I'm all struck out. I've had a few foul balls. I'm at the end of the inning and I don't know how much longer I can hold strong in the game....and yet, the pitcher is still throwing balls at me. They are coming fast. They are curve balls. They are mean. They are hitting me at all my vulnerable spots. I can't take much more.
The anatomy ultrasound today in Denver went fairly well. At least, I thought so, until the Doctor came in to explain their findings. For the first time this pregnancy, our baby was face up. This meant that they could get some great views of the baby's face. He's got big chubby cheeks that are adorable. He has enough hair that even I could see it on the ultrasound. He likes to suck on his fist. He looks like he has my nose.
He also seems to have a cleft lip.
I was assured that from what they could see, his gums all look intact, so it is a minor deformity of the lip on his right hand side. They can't tell the full extent of his cleft lip, and won't be able to until he is born. There are a few things that could arise because of this complication. First, he could have trouble breastfeeding. Really, I could go on about some of the other things they talked about, but that was the last straw for me.
The only thing I have been holding out hope for, with every complication with this baby, is that I would still be able to breastfeed him. I've been told by the Cardiologists that it should be ok to breastfeed him in the days before his surgery. My OB doctors and Perinatologists assure me that this is acceptable as well. However, after talking to the nurse at the NICU, she told me one of his lines that will go through his umbilical cord, to deliver medicine and fluids, will not only make it impossible to hold him, but I wouldn't get to breastfeed him either.
I know...I know. I can pump...the baby will get the breast milk...and then after his surgery and recovery I can breastfeed him. I know all that. But you know what, it doesn't seem good enough to have to wait weeks to do that. I want to breastfeed him in the beginning. Before his surgery. When he is hours old. I want to hold him through the night. I want to change his diaper. I want to rub lotion on his body. I want to nurse him!! I don't want to have to walk down the hall, or up to another floor, or across the street to another hospital to see my baby in a "hands off" approach. It's killing me.
Then today, when the doc said breastfeeding may be impossible. I wanted to scream "Are you kidding me?" Seriously. I have just had the only thing I was holding on to ripped from me. I know it's not a definite possibility. His cleft lip could be more minimal than they anticipate. It could be easily fixed right away. I could be moping over nothing. I just feel like I've been very accommodating with all the setbacks. All I want to do is breastfeed my baby. It shouldn't be so difficult.
Because this baby now has two strikes against him (heart defect and cleft deformity), these conditions COULD be linked with a chromosomal abnormality (specifically the 22nd chromosome). An amnio will be scheduled around 38 weeks, both to check on his chromosomes and to make sure the baby's lungs are ready for delivery. If he's ready, I'll have the baby after that.
Until then, I GET to meet with the "Oral" team, to learn more about the cleft lip, and I GET to go in for stress tests twice a week (thankfully here in Colorado Springs), to monitor the baby's heart rate. The good news is, I can continue my weekly checkups with my OB here. I don't need to go to Denver to meet with any more OB doctors, until I'm 38 weeks and they are ready to do the amnio.
Another piece of good news is that the baby is over 5 pounds now. Even though I continue to measure small, the baby is measuring perfectly. He is strong and healthy. I just need to be strong now. Please pray that I'll have the strength for this. I just feel like I am getting beat down at every turn.