An anxious start to a new year

First up, I am SO behind in reading blogs. I didn’t read at all while I was away, and then I took a couple of days at home just to hang out with Q. So I am behind on everyone’s news, and will try to catch up soon!

This was not how I would have wanted to start 2011.

I was so excited for the new year- the year in which our baby would be born. We spent New Year’s Eve with friends and, because we are all exhausted these days and have never been big on wild parties to ring in the new year, Q. and I still got home in time to watch the clocks turn over in our kitchen.

All was well, until I woke up at 3.30 am and was violently, violently sick. After a repeat performance at 7 (caused when I tried to take my thyroid pill), I realized that I was not at all well. The rest of the day- the first day of this brand new year- was miserable. I wasn’t running a temperature, which was the only thing that kept us from paging the midwife, but I could barely keep anything down, had skeletal and muscular aches, and was so tired all I could do was lie in bed. I kept sitting up every couple of hours to try and read, only to put the book down 10 minutes later. I wasn’t sleeping- just lying on my side, totally out of it. I slept for 12 hours that night and woke up the next day feeling totally fine.

We figure I must have eaten something that had a minor bug in it and my system went into preggo-protection overdrive. Our best bet for the culprit was the marinated vegetables we picked up from one of those grocery store olive bars to bring to our friends’ house. Turns out both Q. and I wondered if we should buy them, and never said anything to the other. And yes, I know I probably shouldn’t have eaten them, but it was New Year’s Eve, and there were artichoke hearts and little button mushrooms and…well, I’ve learned my lesson. I’ll be extra careful with the food from this point on. That’s the sickest I’ve been in years.

The other niggling worry came from our appointment last week with our midwife. Generally all was well- my uterus was right where it should be, and the heartbeat was nice and steady at 152 bpm. My blood pressure was super low- 80/50, which is low even by my standards, but I haven’t been dizzy so she wasn’t worried about it.

The only negative came from our ultrasound report. Everything was normal, except that there was one isolated choroid plexus cyst on one hemisphere of our baby’s brain. This is a “soft” marker for Trisomy 18 and (less of a correlation) Down Syndrome. The midwife said that as an isolated factor it was basically meaningless. The radiologist didn’t recommend any followup (I think the exact words of the report were something like “All findings normal. One choroid plexus cyst detected. No followup recommended.”) It apparently increases the risk of Down Syndrome by 1.9, but that still makes our odds 1 in 3300, which are excellent by any standard.

I thought I was ok with it all, but over the last couple of days I have felt the anxiety rise and rise and rise until last night I was losing sleep over the prospect that our baby, our much loved, much wanted baby, might not be ok. I was FINALLY starting to settle and enjoy the pregnancy- you could see the change in my face in the holiday pictures. And this report just made me feel like I’ve been thrust back into uncertainty.

So I emailed my sister, who happens to be a microbiologist (she is very useful in that way), and she went and read the peer-reviewed scientific journals for me. And what she found was that an isolated cyst basically had NO correlation with any of the trisomies and that it was only meaningful if other factors were seen on the ultrasound. Apparently there is a big debate in the ob/gyn community right now as to whether or not the cysts are a useful marker at all, and whether they should be used to recommend an amnio or further investigation.

So that has helped quell the anxiety again. But I would love to know if any of you know of women whose babies had these cysts at the ultrasound and then they turned out to be perfectly healthy. Because I’m worried that this nagging doubt isn’t going to go away, and my anxiety is probably more dangerous to the baby’s development.



Filed under Emotions, Midwives, Pregnancy, Ultrasounds

4 responses to “An anxious start to a new year

  1. Our best friends’ baby boy (who was born in Sept) had a cyst just like this! The cyst ended up dissolving – he is perfectly fine, and is absolutely healthy with normal development!

    Hopefully that eases your mind a little bit…

  2. Can’t help you with the cysts, I’m afraid. Perhaps you could request a follow-up scan?

    So sorry to hear that you were so sick, hope you’re feeling a little better now.

    Here’s to things getting better with every day of 2011.

  3. oh, man. i feel you on the food poisoning. i’ve learned my lesson the hard way, too.

    i don’t know anything about the cysts, but the idea that they are only meaningful in the presence of other markers makes a lot of sense to me.

  4. Mel

    I am so sorry to hear you got so sick, that is just awful! I do hope you are feeling much better now. I stay away from anything prepared by the grocery store when I am pregnant. I also WASH my produce like it’s disease ridden… seriously, you should see me with my scrub brush and warm water. I am so cautious in pregnancy, I follow each and every food rule to a “T.” People think I am such a square for turning down deli meats, undercooked meat or eggs, caesar salad, etc, but I don’t care. I just don’t ever risk it.

    Another blogger I follow had a similar cyst situation with her second child and they were so worried. The cyst dissolved sometime later in pregnancy and her gorgeous little baby is just FINE and perfect. I think some tests are just too fine tuned for their own good.


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