Thursday, July 30, 2015

Fluffy Brains & Babies

I know what you're thinking! That title sounds like some knockoff zombie film. I assure you, there's no guts and gore in this post, pinkie swear!

As a mother to a newly diagnosed unborn baby, I was obsessed with numbers. Statistics, percentages, measurements of amniotic fluid pockets. The numbers that meant the most to me were how big Callista's ventricles were. The magical number falls between 6-10mm for ventricle size. Before fetal surgery, Callie was measuring at 12mm (an indicator of hydrocephalus and spina bifida). We hoped to maintain or decrease this number back to "magical range" but it didn't happen for us.

I cringed at every appointment when they measured my baby's head and ventricles during our weekly ultrasounds. Every time, that number slowly increased. 20mm... 32mm.... 41mm.... And every time, I continued to imagine the damage being caused to my poor girl's brain. I mean, having your brain squished so tight around the inside of your skull cannot be good, right?! And yet, I was reassured by my doctor and several other SB mommies that brain damage does not go hand in hand with our little ones. I didn't believe them. As Callista's ventricles climbed to the high 40's, low 50's in the week before she was born, I was a nervous wreck. Especially after seeing other mom's listing numbers in the 20's and showing their panicked state. Yes, other moms are obsessed with those numbers too! 20's?!?!?! I wanted to go back to the 20's!

Now, I've had about three years to calm down about numbers and I've learned not to ask unless completely necessary (which is, like.... never). Numbers mean nothing, but the old saying "A picture is worth a thousand words" rings true. Let's rephrase that to being worth a thousand measurements. These pictures are from Callista's MRI at one day old, and again from this past Monday.

*A mini MRI education session: The brain is supposed to be gray. All that white is the spinal fluid built up in her head from the flow being interrupted due to spina bifida. That weird looking black spot is where her shunt valve is, so the MRI cannot see through it.*

Look at that big, fluffy brain! That is some nice looking brain tissue if I do say so myself. When someone tells you that your baby's skull can accommodate the additional fluid, they aren't delusional. Our little ones are so resilient and I hope these photos give peace to someone who is worrying about the same numbers I once did.

No comments:

Post a Comment