On January 4, 2007, I went into the surgery center at Conway Regional...I came out without a cut on me! I got all checked in, had blood drawn, had my IV (after 3 attempts with 2 nurses!) and was just waiting on the surgeon to come say it was time to go. Tony was sitting there waiting with me and we were just chatting. The surgeon finally came in and said "well, we have a change in plans". I thought "You idiot! You overbooked the OR or something, didn't you." Then he said "you're pregnant!" I was completely floored! We had wanted a baby for a long time and it just wasn't happening! We had gone through some testing (including surgery) and tried some drugs and a proceedure and still no baby, so we we thought we were going to have to have some help. We had an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist set for Jan. 8- just 4 days away! I was SO happy to get to cancel that appointment! Here is the first pic of our baby:
I was put on a progesterone supplement because my levels were a little low, but other than that, everything was great! I felt "icky" for the 1st trimester, but nothing violent. Everything else was uneventful.
My doctor called me on April 9 . I thought that was weird because I never even got to talk to her when I called the office. I had opted to take the Quad Screen, which is a blood test that checks for certain proteins. Any of these protein levels are too high or too low, it can indicate an increased risk for certain disorders -Down's Syndrome, Trisomy 18, spina bifida, and other neural tube defects. I almost declined the test. It was a last-minute decision, but I figured it was just a blood test and if it were positive and something was wrong, we would need to deliver in Little Rock where specialists would be available to deal with the special circumstances. Anyway, mine came back positive, although I wasn't told for what disorder.
I decided during all of this that I wanted to change doctors because I felt very shuffled in and out at my old doctor. I always had a hard time getting lab results and I was never happy with the office staff. I called a midwife that I knew of about Bradley classes (schedules didn't work out), but we talked for quite a while about hospitals and doctors. She recommended Baptist in LR, and Dr. Wyatt with Arkansas Women's Center. I called and made an appointment with him for April 23, which would have been my 20 week "big" ultrasound.
On April 16 I went to Little Rock for an appointment with a perinatologist and a Level 2 ultrasound as a follow-up to the positive Quad Screen. Before this appointment, I had almost convinced myself that we were dealing with a "false positive" like I had read so much about. He showed me my labs and that the protein indicating spina bifida was very elevated. I got on the table and he started the ultrasound. We saw our sweet little baby. The doctor went though all of his anatomy as if he were teaching a college class. He got to the spine and said "and there's the defect". It is an opening in the spinal column and skin at the level of his hips. Tony and I were devistated. I had no idea how to deal with this information. Almost as an afterthought, the dr. told us that our baby is a little boy! I really hated that this good news was so overshadowed by the bad news.
Our baby boy...I call him my "monster baby" since all you can see is his skeleton. We dealt with some difficult days and weeks after that, but we are so blessed with friends and family who really pulled us through that time, and I am now happy to say that we are just thrilled to be expecting our baby boy! He is "due" around September 12 and his name is Gage Anthony. As I said, I had an appt. with my new OB a week after I went for the ultrasound. It made me so sure I made the right choice in changing. My records from my old OB were not there yet, even though I requested that they be sent 2 weeks before and was assured that they would be there in plenty of time. He also didn't have the perinatologist report, so he got to know us from scratch. I really liked how personable he was and he just said that he would have to find out more about dealing with a pregnancy where it's known that the baby has spina bifida. He had only had one before. He ended up getting the report from the peri before we left and was able to tell us things that we didn't know....no hydrocephalus (water on the brain, even though levels were above normal, apparently the peri was not concerned), the lesion was low, and Gage moved his legs on u/s.
I have been back to the perinatologist once a month since then (so 2 more times) and I get an ultrasound each time. We have since found out that Gage's spine defect is pretty small and does not have anything protruding through the opening (often a cyst containing parts of the spinal cord and/or spinal fluid protrudes through the opening). The fluid levels on his brain are very slightly elevated, but have remained stable. Gage will be transported to Arkansas Children's Hospital within an hour or 2 of his birth, and he will have surgery to close the opening within a day or 2. I won't have to have a scheduled C-section, which makes me very happy. I still think that the perinatologist has no personality, but he's good at what he does. I really love Dr. Wyatt and I am so happy that I changed. He has been wonderful about talking to us as people and not just a number. I go to him every 2 weeks now.
Here is Gage's bed and his room:
So, now we are just hanging out at 29 weeks, 3 days. I had an appointment with both docs Friday, and no new news. Gage is growing right on schedule and is estimated to be about 3 1/2lbs right now.