Post #25: Real-Life Rollercoaster

Millenium Force, Mind Eraser, Shiekra, The Voyage, Thunderhead, Tremors, Ultrasound. All but one of these is not a rollercoaster. And, yet, that one feels more like a rollercoaster than any other thrill ride I have yet to experience... and it’s a terrifying ride.

When I envisioned my ultrasound visits, I pictured limitless smiles and maybe some tears of joy as Kev and I watched our baby move about in my belly. I imagined counting ten little fingers and ten tiny toes and marveling at the flickering heart on the black and white screen. But ultrasounds have turned into one of the least exciting parts to my pregnancy.

It started back at my 20 week appointment in Italy. The exhilaration from learning that we were having a boy was cut short by the sonographer’s mention of “cisti” and “testa” in the same sentence only moments later. Medical lingo is normally beyond my Italian translation, but “cysts” and “head” were not. And in any language, those two words together in reference to your baby are terrifying. It didn’t help when the sonographer shied away from giving me any additional information. I left the appointment with a follow-up ultrasound scheduled in Torino for Friday. Three days seemed like an eternity. Kevin and I braced ourselves for news that we knew we couldn’t even anticipate receiving.

Fortunately, the doctor in Torino had only reassuring news in store. Choroid Plexus Cysts, as they are called, are fluid filled sacs in the head that can be a completely normal part of fetal development. Given the increase of technology available, they are becoming a more common finding, but are really only a concern when found in combination with other anomalies, or “markers”. He said that the isolated cases shouldn’t even be reported to the parents-to-be as they only produce unnecessary stress. And, from the looks of everything else, our baby was looking perfectly healthy. The cysts, he assured, should disappear early in the third trimester.

At my first appointment home from Italy, I was anxious to see if the cysts had in fact been reabsorbed. The good news was that they had. The bad news was that a new one had emerged, this one larger than the last. To get a better analysis of it and so my new doctor could confirm my Italian doctor’s prognosis, I was scheduled for yet another Level 2 ultrasound. We were less than happy about going through the whole thing all over again.   

And so we waited. Finally, the date rolled around for our fourth ultrasound in just over a month. This time, cysts were not a problem. We thought that this was the information we were looking for to find relief. Finally, we could stop worrying. Or so we thought… until a follow-up phone call informed us that I was scheduled for yet another exam, this time at Hartford Hospital. The cysts were no longer the focus of the scan, but the baby’s size was. And so were his heart and kidneys all of which were described as “slightly enlarged”.  Probably nothing, and don’t worry we were told. If only worry was something I could control. Clearly, there is no such thing as passing a test or ultrasound in this pregnancy with flying colors.

And that’s where we are now. 4,000 miles apart and following as best as we can my doctor’s orders of “don’t worry”. Honestly, at this point, I don’t think I have much worry left in my system. It’s been up and down and up and down, and I am ready to get off of the ride. The fact is, we will love this baby no matter what the ultrasounds imply. What do these endless tests accomplish beyond interrupting the normal excitement and anticipation we should be experiencing at this stage of pregnancy?

I haven’t written in a long time. I think a part of me wanted to wait until we knew for sure that everything was fine, or at least until we had a definitive answer about what was going on. But I can’t fast forward my life to the part where we hold our baby boy and learn that, no matter what, we are nothing less than the luckiest people in the world. So I can’t do that in this blog either. I can write, and I can continue dreaming about the wonderful little blessing that waits on the other side of all this worry.  

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