Thank you to the many people who have reassured us over the past few days that such tests can be very unreliable.
We have been looking forward to our Dr's appointment today when we would not only find out the sex of the baby but would be able to get a better look at any potential problems as well.
The exam room had quite a setup. There was a big comfy exam table for my wife and a chair for myself. The doctor turned down the lights and the wife and I even had our own monitor to look at while the Dr. stared at hers in the opposite direction.
If you have ever seen an ultrasound in action, you know how confusing they can be. Ghostly shapes come in and out of view and every now and then the doctor would freeze the screen and take a measurement of something.
The doctor began pointing out the bones in the legs and then commented that one of the feet might look irregular. The term "club foot" was used.
"When do we get to see the spine?" my wife asked.
"The baby is laying in the wrong position to get a good look" replied the doctor.
The wife laid on one side and then on the other. The doctor jostled my wife's abdomen in an effort to get the baby to turn over but she was sleeping soundly.
Finally the spine came into view. "That's strange," I thought to myself, "do they always bend that much?"
"The spine does not look normal" said the doctor.
More measurements, more ghostly shapes creeping in and out of view.
The doctor left and consulted with another doctor who came in and explained what they had seen. There appears to be excess fluid build up in the brain which is an indicator of spinal trouble. The Dr also mentioned the "lemon sign" which has to do with the shape of the head also indicating spinal trouble. The abnormal foot points to spinal trouble. And, of course, there was the spine itself.
The wife burst into tears which helped give me the strength to be the strong manly husband.
I asked for best and worst case scenarios. The Doctor was vague but there was mention of never being able to walk.
We scheduled another ultrasound for Wednesday along with a meeting with a genetic counselor.
I took the rest of the day off and went home with my wife.
I know that some people think this sort of thing should be kept private (certainly not blog-appropriate faire). All I can say is that it helps. Writing out your feelings can help you cope with the same. And it gives me the opportunity to tell our friends and family the story without having to retell and retell.
So. There it is. Right now we have many more questions than answers. It's as if the school nurse were to call you at work about your child to say "There has been an accident".
"What happened and how bad is it?!" would be your first questions as you reached for your car keys.
Right now we don't have answers to either of those questions.
The wife and I have spent the afternoon talking about the pain and the frustration but mostly about the love. The love we have for our daughter that overwhelms us.
At some point today we switched from a husband and wife who are expecting their first child to a father and mother who are concerned about their daughter.
She is my daughter.
Her name is Annabelle.
Pray for her by name.
Updates to follow.