Well, yesterday was the day! The day we went off to downtown Orlando to have our anatomy scan with the specialists. And what an exciting and emotional visit it was!
We started the appointment with the usual weight and blood pressure checks. I had a chat about my background and previous pregnancy with the diabetic specialist nurse, and I was given more information about what they expect to see from me and how they want me to record my dietary decisions. I was given a booklet with a diet plan to follow and told that my numbers are still concerning and they want to see a big improvement quickly or I will be put on insulin. Eep!
I then returned to the waiting room with Mark and Dexter for a short wait before we were called back in for the sonogram.
We were told that we’d first get an ultrasound from the main technician. Then, a student sonographer would be having a look around for a bit, and finally the doctor would come in and have a final look and discuss everything with us.
So we settled in to see our beautiful little baby on screen. Mark was still completely convinced that we’d be hearing those magic words very soon, “It’s a girl.” But right at the start, I was sure I saw the unmistakable signs of a boy. The sonographer, however, said she couldn’t get a good look and would come back to it.
She showed us our gorgeous baby’s face, the little arms and fingers, close-ups of the toes and hands… She spent a bit of time on the heart, trying to get good photos and different angles, which didn’t worry me at all, as I remember the same happening with Dexter.
Then, she made the announcement, “Well, I know what it is now…” And before she said the words, it was evident right on screen. A bouncing baby boy. :D
She then switched to 4D mode, and we had a lovely few minutes getting closer looks at his little face. It was magical.
Finally, she was satisfied she’d got all her measurements, and she went off to talk to the doctor while the student played around with the machine, getting some hands on experience. I didn’t mind at all, as it gave us more time to see our little man.
Finally, the doctor came by. He was quite brusque, and he had an accent that made it slightly difficult to understand him at times, but he seemed competent. He asked about my previous diagnosis of Long QT Syndrome, a heart anomaly that is inherited. I explained that I didn’t know anything about it except that they told me I had it. He had another doctor listen to my chest (as the nurse had earlier), and neither of them could find a problem.
But the next thing I knew, he was showing us a big white spot on our baby’s heart. He called in an “echogenic focus” and said it was a calcification on the thread that opens and closes the heart. He said that it is found in about 15% of babies and it COULD be nothing, but it can also be a soft marker for Down Syndrome.
He was looking at the other measurements that had been taken (especially the nuchal fold) to figure out if there were any other markers, and he said that it looked okay, but because the baby was moving so much, it was harder to tell for sure.
He said that he wanted me back in four weeks time so that he could do an echocardiogram on the baby to figure out if the heart problem was going to be an issue.
After another quick chat with the nurse and some blood being drawn to check my thyroid, we left the appointment slightly worried about the baby, but telling ourselves that 15% is a pretty high number and we shouldn’t be too concerned.
When we got home, I looked it up, and I found the number is actually more like 8%, but I read some other women’s experiences and most of them turned out to be nothing. This reassured me greatly!
However, this morning I read something else that worried me a bit. An article suggested that when an echogenic focus is found on the heart, a doctor will usually just order a second ultrasound for a few week’s time. Only when they have reason to suspect it is not nothing do they usually do an echocardiogram.
So now I am slightly more worried about the baby, though I have told myself that no matter what happens, we are going to be able to deal with it. Down Syndrome is the least of my concerns, if I’m honest. I have been lucky enough to know some amazing kids and adults with it to know that they can fill your life with sunshine and light. But the inherent medical issues that are associated with it are what scare me the most.
Still, for now we are going to simply bask in the knowledge that we are having a beautiful baby boy in our future. We’ll worry about the rest if and when we know there is something to worry about.
And for now? We’re having great fun choosing baby names! Our tentative choice for the moment is Vincent James Fenix Reed. We’ll see if it sticks! Dexter’s name changed at the last minute, and there’s every chance this one could, too. But right now it feels good to have something to call my bump other than Oswynn (the name we had picked out for a girl!).