These past few days have been quite a daze. On Monday, we went in for our 36 week check up. My doctor did an exam and was concerned that the baby might be breech so she ordered an ultrasound. An hour later we were in the ultrasound room and the technologist confirmed that he is for sure a boy and he is not breech. She then took a while looking at everything else and then sent us back to our doctor's room for a consultation. Finally our doctor showed up acting really shocked. She sat us down and asked us if we had ever heard of hydrocephalus. I remembered briefly learning about it in my anatomy class but we were so shocked that we weren't really able to think. Basically, hydrocephalus is when cerebral spinal fluid is stuck in the baby's brain and is unable to drain due to a blockage in the aqueducts which normally drain this fluid. When the fluid gets backed up it creates a lot of pressure on baby's brain. There are lots of things it can affect since the brain is the control house for the whole body. So obviously, it can be a pretty scary thing. It turns out that at some point between our 19 week ultrasound and now, our baby has developed a pretty severe case of hydrocephalus.
Since that meeting, we have met with a couple other specialists and have concluded that the baby's main blockage is in the back of his brain near the cerebellum. The cerebellum controls walking, balance, etc. We had our 3rd ultrasound in a row today and the radiologist has some reasons to believe that the blockage might be due to a tumor in the back of his brain. We have an MRI scheduled for Wednesday that will hopefully confirm or deny the tumor theory.
As for the health of the baby; we really don't know much. We have every reason to believe that he will survive. However there are numerous problems he could have. Or, he might not have any problems at all. So long as this is not a rapidly growing tumor, doctors agree that they want him to be born as close to his due date as possible so as to prevent any other health problems premature babies can have. Due to the massive amount of trapped fluid, his head is extremely large (which is not that big of a deal since babies skull plates have not fussed together and allow flexability, but is a pretty scary thing to look at). So, we will have him via a scheduled c-section close to the 26th unless there is a rapid tumor growth. The pediatric neurologist will be meeting with us and helping us make decisions about how to treat him once we figure out what is causing the blockage. The most common treatment for hydrocephalus is to surgically insert a shunt from the baby's brain into his abdomen so it can absorb the fluid. If it is a tumor, I imagine they will remove it.
The main thing is that we really don't know much. We don't know what is causing this fluid buildup, we don't know what/if damages are occurring in his brain, and we don't know what he will be like. It's been a pretty difficult week to say the least, but the more days that pass the more secure we are feeling about it. We know we love this little boy and that we can handle whatever comes our way. Please don't feel sorry for us because we really are so grateful to be having a baby at all. We appreciate the love and support we've been receiving and we will be updating with whatever information we receive as soon as it comes.
As most of you know, we were keeping his name a secret until his birth, but given the circumstances, we really want him to have his own identity and feel more real to those praying for him. So, if you could please pray for baby Jonah Kent Young, we would really appreciate it.