Below is a copy of an e-mail I sent out to some folks tonight to provide an update on Baby Claire after today's ultrasound. When we had our first ultrasound in mid-April, the only "issue" was that she has an echogenic foci (described below). They were checking today to see if it was gone yet and just to check to see that everything's still in good order otherwise. So here's the update...
I am 28 weeks and 6 days pregnant today. Claire weighs 2 pounds 14 ounces, which is right about average. She has hair on her head (we'll see if she keeps that or if it falls out and refrains from growing back for a year and a half like her brothers' hair). She does still have the echogenic foci, which shows up as a tiny shiny fleck in her heart on the ultrasound. About 1% or less of babies who still have this during the second trimester end up having Down's syndrome, which is really the only possible connected condition to the echogenic foci. So far, there are no other indicators that she has Down's, and the doctor today didn't even mention it. When he said, "Her heart looks good," I asked him if the foci was gone (because I was pretty sure I saw it about 5 different times during the ultrasound). He said, "Oh, well, there is a note here that it's still present, but there's almost no chance that it will turn into anything. We'll just let the pediatrician know, and that's about it." So, of course, we're not making assumptions that she's perfectly healthy with absolutely nothing to think about, but there's really no reason to research anything further at this point. We'll see what happens when she comes out.
There is one other issue to consider.... She probably actually has a greater chance of being born with whiplash than Down's syndrome! Today during the ultrasound, the tech was trying to get a 3-D image of her face, and she kept turning her back on us. I pushed up on my belly from the underside three times, and what we saw on the screen was HILARIOUS! Her head was thrown back and forth three times just like she had just been through a car wreck and they were replaying it in slow motion over and over again. She looked like a crash test dummy! We all cracked up laughing! I wish we had it on video! Praise God for allowing these babies to grow in a safe environment where they're protected from crazy moms! :)
Anyway, she's growing well, everything looks normal (even the echogenic foci is often considered a "normal" condition in that it shows up fairly regularly in healthy babies), there's just the right amount of amniotic fluid in there with her which is a sign of a healthy baby, and she's moving around plenty! At one point, she yawned really big, which was pretty funny. I started thinking though. Isn't it crazy how God designs for babies to develop in this strange fluid, breathing it in, swallowing it, and moving around in it... and if they come out too early, they can't breathe air well and will die? And then, once they're done developing, something happens. They're born, and as soon as they come out, they need to be cleared of all the fluid immediately, because if they're not breathing air, they'll die. In an instant, their means of survival changes to something so completely opposite. It's just wild!
I've included a couple of the ultrasound photos. Her cord was floating in front of her face, so we couldn't get a complete 3-D shot of her face... but there's definitely enough that you can see her pretty well. Keep in mind, of course, that things are a little bit distorted because of the fluid she's living in and because she's still got a lot of skin to grow into, so she's not likely to actually come out with a wrinkled face and droopy cheeks!
I have a whole list of things that I'm wanting to write updates about, but for now I'm going to call it a night. I'm planning to wake up "early" (which for me will be about 7am) to go to a used homeschooling book sale tomorrow. I've identified the curriculum I'd like to use with Ladan this next year, and I'm hoping I can find a good deal on at least a couple of the items. We'll see how it goes!