for when the baby arrived. I remember watching the scan on the large TV on the wall and seeing the tech silently measuring her heart over, and over. I remember a large black mass (it looked, to me, to be the same size as her heart) next to her heart that the tech was also measuring repeatedly. We talked about how many kids I had, their ages, that this was the first girl in 17 years and how excited we were to meet her soon. I was 29 weeks pregnant. We only had 10 or so weeks left and were quite excited about delivery day. After quite a lot of measurements the ultrasound tech changed out her wand for a 3D wand and looked for, and took several pictures of, the baby’s sweet face. She had such chubby cheeks and the cutest button nose. Then, she just got up and walked out. She said she would be back with the doc in a bit (again, a perinatologist was necessary because I’m old) and left.
She forgot to hand me my pictures.
My son and I sat in the dimly lit room, quietly waiting for the doc to get done with his other patients. He was working on school work (never stop schooling, right? LOL) and I was busy on my phone. Fifteen minutes later she came in, flustered about, apologized that the doc was taking so long, and assured me he’d be in soon. She gave me my pictures after I asked about them, apologizing for being so absent minded.
She kept apologizing.
Fifteen more minutes passed. I was so ready to go home, the appointment had started late (not uncommon for that clinic, so I was a bit prepared) and instead of a quick in and out we were waiting, and waiting, and waiting. I was just annoyed that we hadn’t left yet, I had no idea how miniscule that inconvience would feel so very shortly.
Finally another ultrasound tech came in. She was again apologetic that the doc was taking a bit and glooped up my belly for yet another scan, “just to recheck some things”. As she was scanning, focusing on our little girl’s heart, the doc came in. Enthusiastic barely begins to describe this man. He was like a meterologist on tornado day, he stormed into the room, rushed to the large monitor on the wall and started waving his arms around, very nearly jumping up and down. “THIS! THIS!! VISUALIZE THIS!! WHAT IS THIS???? WHAT ARE WE LOOKING AT???” To say he was alarming is an understatement. My breath was gone. He came over to me and asked of the tech, repeatedly, “Orient me, ORIENT ME!! I can’t tell what I’m looking atthat’stheheart?Whereisthestomach,whatsidearewelookingatORIENT ME!!” He had me roll to one side, jostle my belly, roll to the other side and jostle again, each time hoping for a different view. Finally he looked at me and said “There is something wrong with your baby. Her heart is on the right side of her body, there is a huge mass pushing it over, I don’t know what that mass is, it could be two different things: A bronchogenic cyst or a Congential Diaphragmatic Hernia. If it’s the hernia there are likely other abnormalities as well and it’s entirely likely that your baby is not compatible with life outside the womb. We need to do an amnio right now to see what else we’re looking at. She could die.”