Thursday, January 20, 2011

Catching up - the ultrasound complications

In this blogisode we discuss the ultrasound complications.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I have been absent from the blagosphere [sic] lately as I was somewhat distracted with the birth of my son, Patrick Dylan Carr. Having recently gone through the frenetic and confusing dance that is childbirth, I thought that it might be timely to write down some of my thoughts. By its nature, I expect fully that there will be graphic things covered within these posts so if you are squeamish then be warned. As well I should note that I am not a doctor nor am I a lawyer - I try to cover the medical issues as best I can as a layperson. No guarantee is implied. :)

After the wedding, things took a bit of a weird course. We were asked to come back into the Phoenix to have follow up ultrasounds. After the second set of these, our doctor brought us in to tell us that they had found a potential issue with the baby's development. One of the lateral ventricles in the brain was malformed and appeared far larger than anticipated. As well they felt that the baby's head was significantly "lemon shaped".

There is no way to explain what it feels like when you're told that your baby might have a serious health problem. To be honest, in this respect Google failed us as the class of issues that our baby potentially had all are very serious in how they manifest. Basically we were looking between mental retardation, immediate risk of stroke, or complete brain inactivity. There was no real good news and I think our lives have been shortened by the stress that it took to resolve this all. Seriously.

We were referred to Dr Henry Tsang who did some introductory ultrasounds that appeared to confirm baby OK, then ordered an ultrasound at the hospital which showed baby unwell, then organized a tele-ultrasound with Vancouver which showed inconclusive. I'm compressing weeks here but essentially tests on baby kept switching around in conclusion.

We were eventually given the option of either heading down to Vancouver to BC Women's Hospital to get detailed testing done in a conclusive higher-end ultrasound setup or we could take the change on the baby being OK at birth. We elected to find out and headed to Vancouver on a day's notice.

(For what it's worth, Mike's employer Winton Global Homes was exceptional throughout this and on a days notice pretty much gave him carte blanche to deal with baby as required. They were incredibly classy people throughout.)

We went through screening at BC Women's Hospital where they asked many questions about family history throughout - how many uncles/aunts, how many died as babies, how many had brain/developmental issues. It turned out that our family line is pretty ridiculously healthy and there were almost no indicators of potential issue with baby. We then proceeded into ultrasound which confirmed definitively that baby was entirely and completely fine.

We were fortunate enough to be able to spend time in Vancouver with Kevin Horn and have a mini-honeymoon while we were down there. Kevin was a fantastic host, as he always is, and this brief respite was well appreciated.

I have to say that the experience with baby was incredibly stressful. I've never had that feeling like my heart was going to burst for so many straight weeks - somewhat stable one moment and then the next broken down in tears. I can only say that words are insufficient to describe the experience and that it was horrific and uplifting both.

As an aside, I have commented in the past that as an adult I only cried three times before my son was conceived. It seems like a ridiculous thing now as I must have cried a hundred times during the pregnancy for everything from the sheer anticipatory happiness of having a child, to the wistfulness that my dad will never see his grandson, to the broken down stress of not sleeping for days because of the medical tests. There is absolutely nothing in this world like the experience of pregnancy and childbirth, I firmly believe, or at least there has been no experience similar for me.

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