Before I talk about my pregnancy story with Luna, I want to warn you that this is a long post… the longest one I have ever written!
We decided to keep this a secret (except for a few people who know already)- this was a personal issue and we wanted to make sure Luna was 100% healthy after she was born before writing this post. Thank you to everyone for understanding!
Today celebrates one year since I found out I was pregnant with baby number 2! There’s even a video at the end of this blog showing how I told my husband.
My pregnancy this time around was much different than it was with Rosie. The only two “scares” I had with Rosie were when I had partial placenta previa which is when the placenta partially covers the cervix which blocks some of the opening to the birth canal.
They diagnosed me at 18 weeks but was told not to worry about it, and that in many cases the placenta moves away from the cervix. Luckily, mine did move at the next checkup.
The second scare was when Rosie had to go to the NICU right after delivery. You can read more about her story here.
I apologize in advance that most of these are iPhone photos… not the best quality!
Now, Luna’s birth was much easier (once I got to the hospital) but I had a few scares throughout my pregnancy. The first one happened about a month after I found out I was pregnant again. I was working a Sunday wedding and noticed some spotting.
My heart sank.
Luckily, the bleeding didn’t get heavier throughout the night and I was not cramping.
The next day I contacted my doctor about my concerns and she said, “This can be normal in early pregnancy or could be a sign of an abnormally developing pregnancy. I recommend you come in today for a pregnancy hormone level. We will then repeat the pregnancy hormone level in 2 days (Wednesday) to make sure the pregnancy hormone level is rising normally.”
I was a nervous wreck.
I went in, got blood work done and constantly checked my email for updates. The next morning at 5:30AM I received an email stating, “Your pregnancy hormone level is about what I would expect for how far along you are. One value doesn’t give much information. I will get more information when I see what your value is in 48 hours. I will follow up with you when I receive the results.”
48 hours later, I went back in to get blood-work done and of course, checked my email constantly. Finally, PING! My email went off and it was my doctor. The email said, “Your HCG rose appropriately. So I would try not to worry too much. Please let me know if you have any questions.” I was so happy. It felt like a huge weight had lifted off of my shoulders. It took about 3 weeks for the spotting to completely stop and I was thankful that my little baby was growing just fine.
At 18.5 weeks (December 22nd) Chris and I went to do the anatomy scan.
I was so excited to find out if baby F was a boy or a girl!
However, anatomy scans always make me nervous. There is SO MUCH that they have to measure and all I wanted was a healthy baby. We went a little earlier than the 20-week appointment because we wanted to announce the gender to the family on Christmas.
Since we were going in early, my OB warned me that there was a chance we would have to do another anatomy scan if they were unable to see everything. I didn’t care! Everything seemed to be just fine during the anatomy scan so our nurse left to confirm with the doctor and write the gender of the baby on a piece of paper. She came back in and said we were good to go and handed us the envelope.
After we arrived home, we decided to open the envelope with Rosie. Not gonna lie…I was leaning towards the paper saying a boy and was extremely surprised and excited when it said, girl! I secretly wanted another girl.
About 30 minutes after we opened the envelope I received a call from the doctor. She said I need to come back in for another anatomy scan as the nurse was unable to see a certain part of her brain. The doctor said not to worry as this happens pretty often and I just needed to come in for confirmation. We scheduled the appointment and hung up. Of course, I was terrified. What if something was really wrong?
Chris and I didn’t really discuss this with many people until after Christmas. We wanted to celebrate with friends and family.
My next appointment was on December 28th at a different location. They wanted me to go to an area with high-risk doctors since they had better technology for these types of things. So, Chris and I went in and I had another ultrasound scan with a new nurse. The same thing happened, she couldn’t see a certain opening in the brain so she told us to wait and she left the room.
The doctor came in and immediately said, “don’t worry… everything is going to be fine.”
She said she knew a few tricks that could help her see the part of the brain the other nurses couldn’t. We asked her what she was trying to see and she explained that the brain has two hemispheres (left and right) and there is a broad band of nerve fibers called the corpus callosum that connects the two hemispheres. When the baby is just a few weeks old the hemispheres are attached together. About halfway through the pregnancy, the nurses can see the split of the two hemispheres. If they do not see a divide that means there could be an “agenesis of corpus callosum.”
In other words, there is an absence of an area of the brain that connects the left and right hemispheres.
This is a rare disease that can have little to no impact on a person or, in extreme cases, lead all the way to developmental problems, seizures, cognitive difficulties, and impairment, so on and so forth. You can read more about it here. Basically, the nurses could not see the separation of the two hemispheres.
The doctor was able to confirm that she was able to see the artery that was the main source of blood supply to the brain (whew) as well as a small opening between the left and right hemisphere (whew again). She showed us on the ultrasound screen and my husband and I were able to see it as well. That was good news… however, she mentioned the opening was a little smaller or “atypical” as she put it. Therefore, she wanted us to come back in a month to see if it had opened up a little more. So we scheduled another appointment for the end of January and said our goodbyes.
Fast forward one month later…
We went back to the doctor and had another ultra-sound. Unfortunately, there were no changes to the opening and since she was unfamiliar with narrow openings she recommended three options.
#1: I go to Children’s National in DC for an MRI
#2: I wait until Luna is born and schedule an MRI for her
#3: Do nothing and see what happens
I chose Option #1.
The humor in Option #1 was that about one week prior to this appointment, Chris and I were watching The Sopranos and it was an episode where Tony Soprano had to get an MRI done. I specifically remember saying, “hopefully I’ll never have to have an MRI.” How annoying…
We scheduled the MRI a week after the appointment. I had to be there at 6:00 AM to check in so we had to bring Rosie since her daycare didn’t open until 6:30 AM. We woke up around 3:30 AM to drive over an hour away to the hospital. Little did we know, this was the same location (different building) that I would be delivering Luna at.
My MRI was scheduled for 7:00 AM and the nerves really hit me hard. The doctor told me it would be an open MRI which meant the head and feet side would be open. Even though I am on the smaller side, the thought of being in a tight space at 6 months pregnant made me nauseous.
The doctor who performed the MRI calmed my nerves and told me I would be able to have headphones in so I could listen to music and whenever she spoke to me I would be able to hear her. I got into the MRI machine with the headphones, blanket, eyes closed and laying on my left side. Overall, it wasn’t terrible and it only lasted 30 minutes instead of the hour they said it would take.
Thank you little Luna for cooperating…
However, she forgot to put music on and the loud machine noises and banging/shaking of the machine were less than thrilling.
The next step was to go to the ultrasound where they did an extensive look at Luna. It was neat because Rosie was able to come into the ultrasound room and see her sister for the first time! Also, the nurse who did the ultrasound lived in the same city we did! Small world. The ultrasound took about an hour long and they took a ton of pictures. Then, the doctor came in and gave me the best news ever.
Luna was 100% healthy!
We were finally able to breathe a sigh of relief after two months of worrying. We went to talk with a neurologist and she showed us what she was looking for. She said Luna has a perfectly beautiful brain! After we got to see all the photos and some MRI videos (which we were able to keep… so cool) we were able to leave the hospital with a huge smile on our faces.
We shared the news with some of our friends and family and everyone was thrilled to hear the good report!
So, there you have it… even though my pregnancy story with Luna had a ton of ups and downs, our beautiful baby girl is healthy and happy!