A quick backstory: In 2016, I went to my OB for my yearly checkup. Feeling healthy and experiencing nothing unusual, I was expecting to be in and out of there within the hour. Little did I know, they would find an 18cm ovarian cyst. Normally cysts burst once they hit 2-3 cm and cause extreme pain/discomfort, luckily I experienced no pain or symptoms. However, my doctor insisted I had the cyst removed the following week. He said, "It's a water balloon waiting to burst."
Fast forward to post-surgery where my doctor told me they had to remove my right ovary because they were unable to separate the cyst. The cyst was two pounds and nearly impossible to cut through. My doctor said it may be difficult for me to get pregnant but definitely not impossible. One month later I became pregnant with Jax. To say we were surprised would be an understatement.
We thought maybe that was a fluke, but here we are two and a half years later pregnant with baby number two. Y'all know the saying "The devil works hard, but Kris Jenner works harder."
No, Kris Jenner works hard but my one ovary works harder.
My pregnancy with Jax was pretty normal other than some allergies that caused abnormal swelling in my face (another post for another day) but the process and all the doctor appointments regarding him were very by the book.
Now onto 20 Week Anatomy Scaries...
There is this unspoken nervousness that I think most moms feel when approaching the 20-week anatomy scan. Everyone is hoping to hear "Baby is happy and healthy!" and to be sent on their way. This was the case for us when we were expecting Jax but this wasn't the news we received with Levi. No one wants to hear, "We need you to come back in 4 weeks so we can do another ultrasound to review the development of his spine."
This wasn't the news we were expecting. Anytime a doctor sounds concerned or suggests you come back, it's an uneasy feeling. Immediately we had a hundred questions. Naturally, the hypochondriac in me went to all worst-case scenarios. What's wrong with his spine? What do you see? Could it be the position he's in? Could it be Spina Bifida? They, of course, couldn't give us any definite answers at that time which sent our minds going a thousand different directions. They said it is a possibility it could be a minor case of SB but not to lose any sleep over it.
A little tip for everyone out there, don't tell a pregnant lady not to lose any sleep when you're talking about the health of their baby. It's inevitable. No news was going to change how we felt or how excited we were for our little guy. We just wanted to know what to expect and if there was anything we could do now to help him and his development.
Fast forward 4 weeks and we go in for another scan. There was still something odd going on with his spine and at that point, even I could tell from the ultrasound that part of his spine looked a little funky. Honestly, it made my mama heart sink. It was the fear of the unknown, the waiting process, the endless questions that instantly filled me with anxiety. Part of me was so hopeful that we would go into that appointment and it would all be "normal" and on track. This was when I realized that wasn't necessarily the case. Apparently a baby's spine is fully fused before you even realize you are pregnant. So this had happened very early in our pregnancy. There is nothing we could do to change it, the only thing we can do is continue to monitor the curvature of his spine and organ development.
All of our scans were sent over to a high-risk doctor in Seattle who would review them and would eventually get back to us with some answers. After the 24-week scan, they requested we continue to monitor his spine and organ development with an ultrasound every 4-6 weeks. Mind you each of these appointments happened to fall on the week of a holiday, therefore, it took A VERY LONG TIME to get any sort of answers. All we knew was that whatever the prognosis was, Levi is so very loved and if we were going to face challenges medically, we would take it day by day.
After the 24 week scan, they had a Neonatologist reach out to us to answer our questions and tell us what is going on with our little guy. When the phone rang, part of me didn't want to answer. I was so nervous to hear what she had to say. Was our little guy going to walk? Was he going to need surgery? We still had no idea what to expect. I answered the phone and she told us he has a T10 Hemivertebrae. This means one-half of the vertebrae is not fully fused with the spine. She said based on this last ultrasound it could be an incidental finding meaning it should cause no long term effects. As of now, everything looks great and we should not expect any major issues based on this last appointment. Woo! Finally some reassuring news.
We scheduled another ultrasound at 28 weeks where they confirmed it was not Spina Bifida. At this time he was still showing no signs of scoliosis and all organ development was measuring on track. I asked how this would affect his ability to walk, run, play and she said it's very likely he will be unphased but we will know more once he is born.
So now we wait to meet our little man. This little boy has more guardian angels + prayers behind him than I can count and I am so very thankful to have a support system from every aspect of our life. After this last appointment, my doctor said everything is looking and measuring on point and doesn't feel we need any more ultrasounds for the remainder of this pregnancy.
Anatomy scan scaries are no joke. As time goes on and once we know more, I will be following up with his development. We are very new/uneducated when it comes to spinal development and hemivertebraes, but as we continue to do our research and gain more knowledge, I will be sharing it with you all here. No matter what happens at your 20-week anatomy scan or any doctor's appointment, it is okay to be nervous. It's okay to ask people to pray for you. It's okay to ask for support. Thanks for sticking around and reading our story.