Saturday, July 31, 2010


So on Wednesday, at work, I get this random call. It's the referral office on base, and she says, "Mrs. N, I want you to know that your referral has been approved for specialist ob care. Please call Dr. T to schedule your appointment." I'm like, what referral? What are you talking about? She won't tell me ANYTHING.

Of course, I immediately google this doctor, and he's an ultrasound specialist in Pensacola, at the high-risk pregnancy clinic there. So I'm like, WTF?

Then I call the appointment line to leave a message with my midwife (yes, military policy, I can't actually call her directly). She immediately calls me back, and says, "I'm sorry, but there's an abnormality with your ultrasound. I don't want to discuss it over the phone. I'll wait here if you can come over now."

Again, WTF. My ultrasound was Monday, and although the tech technically can't say anything diagnostic in nature, everything looked great, measured currently for dates, etc. So I'm driving to the medical office and am pretty much hysterical at this point.

Then I get to the clinic, and am *escorted* to her office. I'm thinking, wow, this must be really bad. I'm crying.

Then my midwife sits me down and tells me that the "abnormality" is that there is "shadowing"/"calcification" in some of the baby's heart tissue. The heart is formed correctly, but there's this white area. There are no other abnormalities. She said that, "We're seeing a lot of these lately. Ultrasounds have gotten really good, and we're not sure if this is a true issue or just a phase of development we're just starting to identify." And apparently I'm going to have a Level 2 ultrasound with the specialist, and have it monitored, and hopefully it will go away.

I went home, extremely relieved, yet furious I went through all that for something that was later deemed "minor" and "probably wouldn't affect my desire to have a home birth." Way to give me a heart attack, lady. I was totally thinking fatal defect, trisomy, etc.

Anyway, I've done my research, and, like my midwife said, the echogenic intracardiac focus (EIF) that the ultrasound picked up is very common- occurring in 5-10% of all pregnancies, and usually disappears on its own. Yes, it can be a soft marker for several Trisomies, including Down's, but in those cases is usually found in conjunction with other markers, of which my baby has none. Because we choose not to have genetic testing done, it's impossible to say whether my risk is comparatively higher than most, but I'm confident that, given my age and the absence of any other markers, the baby will be fine.

And really, in the grand scheme of things, if the most likely (of the unlikely) scenarios is Down's, then really, there's nothing I can do about it. Like the saying says, "Worry is like rocking in a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but doesn't get you anywhere."


Kacie said...

Goodness! I'm sure your baby is fine, but way to scare the pants off a pregnant lady! I don't like how they handled that.

It seems like if they saw something weird on the ultrasound, they should talk to you THAT MINUTE about it. Like when the tech is done, they should get the doctor on duty or whatever to talk with you.

Cuz come on!

Anyway, big hugs and best wishes!

Beth said...

Oh Emily, I'm so sorry you went through that! I would have been hysterical too! I hope that it turns out to be nothing. What a scary experience!

Jenny said...

"Don't want to talk about it over the phone?" I would've been hysterical too! Don't medical professionals get ANY training in how to be sensitive and tactful while giving their clients different types of news? And I agree with Kacie--I thought something unusual on an ultrasound called for a doctor to come in immediately and talk to the mother. It's sad that they can screw up so plainly and yet some mothers don't have the option of seeking care elsewhere.