Expectant parents have a great deal on their agenda during the months leading up to delivery. The to-do list consists of many things including scheduling doctors’ visits, adjusting schedules, and making room (both literally and figuratively) for the new baby or babies. With so much to do, managing the details can be overwhelming − especially when things don’t go according to plan. The truth is, whether you are a first-time parent or seasoned with experience, the journey can often be unpredictable.
In a recent edition of Connexions (Spring 2018, page 54), the Habbe family recounts their experience during a routine visit to the OB where they received devastating news. The couple was prepared to learn the sex of the baby at their 19-week ultrasound; instead, they were told there were complications with the pregnancy. It was later revealed that the baby had a bladder outlet obstruction (BOO) that can vary in severity from mild to severe.
SPOILER ALERT: Douglas is now a thriving 4-year-old. His mom, Sherry, reports, “He continues to grow and amaze us every day. He has taught me what true love is, and what true strength is.”
Although many expectant parents view the ultrasound appointment primarily as a chance to learn the baby’s sex, it essentially a medical exam. The ultrasound images provide the physician with the opportunity to see the development of many of the baby’s major organs. In some cases, the ultrasound can point out an abnormality. The Habbe family chose to get a second opinion after their ultrasound results, and took the next steps to schedule procedures that saved their child’s life. If you’ve just received disconcerting news related to your pregnancy, please keep three things in mind:
- Process and share at your own pace. When complications occur during pregnancy, parents often cycle through a kaleidoscope of emotions. It’s hard enough to manage your own feelings, let alone reactions from friends and family. And for this reason, there’s a lot of debate on when to share the news of your pregnancy. However, not much is written on how to handle reactions from other people when you are experiencing a high-risk pregnancy. It’s normal to feel vulnerable and you should proceed in a way that makes you, not others, feel comfortable. It’s okay to wait or bypass updates entirely until you are ready to share your family’s experience.
- Question what you’ve been told. Many people have difficulty communicating with physicians and may feel uncomfortable questioning their opinion. When it comes to your health and the health of your baby, you have every right to be fully versed on all matters at hand. Mental Health America created a guide to help consumers navigate the doctor/patient relationship. Not every doctor is a good fit and sometimes it’s necessary to seek a second opinion. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, research on your own, and consult with other families who have had similar experiences.
- Take care of yourself. When you learn something may be wrong with your baby, it’s hard to take your own health into consideration. But it’s important to take stock of your well-being and manage your feelings. Maintaining proper physical and mental health throughout all stages of pregnancy is important – vital if you’re experiencing complications. Remember to ask for help when you need it and practice self-care regularly.
You are not alone
The mission of the nonprofit Fetal Health Foundation is to support families receiving a fetal syndrome diagnosis, increase fetal syndrome awareness, and share leading medical information. If you have received a fetal syndrome diagnosis, check out the post on “10 Things to do After a Fetal Diagnosis.” Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will work to provide you with the latest medical information about the syndrome and connect you with leading specialists and other families who have experienced a similar diagnosis.