Pregnancy after Loss is hard! I never knew just how emotional pregnancy could be until experiencing it again after losing Emilia. Today I am exactly 20 weeks pregnant with my third child. I am learning that as I get further along in this pregnancy, those fears and concerns that have plagued the first half of my pregnancy aren’t going to go away. My days are filled with constant mood swings. I have moments where I feel completely confident – I believe in my heart that everything surrounding this pregnancy is going to be okay. And then I have other moments when the confidence I have in myself and in this pregnancy is broken. I’m scared of everything… afraid to eat what are probably safe foods, afraid to do simple-everyday activities, afraid to let down my guard in fear that I will lose this baby too. I am painfully aware of all of the possibilities that could happen and as hard as I try not to, I allow those possibilities to suck a large portion of the joy out of this pregnancy. It’s in moments like these that I could use some hardcore prayer warriors.
Throughout this pregnancy, I have had and will continue to have, several ultrasounds at a local High-Risk Pregnancy Center. Yesterday we met with our high-risk doctor and had our 20-week growth and anatomy scan. On an exciting note, we were able to confirm the gender of our baby! We had learned the gender of Baby Clough #3 seven weeks earlier at our 13-week ultrasound, but we were still very excited to have the gender re-confirmed. Baby Clough #3 has been so active! Our techs had a frustrating time getting measurements as our baby was consistently doing flips and rotating throughout the entire one-hour ultrasound. We were able to receive a handful of digital ultrasound images and a few video clips too! The imagery is so detailed. Technology amazes me and how it is constantly evolving.
We were so thankful to learn that Baby Clough’s measurements are right on track and that baby has no birth defects, but unfortunately, we also received some minor negative news. During the ultrasound, they noticed a pocket of water in one of the ventricles of baby’s brain. This pocket of water is called a Choroid Plexus Cyst. Although the cyst is not dangerous to a baby and often times disappears all on its own, it can be an indicator of a much more serious condition called Trisomy 18. Trisomy 18, also called Edwards Syndrome, is a genetic disorder where the baby has three copies of chromosome 18. This extra copy causes many of the baby’s organs to develop abnormally. Common problems associated with Trisomy 18 can be a very small baby, with heart defects, kidney problems, excess amniotic fluid, small head size, deformed hands and feet, and more. Because most Trisomy 18 babies have several health conditions, studies show that most cases are fatal, with life generally ended before the baby is even born.
Fortunately, our Doctor is not overly concerned about the cyst and it having any correlation to our baby possibly having Trisomy 18. He made us aware that many healthy babies develop a Choroid Plexus Cyst without also having Trisomy 18. These babies go on to have a successful pregnancy and birth and live a healthy normal life. The chances of a baby being diagnosed with Trisomy 18 is roughly 1 out of 2000, but since our baby has no indications of any birth defects that risk is even lower. The odds do seem to be in our favor and I am confident that Baby Clough #3 is extremely healthy, but a small part of me can’t seem to shake the fear that maybe we aren’t going to be so lucky. Statistics are no longer just statistics and even the ones with good margins don’t provide as much hope as they use to. Less than 1% of babies are delivered stillborn, the odds of us ever losing Emilia were slim, but we still lost her.
We were offered a blood test that has a 99% accuracy of diagnosing a baby with Trisomy 18, but with the guidance of our Doctor, our family decided to decline this test. No matter what happens we will love our baby unconditionally. No diagnosis will change the fact that Baby Clough #3 is our baby. Right now, more than ever, we could use some good vibes sent our way and I ask that prayer warriors flood our baby with an overwhelming amount of love and support. I thank everyone for dealing with the crazy amounts of paranoia I have had these last few months and thank you all for the prayers we are constantly receiving.