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September 11, 2019 — I pulled the glass door and went inside the clinic. Lalaine stood up from the couch as soon as she saw me.
“How was it?” I asked.
She didn’t say a word. Instead, she handed me a sheet of folded paper.
“See for yourself,” She finally said.
I took a deep breath and told myself, “This is it.”
THE TWENTIETH WEEK SCAN
My wife just had her CAS — Congenital Anomaly Scan. Others simply call it the twentieth-week scan because they are uneasy with the word “anomaly.”
Despite the term, this could be an exciting day for most couples. It’s the day when they’ll learn their baby’s gender. Yet, it’s only a cherry on top, because CAS’ main aim is to ensure normal baby development.
It has become a routine of pregnancy care to screen for inborn anomalies. CAS can rule out disorders such as heart defects, bowel obstructions, cleft lip, and more.
With cold and trembling hands, I slowly unfolded the sheet of paper.
Three screenings are usually enough for normal pregnancies — once every trimester. But for us, it’s already our fifth. And the results tasted bitter thus far.
May 22 — The first scan showed a negative fetal heartbeat and a deformed gestational sac. Moreover, they saw a big blood clot inside Lalaine’s womb, which is causing her to bleed.
The doctor said our pregnancy is not viable. It’s only a matter of time for the fetus to come out.
May 29 — No fetus came out. We went for our second ultrasound to check. To everyone’s surprise, they saw heartbeats and a healthy gestational sac. Our OB-Gyne said it was a miracle! Pregnancy is now viable. BUT the blood clot is still there.
June 13 — Our tenth week in pregnancy, and our third ultrasound. The blood clot is now gone, BUT the embryo we carry has an enlarged yolk-sac. They call it Mega Yolk-Sac. It’s a condition which eighty percent leads to miscarriage.
“Don’t worry.” Our OB-Gyne said. “We have a case like this who successfully delivered her baby.”
Then she continued with the punchline. “BUT there’s a fifty-fifty chance the baby will have chromosomal disorders.” (i.e. Down syndrome or worse)
July 10 — The fourth scan. They call it the Nuchal Translucency Scan, or the NT Scan. This procedure can rule out the possibility of chromosomal abnormalities. They’ll do intricate measurements of the baby’s body parts to see if there’s anything off. They’re particular with the nasal bone and the thickness of the clear space behind the neck.
Praise God, all measurements were normal. BUT they found a “mass” in the abdomen area, which is another bummer.
FIFTH SCAN RESULT
Ultrasounophobia — My invented word for the fear of ultrasound. I may have developed such a condition due to the streak of dreadful results.
As I gathered enough strength and courage to completely unfold the paper, it’s time to face the truth. My eyes didn’t waste any time. It ignored the details and went straight to the summary.
REPORT: “NO OBVIOUS ANOMALIES DETECTED IN THIS SCAN.”
I breathe a sigh of relief and plumped down the leather couch after I read those words.
Did we simply experience a series of misdiagnoses? Or did we just witness a miracle? I don’t know. My mind is too dazed to overthink. What’s important, the mass is gone and everything appears to be normal. Praise the Lord!
I gave another glance to make sure I didn’t overlook any punch lines or “BUTs” this time. Thank God, there were none.
“BUT!” Lalaine suddenly squealed.
I spoke too soon. What is it this time?
“The doctor said we need to have another scan next month to be sure.”
“Okay, I can live with that,” I said.
“So…is it a boy or a girl?” I asked.
Lalaine didn’t say a word. Instead, she handed me a black glossy paper.
“You know the drill.” She finally said.
To me, the result of the fifth scan was like a cold shower on a scorching day. It’s invigorating. It’s refreshing!
But to my wife, it’s like a scratch to a bad itch.
For the longest time, she kept herself from scratching the itch to hit the ‘Checkout’ button. The baby has no gender yet that time, so the most she could do was ‘Add-to-Cart.’
Yesterday was special to her. Boxes of new baby clothes she bought online finally arrived.
“Don’t you think this is too much?” I inquired.
Her only reply was a gigantic grin.
We didn’t buy these much clothes for Joab before. He also didn’t have these many colors before. We’re good with white and blue. Now we have pink, peach, lemon and lavender.
“I guess what they say is true…” Lalaine uttered.
I looked at her with question marks all over my face.
“…that it’s a different experience when you’re shopping for a girl.”