Tuesday, December 20, 2005

It's a Girl!

So we had our week 18 ultrasound today, and found out that the tadpole is a tadpolette.
We also found out everything seems to be progressing normally, and the baby is healthy.

We had a bit of a scare with some tense times during the ultrasound exam, but thankfully everything has turned out alright. During the exam, they discoverd some 'choroid plexus cysts' (CPCs) in the baby's head. These are tiny open spaces in the choroid plexus which is where cerebrospinal fluid is created. It turns out that these cysts are pretty common, but are associated with a chromosomal abnormality called trisomy 18 (related to Down's but more severe, usually fatal). Because of this, we ended out having a much more detailed exam to look for other telltale signs of this chromosomal abnormality, like a cleft palette, heart defects, an underdeveloped chin, a thickening of the skin around the neck and most tellingly, hands that don't open with overlapping fingers, and a baby of smaller than expected size.

Thankfully, we got very clear views showing no cleft palette, a heart with 4 fully developed chambers beating very nicely, a well defined chin ('quite strong for a baby at 18 weeks' according to the doctor), perfectly normal neck skin thickness, and as you'll see in a photo below, perfectly formed hands that the baby kept waving around clenching and unclenching. We also found out that the size of the baby is just fine and is actually about what they'd expect of a baby a week older than ours. Because of all these good signs, and coupled with the negative AFP Tetra results we mentioned in an earlier posting (which screens for Trisomy 18) the doctors are confident that everything is normal and we have nothing to worry about.

Doing online research (see this website for more info on CPCs if you want to read more) we further verified that this really seems like nothing to worry about, and should clear itself up over the next few months. Also, longitudinal studies have shown that these CPCs have no effect on the babies development either before or after birth. It turns out that, although current practice says that a doctor needs to tell a patient about these cysts, there's a debate brewing over whether anything should even be said, assuming all the other indicators come back negative, since, as we can attest, this can be a scary thing to hear about, even when it turns out not to be a problem.

So all in all, it was a shocking, scary experience that we'd wish on no one, but in the end it turned out just fine. And now we can get on with being excited about having a healthy daughter on the way.

And here's what you've all been looking for (I'm sure) the ultrasound images:

I still think these 3d images are crazy

Supposedly this is proof that the tadpole is a girl.

Here's a great view of a nicely developed, wide open hand

This is the more traditional non-3d ultrasound image of the baby's profile.

and here's one final 3d image

Congrats on the girl. Now you can get serious about baby names. Colby had CPC's also, but he turned out terrific. Screaming, but terrific.

Hope you had a great holiday!
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