Friday, April 07, 2006


I was, of course, astounded. This woman hadn't mentioned anything about something being actually wrong up until this point. I was so rattled--and scared--that of course I agreed to run right over to the hospital, downing water bottles all the way, to make my appointment on time.

This would be the 2nd of seven ultrasounds during the pregnancy. Ultrasounds are so wonderful--and so horrible. Wonderful to see the baby, horrible to see something wrong. But of course, at this stage, I couldn't see anything wrong myself. They're also horrible though because of how the techs can't tell you a thing. And so intuitive females like myself spend the entire time assessing every grunt, sigh and grimace, wondering if everything is ok. It's worse when you know that something is not ok, but not exactly what yet.

Two weeks I waited after the second ultrasound, to hear the results. That was also horrible--and a blessing as well. Something was wrong around the baby's face, that much I knew. Well, my husband had been born with a cleft lip, so chances were, that's what was wrong. After two weeks of thinking about it, I came to the point that I could handle that. Cleft lips can be fixed. Babies with cleft lips can still nurse--a really important thing for me. This was ok.

But it wasn't a cleft lip.

Micrognathia was the word. Yes, gesunheit to you too. Quite simply, a small jaw. At first I was a little perplexed. So he'd have a small chin, what was the big deal?
By this point my husband and I were sitting in a meeting with a pediatrician, an OB and a geneticist. The small jaw, they said, could be an indicator for any number of conditions, but they were suspecting Pierre Robin Sequence. I'd never heard of this before. I went right home and got on the computer. Bad move. As well as finding a few sites about PRS, I found a number of the other conditions that a small jaw can indicate--and some of them were downright terrifying. Trisomy 13, for one, which is fatal within a few months of birth.

I was told that I might have a few complications with the pregnancy. Because the baby's jaw was small and not working properly, he wouldn't be swallowing as normal. I guess while little ones are in utero, they're 'practicing' their swallowing with the amniotic fluid. I could develop too much fluid as my baby wouldn't be helping the natural recycling by swallowing and digesting it.

At this point I was about 24 weeks pregnant and felt fine. It was hard to believe that anything could be wrong inside.

Things were about to change.

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