It was my routine 20 week ultrasound appointment. We were really excited and wanted to know the gender (or at least I did!). Our appointment was at 3 pm, but because of a few last minute ultrasounds that were thrown in there, we didn't get in until about 3:45. The ultrasound tech was very apologetic and we began everything.
She started everything quite quickly and was stopping to measure and label things, but wasn't really telling us what she was looking at. At one point I asked what something was and she told me that it was the kidneys. After about 5 minutes she excused herself to go get something.
From some of the accounts that I've read online, apparently this is a major clue-in to something being wrong. Tim and I, however, had no idea. We started talking about how we wished she'd give us more details about everything that was happening. Tim stood up and tried to put the ultrasound back on my belly to take some looks himself, but I got too nervous that the tech would walk in so I told him not to. Instead he did it on his arm.
The tech walked in and told us that there was a problem. She said our doctor was gone for the day, but we could either see the other doctor or phone in to our doctor. I guess she's not allowed to tell us much, but she did tell us that there was only a brain stem and that beyond that no brain and skull developed.
She quickly looked at the gender, told us it was a girl, and then we were ushered in to one of the patients' rooms to wait for the doctor.
We both bawled off and on. At this point we still didn't really know much. The ultrasound tech had told us that most people choose to be induced at this stage of pregnancy, but to me that was out of the question.
We talked about what we thought this all meant. It was quite a wait for the doctor to see us. I was hoping that there was a chance for our child to live, but maybe she might be severely brain dead or something along those lines. We talked about how she had to have at least the front of her skull because the tech had said that she did have a face. We just didn't know.
When the doctor finally did come in she talked more things over with. She said the odds of this happening were 1 in 100,000 (although I saw something online that said it was 1 in 1,000 - not that it really matters). She made it clear that they have no idea why this sometimes happens. She also made it clear that if this little girl was to make it to birth, she would live minutes, hours, days at most. She told us we had options of being induced within the next week or carrying to full term. She referred us to the Maternal and Fetal Medicine Labs at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center where they have more sophisticated ultrasounds. She said they also might want to do an amniocentesis to check the chromosomes.
She was very kind and gracious, but it was still all really hard.
A few weeks ago, as we were driving in the car with asleep boys in the back, I told Tim that I kept having thoughts that something was up with this baby. Something was different. I told him I didn't know what though and the only thing I could come up with was conjoined twins. While the news was still a total shock, I feel like Heavenly Father was seeking to prepare me and I'm very grateful for that. I can't imagine how much harder this would be if I hadn't been prepared a little already. I'm also grateful that the Spirit prompted me to express my concerns with Tim. Even a few hours before the ultrasound I kept thinking how I was going to break the news to people that something was different. Thank you Heavenly Father.
I'm also grateful that the second to last thing I did before my ultrasound was to sit down (both my boys were napping - hooray for quiet time!) and read my scriptures. While there wasn't anything insightful that stuck with me, there's a peace and comfort that comes from reading the scriptures.
Hopefully this journey is far from over.