It’s a Boy!
Our 20-week, level 2 detailed anatomy ultrasound went well. I was relieved to have a kind and positive ultrasound tech, since it was someone we hadn’t met before. She was great. She looked carefully at each part, measured and pointed them out to us. She made me start to relax. We saw all the limbs, both hands and feet with tiny fingers and toes, the stomach full of amniotic fluid, the kidneys, the bladder, the heart, the brain with the central dividing line (I forget what that’s called) and so on. He moved and wiggled the entire time! Very active. With Luke at the anatomy ultrasound, he was sleeping much of the time, so we didn’t see as much movement as this time. I’m a little concerned he may come out and be very hyper, but oh well.
She asked if we wanted to know the sex. At first, he wasn’t showing the goods, but about 2/3 of the way through, she said “Oh yes, it’s definitely a boy!” She pointed out the cute parts to us. It was very obvious. But I still had to ask, “Are you sure it’s a boy?” She said, “Well, I never say 100%, but I would say 99%.” I said, “That couldn’t be a hand or something?” (I know, so silly, but I just needed it to be very clear.) She said, “Not unless it only has one finger!” Ha ha!:)
After she was done, the doctor came in to look also. It was the doctor I saw at this office last year with Luke, the two times I saw a doctor there. This was the first time I’d seen him since. He came in and said, “I don’t know if you remember me.”. He then joked, “I had red hair then” (he is gray). He cracked a few other jokes too. I think that is a good quality in a high-risk pregnancy doctor. Sometimes there needs to be some levity. He didn’t say sorry for your loss or mention Luke except as a piece of my medical history that he is obviously aware of, but maybe this was not the time for that. He picked up the wand and went through the organs again and pointed things out with good detail and explanation. He was very encouraging and said everything looks really good.
Toward the end, he said he was looking for one more thing he hoped to see, but wasn’t finding it. We were having a discussion about when to deliver while he was looking. But then he paused and said, “Here’s what I was trying to see!” with excitement. I said, “Oh good, I’m glad you found it…Now what is it?” It was the umbilical cord in detail. He said that as part of his research, he is studying umbilical cords in relation to stillbirths. He said he thinks that in the 50-60% of stillbirths that are unexplained (such as our Luke), he thinks many may be due to unseen chord accidents. He said when the umbilical chord is formed in a straight, linear structure, like a garden hose, it can be easily compressed. He said they only can prove a chord accident when the baby is born with the chord is still around the neck or something of that nature. He thinks that babies sometimes get into positions where they wedge the chord somewhere (against the placenta, under a limb) and compress it, cutting off the supply of oxygen, blood and nutrients, and causing their death. But when they are born, this is not visible.
He said when the umbilical chord is formed in a spiral fashion, like a telephone chord, it is much harder to compress. He told us to go home and play with the phone chord and see how resilient it is. It resists being squished flat. He feels this is a safer chord formation for the baby, although there is no way to control how your umbilical chord forms. And obviously, many straight umbilical chords are fine too, since stillbirth is pretty rare. But, I was very excited to see that this baby has a spiraling umbilical chord. The 3 parts of it wrap around and around each other. Hooray!
This is the first possible medical explanation for Luke’s death that to me could really fit. It makes a lot of sense. We had an autopsy and tons of test. He was fine, I was fine, nothing was found. Maybe when he was big and things were getting tight in there, he just got into a position that clamped his umbilical chord. Maybe it was just an unseen chord accident. I find this very comforting. That would be an explanation that makes sense. It also would not be likely to reoccur and would mean there is not something wrong with me that they just didn’t find. Most importantly, this baby appears to be guarded against that same issue since he has this “spiral chord” that I now love! I mean, who knows really, but it’s a nice thing to have in my pocket anyways. Josh felt the same. We were both excited to share that new revelation with our families. I am really thankful God gave me a high-risk doctor who happens to be researching that so that he could tell us about it! I know that is not an accident. We left the appointment relieved and a little worn out, but happy. Thank you, Lord!
To share the news with my family, I filled plastic Easter eggs with little blue candy-coated chocolate eggs, since it was Easter. I had them open them all at the same time. Here’s a pic:
Here’s a 20-week belly pic. I’m not very good at selfies, so sorry my head is cut off in this one. I am bigger than at 20 weeks last time. I guess there’s something to it that once your body has stretched and moved organs once, it does it more quickly and easily the second time. Or it’s that I have 2 pregnancies 7.5 months apart and I started this second one 5 pounds heavier and with a different belly that had pretty recently had a baby. I am a little scared of what I’m going to look like at 9 months.
I hope you are all doing well. I am praying for all of you every day: for the grief, for the TTC, for the rainbow babies, for all the hopes and struggles.