Warning: Ultrasound picture below. Please skip if it will make you feel sad or bad in any way. Hugs.
When I was in middle school, one of my favorite books was Remember Me to Harold Square by Paula Danzinger. Yeah, it's not even in print anymore. I'll spare you the details, but it's a cute book and it made 12 year-old me want to live in New York City. Anyway, the protagonist has an annoying little brother and after a day of tromping around the Big Apple, he declares that he gets what sports announcers mean when they talk about "the agony of the feet." I stole this joke, and I still use it. [If you're not familiar, the actual expression is "the agony of defeat."]
I was so nervous for today's scan. I spent a lot of time prepping myself for bad news and I was prepared to fire all sort of questions at the doctor, and then call up my OB and fire more questions at her. The last two weeks have brought a whole new meaning to the agony of the feet. But the other day Kasey from Stupid Broken Eggs sent me an awesome card and a gift for Manuji - an adorable little outfit and these socks.
One pair is orange - Jeeves's favorite color! And the other has a little fox on them! If you follow Kasey, you know she's going through her very first IVF egg retrieval and that whole process is tiring and draining and emotional. I was so touched that she would think of me at a time like this. Excuse me, I think I have something in my eye.
Kasey's gift, along with the little sock Jeeves found in his laundry, inspired me to wear my lucky Fighter socks that Smile from Infertility Absurdity sent to me back in November. With my lucky socks on, I set out into the cold for my scan.
We got called back by a different ultrasound tech than last time (thank goodness, I hated that last bitch). She asked how I was feeling, and I said fine, but nervous. She asked me to tell her about what happened last time, so I told her about how they had trouble getting good pictures and in some of them, his feet looked clubbed, and in others they did not. She said let's take a look then, and she immediately started with his feet. After about a minute, she explained that he wasn't in the best position, but that from what she could tell, his feet looked okay. She told me she'd come back to them, but that I could breathe a little. It was really kind of her, and I appreciated it.
I had also, for some reason, worked myself up about his heart and brain (even though they looked fine at last scan). She looked at those and told us as she went that everything looked great with his brain. She scared me a little by looking at his heart, then looking at something else, then going back to his heart! Why was she going back to his heart? That scared Jeeves too. I've heard stories about parents whose babies have heart defects and they talk about seeing "a spot" or "a bright spot" on the ultrasound - I kept wondering if I saw a spot. Spoiler alert - I'm crazy, there was no spot, and his heart looks fine.
Then she went back to his legs and feet and spent a lot of time on them. When all was said and done, she told us that she thought his feet were fine, but she'd go talk to the doctor and the doc would be in to see us in a minute. I really, really appreciated that she gave us her opinion and didn't just leave us hanging like the last tech did. She also told us that she had a case of club feet yesterday and that it was clear as day that the feet were clubbed from the moment she put the wand on the woman's belly.
Dr. G came in and the first thing she said was "I think the feet are probably fine, but I'm going to take another look." She looked again, and here's the gist of what she said. One foot is definitely not clubbed. She looked at it every which way and couldn't make it clubbed if she tried, as she put it. The other foot was still hard to get a read on. He keeps his feet in the same spot they were in two weeks ago, and so it can be hard to see. In some of the images, the foot looks a little clubbed, in others it looks fine. But she thinks that it's probably fine. All his other measurements and organs were good. He weighs 11oz, which is big for his gestational age, but nothing to be concerned about. She wants us to come back to get one last look at that foot - I explained that Dr. C wants us to have the detailed anatomy scan, which is scheduled for 10 days from now - she said that would be a fine time to recheck the foot. We talked to the tech again after that, and the gist of what she said was that even if that foot is clubbed, it's probably slight. From my research, I know this can make a big difference - if the clubbing isn't too severe, it can sometimes be manipulated through massage and physical therapy without having to wear casts and braces. And sometimes it requires casting, but no braces. And the fact that there are no other markers in the ultrasound indicates that even if Manuji's foot is clubbed, it's isolated. That is huge.
We were so relieved, not just about his feet, but that everything else looked normal. I realize we're not out of the woods, but it did feel like a huge weight was lifted and I was so grateful. When we walked out of the office, I poked my belly and said to Manuji, "You! You're not even out yet and you're causing me so much stress! Go easy on me!"
Jeeves and I felt like on the eve of his/her due date, the bean was looking out for us. Even if I didn't have my magic ring. Thanks so much for all the prayers, positive vibes, advice. Thanks for pulling for us. I can't express in words how moved I am that we have so many people who support us and our son. And since I can't express it in words, I hope to someday return the favor in actions.
Here's a picture of Manuji, 19w2d, waving at his mom and dad.