Kicking, punching, and tons of moving was all my itty bitty baby wanted to do at that moment. It was as if it new that I was crying and overwhelmed by fear. My itty bitty baby wanted to let me know that everything was going to be alright.
Receiving a phone call while driving can be dangerous enough, but it becomes perilous when you are driving and you hear bad news. I managed to stay safe, even though tears were slipping out of my eyes, and my voice was cracking.
My doctor had called to let me know that during my anatomy scan, they found cysts on my baby’s brain. They are technically called choroid plexus cysts, and they are on both the left and right sides of the brain. Hearing that alone is terrifying for a mom to be, but the news got worse. Sometimes these cysts do absolutely nothing to a child. They can dissolve and go away, or possibly stay I the brain throughout their adulthood. These types of cysts do not cause any problems, and the child grows up being able to learn and function as if nothing had happened. The second option is that these cysts could be a small marker – or indication – that the baby has Down Syndrome.
After hearing this, I took a deep breath. Having a child with Down can be challenging, but they are also incredibly loving and sweet gifts. Having been around handicapped individuals all my life, I know that if my itty bitty baby has Down, that it will be loved and cared for all of its life. Things would be different then we had planned, but we would still have a darling child.
The last option is that our itty bitty baby has Trisomy 18, otherwise known as Edwards Syndrome. I’d never heard of Edwards Syndrome. Trisomy 18 is another type of genetic disorder, and happens when there is extra material from chromosome 18. The majority of the babies that have this disorder pass away before birth, and the ones that do, rarely survive beyond the first week of life. Some have survived to their teenage years, with serious medical and developmental problems. My heart sank, tears started flowing, and that’s when my itty bitty baby began kicking up a storm.
We had decided to take various tests because I wanted to prepare myself if I had a child with special needs. My age doesn’t put me at risk, and neither does my family history, but I wanted to be prepared. I never fathomed that I could carry my baby to full term, only to find out it was incompatible with life outside of my womb.
My doctor pleaded with me to not loose sleep, and gave me hope. She said one of the signs of Edwards Syndrome is that the baby has clenched fists, and in one of my ultrasound pictures, it looked like it was holding a hand open. There were more tests I could take, and could also have a level two ultrasound. I chose to have the ultrasound done as soon as possible, as well as meet with a genetic counselor.
After telling my husband the troubling news, we spent the longest 5 days of our lives trying to be positive. I went to work, with a big smile on my face, masking the fear welling inside of me. Family and friends asked us about the baby, and I would send generic answers their way, and immediately change the conversation. I woke up every morning sweating and crying, having had nightmares of the worst kind, and would cry in Blake’s arms until I was calmed down. He assured me that we were doing all we could, and that we would get through this together.
Finally, the day of our level 2 ultrasound arrived.
*Please note, I am not a doctor or medical professional. I write about procedures and conditions as I understand them after talking with my doctor, as well as other research. Please ask your medical professionals for more information about Choroid Plexus Cysts, Down Syndrome, or Trisomy 18.*