Medical, Motherhood, Personal, ,

The Grief, Guilt, and Anxiety That Binds Us: Part 3- Anxiety

After 2 weeks of waiting, we were informed of the results of the amniocentesis. To the doctor’s surprise and dismay, it was normal. There were no clear signs of a genetic condition or mutation of any genes.

Last “Baby Bump” photo before delivering

I would be lying if I said I didn’t collapse on my kitchen floor with a deep sigh of relief. The war between my heart and my head was moving toward a cease-fire… until the doctor asked for a Microarray analysis (a more in-depth amniocentesis). He was fully convinced Mark had a genetic condition that caused all of his other health concerns. He wanted answers. I didn’t blame him. Honestly, so did I. A possible treaty for the internal war I was experiencing would have to wait a little longer.

About 2 weeks after the amniocentesis results, the microarray analysis came back- unremarkable. There was nothing out of the ordinary. They were normal. The doctor was baffled, as were we. The results simply show no genetic abnormalities; However, the growing medical conditions were still very obvious and rather concerning on the scans.

The next appointment I went in for a (not-so) routine scan. Since I was high risk, I began having bi-weekly appointments. During each appointment, they took measurements and were able to weigh Mark.

We knew Mark was suffering from IUGR (Intrauterine Growth Restriction), but this appointment really highlighted the severity of it. At 24 weeks, Mark was the size of a 20-week baby. He was weighing less than a pound. It was during this appointment that our doctor (the specialist) looked at us and said if Mark were to be born at his current weight, they would not be able to intervene in any way. There would be no life-sustaining measures available to him. There would be no intervention. If he were born at that moment, he would be left to die. Even at a Level 4 NICU, intervention would not be possible. He had to reach 500 grams (17 ounces or 1 pound 1 ounce) before they could do anything for him. He weighed only 250 grams (9 ounces).

I was speechless. My heart fell to my stomach and my stomach jumped up in my throat. I felt like someone took an elephant and placed it on my chest. For a moment, there were no tears. There were no words. There was only concern on my face and shaking in my hands.

Mark’s last photo before delivery

How? How do I help him gain weight? It wasn’t like I was starving myself or him. During my pregnancy, I could’ve kept Chickfila, Bonos, and the Publix Deli in business during a depression or a pandemic.

On September 7th, 2018, I went to my specialist for another (not so) routine scan when she gave me the wonderful news. Mark weighed 540 grams! We made it to the 500-gram milestone! From that moment on, if I went into labor they would work to save Mark’s life at all cost! This was the news I was waiting for. This was a game-changer in an ever-changing game. Finally, there was a glimpse of hope! Until I opened my big mouth…

In the weeks leading up to this point, I had been experiencing severe swelling in my legs, my hands, and face. I blew up like a balloon. I also started having migraines and seeing spots. I attributed all of these symptoms to just typical pregnancy and working in a dimly lit area. My doctor knelt down in front of me and removed my shoes. She did not like what I told her and the swelling on my feet and ankles only added even more concern. She reviewed my previous urine tests from my regular doctor (whose care I was also under). She felt it was best to have my blood pressure checked.

258/188 Hypertensive Crisis.

I was sent down to Labor and Delivery immediately where I was later told I would not be leaving until I delivered Mark into this world.

Observation Room in Labor and Delivery
Travis’ first night on the couch
Even in Labor and Delivery I brought my books.