Monday, January 21, 2013

Pot-bellied Girls

SweetP and I have a lot in common. Amongst them is our pot-bellies. Hers is adorable and makes her look like a Dr. Seuss character when she is in a sleeper. Mine, not so charming.

During my 12th week of pregnancy something was askew on the ultrasound. The belly of the fetus was a bit poochier than normal, for lack of a more medically high-brow term. At first we were told it was Gastroschisis- a birth defect, but one that was “manageable” and easily corrected soon after birth. Her intestines were outside of her abdomen floating in a murky stew of amniotic fluid.
OK, not great, but everyone seemed fairly chilled about it so we weren’t TOO worried.
Then came the 16th week check up: Diagnosis O.
Omphalocele is a more serious defect of the abdomen that carried a multitude of complications and a higher mortality rate. Penelope’s intestines and part of her liver were outside of her abdomen in a sack. Many tests ahead. Many things to worry about.
not cool. NOT COOL.

Once we had an actual diagnosis I tried to learn all that I could. The computer became my nemesis. I stalked the Mac and could not touch the keyboard without migrating to some medical sight explaining everything that would probably go wrong and how there was nothing I could do about it.
Too much knowledge is not always a good thing.
Would her lungs be underdeveloped? Would the sack rupture during birth causing immediate surgery? Would she have other defects that would be unrepairable? What about her heart...was her heart “normal”?
The major issue hovering over us like a bloated storm cloud was a heart defect. A defect of her heart would trump the O at birth and there was a chance she would be scooped up and flown to St. Louis for heart surgery, leaving me in Springfield. (not cool)
 After an echo-cardiogram and an excruciating waiting game one cold winter weekend, we found out the heart looked good. There might be a small hole, but there was a chance it would correct itself before birth.One hurdle jumped--many more to go.

Still, there uncertainty loomed. We postponed baby showers because the thought of being confronted with rooms full of baby goodies after a tragedy was just too much.
I grew bigger, we took things one day at a time and prepared for our little Bibo.

Penelope Rose burst onto the scene at 38 weeks and 3 days.

Her vocal protests let us know that her lungs were healthy.(Second hurdle jumped). All her fingers and toes were wriggling and accounted for. She had the prettiest face and brightest eyes. SweetP was born a very healthy baby despite her giant O.

It hasn’t been easy, far from it. She spent the first 6 weeks of her life in the NICU and had trouble with feedings, acid reflux, colic, infections and thrush. Momma wrestled with postpartum depression, NICU madness and overall exhaustion. Dad managed to hang in there. Somehow we survived those early days; a little battle scarred, but tougher.

 The O is there, a fleshy knob reminding us how resilient our little girl is. She will be surgically repaired when she is about 2 years old.

My pot-belly excuse if less dramatic: I have a love affair with pastries and gave birth to a brilliant little girl 8 months ago.
Works for me.

1 comment:

  1. Step back have some fine competition!... Well written and loved it!!!
    Love ya! Nana Kynion