He answered at the end of the third ring with an out-of-breath hello. Calving season.
Hey there. Just wanted to call you quick. I am sitting outside of Priddle's office and the girls are going to work me in for a sono. Long story short, I started spotting at lunch, couldn't get the on-call nurse to call me back so I called the tech, who talked to another nurse who got her doc to authorize a sono before the weekend. Yes this is different from a few months ago. More blood. But I felt movement before it happened so I am sure everything will be fine. Well the last appointment is at 4:00 and it is 3:30 right now, so no, I guess you won't have time to drive the hour and a half to be here. I am sure they will just do a quick check for heartbeat and nothing more. I promise I won't sneak a look for boy or girl parts *giggle* and I will check to see if we can still keep our regular sono on Monday so we can find out together. That one is right away in the morning so we can bring Spencer and you can drop him off at daycare on the way back home. I know he is so excited to see his brother or sister. Are you sure? But I know how much you wanted to be there when we found out. Alright we will play it by ear. I will call you as soon as I know something.
Well little kiddo is active. Let me turn this on so you can listen. See, nice strong heartbeat. You had that bleed back around week 8 didn't you? I am not seeing anything abnormal, especially in the area where it was before. Kiddo is head down so lets see if the placenta is over the cervix. That may be what caused the bleeding. Hmmm. Not cooperating are you. Alright little stinker! I can't see if you keep kicking at me. Hold still. There you go. Oh Jenny. I have to be honest with what I am seeing. I can't keep this from you. Kiddo's skull is not round. See right here. There is a flat appearance at the top. Your baby has anencephaly. I am 100% certain but I will get Jen in here to confirm with me. We will call Priddle. It is his day off but I am sure he is in town somewhere. Don't worry. We will get a hold of him to come in, look at the sono and talk to you. Oh Jenny. I am so sorry.
The following ten minutes were the longest of my life. I sat there in shock. Numb. Unable to move. Too confused to really cry. My mind was buzzing. Medical terminology class was filed way back in my memory banks. Anen = missing or without. Cephalic = head end of the body. Without his head? How could that be. I could feel him kick and squirm even then. The dreams came flooding back. Hydrocephaly. The recurring dream of a child born with hydrocephaly. That wasn't right. Hydrocephaly had to do with fluid on the brain. Maybe I totally misunderstood what she said. Was it hydrocephaly or anencephaly. My head hurt. I am sure the confused look on my face gave me away. The tech explained that her previous job was at the University of Iowa. It was there that she personally had scanned around 20 babies who were diagnosed with anencephaly. If the doctor suspected it in his office, they were sent to her to do a higher level scan. I didn't doubt her. I never questioned if she made a mistake. Small talk followed. She told me I would be given the options to end the pregnancy or carry it out to term with the 'popular' option being termination. Quietly she offered up the option of organ donation, explaining that if she were in my shoes, she would carry it out and donate organs. I was asked again if I wanted to find out if my child was a boy or a girl. I couldn't. I thought about Scott. He wanted to know so bad. I couldn't take that experience away from him. I thought of Spencer. I could handle getting this news by myself if it meant he was not here to see me like this. He knew mommy had a baby in her belly. How were we going to explain death to a four year old? Our moms. They just had birthdays. How could we tell them that their grandchild was going to die? I was supposed to get good news today. This baby was supposed to breathe new life into a month associated with loss and pain of our previous miscarriage.
The door quietly opened as my doctor walked in. The buzzing in my head stopped. Jenny. I am so sorry. I looked at the film. The diagnosis is correct. Your baby has anencephaly.