Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Fetal Echo Follow-Up

Yesterday was our fetal echo follow-up appointment.  Even though everything looked good at our first appointment, we were advised in January to return for a second look around this time in the pregnancy, just to ensure everything was growing and forming normally.

Just like last time, a technician took a bunch of measurements over the course of about 15 minutes and then left the room to show them to the doctor.  I didn't have a view of the monitor this time around and Shep didn't want to look at the monitor because he didn't want to mistakenly see any "below the waist" body parts that might ruin our big surprise, so I stared at the ceiling hoping everything was okay while he played Words With Friends on his phone.

Unlike last time, before the technician left the room she asked me to continue laying on the table with the ultrasound goop on my belly in case the doctor needed to take a closer look.  The paranoid part of me started to get a teensy bit worried at that request -- did that mean something was wrong??  When Dr. Phoon came in a few minutes later he explained that 2 of the measurements the technician had taken were not consistent with one another, and that although both numbers fell within the normal range, they were each on opposite sides of that range.  Hmmm...  So, he wanted to take a look himself just to ensure everything measured up as it should.

Now for the GREAT news...

According to Dr. Phoon, the aortic arch on our baby looks "perfect" and there is no evidence to indicate any obstruction.  Apparently all of the valves are formed early, and then they grow throughout the pregnancy.  Per the doctor, all of the structures of our baby's heart are formed "perfectly" such that even if the baby was born today, the heart would work fine for a newborn.  Phew, talk about a relief!!!

Approximately 1-2% of the population has a bicuspid aortic valve.  However, NYU does over 5,000 pediatric echocardiograms a year and they have not seen bicuspid aortic valves in 1-2% of those children, nor does the occurrence rate in children generally match that of the general population, which leads many researchers and doctors across the world to believe that the condition can develop over the course of one's lifetime.  This certainly seems to make sense, since many people are not diagnosed with this condition until adulthood.  For this reason, the doctor recommended we consider getting our child's heart checked out sometime before school begins, perhaps around 3-4 years old, and to have a low threshold for getting the heart checked out before that time if at any point a pediatrician discovers a murmur in our baby's heart.  But, as long as everything appears fine when the baby is born, and the baby seems generally healthy, there's no reason to be concerned or to consult a pediatric cardiologist upon birth!

The doctor did mention that altough occurrence rates are 10-15% higher if a parent has a bicuspid aortic valve, that still eaves an 85% chance for a normal, healthy heart, so there's plenty of reason to be optimistic that this will be our last visit to the Pediatric & Fetal Echocardiography Lab.  :)


  1. So very happy to hear that your baby is looking so healthy! Gosh, you have the patience of a saint. I couldn't wait to find out what my baby was and when my DH even MENTIONED waiting on finding out with the last one (before we lost it) I was like "no way! I must know!!" LOL! So you know I'm impatient to find out for you too!! Still thinking girl with your high bump.

    1. You are too funny, Mel!!! I think the 2 people most anxious to find out what we are having are you and my BFF Jen! The two of you seem more impatient than Shep and I are!! hahahaha.... and interestingly, you're both guessing girl now! She was guessing girl from the start -- but I think with her it's more of a wish than a guess... ;) Thanks so much for the well wishes! Hope you're having a good week!

  2. wow thats a bit stressful! i would of been stressing out! glad everything looks ok with baby! sending big hugs! :)

    1. Thanks so much, Charlotte -- and right back to you, too! :)


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