Home » Pregnancy 2015 » 18 Weeks: Fetal ECG and Anatomy Scan

18 Weeks: Fetal ECG and Anatomy Scan

Our day started early today, as we needed to be downtown this morning for our fetal echocardiogram at Sick Kids Hospital. Traffic was surprisingly light, given that we were heading down during the morning rush hour, and we made it to our appointment in good time. 

  
Sick Kids is a really neat place. As its name implies, it’s a hospital for sick children, and as such looks like a friendlier and more fun place than any old hospital. There are several sections of the hospital, and we were in the atrium section, which was constructed with an underwater theme. Sea creatures decorated the walls, there were sitting pods on all upper floors, that kind of looked like submarine windows, the metal work and elevators also matched the submarine kind of look. We saw lots of kids that were sick or injured, but all seemed in good spirits and smiling.

  
(A hallway in Sick Kids, photo from http://vikpahwa.com/photos/20140126-the-hospital-for-sick-children-atrium-1993-in-toronto-is-reminiscent-of-ontario-place/)

The fetal ECG went well. The actual diagnostic ultrasound took over an hour, and the dim lighting and warmth in the room made me nod off throughout most of it. DW was there with me, sitting at the end of the medical table and kept holding and squeezing my feet, which was sweet.

Dumplin’ heart anatomy and function looked perfectly fine.

Next, we headed across the street to Mount Sinai for our anatomy scan. The waiting room in that place is huge, and full of pregnant ladies. Most looked very pregnant. The last couple of times that we’ve been there, I’ve kinda felt self-conscious about how “unpregnant” I looked compared to everyone there. I also noticed that the women there all seemed to be either of advanced maternal age, or really really young (and accompanied by a parent). There were very few women that looked my age, which was weird to me, but I guess this is a department for high risk pregnancies…. So I guess that makes sense.

The anatomy scan went well. Dumplin’ is a stubborn little fetus, refusing to change position despite several agitations by the ultrasound sonographer, me laying on my sides, me getting up and moving, or me making exaggerated physical movements. Today he had his back to the world, tucked right into mama. Our sweet stubborn boy!

  
(Dumplin’ sleeping on his side- that’s as far as he would move for us.)

He is also huge! He’s measuring 19 weeks, and we are 18 weeks. His head is big and his femurs are long. 

All of Dumplin’s parts look normal, except he has bilateral choroid plexus cysts in his brain. Now, as an isolated finding, this is benign. Sometimes, it is a soft marker for trisomy 18, but when it is, it is usually accompanied by other soft markets such as: intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), hands in a permanently clenched position, and major heart defects. Since our NIPT stated with 96.4% reliability that Dumplin’ does not have trisomy 18, our geneticist isn’t at all concerned about the cysts. Apparently they are a normal variant in 1-2% of the population, and do not affect the function of the brain at all. Dumplin’ also is huge for his age (so no IUGR), showed us his opening and closing of his hands, and has a normal heart. As his mama, it’s hard to not be worried even though it’s nothing. 

 
(Dumplin’s choroid plexus cysts- the holes in the two oval structures above.)

The geneticist said that this cyst thing isn’t even worth pursuing, it’s so benign, but to calm my maternal worrying, they’re sending us for fetal biometry at 28 weeks, which is just another ultrasound that measures things and gives the measurements a score, then a combined overall score for all of the measurements. It basically gives a summary of the baby’s growth compared to the normal range. Y’all know I’m a data nerd, so I’m happy with doing this ultrasound, especially since I’m with midwives, we won’t likely get to see Dumplin’ again until he’s born. 32 weeks is a damn long time people!

In other news, I’m up 25lbs since pre-IVF. Yup, twenty-five pounds! And I’m only 18 weeks! This number was a shock to me, but my boobs are ginormous (seriously the skin is so tight that it feels like my boobs are going to explode), I can’t fit my thighs into my regular pants, and my bump is bumpin’. So I see where the poundage is going. 10 of those pounds were gained in the past 7 weeks (normal according to my midwife), so 15 lbs were gained between my IVF stims, retrieval, and the end of my first trimester. To be honest, I blame a lot of those first 15 lbs on the prednisone… Such a nasty drug that gave me moon face and efficient fat storage! However, also a miracle drug that calmed my immune system enough to allow Dumplin’ to thrive. So I’ll take the increased body fat if it means I get a baby.

I will take a new bump photo this weekend and post it sometime soon. 

These days, I’m brainstorming things Dumplin’ will need, so that I can prepare myself for budgeting for it. I’m stuck on a couple of items that are costly and so personal in terms of different people’s habits (like strollers). Maybe I will do another post in a couple of days and elaborate on this.

Lots of love to y’all and have a wonderful weekend! 

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50 thoughts on “18 Weeks: Fetal ECG and Anatomy Scan

  1. It’ll all melt away with breastfeeding. You were pretty slim & small-framed, so it’s normal for you to gain. DD had small pockets of fluid too and we were told to not worry so we didn’t. And she’s got an enormous brain on her. Glad to hear all turned out so well!

    • I’m so relieved to know that your DD had it and is fine. Even though it’s a normal variant, it’s so hard to get past the “fluid filled cysts in the brain” part.

      Yeah, my mom gained 60lbs when she was pregnant with my sister. I hope it flies off with breastfeeding too! My frame just ain’t meant to carry this much weight in the long term!

      • Lol 60 lbs I can’t fathom that!! My sister claims she gained 50 with one and around 60+ with the other, but she’s 6′ tall. I gained 23 lbs, but I was also already about 30 lbs overweight to begin with. The fluid filed cysts freaked me out. I remember wishing they didn’t even point them out to me if they weren’t a big deal. It’s so much harder on your first time around to deal with and decipher these new bits of info.

      • Yeah, I was reading that often times doctors don’t even mention it to patients, if it’s an isolated finding. It still freaks me out a bit though. Especially when I look at the ultrasound picture of it (I just added two photos to the post).

        23lbs is an appropriate weight, especially since you’re so tall. You didn’t look overweight in your preggo photo with DD though. I suspect I might have had low body fat before conceiving. Anytime I take fertility drugs it just adds fat to my hips and makes me all voluptuous and shit lol. Maybe that’s my fertile self haha.

      • Voluptuous, sexy, fertile self! I’m *lucky* I’m tall, in that I have to gain quite a bit of weight before I look heavy, and even then everyone is shocked. I think in that 16 week photo I probably weighed 210 lbs.

      • That’s amazing. It’s so interesting how different people’s bodies change during pregnancy, and also what happens to our bodies after the crazy hormonal roller coaster.

      • Yes you’re supposed to be voluptuous when you get pregnant! My mom (midwife) says it helps with fertility so it’s good. I know it’s hard though when it’s not what you’re used to.

      • Yes! That’s my intuition about it too. It’s neat though, I actually feel more beautiful and confident with my naked body this way (pregnant) than I did before! I’m not sure if you feel the same way about your body, but I just think it’s such a beautiful transformation we’re going through.

      • I do. I love being pregnant and it feels like my curves are useful and beautiful, plus J loves it! I’m glad you feel that way you πŸ™‚

      • Yes! It’s really quite amazing how much I’m embracing my pregnant body changes. I am way less self-conscious now that my bump looks like a bump rather than a bloated glutened belly. Lol.

  2. I so hope the cyst is a non issue – it sounds like the doctors believe it is, but I’m glad you will get another scan at 28 weeks to check things out again before he arrives. As always sending you love and wishing you a wonderful weekend! πŸ™‚

  3. Wow he is so adorable lying on his side. I’m so glad things went well and it sounds like the brain cysts will go away. Good luck with budgeting – it’s hard! Starting early is good! I’m so excited that you’re 19 weeks already. It’s great that you’re gaining weight, I hope you’re okay with it? Embrace it as much as you can and stay healthy. Xoxo

    • Yeah, I thought he was adorable on his side too! I feel like it’s a glimpse of how he might look in real life! Those cute little buns. I’m hoping that the cysts are a non-issue, but kinda also wish I didn’t know about them (something to worry about). The buying of lots of “stuff” is so foreign to us because we’re minimalists, so it’s hard to know what we really need, and what we can get away with not buying. I’m focusing on the “must haves” right now, like a car seat and stroller, but even the options there are overwhelming! Have you got those picked out already?

      • Aww, little buns! I know especially after your earlier test scare, it must be hard not to worry.

        I just told J’s parents today that we don’t want any plastic toys and as few “things” as possible. You do in fact need “stuff” but not necessarily all the things they say you do! We have the car seat installed already just in case, but no stroller yet. I have a ton of hand-me-downs like a bouncer, baby bjorn, ring sling and clothes but all things we’ll use and give back or give away! I have a google doc to keep track of everything. I used both of my sisters’ lists (they did a ton of research) to make my own, and could email to you if you want ideas?

      • It would be awesome to see your sisters’ lists, if you don’t mind emailing them to me. I’m also curious which car seat you bought. Is yours compatible with a stroller travel system? There are just so many choices!

        Yeah we’ve pretty much got to start from scratch because everyone around us has kids that are already 8-10 years old, so they’ve gotten rid of all their baby stuff years ago. We have a couple of boxes of baby clothes for boys and girls from my BIL and SIL, but they’re really ratty and I’m not sure that they’re quite in style anymore lol.

      • Strollers are still a mystery to me. I wanted a Nuna because they’re made of organize fabric but they’re too expensive. We got a Chicco Keyfit car seat because it’s what both of my sisters use and apparently the safest. I originally planned on getting a Bumbleride Indie jogging stroller which fits with the car seat for an infant because my sister said if she could go back she would only have one stroller. But now we’re re-thinking it and haven’t gotten anything! We’re looking for a high-quality used one at this point. I can’t be of mug help. When you decide please let me know!

      • I was thinking of the Chicco Keyfit too, or the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio. I tried out the Peg Perego Book Classico stroller and LOVED it, and it’s compatible with the car seat, but it’s just sooo much more expensive than all of the other strollers. Plus, we’re also thinking of having another baby ASAP, so we’ll eventually need a double stroller and can’t justify spending $800 on a stroller we probably won’t use for very long. The Chicco Keyfit has great reviews here in Canada too, so I think you made a good choice! Sounds like your sisters are a wealth of baby knowledge. I can’t wait to see their baby registry lists πŸ™‚

      • Ill email them right now! It’s actually mine that I’m emailing, but I made it based on a combo of theirs. That Italian stroller sounds amazing but expensive! Let me know what you decide. I think after everything you guys have been through, trying for another right away makes sense.

      • Also, by the way I can’t wait to read your parenting blog! With all of your food and crafts I know it’ll be interesting. And to see your baby!!!

      • Awe that’s sweet. I’m looking forward to all of that too! It’ll probably be lots of posts about being sleep deprived and having sore cracked nipples in the beginning lol. Pregnancy has brought out some new hobbies of mine too- like knitting and sewing. I hadn’t sewn in over a decade!

  4. I’m so glad to know all is well. If it is any comfort to you in the MT’s pregnancy my OB (head of high risk, remember?) warned us that if we were told about a choroid plexus cyst during our anatomy scan he wanted us not to be alarmed because when seen in isolation (without other markers as in your case) they are almost always benign. We didn’t have one but him knowing we were both high anxiety and already then surviving prior losses and warning us made me feel better. I hope this is of some small comfort to you in that it jives with what you’ve been told.

    • Yeah, I’m feeling mostly okay about it, given that our NIPT was low risk for Trisomy 18, and everything else looks good. I’ve also heard other peoples experiences with the same thing, and it does help to know that their kids were just fine. Thanks for sharing your experience with what your high risk doc said too.

  5. The cysts really are no big deal, especially with your low risk genetic screening results. My son also had them, and of course we worried, but all was fine.

  6. Glad that Dumplin’ is looking good, and that the trip to Sick Kids went well! I totally know what you mean about wishing that you didn’t know about the cysts. I had no idea that there were so many ‘normal’ developmental variations in fetuses before this whole pregnancy thing – it’s mind-boggling.

    Di gained about 20 pounds by week 23, despite eating really healthily and being active, but she hasn’t gained anything since then (which seems weird, but the belly is definitely growing!). Seems like it isn’t necessarily a consistent week-by-week gain.

  7. He looks so cute in there all tucked into you.

    As for the weight – I gained a lot with all 3 of mine. You’ll lose it all quickly after he comes, I’m sure!

    I went to that same ultrasound clinic at Sinai and thought the same thing as you re: the people there.

    Can’t wait to see your next bump photo!

    • Thanks! I think he looks adorable cuddle in like that too! Funny that you had a similar impression of Mt. Sinai. Lol. Yeah, the weight probably won’t be a big deal, but it’s always shocking seeing numbers on the scale that I’ve never seen before! I think it’s so interesting that you’ve had the chance to be pregnant three times! I’ll have to pick your brain about each pregnancy, as I am totally loving pregnancy right now, despite never really wanting to carry.

  8. I’m so glad everything went well! My cousin’s baby had cysts on his brain and the doctors totally freaked her out about it but it was totally resolved by birth and now he’s the cutest, sharpest 1 year old little dude I know.

    • Thanks Molly! Yes, I’m pretty sure it means nothing too. Good to know that your cousin’s baby is fine too πŸ™‚ I hope you’re doing well. Can’t wait to read your next update πŸ™‚

  9. That picture of your boy is so cute, he looks just perfect. Those cysts look quite scary on that ultrasound, but when I just read up on that, it also said, that without any other signs, it means nothing. But I would be worried too.

    I’d love to read your post on buying stuff, there’s so many decisions. I would do a couple of things differently in hindsight, including spending less on a stroller (rather investing in high quality carriers and wraps from the start) and not getting a bucket carseat at all, a different highchair (one that holds a newborn as well) – but those preferences are always very individual. Luckily I found ways to sell the stuff I don’t need. High quality baby items loose very little value in my experience, so I often get 50-70% of the original price (or even above retail value in the case of woven wraps). So shopping mistakes aren’t as costly as it seems.

    • Lots of good advice here! I appreciate it. What’s a bucket car seat? Good point on selling stuff you don’t use/like. I think I might go and buy some things second hand to keep costs down.

      • Dang, I think wordpress ate me previous reply.
        I meant one of those Infant carseats that click on to a base. In our case, we don’t carry our boy around in his seat at all because it is not very good for the spine to be in that semi-reclined position, my pelvis didn’t allow carrying Baby+seat right after birth and later the combo was just too darn heavy. I much prefer to put him in a ring-sling, which takes me 30 seconds ( like those http://www.abernathynaturals.ca/collections/storchenwiege?page=2 )
        Instead we got a Britax RΓΆmer rearfacing seat that works 5-40 pounds, came with an infant insert and rotates to the side to make putting him in/out very easy. He also stopped crying like a madman right after we bought it, because he has a better view out the windows.
        One item that we love and bought used is our Thule Cougar Jogging stroller/bike trailer ( http://www.thule.com/en-us/us/products/active-with-kids/multifunctional-child-carriers ) We spend so much time outside in the woods and hills where a regular stroller would just give up.

  10. So happy to hear he is growing so well! Anything abnormal in an ultrasound sent me googling. So much stress and not worth it if you can somehow avoid it.
    I have an awesome baby swing I’d love to pass on to you guys if you want!!!
    Also, you can try carriers out and get help on how to use them at baby wearing groups. Toronto has one that meets near me once a month if you are interested.

    • Yeah it’s tough not to stress about the minute details, but I think I’m getting better at choosing whether to be stressed or just let things go.

      We would love the swing when you’re done with it! We love second hand stuff because most baby stuff is still in good condition and we’re not adding to landfills.

      Is it better to wait until you have the baby before attending these baby-wearing groups? Lol. Do you have a suggestion for freshly born newborns?

      • It is wonderful to go to them before and then you can start right away. Lots of pregnant moms/couples attend. The swing is ready whenever you want. It’s the fisher price snugabunny swing and it has loved 5 babies so far and is still in perfect condition!
        I’m a ringsling lover for fresh squish.

  11. So glad all is well. My friend had the same cysts and she was so upset – nothing came of it after all the worry and extra scanning – it was a really difficult time. I know it’s so hard not to worry. Gosh – it sounds like you are growing a big fella there too πŸ™‚ With you on the giant boobs – my bras are out of room! Looking forward to bump pic! Xxx

  12. Glad to hear everything is ok…if the Dr’s don;t seem too concerned about the cysts, i typically wouldn’t either, but when it comes to your little baby, I totally get the fear. i used to love the longer scans where they would look at every. single. little. body part. Those are the best! And Callie is small like you also. She is 5’3″ and has never weighed more than 125 (at her heaviest after 16 months of clomid, letrozole, progesterone, etc), and she gained about 40+ pounds during her pregnancy. She is righ back where she was, give or take 3-4lbs. I wouldn’t worry much about the weight coming off. You have a great diet, and you work out regularly…it should just fall right off!

  13. Stubborn little guy! My little man does that too, or covers what they are trying to measure with his arms. I hope that everything turns out okay and that the little guy continues to grow right on track.

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