Thursday, January 24, 2013


Monday, January 21, 2013

This was the day that I had scheduled for my anatomy scan. I was really excited to see our baby girl again, and it seemed perfect that the 20 week mark landed on a school holiday. I invited my mom because Tim wasn't sure he could make it. I thought it would be fun for her to see the baby. We had to wait awhile and passed the time with iPads and iPhones. Tim ended up being able to make it, and I am so glad that he did.

We got into the ultrasound, and everything seemed fine at first. The tech answered all of my 'is that normal?' questions at first. At one point, she started saying, "The doctor will talk with you about that". I should have thought more of it, but I figured she was just tired of me being annoying. I noticed a bright spot on her heart, and the tech said that she noted it in my file, but did tell me that it was called an echogenic foci. Of course, as soon as we were out, all phones and tablets were quickly googling the term. Most information was that it was a very common occurrence, and that they either cause no problems or that they resolve themselves. 

When we all got in to see the doctor, we had to wait about 15 minutes. We sat talking about labor, water breaking, and induction. I don't know why. I think I was talking about how I would not want my water to break anywhere but a doctor's office, and that is why induction is so nice. We actually talked about how there is so much water in there, it's crazy. I feel silly for that conversation now.

My regular doctor is on maternity leave, so I saw one of her partners. I have seen her before, but was really just relieved because we had been waiting so long all day. We started at 10:00, and it was already 11. She came in and spoke about the ultrasound, and this is about the time my world crumbled down around me. She said that there were a few concerns in the scan. 

  • Echogenic Foci- she knew that I had seen it, and I kept wondering why the tech thought that was important to note in my file.
  • Echogenic Bowels- more bright spots in the baby's belly
  • Small Baby- the baby should have been 20 weeks 2 days. She was instead measuring 18 weeks  days. About 2 weeks behind.
  • Low fluid- My fluid level was about a 3. I asked what was normal, and she said 13-15.
  • Fluid is not clear- possible infection?
She said that they were trying their hardest to get me in to a specialist at the hospital the next day because there are a lot of things wrong. I broke down right there. I remember asking questions, but I can't think of what I asked. She seemed sympathetic to me, and told me that she was sorry, and squeezed my shoulder before she left. She also said to take a few moments in the room in private with my mom and husband. I just remember bawling.

I also had to give blood for my second trimester screening, as well as some extra for a test for infections. I somehow made it into the lab and bawled as they drew blood. I think people just thought I was scared to give blood, when really there was so much more to those tears streaming down my face.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

We got an 8:30 appointment at the Maternal Fetal Specialist, and had to check in the hospital at 8:00. This made for a long day. We dropped off Hunter with Lupe early, and headed over. We got in and they gave me an ultrasound right away. They noticed the same things, and then we waited for the doctor in that large ultrasound room. My parents came back for this.

When the doctor, Dr. Refuerzo, came in, I liked her right away. She seemed really positive, and for some reason I just liked her. She told us the same things that we already knew, and left us with, "With all of these things combined, we are not looking at a normal pregnancy". She left the room, and told us that we would speak about these things across the hall. I broke down again. I cried for what seemed like 10 minutes at my second bad report. Everyone in the room, my husband and parents and myself, were all pretty devastated. I finally was able to pull myself together a little, get dressed, and go across the hall. They asked a few questions, but I don't remember exactly what. I know they asked about leaking. I didn't remember any. Tim and I spoke with the genetic counselor for a long time, and she told is about the next clinic that we would go to. I had so little fluid that they didn't feel comfortable doing the amnio at the first one. 

Our next appointment was in the Med Center near downtown. We got there early, and then learned that our doctor was in a fetal surgery. I saw another doctor. I liked him, but he seemed to ready to just jump into the amnio. I was expecting a long ultrasound (the first clinic said they would give me one), and they just looked enough to look for fluid pockets. I also just wanted him to talk with me about what he saw first. I begged to get checked to see if I was leaking and had just missed it. He set that up, and we found out that I am not leaking. Then we spoke with the genetic counselor at that office who told us all about what the amnio would test for. We chose to do every test, including a FISH test which would give just some preliminary results, in a few days so that we would not have to wait the full 2-3 weeks to get some information. 

When we got done, our doctor was back, and I really liked him. I was told that he was straightforward, and I am glad for that. I did not want anything sugar coated. He said that he, too, felt ok doing the amnio with my amount of fluid. He then wanted to dive right in, but I started tearing up and asked him if he could explain things from his perspective. He broke it down for me. He said that the heart things happens a lot- probably not a problem. The bowels- I had some bleeding and that is what blood looks like on ultrasounds when the baby swallows it- also pretty normal and will probably be gone in a few weeks. The size- he's not sure. The fluid- is NOT normal. A range of 10+ is expected and healthy. 6-10 means maybe mom was sick and dehydrated, but usually fixable. Under 5 is extreme, called Oligohydramnios, and it is rare. 


Then we did the amnio, and I am telling you now that these are NO joke. They hurt and they are just plain scary. I know that my low fluid and hyperventilating made it worse and take longer, but it sucked the whole way through-it never got any better or easier. I told him that I was really scared, and asked him to tell me how the procedure was going to go. He started by saying they would put a towel on my face, I thought he was kidding, but quickly gathered that he was not.

Once the towel got on my face, it turned into a real thing, and I had a mini panic attack.

He did the numbing shots and each one hurt. I think he did three. Then he did the big important needle, and it hurt so bad that I reached down and tried to swat his hand away. I think it was instinct, to try to get the thing that this hurting you so badly to stop. He did a great job of trying to keep my mind off by asking about Hunter, then the nurse asked if I had a name for baby girl. I bawled out, 'Charlotte', and she probably knew that it was a mistake to ask about the baby whose life is in very serious danger.

I was breathing so hard and fast that at one point he said, "This is it, this is serious, go somewhere else in your mind, I can't talk anymore, but you NEED to slow your breathing because this needle is right by your baby". I think I just held my breath at that point. It was hard to breath with a towel on my face, but if it was only on my eyes I could see some movements. I did not want to see anything. Tim said that he put in the needle, then pulled it out and there was a wire catheter. I could tell each time he moved the wire to a new pocket of fluid, it felt like he was sticking me all over again, but really he was just maneuvering the wire. It seemed to take forever, but it was probably 5 minutes. I remember breathing hard, praying out loud, and bawling, "I don't like this, I don't like this, I don't want to be doing this, I don't want to be here......". 

When he was done, I was so relieved. When he turned the lights on, he said, "I am so, so sorry that you are here". I really like this doctor. I asked him again, through deep breaths and with tears plopping off my cheeks, what do YOU think? What is running through your head? He said that the fluid was weird, and not clear. It looked more consistent with water breaking. I didn't even think to ask him why it would be that weird color b/c of membrane rupture. He also at the end inserted a blue dye so that I would very easily be able to tell if my water leaking. He also said that he wanted me to see Dr. Refuerzo on Friday to get another ultrasound.

This is where we stand right now. I took off Wednesday at the request of the doctor to recover from the amnio. I took off today, Thursday, for lots of reasons. I am laying around, drinking water like a maniac praying that my fluid level is up on Friday. I also will have a hard time facing everyone. I know that everyone is praying for us. I am SO thankful right now for my job. All of the grade levels have been so supportive, and the number of prayers that are being said for Charlotte is amazing. I just don't know if I can hold up to the sympathetic eyes. Every text that is so so very sweet sends me to tears. Happy tears, Hopeful tears. Thankful tears. I also don't know if I can be a productive teacher to my 24 kindergarten babies right now. I am taking this time for myself, and doing what I am hoping is best for Charlotte.

BUT- This whole (2 day) experience has shown me that I have an amazing support system. My husband has been amazing. My parents have been amazing. My in laws have been amazing. My family up north have been amazing. My coworkers have been amazing. My students' parents have been amazing. My mom has her church friends and Bunco women praying like crazy. Several parents from previous years have reached out to their church groups. We have so many prayer warriors working for us and thinking of us, and we could not be more thankful. I know that whatever happens, there will be so many people here for us. 

I will do my best to keep the situation updated. But for now, please say a prayer for sweet Charlotte.

1 comment:

  1. I know that this was difficult for you to write, and trust me when I say that it is difficult for us to read, but thank you for this. Heidi and I will be praying for you, Tim, and Charlotte.