Friday, November 12, 2010

Happiness Hiccup

The ultrasound on Monday showed a bright spot on Bidou's little heart. I knew this. I saw it and I wondered what it was. But of course, in the emotional There's-My-Baby moment, I didn't ask the tech. I'm not sure she could even (legally) tell me.

I finally got a hold of the midwife yesterday and asked all about it and she broke the news that because of this spot, our risk of Bidou having Down Syndrome just skyrocketed.

My voice got nice and even, and I asked lots of relevant questions about other risks and markers that may have been present. (Such detailed questions, in fact, that the midwife asked if I worked in the medical field!) I was very calm and rational until I hung up the phone. If you've ever been pregnant or even been in the same room as a pregnant woman, you'll know that my next reaction, as soon as the phone call was disconnected, was Full-On Freak Out including sobbing, unintelligible phone conversations with the Bubba at work ("Lizzie, I can't understand you. Take a breath."). These are not the things an already emotionally charged lady wants to hear.

My perfect little baby might not be perfect.

From the very beginning, I put this little baby boy in God's hands. Before he was even a thought, we knew we would love and cherish him as the gift he is no matter what. The Bubba reminded me that just as this baby is a gift to us, he would also be lucky to have informed parents willing to love and take care of him no matter what.

After the initial Freak Out, I put on my research pants and got to work. I have (accidental, maybe not-so-authorized) access to the research databases at a university, so I put on some Sesame Street to babysit Lucy and started wading through documents thick with jargon. The bright spot is called an echogenic intracardial focus or a calcuim deposit in the muscle tissue of the heart. It is considered a "soft" marker for chromosomal aneuploidy, specifically DS. And that's probably why the tech took a thousand million pictures of Bidou's EVERYTHING after seeing that. I'm so thankful she was thorough.

The thing is, though, Bidou has no other markers for DS. No nuchal thickening. No Hyperechogenic Bowel. No shortened femur or humerus (Bidou was measuring 20w4d in fact, when I was only 19w at the time). Nothing else. And I'm not considered in a risky age group (yet).

When all of these things are considered, according to all the most current research that I read, echogenic intracardial focus is considered a normal developmental variation.

Now, I understand the medical field's CYA policies quite well. I also understand that I need to be informed about everything that happens with me and my baby for my own sake and safety. But I'm not sure not giving ALL the information about something is helpful. For example, my midwife did tell me that the EIF would not in any way interfere with the development or general health of bidou and that it isn't even anything that she felt like she needed to follow up on. Which is consistent with the research I read. Evidently they're either present or not and go away at some point after the baby's born. But an EIF does not increase our risk of DS by as much as she said. Not even close. According to the vast majority of everything that I've read, an isolated EIF (with no other markers or indicators) is not only not correlated, but not even ASSOCIATED with an increased risk of chromosomal aneuploidy.

Seriously. How frustrating. I feel like at the very least she could have told me that the research is not conclusive instead of convincing me that our risk just went through the roof.

I spent a very emotional afternoon worrying and fretting and crying when I didn't need to. At least I can be thankful that I'm the kind of person that spends an afternoon crying and frantically doing the research and not the type that spends the next four months fretting about the health of my baby.

All of that said, Bidou still has an EIF. And it probably means nothing. But a couple extra prayers, couldn't hurt, if you're the praying type.


-R- said...

Here are my anecdotal comments: My friend's baby had two markers for DS but does not have DS (or any other health issues). My boss's baby had a marker for a fatal disease but does not have the disease (or any other health issues).

I am sorry you were so scared. I would probably have had a similar reaction to yours. It is so scary to think something could be wrong! I really don't think there is, but can your doctor/midwife do any follow-up tests just for more reassurance. I'm sorry they made it sound so much worse than it is. Oh, Liz. Even though I can't stop typing, I still don't know what to say. Pretend I'm there giving you a hug and that I'm not a weird stranger.

Amy --- Just A Titch said...

I don't have anything extra awesome to say, other than I'm thinking of you, your family and of course, of Bidou who will undoubtedly be perfect, just as he is.

Carrie said...

I'm so sorry you had to go through all that stress, especially on top of you and Lucy being sick this week. I'll keep little B and his little heart in my prayers!

Elizabeth said...

Oh, Lizzie. Something very similar happened to us with Miss Kate and I am not even sure I should be commenting because when I was in the thick of it I wanted to punch everyone with a "perfect normal" baby in the face, but I just wanted to let you know that yes, I know. I've been there, and it was one of the worst and hardest times to go through and it was just so scary and there was nothing to be done but wait and urgh. It was really hard. and I am so sorry you are going through this as well. (And I wrote a password protected post about it if you ever want to read it.)
but please know that we will love adore Bidou, just as he is, no matter what.

Shelby said...

Oh Lizzie, we'll keep that little guy in our prayers. And you guys too.

Elsha said...

I'll keep you in my prayers.

Lisa said...

Prayers! I don't know why you had to go through all that emotional turmoil for what is likely nothing.