Monday, December 31, 2012

Sweet Boy's Kidneys

Well, as you can gather from 2012's post, the little mini man has a name.  He'll be...

Owen Thomas Michael

We debated this a bit, he would have either been Owen Michael or Owen Thomas Michael.  When we were explaining the dilemma to my dad, he said to go ahead and give the boy three names.  My dad is one of seven kids and the only one that didn't get a middle name, which is odd because he was the third in line and my grandmother said she just didn't think of one at the time.  Since my brother is the second, he doesn't have one either so Owen will make up for that by having two names.

Owen comes from actually meeting the list of about 9,000 requirements I had for first names.  Strong, common but not too common, easy to spell if he's talking to someone on the phone, short and easy to write as a small child, etc.

Thomas is Adam's middle name which comes from his dad's brother who passed away of cancer before Adam was born.  I know the name has importance to his dad so I felt like including it was important.  Michael is after my dad (and brother) so he has a family name from my side.  This was a total non-negotiable for me.

Originally I wasn't going to tell anyone the name until he arrived but after the ultrasound, we knew he was Owen and I knew that it was only a matter of time until I slipped and told someone (my fear would have been a random co-worker) and that would have sent me into complete sadness that I'd accidentally ruined the secret.  Plus, I think I kind of hate surprises and secrets so I convinced Adam that we should probably just go ahead and start telling people.

When we had our anatomy scan at 18.5 weeks, the tech was going over everything and when she came to his kidneys, she hit the printer button and I heard a picture print out.  She didn't say anything at the time other than the doctor would go over everything with us.  My regular appointment with the doctor was right after the ultrasound and looking at my chart while the nurse checked my vitals, I saw the picture of the kidneys.  Like an idiot, I googled kidneys and ultrasound while we waited to see the doctor but luckily most of what I found wasn't alarming or overwhelming.  Apparently, kidney things are relatively common in boys.  Our doctor came in and we chatted for awhile before she brought up what was going on.  At that time, I think it was his right kidney that was showing up bigger than the left, which is what they wanted to send us to have another ultrasound for.  She didn't seem worried and said we could do the ultrasound around the same time as my next regular appointment with her.  We went ahead an scheduled that and I didn't think too much of it until I looked at the card for the doctor that they gave me and it said "High Risk".  Oy.  Due to the holidays, we ended up scheduling the follow up ultrasound for two weeks later.

My doctor was so calm about the whole thing that we really managed not to worry too much about it during the wait time.  I know now that part of this was because I was extremely stressed about other things going on in life but either way, I wasn't really losing sleep about Owen's situation.  When we went for the high risk appointment, a tech came in and did another ultrasound.  Again, as soon as she hit the kidneys, the printer started going so I was a little disappointed.  The doctor came in and did another ultrasound herself and showed us that yes, the kidneys are full of fluid right now, which causes them to show in black on the ultrasound.  I felt like it took forever to just get to the point!  What exactly does all this mean?  I was really bummed because my regular doctor seemed hopeful that it might have been that he had to pee right when my first ultrasound was done and that they may not have found anything at the high risk doctor's office and here we were with the issue still happening.  All the information is kind of overwhelming so I can't remember if I'm totally right but I think at the second appointment, the left kidney was showing up bigger than the right this time.

There are some fancy disease words for what is going on but I made a concerted effort to not remember them so I won't even have the temptation to look to Dr. Google, which the HR doctor asked me not to do.  Lots of times, this does end up resolving itself before birth.  We'll continue to have ultrasounds to monitor it every four weeks with the HR doctor and if we still see the issue at 32 weeks, they will help us find a pediatric urologist that will help with Owen's care.  Ultimate worst case scenario is that he'll need a stint put in surgically sometime after he's born.  But that is an extremely unlikely option so we'll keep proceeding as we have been just with some extra sonograms and doctors appointments.  I'm a little bummed about that because I try to avoid doctor's offices at all cost.

The worst part of the entire appointment was when she brought up Downs syndrome.  The kidney issue is considered a soft marker for Downs.  It doesn't mean that he has a chromosomal issue by any means, but it could be related.  Adam and I had been really solid in our decision to not to any of the testing and we've been offered something at every single appointment we've had.  The HR doctor mentioned a relatively new test that they could do for us now that would come back in two weeks and looks at baby's DNA via my blood.  I don't know why but in the moment I blurted out that I'd like to go ahead and do the test.  The entire reason that we didn't want to do any testing in the first place is that it won't really make any difference to us, what's done is done and Owen is Owen whether or not he has Downs syndrome or not.  I've not been as big about my faith in recent years but I do honestly believe that whatever Owen is meant to be is whatever God has planned for us as difficult a road as it may be.  In the grand scheme of things, when you look at the approximately 10 bajillion things that have to go right for us to end up with a little baby human in our arms, this is relatively small.  Even if the test comes back positive and there is a chance he has Downs, it's still not that huge of a deal when you think of all the babies and fetuses that never make it.

It brings up SO many feelings in me that range from the sad fact that I throw around the word "retard" with relative frequency and what do you do when you have a baby with Downs syndrome?  Do you put their picture up on Facebook for people that I barely even know or remember to see and judge?  I wouldn't want anyone to feel sorry for Adam and me.  How do you deal with these things?  Did I really think about what it would mean if the test comes up positive?  Even if it does come back that way, it's still relatively low odds that he actually has it.  How will we proceed with the rest of the pregnancy not knowing?  Will the doctors push me to have amniocentesis done?  I promise, I don't worry about this as much as this post probably makes it seem like I do but it is ever present in the back of my mind and I have had dreams about the test results and what getting the call for that will be like.

Either way, this is a small bump in the road of life.  It's not going to be the last time in his lifetime that I have a worry about him, especially a medically related one.  He's in there kicking up a storm (Adam can even feel them now, which is so awesome) and I feel relief every morning when I wake up and he starts to move himself.  We just get to see him a lot more in utero than we thought we would so I'm looking at the bright side of having lots of extra ultrasounds.


  1. Sweet little Owen. Love that name! I love your attitude, girl. God is in control - always. Will be praying for you and your little one. *hugs*

  2. Such a wonderful post Jen. I don't often comment, but I follow your blog. Wanted to pop in and say hey and send you lots of good energy.