Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Step Away from the Google, Ashley.

Today was rough.

Possibly one of my roughest.

I didn't expect this. I expected to write about how I'm halfway through my pregnancy today. I expected to write about how I've decided to do another "Buy Nothing" month because my shopping is getting a little out of control. I expected to maybe share some photos of my belly, which has totally popped.

Instead, I'm going to tell you why I am scared. Why I am sad. Why I am worried.

At the end of the day yesterday, I noticed I had a missed call. It was my midwife - she wanted to discuss my ultrasound results, but "it's not an emergency." I trusted her. I didn't worry even in the slightest. I've never been pregnant before - perhaps this is routine. It was after hours, so I  called her this morning as I drove to work.

"Hi, Ashley. I got your ultrasound - did you find out what you're having?" I  let out a ridiculous giggle and tell her.  "Well, everything looks really good - there is just one thing."

Pause. A millisecond pause which is filled with hours of thoughts that run through my head - was there something wrong? The baby kicks and moves so much - and he's big! What could be wrong with him? Maybe it was me. Maybe I have cancer. Can you find that out in an ultrasound? Maybe it's a clot. Maybe it's a cyst. Maybe.

"There is a spot on the heart and so you're going to need to get another ultrasound at another hospital. I've already sent your information over to the perinatologist's office." She rambled a bit about how great the doctors over there are and assured me I wasn't getting transfered from her office.

I interrupted her - "So, there is a spot on the baby's heart?"
"Yes. And it could be nothing. It could just be a calcium deposit." 

I wasn't worried. I told her I wouldn't worry until I found more out. Until there was something to worry about. And I meant it. 

Until I called the perinatologist's office. The experience trying to get an appointment with the perinatologist was the worst doctor's office experience I've ever had - I was 40 minutes late to work because I was sitting in my car in the parking lot on the phone with the receptionist. She worried me with her urgency to get me an appointment as soon as possible, with her surprise that I was to have a consult in addition to the ultrasound, and with her inability to schedule an appointment after 40 minutes on the phone.

A bit shaken, with tears nearly in my eyes, I sat down at my desk and Googled "spot on baby's heart in ultrasound" in attempt to try and get some sense of what was going on. I needed to know if I should worry.

It may seem a little odd that I am writing about this to the entire internet (or at least the handful of the internet that pays attention to what I write), but I need to process this. Please don't be hurt if you're my good friend or family and I haven't shared this with you. I can't say the words without breaking down in tears.

The experience of other pregnant women on the internet told me that, yes, it is very often nothing at all. But the worry and cause for additional screening and testing is: Down syndrome.

Down syndrome.

Part of me knows that there is a only chance. That is it unlikely and I shouldn't worry. That I should suspend all worry until I know more. But another part of me spent today near tears, wondering how our life would be different if we had a baby like this and feeling guilty for terrible thoughts that followed. I teared up when a coworker sent me an email: "our little ones will definitely have play dates!" Would she still want to play with my little boy if he looks different? Lots of teachers found out at lunch, and as they congratulated me, I couldn't help but feel half-hearted about it.

I didn't expect to be so worried. I didn't expect to be so upset. I didn't expect to think the worst. I am level-headed. I am reasonable. I don't get worried unless there is cause for worry.

The rest of the day was a roller coaster of emotions.

I went home early after I broke down in front of my coworkers - always embarrassing. One of the nuns shielded me from students in the office as I blotted at my eyes with a tissue, my breath still shaky.

Then drove home, feeling calmer and more level-headed. It is okay. It will be okay. Nothing is wrong. Let's get a vanilla bean frappuccino. Usually find those disgusting, but go with it.

I called my mom, who could hardly understand me as my voice faltered, then broke into sobs.

Then Mike came home; we didn't talk. He just sat down on the couch, opened his arms, and I climbed on his lap, sobbing into his neck. After I cried for a long, long time - I told him everything. I relayed my conversations with the midwife and the perinatologist's office. I told him my worst fears. I cried some more.

And then I went on a long walk - I'm not sure if it was the fresh air, the solitude, the sunshine, or the abundance of budding trees and daffodils - but I came back with a renewed sense of peace.  A renewed sense of it's all okay. A renewed sense of hope.

I'm not sure how I'll feel tomorrow - but for now? I'm okay. I have hope. I am not worrying.

I do wish our appointment was before next Wednesday, though. A week wait to find out what is going on with our baby? Excruciating.

(Thank you for all of your support today - it means more to me than I think I can express. Every time I got a tweet or email, my heart swelled a bit.)
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