Update: Fern (22 Weeks)

Goodness… I really can’t believe the last update I made was over 6 weeks ago. The sheer fact that our sweet Fern has grown from the size of a navel orange to the size of a spaghetti squash blows my mind. We so appreciate your continued prayers on this journey and please know that an absence of update most certainly means the best. Here’s a quick run down of our appointments and new info from the past 6 weeks.

19 Weeks (3 Weeks Ago) We had a trifecta of appointments, a typical anatomy scan, a Fetal Cardio Echogram (a detailed look at baby’s heart via sonogram, performed by a pediatric cardiologist) and a clinic visit with my Doctor.

The anatomy scan (without considering any previous scans) was completely and totally normal. The radiologist we saw that day went so far as to say, “If you had come in today for your first scan, we wouldn’t have even mentioned any abnormality to you – everything is within the range of normal!”

Our echogram revealed nothing major, however, the pediatric cardiologist did identify a “very minor muscular ventricular septal defect (VSD)” which is a very common abnormality and could feasibly have caused the cystic hygroma. The way she explained it, while Fern’s heart was forming around 11 or 12 weeks, the left and right atriums were sort-of fusing together. During this process, if you can imagine, the muscular wall between the atrium would look like swiss cheese in the early stages of fusion then slowly the holes would close leaving 2 separate sides of the heart, each with 2 chambers. In Fern’s case, there is a very small hole allowing blood to flow between the 2 atrium. The most likely scenario is that this type of small hole with eventually close up on it’s own, ideally before birth. If there are signs that it hasn’t closed (we would hear a murmur post birth) we will follow with another echogram and possibly a course of treatment to help support Fern’s body while it closes. Surgery would be HIGHLY unlikely in a case like this.

Our clinic visit was uneventful, as they usually are. I’ve had slightly elevated blood pressure (likely just caused by the stress of constant visits and tests) and an increased number of headaches (very easily attributed to the same stress and/or the CRAZY allergies I’ve experienced during the PNW Spring) which can technically be signs of preeclampsia so we’re watching that closely but won’t be more concerned with the likelihood of that for another couple of weeks.

A few weeks we’ve been able to skip, but for the most part I’ve alternated clinic visits and sonograms weekly. Next steps are really just to keep a close eye on everything. We’ll likely continue with clinic visits every 2 weeks and formal sonograms as my doctor feels the need to order them. She is able to do bedside sonograms at every clinic visit which is a wonderful reassurance under these circumstances. That being said, I’m feeling lots of movement now (at 22+2 Weeks) which is comforting and dare I say some of my energy is coming back? At around 32 weeks we’ll transition to weekly clinic visits and NSTs then around 36 NSTs 2x a week or possibly more frequently. Considering the severity of the initial cystic hygroma, I am statistically at a higher risk for still birth and other (obviously super scary) late term complication so we’ll likely follow my doctor’s recommendation of induction at 39 weeks, possibly a membrane sweep at 38. The CVS test that I had done at 11 weeks also caused a small amount of bleeding on my uterus and although it’s almost completely healed it still puts me at higher risk of pre term labor so we’ll obviously we watching for signs of that too!

Obviously VERY early on we were advised completely against any travel outside the Portland Metro area which definitely put a small dent in some of our late summer plans (We’re super bummed to miss some dear friends’ wedding in San Fran in September). However, my doctor did slightly relax those restrictions to “within ambulance ride” so we’re looking at the possibility of a weekend trip to Bend to celebrate my 30th birthday early in July!

Feeling like the best thing in the world to be able to focus on how big my bump is getting, what I’m craving and enjoying every little kick. Every little movement feels like such an amazing gift. I can’t begin to explain how much your continued thoughts and prayers mean to me (and to us!). Each time I pick up a text or voicemail from someone checking-in, I’m overwhelmed by the reminder of the number of people who are praying for our sweet Fern (and our family).

Much love and gratitude,