05 March, 2015

My story of Hope - I

It feels like it was long, long ago that I picked up my cell phone and clicked a picture of that stick that detects hCG. A few weeks, a visit to my OB-GYN and a scan later that picture found it's way into Facebook (private) messages to some close friends and some family.

Everything was perfect. I felt good. I didn't develop an aversion to food like I did when when I was pregnant with baby number one. There was no morning sickness as such, so I could drive my preschooler to his day-time home and do grocery shopping and all of that. Life was pretty much normal except for the joy I felt about the little person who was to be the newest addition to the family. There were a few times when some discomfort crept into my days, but I found a way to beat it; I just had to out and see some places and I was a happy girl.

Then week 20 came up. It was time for the big scan! The scan where they look at the limbs and organs and the sex of the baby. I was supposed to go home that evening and celebrate the news that I was going to have a baby girl of my own but my stars had other plans for me. The medical center that had done the scan found some excess liquid in my yet-to-be born baby's heart, around it to be precise. I was asked to come back a week later for another scan. I was told it was a not whole lot of excess fluid so it could go away by the time of the next scan.

Out of the labs and in the reception area, the lady who was to schedule my next visit told me that the doctor in there had also asked me to go for genetic counseling. And asked me if I would like that to be scheduled or would I like to wait until the scan. I chose the latter, right away. I was very hopeful that that excess fluid would go away.

However, anxiety began to creep into my mind and my days. Still hoping for the best, seven days later, hubby and I went for that scan. The news was that everything was just as it was. It was such a sinking feeling. Now I had to go do that counselling that I was dreading so much. I knew I would be told more than I needed to know and that it would all be too much for me. And too much it was for me. I broke down at the counselor's cubicle.

I was told that it could be a genetic issue or a viral infection and about all that it could do to the baby. I was advised to do some blood tests and an amniocentesis to make sure things weren't too bad and if it were, then we could talk about termination. Hearing about what could go happen if the amniotic test could do to the sac if the test didn't go as planned, was more than I could think of, so I said, let's do the blood tests first. Deep inside I let me be hopeful that in the meantime that excess fluid would take care of itself as it is sometimes known to happen. I was pretty healthy and I don't know of anybody in the family who had had this, so I was quite sure all would be well the next time.

Only it wasn't. And the blood tests didn't have any answers. Neither did the counselor in her analysis of family history. So we had to go ahead with the amniocentesis. Thankfully the worst did not happen during the test. And the doctor who had done it was a kind gentleman who did not up my anxiety like everybody else in the building did.

The fact that things weren't the best and being told of all that could go wrong in the long run didn't help the anxiety that was already in my system. Then we had to move houses. Now moving meant anxiety: anxiety about leaving my OB-GYN whom I had grown to like and trust in the five years I had been seeing her, anxiety about having to put my four  year old in a new learning environment, anxiety about finding a new doctor; not to mention the Pericardial Effusion.

Pericardial effusion is the condition where there is excess fluid in the cavity around the heart. And now, that also meant, we had to start seeing a paediatric cardiologist. More doctors, more anxiety. Soon I was seeing a new Obstetrician, a new paediatric cardiologist AND a Perinatologist. Yeah, one more doctor and that means more you-know-what.

The next few months of my pregnancy was about more scans. You won't believe how many were done and I don't have a number now; I lost count of it. Anxiety and hope were like the two pans of a beam balance. One time I would be told that it looked like the amount of fluid had gone down or that it hadn't increased; now that is supposed to be good news, here. Another time, I would be told otherwise.

In the middle of all this, every month I was to see a cardiologist at a medical university some 30 miles away. As we were moving closer to Arrival Day, the visits to the doctor increased. Now I had to be monitored more closely, my case was upgraded to high-risk pregnancy and the medical university was my new hospital. This meant a new set of doctors too; remember I'm not talking about just an OB-GYN. Yeah. Exactly!

The rest of the way there were 'echos' and non-stress-tests on a weekly basis. Twice a week we had to drive those 30 miles. My mind was a mess. I had to pull through nevertheless. I kept reminding myself that I had to hope for the best and be prepared for the worst. Although one of the doctors had addressed my worst fear and told me that that was not impossible that it was life threatening, I knew all would be well once the baby was out and the cardiologists could have a better look.

As if all this was not enough stress, we were told that the experts had discovered some VSDs, found a part of the wall of her heart to be thicker than it should be, AND the baby's liver looked enlarged, now.

Fast forward to 'Labour day' -- which is a story by itself -- we became parents to a beautiful baby girl. Sadly I didn't get to hold her as soon she was born, as is the norm. She was whisked away from my sight and to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). And I, having had a rather hard and sans-epidural-labour was hooked on to some narcotics for some much needed relaxation. In that state, I was in some kind of elation; it filled me with another cache of hope and all I kept saying to me was, "We have her here -- Alive."

PS: I've left some loose ends here in this post. I  promise to tie them up in another post -- My Story of Hope - II. 
We still live in hope. 
If I've left you feeling the need to know more, let's pretend do some time travel here. Let me come to you from the future and say things are ok now. But the story did get worse before it got better. 
And we still live in hope. 

This post was written for Housing.com's Happy Hour topic 'Look Up Stories, where we were to write about a story of optimism and hope for future. Thank you Housing for the optimism campaign and the prompt.


  1. A sure happy end to anixious time, Divya! Stay blessed:)

    1. That was one part of the story, Mr. Bhatia.
      The anxiety continues. But yeah, the end of all this will be happy, I guess.
      Thank you so much for the well wishes. :)

  2. I can imagine the stressful time you had! It is good that all is over and you and your baby are doing well. :)

    1. It was a little too much, I thought. :)
      Almost over, hopefully.
      But yeah, things are pretty good now.
      Thank you, Indrani.

  3. I am glad you have happy ending, My life had a terrible story which I didn't get to bring my baby home.

    1. Oh Ann. I'm so, so sorry to hear that. I can't even begin to imagine what that must have been like. So sorry.

  4. nicely penned down. and yeah We definetly live in hope. :)

    1. Thank you Sahithya. (ah! I love your firs name)
      We'd better do that or else it will be difficult to pull through those tough times.

      Nice to see you here on this blog.

  5. I can't imagine what that's like. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts.

    1. Thank you for visiting and for your thoughtful comment, Misha. Things are a whole lot better now. Just one little obstacle left. And I'm still hoping for the best.
      Thank you so much, once again.

  6. I have already been verbose enough in the other comment section ..
    May His blessings be with you always :)

    1. Thank you so much, Kokila. :)

      We should meet up for coffee, sometime.