And then the radiologist walks in. A handsome, tall, young man that had some sort of calmness and strength about him that almost instantly put me at ease.
He pulled the curtain. Grabbed the box of kleenex. Put his hand on mine and said...
"We found something.... but please don't worry, it's nothing."
NOTHING. If it's nothing then why are we doing a third ultrasound in less than 30 minutes. If it's nothing then why are you, the mystery radiologist, that I have never had to meet before sitting in front of me. If it's nothing then why do I feel like a hundred broken pieces unable to be put back together.
IF it's NOTHING then tell me what it is.
Of course, I didn't say any of these things. How could I? I sat there so numb and silent, worried and confused, that I probably couldn't speak english yet alone demand answers during those first few moments.
He could tell that about me. The radiologist. I didn't have to say anything. In fact, I said nothing. And it's as though he could hear every thought and emotion going through me that very second... and before I could open my mouth, he opened his....
"We found a white spot on the baby's heart. This is known as calcification."
"A white spot on the heart is neither an abnormality nor birth defect. "
"It does not indicate that something is wrong with your baby."
"1% of babies have this, and live normal healthy lives."
"This is what we like to call a soft marker. What that means is that we must look further when we see these things... to make sure."
"It does not increase the chance of your baby having down syndrome. You walked into this room with a 1 in 1,000 chance. You will walk out of this room with a 1 in 1,000 chance."
"If I had the option, I wouldn't even tell moms about this because it causes unnecessary worry."
I sat and cried for a little while, taking it all on, not sure of where we were going with all this. He went on explaining things in further detail to me. What he was about to do. What he was about to look for. What this means. What it doesn't mean. Explaining to me not to worry, and why they do/look for what they do.
Before he began the ultrasound he looked at me and said those words again... "Your baby is fine. Yes, there is something there, but it's nothing."
"Again, if it's nothing... then why are we taking a closer look?"
Great question. The reason for that is because they have to, in order to be sure. And by sure, I mean as sure as technology allows us to be. Although they did not notice anything on my original ultrasound, that white spot alone triggered for him to come in the room to look further. Do more measurements. Analyze things a little closer.
So the wand went onto my belly. That cold jelly. You know, I felt it more this time. I paid attention to every detail. Hung onto every word. Nervous for him to find more.
He kept eye contact with me at every possible opportunity. Assuring me every chance he could get. Sharing everything with me in such great detail....listening to the words I wasn't vocalizing. Answering the questions I couldn't quite find the words to ask.
He looked at the brain. Measured the outer layer. Perfect. Looked at the nasal structure to make sure there was skeletal formation present. It's there. Glanced at the limbs. Proportional, not short. Took a closer look at the heart. Looks great.
After he finished, he raised the seat up. Positioned my pillow so I could be more comfortable and asked me how I was doing...
At this point, the tears had stopped. I had ten million and one thoughts running through my head... and all I could think was that I felt at ease. That sometime in that last 20 minutes... something clicked. Whether it was the fact I was blessed with such a kind, caring, knowledgable physician.... or the fact that I knew in my heart that everything would end up okay...something told me that this happened for a reason. That I needed to be reminded of the blessing that this child is. To not take good health for granted. And to trust and have faith.
So what does this all mean?
There's nothing of certainty. But because this was the only marker, and because it is neither an abnormality nor a birth defect, there is no reason for them to believe that my baby has Down Syndrome. Like the doctor had said, finding this marker did not increase my chances nor indicate that something may be wrong. It's something that just happens to be there. And because it's there? It raises a red flag for them to look further.
He went on to say that he compares it to a baby who is born with blue eyes versus one that is born with brown. Neither one is better than the other, neither one is healthier than the other. One is not more abnormal or with a disability. They are just born different.
And thus, my baby has a white spot on his heart. Neither making him abnormal, different, or set up for any health risks in his future.
"It's something... but yet... it's nothing."
I will hold on to those words, and pray for my baby the day we deliver that his "white spot" proves to show us that, in fact, it was nothing. And I am reminded now, every day, that nothing in this world is of certainty.
That technology does not always have the right answers.
That sometimes it does more bad than good.
That sometimes, we know too much.
That something that "is there" may be something "that isn't."