The email announcement that started it all...

Hi everyone,

I’m sorry for the impersonal email, but this is the best and easiest way for me to get all the information out there about what’s been going on with me the last six weeks. It’s kind of long…maybe print it, take it home, and read it while you drink a beer.

On May 17th, I took a pregnancy test and it came back positive. I didn’t believe it, so I took about five more. They all came back positive. They also cost a lot of money! Don’t take that many pregnancy tests.

On May 18th, I was in a car accident. I was leaving work in my little VW Bug when a GMC Yukon decided to make a u-turn. I was in the left lane, he was in the right. He slammed right into the passenger side of my car. Awesome! I dropped my car off at a body shop, knowing that there was a lot of damage but expecting to see it again in a couple of weeks.

On June 12, I went in for my first meeting with my obstetrician. I had the regular work ups and all of that, but my ultrasound is where things got interesting. While we could see a little blob (the baby) with a flickering heartbeat, we also discovered a bigger blob that was somewhat ominous looking. My OB wasn’t sure what it was, but suspected it was a twin that “didn’t take.” She took lots of pictures of the image, and said she’d send copies to a specialist she knew. We set an appointment for me to return two weeks later.

My car, meanwhile, was still in the body shop.

A few days later, my OB called me back. The specialist she consulted wanted more images. My OB asked me to come in sooner than scheduled, on the 20th. I started to get nervous, because when does a doctor ever want you to come in sooner? When Mike and I went in on the 20th, the news wasn’t good. The bigger blob was still there. That meant it wasn’t a twin, as it would have started reabsorbing at that point. My OB ran a bunch of different scans on the mass that the specialist requested, and then tried to look at the baby. Unfortunately, she couldn’t get a good look at the baby because the mass was in the way. We could still see the little flickering heartbeat, but that was it. My OB feared that the baby wasn’t developing the way it should. She told Mike and me that she would send the images onto the specialist, but that she wanted us to know that this was an abnormal pregnancy, and that things didn’t look good. She told us not to get attached to the pregnancy, because odds were, I was going to miscarry. Obviously, we were devastated.

The next day, we started making phone calls. My friend Diane made tons of calls on my behalf, trying to get me in to see specialists and even her OB, just for a second opinion. We lined up some appointments, but then, on Friday the 22nd, my OB called. She said that the specialist she’d been consulting wanted to see me in person. We were very happy about this since she is a Perinatologist, which is a fancy term for a high-risk obstetrician. My regular OB didn’t deal with complications like mine, so we felt encouraged that we were going to get some answers about what went wrong with this pregnancy. I set my appointment with the Perinatologist for today, June 26th, and cancelled the other appointments.

On June 21st, my car insurance adjuster called. She said that the insurance company of the man that hit me was contesting full liability. They said that the damage was so severe to my car that I had to have been speeding (I wasn’t, and have witnesses). She suggested I accept 15% liability for the accident; otherwise it would go to arbitration for the contested amount. I considered accepting the small liability in the interest of closing the case, but my parents and Mike convinced me that was stupid. I wasn’t exactly at the top of my game that day! So I told her I wanted to fight the liability and she said she would. In the meantime, it had been over 30 days since my accident. My car insurance no longer covered my rental car, so I had switched to a loaner car from the auto body repair shop. About an hour after I spoke with my insurance adjuster, I was rear-ended at a stop light. I had to laugh because I couldn’t believe my crappy luck. Fortunately, the loaner car had little damage and the body shop said not to worry about it. That didn’t make them give me my car back, though.

Now for today. Mike and I went in with pretty low expectations, although I will admit that I was much more hopeful than Mike. I still had pregnancy symptoms and I just wasn’t ready to believe that it was a lost cause. After spending over an hour in the waiting room, we finally saw the specialist. She was very guarded when she started her exam, but was quickly surprised when she discovered a perfectly-developed baby. We saw and heard the little heart beating, the little arms and legs, and we could also see the brain and the two tiny hemispheres that comprise it. She spent a few minutes making sure the baby looked good, and then she started looking around at the other things. She discovered that there wasn’t one mass in there, but two. One mass was inside the sac with the baby, the other was outside of the sac. After doing a bunch of different scans, she determined that the masses weren’t getting any blood flow, and that they weren’t connected to the baby or to each other. The doctor was fairly confident in her assessment that the masses are actually giant blood clots (they were about three times the size of the baby). She couldn’t say they were clots 100% - they could be vascular tumors or placental tumors. But because those two other options come with other symptoms (especially vascular tumors), she leaned more toward the blood clot diagnosis. The worry is that the clots could attach themselves to the baby, the umbilical cord, or the placenta. If this happens, the clots could steal nutrients from the baby, and then there would be a whole new mess of problems. However, at this time, the doctor seemed encouraged by the fact that the baby was developing normally, and the clots weren’t attached to anything. She was cautious because, in all the cases where she’s seen masses like this, there has only been one mass. I have two! I always have to be different.

Mike and I are feeling hopeful, but we still understand that there is a long way to go. I am going back to the specialist on the 12th of July, and at that point we should know even more. The waiting is always the hardest part. Considering we went in today prepared for the worst, it was a relief to know that there is still a chance for this baby. It’s a great birthday present. I have to take it easy, but considering how much I like my couch, that isn’t a big sacrifice. I am currently nine weeks pregnant and I’m due at the end of January. Like I said, we aren’t out of the woods, but we’re feeling a bit better and we’re ready for support from you, all of our favorite people. Hopefully I remembered everyone!

The other good news is that I FINALLY picked up my car from the repair shop. Here’s to an accident-free July!

Again, sorry about the mass-email. But this way we know everyone got the news and is informed. We hope you all are well! Happy day before my birthday!!!

Love, Heather & Mike

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