Chapter 03

I laid down on the table again, pulled up my shirt and the nurse squirted the warm jelly on my belly again. Dustin was sitting next to me with our little girl Olivia on his lap. The tech asked me the normal questions, Hows it going? Anything change since your last visit? etc. I wasnt in a chit chatty mood, so the ultrasound began. She confirmed (for the third time now) that Allison was a girl. Next she went straight for her heart, since that was the area of concern at the last visit. I am a pretty good reader of people, but I didnt even have to look at her face, I saw on the screen, something was wrong. Very wrong. In place of the little round, divided heart that I had grown so accustomed to looking at with my previous pregnancy, there was a little round, seemingly undivided “floppy” heart (as I described it). I looked over and the tech looked uneasy. I asked her and she told me, it appears there is a heart defect. Ok. A heart defect. We can fix this. Right? We chatted about what she may have, and she said it appeared to be AV Canal. I put that in my memory bank to come home and research, and she told me it was serious but repairable. I was upset. Not devastated. Yet. Next she tells me the baby is still not growing correctly. Next she tells me that Allison has a cleft lip and a cleft palate. My head was spinning at this point. And then she said it “There is a brain defect too, I am afraid there is something underlying causing this”…she left the room to discuss her findings with the doctor they had on staff. I needed to scream I TOLD YOU SO. I needed to cry. I needed to vomit. But, my daughter was there. I stumbled of the table and instructed my husband to call a very good friend of ours who worked right down the road to come and get Olivia. He was there within minutes and took Olivia home with him. After she left, the ultrasound tech came back in and turned on her video chat. I was then forced to sit in front of a screen and talk to a stranger who kept asking me if I “understood” what they were telling me. My child was sick. My child likely wouldnt survive. My child was “incompatible with life”. The words swallowed me up. I remember being told several times I was early enough along to terminate the pregnancy, but i only had a couple of weeks to decide. I wanted to hit her. To throw something at the screen. I wanted to hurt this woman as badly as she was hurting me. I had to get out of there. Before I left, I made the ultrasound tech call MY doctor. I needed to talk to her, and it had to be NOW. I heard her whispering all of the findings to Dr S. on the phone. My doctor wanted to talk to me. She would fix this right? I mean, she was not just my doctor but my friend. She would tell me the tech was wrong and the lady on the screen was full of it. Instead, she softly asked me to come to her office immediately. I left the ultrasound place and vowed i would NEVER step foot into that building again. I went into my doctors office and was taken immediately back to a room by her receptionist. The office was closed already so Dr S. came in immediately. She looked sick. Im sure I looked sicker. She calmly and quietly explained all of the findings. I could see the pain on her face as I cried through them. She told me it appeared we had some serious issues and we needed to find out the underlying cause so we could take care of Allison in the best way we could. Finally. Someone who wanted to take CARE of her! My doctor never once brought up terminating her. She knew me better than that. She told me it seemed to be a chromosomal abnormality, possibly trisomy 21 or 18 and explained the implications of both. I left with an appointment with a specialist in St Louis 4 days later, and a heart that was broken. In the next few days I will post about how the specialist journey started, how we were diagnosed and the road we took to finding help, and ultimately, peace.


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