Baby brain is a thing. It’s ridiculous and makes you forget the simplest things (words – what are those for?! Wallets and phones, who needs those?!), but it’s a thing just the same. We’ve had a flurry of tests these past several weeks, and each one more in-depth than the next. Without both my Google calendar and the reminder calls from the two hospitals, we’d be lost.

The Amniocentesis (Amnio): Though the NIPT gives you an accuracy of up to 99.9% for several different issues (as well as telling you the sex of the baby!), it’s not completely accurate and can’t fully determine all the abnormalities or issues that might accompany an omphalocele baby. The genetics team at CHEO went though explaining what they look for when they take the amnio-fluid for culture (Side note: Did you know it’s just baby pee?! It’s not ‘water’ in that sac, it’s just all pee! So when someone say’s “Hey, her water broke”, stay away – it’s pure pee! End of aside.).

The team had told us (read: me) what to expect – it would be an uncomfortable pinch once the needle went through the uterus, but would be fine.  When we met with the high-risk team on the Friday before Thanksgiving, we though we’d have had one right then and there, but they advised that it’s not really ideal for the fluid to sit for an extended period of time as the samples are only picked up once a week, then taken to Toronto for full culture testing. We were then booked for the Tuesday at 9am, and I prepared myself for the big needle (Side note: I had a very bad experience with an ingrown toenail when I was little. The doctors had to give me a huge needle to relieve things. I later drew a picture for my grandpa of all these doctors around me with this GIANT needle. I wish my mum knew where that drawing was, because this was the new ingrown toenail issue! End of aside.)  Truth be told, it was fine. Not ideal or something I’d really like to do again, but I’m glad that I did it just so that all bases could be covered.

Yes, it really did pinched like a mo’fo’ when that big ol’needle went though my uterus, but my bigger fear was a) that she’d reach out and grab it or b) that I’d be part of the small percentage of women that miscarry. Luckily, neither of those things happened and I’m glad we have the peace of mind now for the genetics.

The Amnio Results: We’ve found out that our little girl has been given the all clear! We’re still waiting for the results of the Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome – those take a lot longer – but we feel confident that the all clear will be given how the NIPT was, as well as how things are progressing thus far.

The Heart Echo: One of the big concerns with O-babies is the other issues that can accompany these babies. It’s not so much the omphalocele, it’s how the other organs grow and develop without the outer organs inside. Think of it like this: you are baking a dozen cupcakes and one of your cupcake molds is misshaped. All the others do what they need to do: bake, grow, expand, form the lovely cupcake top. But that one, the one that’s misshapen, the one that might have a big dent or hole, that one doesn’t form the same way. Well, o-babies run the same risk, but with their heart and lungs. Nothing is in where it’s supposed to be and so the heart and lungs might not form or grow as they should. The echo is just an intense ultrasound of the heart to make sure that things are flowing as they should and all the parts are where they are supposed to be.

Our baby girl was having none of the echo. She was in an ‘oblique’ position and so the Fellows – no, not men, but folks in the medical field that have finished their training and are doing additional training – had a REALLY difficult time trying to get the right images for the doctors. (Geek side note: we’ve now seen a total of x5 Fellows in the past few weeks. This means we are only x4 away from the full Fellowship of the Rings! End of aside.). The echo took nearly 2hrs, and I even fell asleep at a few points. Bad part was, I woke up while the lady Fellow said to the male Fellow “we just can’t find the-” and I shot Jody a look like “WTF?!”. She saw this and assured me that it was there but they couldn’t get an image of it clearly. I told her “Ok, I’m going to go back to sleep now”.

Fun note: we got to see her suck her thumb – adorable!

The Heart Echo Results: We were brought into the doctors office shortly after the echo to review the results. She went over with us how a baby’s heart works in general – which is FASCINATING! Seriously – check it out if you have a few seconds!

We were told that things – from what they could see – looked as they should, but that her heart was ‘slightly off axis’. This doesn’t pose any issues, from what they can see, and that they’d want to see us again around the 34th week of pregnancy. (Geek side note: after the doctor told us that her heart was slightly off axis, I turned to Jody and said “See, I told you our baby was part Time Lord!”. The doctor got the joke and had a good laugh. The two Fellows and nurse didn’t fully understand my Whovian joke, but politely smiled as they all looked at one another. End of aside.)

The MRI: We were lucky that CHEO booked us in for our MRI the same day as the echo, saving us multiple trips to the hospital. A normal MRI with a baby would run about 30-45 min, but this kid was already dancing all over the place and in the most awkward position, so we knew it would be long. What we didn’t know was that it would take closer to 60 min!

I’ve had an MRI before, so I knew what to expect. Loud noises, a very small space, staying perfectly still. What I didn’t expect was the seriously different tones of sound that came from the machine. I knew that they were loud at times, but I guess I forgot that they were that loud! Sure, I had headphones on and was listening to the radio, but I imagine that our girl was hearing the same things. My heartbeat, then these crazy loud noises to scare her into moving all around. Sure, I’d know they were coming, but I’d have no idea which noise I was getting. Additionally, some of them sounded like an evacuation siren, so I kept thinking “Is anyone going to help me out of here so I can run away from the zombie apocalypse too?!” Luckily, no zombies descended, but it didn’t keep me from jerking a little in the machine and having my heart race like crazy.

The MRI Results: We found out yesterday that the results were ‘normal’. They did detect that there was a slight shortening of the spine for her gestation age, but said that it could have been from the baby’s movement on the day of the MRI. They explained that they will keep an eye on things, but because things looked ok otherwise, it didn’t cause too much concern.

So, like I said in the first post – This kid has some pretty amazing people taking care of her already and we have a lot of confidence in the stellar staff at the two hospitals. My next test will be the glucose test before our next ultrasound and clinic visit at week 26 (Side note: did you know that 4wks from today is 01-Dec-15. WHAAAA?! End of aside.).

Next post – the surgery consult!

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