I got back from my marathon doctor's appointment a couple hours ago (I was there for almost 3 hours!) and unfortunately, the news is not what we'd hoped and prayed for. The perinatologist was very honest and told me the prognosis does not look good for our little boy.
My amniotic fluid is still low, but he said that isn't his main concern. The biggest problem is the baby's growth. He does have intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and is now a bit more than 2 weeks behind (I'm at 22 weeks and baby only measures 19-20 weeks). His measurements put him in the 13th percentile for his abdomen circumference, below the 5th perctile for his head circumference and his weight (11 oz) is in the 11th percentile. To my surprise, the doctor said this is most likely *not* due to a problem with the nutrients/oxygen from the placenta (as I'd always previously been told), but that my placenta did look "pretty bad". He also said the baby has an echogenic bowel which shows up as a bright white section on the ultrasound. This could be due to an infection, or in a low percentage of cases, a "soft marker" for Down Syndrome or Cystic Fibrosis. Sometimes it just goes away and returns to normal. One other problem is with the baby's heart. Structurally, it has all four chambers and seems to be functioning well, but the way it is positioned in his chest is at an odd angle. We're not sure how much of a problem this could end up posing.
I told the doctor about Nicholas' stillbirth at 23 weeks and similar growth problems (Nicholas was 12.6 ounces and measured at 21 weeks, this baby is 11 oz at 20 weeks) and he said, although there's a slight chance that my due date is off and that the baby is actually measuring normally, it is more likely that we would end up losing this baby to stillbirth as well. He said the only thing we can do for now, besides more ultrasounds every 2 weeks and waiting and praying, is to do an amniocentesis to find out more information. Considering that I've had 2 miscarriages and a stillbirth, he said there's likely some kind of genetic or chromosomal problem going on with my pregnancies, and that an amniocentesis could help shed some light on things. Keith and I are going to think it over and talk with my OB/GYN--on the one hand, I want as many answers as possible so that I can try to make sense out of all this, but I also don't want to pose any more risk to our son than what he already is dealing with.
So, today has been a tough one. I just keep thinking, "Why us? Why AGAIN? How is it fair that so many other women are blessed with healthy pregnancies and we have to keep going through this?" I know God has a plan for all of this, but I sure don't understand it right now. I DO KNOW that He is in control and that, like my cousin's baby boy Hudson, He can choose to work miracles and turn a dire situation into a picture of health and joy. That is what I pray for our boy--a miraculous healing. Or, if that's not in the plan, his live birth so that we can love and nurture him through whatever struggles he may face in life. The thought of having to say goodbye to another son just seems beyond me at this point, though I know God will grant me the strength to do it if that's what He requires.
The most powerful thing we can do right now is pray...
1. Pray that God would heal the echogenic bowel and that it would no longer be a factor.
2. Pray that the baby's heart would function perfectly and return to a normal position.
3. Pray that whatever is causing the growth problems would be reversed so that his growth can catch up!
4. Pray for wise council, good decision making and peace for Keith and I throughout whatever may come.
5. Pray for our strength and Maddie's health as she undergoes kidney surgery on August 10th.
Thank you all for interceding on our behalf!!