Even when I was newly pregnant for the very firs time with Hannah, I was not a worrisome pregnant lady. Not much bothered me. I had my concerns here and there but I went through all of my pregnancies without every having fears of an unhealthy baby or something going ‘wrong’ in the pregnancy. Maybe I was just confident, or hopeful, maybe even insightful or intuitive. And fortunately each time I delivered very healthy babies who are all still quite healthy today.

This pregnancy has been no different. From the moment I found out, I just knew it was going to be a healthy pregnancy – after all, I’m likely more healthy in many ways than I was with any of the others – that’s a good start. I vowed early on that it would be my healthiest pregnancy, I was going to exercise and stay fit, eat healthy, stay stress free. I’ve don’t pretty well, minus the exercising part – I just can’t ever get into that groove! I haven’t had any worries, except for that little while when knowing the history of twins in James’ family left me a bit concerned leading up to our ultrasound. Just that one comment from my doctor saying that my “uterus was measuring just a little larger” left me wide eyes and slightly paranoid for a little bit. But ah, yes, just one baby boy wiggling around in there!

And then I got the call yesterday. And I realized how so quickly one can go from a super high to a very low. My doctor. called in the morning. I knew from the caller ID that it was her office but that’s usually the nurse or the receptionist, never the doctor herself. I relate my feelings upon hearing her voice to the time I got a call from the principal at the elementary school about my son. My immediate reply to him was, “Oh Mr. Reznechek, I really like you but I don’t like when you have to call me.” I knew that if he was calling me, it was a big deal – a deal far beyond a note being sent home. And while I tried to listen to what my doctor had to say, those were the thoughts going through my head – if she’s calling me, it must be a big deal, especially paired with the sentence, “I don’t want you to worry.”

Insert panic attack here.

She went on to explain that at our second ultrasound an Echogenic Focus was found in the left ventricle of the heart. She said it’s a ‘bright spot’ that shows on the ultrasound that could be a possible defect or a soft marker for Down’s Syndrome but in many cases, it’s nothing. It’s a common ultrasound finding – possibly from the advanced technology and quality of ultrasounds just picking up weird things that are nothing. But as a mom, carrying a baby, “probably nothing” echos so loudly the exact opposite even though we KNOW that it’s probably nothing. Mama bear worry kicked in, I knew I kept saying “okay, okay, mmhmm, okay” as she was speaking. I was listening and hearing but my heart was racing and I was internally freaking out! She ordered us a higher level ultrasound and an appointment with the perinatologist. PERINATOLOGIST?! The high risk baby doctor? For me? There are just some words that you don’t want to have to hear and in the past 5 minutes I had heard at least a dozen. I totally understand that it’s routine procedure and it’s to rule out any problems and my own doctor is not a specialist and it’s just the next step in the pregnancy. But this was the sock in the stomach for sure. She continued to reassure me that everything else looked just fine, the baby is measuring right on target, I shouldn’t worry too much, etc. etc. I heard her but my brain just skipped that. It was ready to go do some research. I hung up the phone in a near panic and sat down at the computer.

I pulled up 2 pages right away, both saying exactly what my doctor had said to me. Very common, often times nothing or self resolving, ultrasound and perinatologist is the next course of action. But the words I kept seeing so boldly in my mind [while not on the screen] were Down’s Syndrome. Armed with a little more information, I called James, who had driven all night long and only been asleep for a couple of hours. I never call him first in the morning, I rarely know when he stopped driving and I just let him sleep. He knows that if I’m calling in the morning, it’s probably a big deal. When he answered I could tell he had been still sleeping and I gave him a few minutes to be coherent but I’m not quite sure he was. I relayed all the information that I had to him and he did to me what I did to my doctor, “okay, mmhmm, okay, okay.” I emailed him a website knowing he’d need a reference later on, he wasn’t awake enough. When we hung up, I broke down. It hit me hard.

And just moments later, the hospital called back scheduling the ultrasound and perinatologist visit for September 30th. That’s TWO WEEKS AWAY! I know that it certainly could be worse, we could wait longer, and I know that nothing between now and then will change what the outcome will be – except the stress of waiting two weeks to know something more. I could have cried again right then and there. But I texted James so he had that information and got up from my chair to finish getting ready to have lunch with a friend. I couldn’t cancel even though I wanted to, I needed to walk away from the computer for a while and enjoy my friend time. And I did.

After being gone a few hours with all of this information in the back of my mind and not sharing a thing, I was ready to get home and do some more looking around only to find that James had been at the computer quite awhile doing his own research and having a dad panic of his own. We were a bit of a paired up wreck.  And it got us nowhere. The search results are all the same – common, possible Down’s soft marker, follow-up ultrasound and perinatologist. There is that part of us that is so thankful to not have a definite diagnosis staring us in the face. But the other part is just hanging on until we know more. And it’s the hanging on that is hard. It’s the unknown, the what could be, the instant flashes of induction, c-section, heart surgery, special needs baby. None of it was anything less than frightening.

And then I remembered that at our second ultrasound, the lab tech had put ALL the images from the scan onto the CD that she gave us. I don’t know if this was intentional or not but at this moment, it was a lifesaver. I could now go back and see what she scanned and take a peek for myself even though reading an ultrasound is total rocket science and I’m no brainiac. Just as I was reading, one soft marker is the Echogenic Focus in the left ventricle, and others can be found in the stomach, kidneys, neck, limbs, and hands. Guess what, ALL of those images [and a few more] are on the CD. I can’t tell if they are ‘normal’ or not. I’m not sure which cross sections are what. I’m certain all those things were checked because the EF was there and they need those images to rule in or rule out. My doctor assured me that everything else looked fine, but now we’re left wondering if they really were fine or if she wants the perinatolist to have a look to be more specific with us. I hate to have anything less than a positive attitude but sometimes it is really hard to pull off.

This is the picture of the heart where the EF is clearly visible in the middle of all that dark heart space. It is bright, it does look big in relative comparison, it is frightening to me.

There’s no mistaking that, it’s there, I just want to know why it’s there and I really just hope it goes away.

After a long day of looking at images and making comparisons and reading what we could read, James and I just decided we needed to stop over analyzing and just be patient. No amount of research or guessing is going to change anything. We still have to wait 2 weeks, we still have no more information than we had at 9:30am, we still have a beautiful baby boy growing inside of me. He’s active [ too much sometimes] and the doctor said that everything else looks fine. So we’re hanging on that. With everything else looking just fine, this should just be a little blip in the road. If we keep thinking positive and keep our stress levels down, things should be ok while we have to wait it out to know something more definitive. It doesn’t make me any less concerned, I’m not in denial either. I just know that dwelling would be detrimental. It is what it is.

We both went to bed, alone, without the comfort of each other. This always seems to happen at times we need the comfort the most.

And now we wait.

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