Thursday, August 15, 2013

Looking Back: A Reflection on Seeing the Specialist

This post was originally written on 8/3/13. 

Seven days after our first ultrasound, we left the girls with a friend (the one person in real life who knew what was going on with us) and headed to the MFM specialist.  I'd had plenty of time to consult Dr. Google and know more about what we were facing and came prepared to talk to the doctor.

Before we met with him, we had to talk with the nurse who, of course, needed to update my medical information from the last time.  She initially appeared very confused as to why the computer was showing that I was 60 weeks pregnant - clearly I wasn't here for happy reasons last time and it isn't physically possible for me to be that pregnant.  So, I would have honestly hoped that her powers of deduction might have solved that quandary.  Nope - I needed to explain that Aaron was born in February and had died.  Following that exchange, we then got to listen to her repeat to herself THREE times as she updated information, "Okay, four pregnancies, two living children." "Four pregnancies, two living children."  "Four pregnancies, two living children."  ...My husband is an exceedingly patient man, but by the time we had heard that three times - even he was shaking his head in frustration. (She was a very sweet lady, but obviously not at all thinking about the words coming out of her mouth in front of two people who recently buried a child.) Finally we finished that step and the doctor came in.

My first question was "Why do we even need to do this ultrasound - it's going to cost us a small fortune and won't it show the same thing as the last one?" His response, in a nutshell:  "We are certified for just exactly this reason and I don't trust other people's in order to give you my input, I have to see it."  Okay, made sense to me.  (He also added a few comical details that just reinforces what I've said all along about his bedside manner - he is simply incredible.)

For the next hour, he stayed in the room to talk with us and made us honestly feel like we were the only thing  that mattered in that time frame (impressive, given that I know that they are a very busy practice).  Within the first few minutes of the ultrasound, and while he was still sitting across the room from the screen, he was able to tell us that our baby looked perfectly normal.  He asked the ultrasound tech what she was getting as official measurements and she wasn't even close to the upper range for acceptable limits.  He took the time to explain how the nuchal translucency can be easily measured incorrectly and said that roughly 30-50% of the cases like ours are simply a result of bad positioning or honest error.  He walked us through all of our available testing options and explained what he would recommend, if we chose to do any additional testing at all (at this point, our risk returns to approximately what it would be for the general population anyway).

We will see him again in September for the usual 20 week anatomy scan.  Typically this is done in the OB's office and I was initially a little grumpy about having another expensive ultrasound done, but after time to let it all settle - I'm actually glad that we'll be having it done at their office.  You see, I made the mistake of continuing my quest for knowledge and stumbled upon the ever-growing list of things that can become apparent on ultrasound between 12-20 weeks.  This is truly one of those cases where ignorance is bliss.  I was much better off when my information was "Your baby has a perfectly shaped little head and just the right amount of fluid behind his or her neck."  I should have stopped there.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad to hear that the specialist said the baby looks normal! I'll be praying for you and your family.