I’m sitting at work, and I’m waiting to be allowed to leave. I’m finished with all of my patients for the day, but I have to wait for the doctors to finish seeing all of theirs as a “just in case”. Just in case they need me to stay late and do an ultrasound that they could very well do themselves.
I cleaned house last night! And I REALLY cleaned. Man, it did feel good. I worked from when I got home at 5:30 until about 8:00. I did all the dishes, cleaned, organized, dusted, put up, vacuumed… man. It looks really good. Brock seemed really happy too – that’s what felt nice. It is so nice to have him home again.
Since I have a little bit of spare time, I was thinking about writing one of my first major “finds” as an ultrasound tech.
Dr. L came over to me and asked me if I would do a quick add-on ultrasound for her. She told me the patient was fifteen, and desired to terminate the pregnancy. Even though we don’t do terminations at this clinic, we’re required to find out how far along she is before we can refer her to someone else. Dr. L told me that she had been lying about it to her parents for a while, so they think she might be as far along as 4 months (16 weeks.)
I can’t even begin to stress how much of a baby you have by 16 weeks. You have fingers, and toes. You have eyelids, and lips, and that wonderful, magical heartbeat. You have movement, activity, sleep cycles… babies are already babies by 16 weeks! (I am very passionate about this.)
It broke my heart a little to hear that she was insistent on termination. However, it is not my place to choose, or to preach, so I simply did the ultrasound. Her mother had taken her to see “Juno” to see if she could possibly convince her otherwise. Even though she’s a minor, in the case of a pregnancy, you do not need parental consent to make a choice.
I started scanning her, and immediately saw a big baby. She was 17 weeks 4 days by measurements, and the absolute limit to terminate in North Carolina is at 18 weeks. I felt my insides tighten… I would take the baby if she didn’t want it. Someone would. Anyone would.
But as I continued scanning, I noticed something was amiss. There were too many “things” inside of her uterus. There was something floating around that shouldn’t have been there. I had a hunch, and took some pictures out to the doctor. I asked her, “Do you think this is a gastroschisis?” And sure enough it was.
A Gastroschisis is a birth defect, a growth anomaly that doesn’t close the abdomen entirely over the intestines. There is a hole in the abdominal wall, and the inner contents spill out into the amniotic fluid. It is not definitely life threatening, but complications can lead to bad outcomes. Knowing that helped the pregnant mom and her mother decide that termination was their best option – she felt she wasn’t prepared to deal with a baby, let alone a sick baby that may not make it.
I can’t judge her choice. I don’t know what my 15 year old mind would have chosen if I were in the situation. It breaks my heart to see both outcomes… but I found my first major medical anomaly, and I knew what it was. That’s an accomplishment for me.