Caty's words from April 19, 2020:
"As many of you know, Garrett and I are currently expecting our first son. This pregnancy started off just as expected. We were over the moon when we found out, just after Christmas. I scheduled my first prenatal appointment, and we excitedly shared the news with those closest to us.
My first appointment came and went, as well as my first ultrasound. Everything looked right on track, and the baby's heartbeat was perfect. Not long after this, covid-19 started to impact everyone's life, not just ours. We knew then that this pregnancy would not be "normal." I would proceed with my appointments, alone, as Garrett was not allowed to be present. It wasn't our ideal situation, but we understood the greater reasoning behind it.
On the morning of April 8th, I prepared for my anatomy ultrasound. I had permission to record the scan, and while it absolutely sucked that I couldn't have him by my side, Garrett and I were still looking forward to watching the video together later that day.
The ultrasound started, and I was thrilled to see all of his tiny features. His brain looked great, so did his heart, stomach, and spine. At this point, my doctor was lingering in one spot, and after what felt like a lifetime, he pointed out baby's umbilical cord. He then pointed to a bulge, and began to say the words that turned my whole world upside down.
That bulge? It was the baby's bowels, they were not inside his body. My doctor couldn't be certain, but it looked like a birth defect known as gastroschisis, the other possibility could be omphalocele. He was leaning more toward gastroschisis, which has a better prognosis than the other. He explained that my baby will need surgery, and he will be referring me to Madison.
I got to my car, and I completely broke. How was I supposed to tell Garrett this news?! Moreover, how would I handle all of these specialist appointments without him?! I was absolutely devastated.
As the days went by, I researched and waited to hear back from my referral. I re-joined facebook in order to connect with other families like ours. I was relieved when the hospital called and said they were able to get me in sooner than expected. I felt like I was coming to terms with our baby having gastroschisis. I was optimistic knowing that it is typically an isolated birth defect.
On April 15th, I headed to Madison for an in-depth ultrasound. They performed the scan and then I waited. A woman came into the room and explained to me that baby's condition was, in fact, an omphalocele. For the second time in a week, my world was shattered. I was not expecting this. My optimism fell through the floor. She said that the genetic counselor would come discuss amniocentesis with me. My mind was both spinning and numb all at once. I couldn't possibly decide to have an amnio without my husband. I needed to go home. I needed to be with him. The nurses arranged for me to do my genetic counseling over the phone, and led me to a side door so I wouldn't have to pass by everyone in the lobby. I was a mess. They were so kind.
As of right now, we have more questions than answers. What we know, is that our baby has a small omphalocele. It is a birth defect that occurs in about 1 in 4,000 births. Our baby's intestines are outside of his body through a hole in the umbilical opening. They are covered by a thin sac. We know that with smaller omphaloceles comes a much greater chance of other anomalies (trisomys, cardiovascular disorders, beckwith-wiedemann syndrome, spina bifida, the list goes on and on). The doctor said things looked good otherwise on his scans, but there is no certainty here. We also know that our baby will require surgery and at least some time in the nicu when he arrives. We have no idea what, if any, the restrictions will be like for us to be with him in the nicu when that time comes. Our life is now full of these terrifying unknowns.
Neither of us are terribly spiritual or religious people, but any positive vibes or prayers you'd like to send our way would be greatly appreciated."
Caty's update on April 20, 2020:
"First of all, we want to thank each and every single one of you for thinking of us, and for your kind words of encouragement and support. We appreciate it endlessly.
We received some good news today. The results of a blood test I had done came back with zero indicators for trisomy 21, 18, or 13. This doesn't completely rule out the possibility of him still having another birth anomaly, but it decreases the odds dramatically! We are cautiously optimistic that his omphalocele might be an isolated case, which would be the best possible outcome for us at this point. He will still require surgery to return his intestines to his abdomen and close the hole, and will still require a nicu stay of undetermined length because of this. However, without other complications or anomalies, his prognosis will be so much better. "