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Monday, October 29, 2012

Positive Vibes Needed

We went in for our fetal echocardiagram today, which was an important appointment to check the structure of Quinn's heart and see if he falls into the 47% of babies with Down syndrome with a congenital heart defect. All our ultrasounds looked good in this area, so we were relatively optimistic about the exam. Granted, every appointment seems to come with some semblance of bad news, so I was a nervous wreck going in.

First, the good news: dude's heart is awesome. This was a huge relief and we couldn't have been happier. Of course, that happiness was short-lived, as we were right to expect the usual bad news. Turns out that Quinn has fluid build-up in his chest, also known as pleural effusion. There are a number of underlying causes, the most common of which is a heart defect. Since this was already ruled out, we're left to wonder if this is the result of a virus (remember the scary spots we found on his liver and stomach?), poor lymphatic drainage, or simply a manifestation of the Down syndrome.

Our OBGYN called a few hours later to explain what this means for the rest of our pregnancy. The scariest scenario is that the fluid build-up could become more widespread, resulting in a condition called hydrops. About 80% of hydrops cases are fatal, but the later in pregnancy they develop, the better the prognosis. As a result, we now go in for weekly ultrasounds to monitor the pleural effusion and ensure it doesn't get bigger. We're also now in for a long NICU stay and will have to deliver at a hospital with a neonatal surgeon, just in case. There's a very high chance that I will be induced early to treat the pleural effusion asap, but we can't do anything too soon or Quinn's lungs will be fatally underdeveloped. All in all, we're left in yet another state of hypotheticals of which we have zero control.


On top of all these stresses with Quinn, we've all been terribly sick this week. Atticus had a fever of 105 on Thursday, prompting a trip to urgent care, where we learned he had a raging ear infection (on top of recently-diagnosed pink eye and upper respiratory infection). Unfortunately, Atticus is dreadfully intolerant of the antibiotic prescribed, causing him to vomit every time he takes it. Getting him to take it is another story entirely...it's akin to wrestling a full-grown grizzly with one hand. The coup de grace is that he has taken to throwing unbearable tantrums lasting upwards of 30 minutes, in which he screams and throws himself on the ground and nothing snaps him out of it except his own exhaustion. 

Needless to say, we're tired, emotionally and physically. We're tired of being scared, worried, angry, and sad. We're tired of putting on a brave face for the sake of those around us. We're tired of worst-case scenarios and countless doctor's appointments. We're tired of temper tantrums and illnesses. We understand the power of positive thinking and are hoping you guys can do it for us because we're too drained to be anything but numb. We're recognizing that things really are out of our hands and we just have to wait with bated breath and fingers crossed. Please send your positive thoughts our way...we sure could use them.

And as always, thanks for checking in. We love you all like crazy.