Before the beginning, part 1

This is the first post in a three part series: Part 2, Part 3

After the birth of our second daughter Claire, Tori and I were a bit at odds as to whether our family was complete. I had been under the impression that we were having two children, she three.

After a couple of years, I decided she was right, and three was the number for us. It took a few more years, but one day, Tori surprised me with the news that we were pregnant. We were very excited about our addition – telling the girls, would it be a boy or a girl – all the usual stuff.

As Kaitlyn’s pregnancy had gone a little sideways at the end, and we had spent all of Claire’s with MUSC’s high risk clinic, we decided to stick with MUSC as our care provider. A bit over five years after the birth of our last child hadn’t changed much in obstetrician care, but we were surprised to find out that MUSC likes to do a first trimester ultrasound at 11-12 weeks.

And that is the moment that the roller coaster left the loading zone and started to make its way up the first hill.

At the ultrasound appointment, everything seemed to be going well. Towards the end, the ultrasound tech mentioned she was having an issue with the back of the neck, and stepped out for a moment. Coming back with a doctor, the continued the scan for a few moments, and then turned on the lights.

Our baby has a cystic hygroma.

We were stunned, though honestly, we didn’t really know what this meant. The doctor got us in to see a genetic counselor, and she explained that there were a few different outcomes ahead of us. First, our baby had a roughly 50% chance of developing fetal hydrops, which – as we understood it – would mean she would not make it to birth. Second, our baby also had a 50% chance for a chromosomal abnormality, such as Down’s or Turner’s.

Obviously, this was shocking news to us. To identify if any chromosomal issues existed, Tori could give some blood, and MUSC would send it off to a lab to sort out bits of fetal DNA from her own, and see if there was anything there. When that test came back, we were told that they had not detected any chromosomal issues, and that baby was a girl. Hello Julia!

For the hydrops, though, the only thing we could do was wait. Five long weeks had to pass before we would know how this coin flip would land.