January 19, 2010 - My very first fetal echo
April 29, 2010 - My last fetal echo before Charlotte was born
March 23, 2011 - Charlotte's very last echo
February 23, 2012 - My very first fetal echo with Charlotte's little brother
After our ultrasound last week both Matt and I were able to let out a big sigh of relief, however we knew that there was still one major hurdle to cross in terms of this little dude's heart....
...the fetal echocardiogram.
An ultrasound can show you the big structural components of the heart...the chambers, outflow tracts, etc. An echo on the other hand shows you everything. Arteries, veins, valves, septums...you name it, they can see it. The detail is crazy, especially when you consider that the heart is smaller than a walnut and that they are looking at everything through by belly!
I woke up around 5:30 this morning and just stared at the ceiling, unable to fall back asleep. I tossed and turned a bit and finally got out of bed to get myself ready. Matt worked an overnight so he was just going to meet me at Dr. Sami's office for our 8:45 appointment.
It was an all too familiar routine.
I headed to the clinic and checked in at the front desk with the same familiar faces that I first met 2 years ago. We were the first appointment of the day and fortunately didn't have to sit and wait. Before I knew it I was heading through the clinic to the echo room. Oh that room....filled with so many memories. I was immediately hit with a flood of emotions. This was really happening. I could feel my heart threatening to pound right out of my chest and I'm sure that if they would have taken my blood pressure it would have been through the roof. I kid you not when I say that the instant that echo probe made contact with my belly, silent tears started to pour down my cheeks.
I had laid on that bed too many times before...
I had seen images of our baby's broken heart flash on the echo monitor...
I had seen the blank and concerned looks on the sonographer's faces as they interpreted the images before them...
I had tried my best to comfort and distract my terrified child as she laid on the same bed having her own echo...
It was all too much to hold inside.
So I didn't.
The echo itself went quite quickly and before I knew it Dr. Sami was in to review the images taken by the sonographer. I love Dr. Sami. Honestly. He is the kindest, gentlest, most caring man. He re-checked a few things and reassured us with a smile saying, "I won't miss a detail." Some more time passed and as he wiped the ultrasound gel off of my ever growing belly he looked at Matt and me and said "Everything looks perfect."
Gasp. Sigh. Gulp. Sniffles. Tears.
Have I ever mentioned that I love that man?
That was it. We were done. We gathered our things to head out, both of us acknowledging that we had never left that office feeling at ease. As familiar as the whole process had been, it was also so very very different than our previous visits. We were smiling. Our hearts felt lighter in our chests.
On our way out the door I stopped with one last (and somewhat unusual request).
I wanted one of these....
To heart families this graphic is likely very familiar and heartbreaking. It is what they use to show parents what a normal heart looks like....then the cardiologist/surgeon scribbles all over it making edits to show the things that are vastly different and "wrong" in your child's heart. I have no idea where our "edited" version of Charlotte's heart ended up...most likely in the trash. It was so hard to look at when we first learned about her diagnosis. I'm almost positive I threw it out hoping that denial would somehow fix everything. Today I wanted to walk out of that office with a clean sheet of paper.
A NORMAL HEART. NORMAL BLOOD FLOW. NO EDITS OR SCRIBBLES.
I'm so excited to meet you Mister.
I'm so excited to snuggle.
I'm so excited to be your Mommy and to introduce you to your Daddy.
But most of all, I'm excited to tell you all about your special guardian angel.