The Fundamental Things Apply / As Time Goes By

We had our 20 week anatomy scan this morning. That’s the big one where they check all of the organs and can tell you the sex, if you want to know. We did want to know, even though it doesn’t make much of a difference. The things we want for our child (kindness, empathy, bravery, sense of humor) aren’t sex or gender specific.

When I was younger, I was adamant that I wanted a girl. “I don’t know anything about boys!” I’d wail. But my mistake there was to assume, despite my Women & Gender Studies degree, that females have innate traits that I would have an automatic connection with, and that males have innate traits I would not understand. Such silliness. I would like a child that I can snuggle with, and read books with, and cook with. Tammy would like a child that will play outside with her, go camping with her, and swim in the ocean with her. But you know what? A child of any sex or gender combination will not guarantee us a child that enjoys any or all of those things. Our first lesson in parenting is to accept our child for who they are, regardless of what is between their legs and in their heart. What we ultimately want is for our child(ren) to find what brings them joy.

******

At the perinatal clinic (with the high res ultrasound machines), I asked the receptionist if I need a full or empty bladder for my 20 week anatomy scan. She assured me it didn’t matter, so I went to relieve myself, glad I wouldn’t have to spend an uncomfortable hour being prodded in the (full) bladder. When I came out of the bathroom, an Asian gentleman with a heavy accent started scolding me (that much was clear from his tone) but I had no freaking clue what he was trying to say. Tammy read my blank look, and interpreted that I shouldn’t have gone pee, that he needed my bladder full to check my cervix. I told the ultrasound tech that the receptionist told me it was OK (I’m such a tattle-tale) and he stormed off to scold her.

Unfortunately, his accent did not improve while he did the scan. He muttered to himself, ignoring us most of the time when we asked questions, occasionally including “good, good, look fine, eveyting look fine”. My first clue that there might be a problem was when we were measuring the “alus” (“the what?” “the alus…you know…baby poo poo” “oh, the aNus. Gotcha”) and I saw these dark circles in the lower abdomen.

“What are those dark circles?” I asked, three times. He finally responded, “I take picture, review after.” But then he told us the sex, and I sort of forgot about those circles.

It’s a girl. Whatever that means, in all its glory.

After he finished taking his pictures, he told us he was going to go review and would be back in later. We waited around 20 minutes and then a doctor came in. She told us that the tech had trouble getting one or two shots of the brain that she would try to get (she did successfully), but also that she wanted to review one of the pictures he did get of the abdomen. All of a sudden, I remembered those dark circles and got nervous.

It turns out that either the baby has enlarged bowels or cysts on her ovaries. Apparently it’s difficult to tell at this point of fetal development exactly what these fluid filled spaces are. We need to come back in two weeks to see if the spots have gotten bigger or smaller. It’s entirely possible that, whatever the issue is, it will resolve itself. If the spots are not gone, the perinatologist will refer us to have an MRI, which will give us an even more detailed look than the high-resolution scan at the perinatology center (and those scans are crazy detailed).

From my googling this morning, I’ve determined that fetal ovarian cysts are often a result of the large amounts of hormones circulating in MY body. Which makes me feel insanely guilty, and does inject the worry that I’ve harmed our daughters future fertility, should she want to have kids at some point. Most fetal ovarian cysts resolve themselves before birth or shortly after.

Enlarged bowels can be a sign of blockages in the intestines. AKA, my baby is already full of shit (if I don’t laugh, I’ll cry. Work with me here). I ALSO feel guilty about this, like I’ve given my daughter my own screwed up bowels (chronic constipation, etc). Again, these often work themselves out before birth or shortly after.

Worst case for both scenarios would mean regular ultrasounds leading up to the birth, possible induction, and ultrasounds for the baby after birth. Worst WORST case scenario would mean surgery shortly after the baby is born to either remove the cysts or blockages.

Obviously, I wish the scan had gone perfectly and shown no problems. But I’m surprised at how well I’m taking the news. I’m trying to be fair and reasonable when describing this to my parents (“the doctor wasn’t what I would call ‘concerned’, but she does want to monitor it”) and not wallow in melodrama, as is so often my want. I’ve done a little bit of googling, but I’ve tried to skim-without-really-reading the posts where women say “my baby had this and it meant X number of surgeries” or “my baby had this and it was a sign of cystic fibrosis” or “my baby had this and we had to remove her ovaries” or “my baby had this and then she died”. Wow, guess I read more of those than I thought, huh?

Aaaaaaaaanyway, I’m doing reasonably well, for me. I’m trying to focus on her sweet arms and legs kicking me, and my happy laugh as I got to see visual evidence of what I’ve been feeling for weeks (side note to my daughter: no wonder my bladder hurts every time I stand up. You’re doing a straight up goal scoring kick into it!) with regard to movement. I got to see Tammy’s face as we looked at our daughter’s profile, her yawning mouth, and her little fingers giving us the “here’s looking at you, kid.” Maybe we should name her Ingrid?

Here's Looking at You, Kid 3

Here’s looking at you, kid. We are in awe of how marvelous you are.

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23 thoughts on “The Fundamental Things Apply / As Time Goes By

  1. Congratulations on the little girl! Such wonderful and exciting news!!!

    I’m happy to hear you in such high spirits. The spots, while not perfect, certainly don’t sound like the end of the world. All in all, sounds like a pretty freakin’ healthy baby girl. So so happy for you!

  2. Congrats on your baby girl! Don’t worry about the spots. If it’s from hormones, there’s not much you can do (and stress doesn’t help) and if she’s full of shit…it’ll be okay. Just give her the best home you can for the next 20 weeks. Everything will go as planned. If you do need more ultrasounds, just look at it as a chance to spend more time looking at your little one before you are able to hug her (an opportunity that few women get to have).

  3. Aw, congratulations on your little girl! I know having a “perfect” ultrasound would have been better, but luckily, she still sounds very healthy. Hopefully everything will resolve itself, but it seems like a manageable problem no matter what. Try not to Google too much. Just enjoy daydreaming and planning for your daughter!!!

  4. Hopefully whatever the spots turn out to be will fall into the clears-up-on-their-own category. I know a lot of people who had similar scares at their scans and everything ended up ok. At our last growth scan (I’m getting them every month now because I have GD) our son was measuring on the “low end of normal” at 10%. Any lower and he’s considered underweight, and no one can tell me why that might happen (apparently he might just be little, which I never expected would happen in my family of giants). My new approach to all this pregnancy monitoring is to enjoy as much as possible and try not to worry, unless a doctor specifically tells me I need to be worried. It’s hard to do all the time, but it has made me less crazy.

  5. Soooo exciting! My mother frequently tells me that she feels so bad that my sister and I have bad joints because she has bad joints and clearly passed it on to us. My sister and I are understandably furious and will be until the end of time. Just kidding.
    You are doing an awesome job cooking this kiddo. She is going to love you and your wife like crazy no matter what her ovaries/bowels/knees/hips/eyes do in the future. I look forward to your updates!

  6. Congratulations!I was so happy when I found out I was having a girl, because I wanted to raise a feminist and contribute more female energy to the planet. It was ignorant of me, of course. Men can be feminists and women don’t all exude feminine energy!

    Anyway, I am glad to hear you have a positive attitude (mostly) about the fluid filled areas. I bet when you go back, everything will be A-OK, and your worrying will be for naught. She will be perfect, no matter what.

  7. While I don’t have a ton of background on the bowel blockage, I have had a ton of clients who had girls with ovarian cysts. Super common and so far none of the have had the cysts at delivery. So Pirate Ingrid is not doomed to have PCOS. I’m glad you’re taking the news well. *big hugs for you and Tammy*

  8. Congratulations, my friend, on the little girl news. Now stay off of google, mamas. Doctor’s don’t blow smoke up our asses. If your doctor isn’t concerned, you should try to do your very best to follow her lead. (Now you can slap me, because easier said than done, of course.)

    I always thought I wanted a boy, because I was a tomboy and never really had a whole lot of female friends. And I also took a bunch of women’s studies courses in college and did gender inequality research for my master’s degree. But, yeah. I’ve realized the same thing you mention above. I really think that I do not care what the sex of these babies is. I want them healthy and happy and that is it. I say this, but then I dreamed last night that we were told we were having two boys and I started crying. Haha.

  9. Okay, obviously your kid is already the coolest because look at that ultrasound pic! So awesome. And good for you for staying reasoned and not freaking out. She will be great, that little nugget, and there’s no sense in stressing anyway.

    Excited for you! And hoping the next ultrasound brings good news.

  10. That might be the best ultrasound picture that I’ve seen to date (and I’m an ultrasound-picture-googling maniac). Congrats on your little girl. Hoping the cause of the spots (whatever it ends up being) resolves itself quickly.

  11. Isn’t it just amazing to watch her move!?!? I could watch my babe wiggle around all day long. I think it is amazing the things they can see, diagnose, and treat with these ultrasounds. I’m sure they have saved many babies and helped them live long, healthy lives even if they needed some extra monitoring or care. Here’s to your beautiful little girl! Sending you hugs.

  12. It’s great having all of this technology to give us information before our babies are born…except when it’s not! Glad you’re able to (mostly) keep from stressing. It sounds like the two issues they identified are likely to be very minor in the grand scheme of things.

  13. I am 16 weeks pregnant with twins and my wife and I have been married for 2 1/2 years!!!! We are so excited and reading this post was great because my next ultrasound is at 20 weeks and we find out genders and also make sure everything is looking good inside. Congrats on your pregnancy!!

  14. Pingback: Things that are Weird | The Mamas Rapscallion

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