Psalm 139:13-14

"For you created my inmost knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made...your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:13-14

Friday, May 7, 2010


It all began with my mother's instinct. I was a bit apprehensive from the beginning of this pregnancy, but I kept blaming it on insecurities due to previous miscarriages I have had. I felt uneasy, yet I really could not explain why.

At my 14 week check up, my doctor could not detect a heartbeat. He was not alarmed, as he said it is very common not to hear it yet. He ordered an ultrasound just to make sure, and to ease my mind. At that ultrasound, there was a strong heartbeat and a very active baby! However, towards the end there was a concern about the baby's bladder (wouldn't empty during the time the ultrasound was being done - apparently a standard thing to look for during that stage of ultrasound). I was not too alarmed, but did think it was weird. My doctor was not alarmed yet either.

Fast forward one month to my 18 week check up. Everything sounded great - strong heartbeat, baby measuring fine, my blood pressure was great, and my weight looked good. The doctor ordered the routine 18 week ultrasound which is always an exciting time during pregnancy. Joe and I could not wait to go have that done! We were looking forward to seeing our healthy baby kicking around, strong heartbeat, and even finding out the sex of the baby. However, that ultrasound was everything but exciting. The ultrasound technician kept focusing in on the umbilical cord. She kept taking several pictures of it. In my experience in having many ultrasounds, I knew something was wrong. My mother's instinct kicked in again. I thought to myself, "I bet you there are only two vessels instead of three in that cord" (which happens to be a very important thing they look for in the fetus).

It was a long procedure- took much longer than the standard one. We arrived home and shortly later my doctor called with the report. I was scared. He never calls, he is not easily alarmed. He is very calm. He said, "We got the results of your ultrasound which shows many things that are very concerning." He goes on to explain that there is (in fact) two vessels instead of three in the umbilical cord, and there is a cyst on the cord as well. Not the kind of news this mama wanted to hear. I was devastated...scared...I already knew of the risks that came with that kind of problem. Not only are there risks of chromosome abnormalities (some of which are deadly) but heart and kidney defects as well.

The doctored ordered a stage 2 ultrasound at the high-risk pregnancy center for special monitoring. At that appointment, we met with a genetic counselor for the first hour, and then afterward was the ultrasound. The counselor took a family history of genetic/mental/health issues. Nothing was found. She explained that if this baby has a chromosome abnormality, it is not our fault - nothing causes it, it is just by chance that these issues happen. The ultrasound itself took nearly 2 hours. Two different technicians and the doctor (a perinatalogist) worked to get all the pictures needed to determine what was wrong.

At the end, the doctor explained everything he found. The growth of the baby looks fine - head, arms, feet, etc. However, the thigh bones were shorter than normal, the pinkies were turned inward, and the feet were slightly pointed downward (but were moving fine). He also said the heart was in the middle of the chest rather than the left side - and the heart also has a rather large hole in it. He was unable to get a clear picture of the heart, but he is concerned about possible defects there. The doctor said there is a large cyst (about the size of baby's head) on the umbilical cord right where it attaches to the belly button. There is in fact two vessels instead of three in the cord. The other concern was that the bladder was a bit elongated and seeming to be pulled toward the cyst (which is a possible sign that the cyst is attached to it somehow).

All in all, he said there is most likely some type of chromosome abnormality, based on all of the defects that he was able to see. However, he cannot rule out whether or not this baby has any of the deadly ones (the ones that will not allow the baby to live once it's born). Once the doctor gets a better look at the heart, he will be able to determine easier what defects my baby has, and will possibly get a better idea of what defects he can rule out.

While it was incredible to be able to watch such a detailed ultrasound, and fun to get great pictures of my beautiful baby, it was quite discouraging to hear what the doctor had to say based on what he found. We will continue to have appointments at the high-risk center once a month for the next two months, and every week for the last ten weeks of the pregnancy. God gave us this sweet baby, and we will do everything we can to love, nurture, and care for this precious being as long as he or she is with us.

Please pray for us as we go on this journey. We really have no idea of what to expect...we are learning as we go. Each ultrasound appointment should be able to tell us a little more information. Please pray for the baby's heart in particular - pray that the doctors will be able to get a better look at it. Please pray that God would give us continued peace about it, and pray that He gives the doctors wisdom in dealing with this precious life inside of me. Thank you.


  1. Thanks Erika and Joe for sharing and allowing us to be part of the journey as we place you before the Lord. We pray He will make you more like Christ every day; that you will know the sufficiency of His grace; that you will know the peace that passes understanding as you trust Him. We love you much.
    Ron & Cindy

  2. Thanks for writing this and sharing it. We'll be praying, too.
    -Miriam, Jonathan, Toby & Isaac

  3. I had a very similar situation. Praying for your family! For God's peace through it all and for discernment for the doctors.
    God Bless,

  4. We will keep you and your family in our prayers too. Love you! Steph

  5. keeping your family in our prayers

  6. Praying for you and your little one.