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So this is where parenthood starts to get scary

Posted May 12 2009 6:15pm
Early last week, we got a stressful voicemail on my cell phone. It went something like this:

"Hi Jacki. This is Dr. Bumble (the OB). I need you to call me back today about your ultrasound. I will also try to reach you at work, but I know you said it's hard to reach you there. When you get this message, call me back. If I'm not available, I will be sure to leave your file with the nurses."

Sound the alarm! Emergency! Red alert! There's a problem with the ultrasound! I had called the week before to check on my ultrasound report at which point a nurse told me their office hadn't received it yet and they would only call me if something was wrong. She was very emphatic about the fact that they would only pick up the phone if there was a problem. Now, a week later, I had settled comfortably into the idea that there were no problems. And then this stupid message arrives in my voice mailbox.

In a panic, I immediately call the OB's office to receive this message: "Our office is closed for the day. Please call back during our normal office hourse." Are you ready for this? The office had closed 18 minutes ago. Now what? Do I call the on-call doc? No, he won't have my file at home. But what if it's Dr. Bumble on call? She would probably remember what's wrong with the ultrasound. What if someone is still at the office, finishing up paperwork and they could check my file? Hell, the night time janitor can tell me the problem, so long as someone tells me the problem tonight! Waiting until tomorrow is not an option I can fathom.

Thank God for an amazing on-call service. I have to say that I love my OB office. You often wait forever for your appointments, but they are such a wonderful staff and so supportive, especially of their pregnant patients. I big pink puffy heart them. So I call the on-call service. I open with, "I'm sorry if I am blatantly abusing the on-call service but I am freaking out and don't want to wait until morning." I explain the situation and he's so kind. He tells me he will send a message to the office with the hope that someone is still there as well as let the on-call doctor know about the situation to see if there is anything that can be done. We hang up and I wait. And wait. And wait. I guess there is nothing that can be done.

I sit in a chair for a while staring at a wall. I can't spend the entire night like this, thinking the worst when I'm not even exactly sure what the worst could be. I think back to the ultrasound. There was no moment when I saw the ultrasound tech with a traumatized face and she never gasped in horror, at least not in front of me. I take these as good signs. She had admired the great shot she got of the four chambers of his heart. Also good. So what? What could it be?

I'll call Booth Radiology! They did the ultrasound. Maybe someone can check it over and tell me what's wrong. A woman answers, I explain and she pulls up my report. She sees no notes stating that I have to come back, she makes no horrified sounds in response to my report but then states that she can't read me my report over the phone for privacy reasons. I have to come pick it up. Joe and I hop in the car, race to the radiology department and I dash in for the report. I look it over......normal...normal....normal...choroid plexus cyst on his brain....what?

As we drive home, I ponder this development. Oddly, I'm relieved even though I have no idea what a choroid plexus cyst is. Still, an answer, a name, a label is better than none. We head home and I assume my position at the computer as webMD, Google extraordinaire, Dr. Jaguar. The white lab coat and stethoscope casually thrown around my neck make the whole thing much more official.

The first article I click on allays most of my fears. A choroid plexus cyst is a cyst on the baby's brain that usually appears during the second trimester and goes away on its own during the third trimester, causing no harm to the baby. It's like a little visitor, hanging out for a while and then leaving. These cysts are discovered in 1-3% of all pregnancies.

http://www.babyzone.com/pregnancy/health_wellness/prenatal_tests/ultrasound/arti

Little visitor...okay, I can deal with that. Granted, you weren't invited so I find you terribly rude, but whatever. However, there is one risk to the baby that increases with the discovery of the cyst: Trisomy 18. My risk for trisomy 18 prior to finding the cyst was 1 in 3,000. Now it is 1 in 300. Still really solid odds in my opinion. 300 marbles in a bag, only 1 labeled Trisomy 18 and I only have to pick one marble from the bag. I'm a mathematical person by nature. Can you tell? The logical part of my brain is fine with this idea. Still, the emotional side is not. I don't want to think about this for our baby. I really preferred the heavier bag with all 3,000 marbles.

So what now? We wait until tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. Tomorrow is the big day when we go to the Perinatology department (yikes!) at the local hospital, the hospital where we plan to deliver our son, for our Level II ultrasound. A perinatologist will do the ultrasound himself and we will hear the results right then. The ultrasound was scheduled a week and a half ago and it's been impossible not to do a lot of thinking during that time. About how one ultrasound can affect a baby's entire life. About how dreams can quickly change from watching your child grow into a healthy adult to just having an opportunity to meet him and hear his little cry, watch his little chest rise and fall. And while I know all of the odds are still immensely in our favor, that one little marble out of 300 scares me in ways I can't ever begin to explain.

And so my Christmas wish is simple: that a cyst is just a cyst, nothing more. If you can spare a prayer, a positive thought or some good juju, we could use it tomorrow and would greatly appreciate it.
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