Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spina Bifida - Please Don't Let It Be

My DIL Diana called us the other day from Spokane to give us the exciting news that their baby due in September is going to be a boy.  We couldn't be more thrilled.  My wish has already been granted that I have a granddaughter, two of them no less. I wanted Brandon to have a son.  Their daughter, Riley, will be a year old on May 30 and now he'll have his boy. 

Brandon and Dee with newborn Riley about 10 months ago.
Oh, and their dog, Layla

I'm glad that both my sons will experience the thrill, fun and excitement of boys like Bob and I did with them.  And I also want them to experience the trials and tribulations of teenage sons that we also went through with them.  You know, pay backs.  Just kidding!  Kinda (not really).
When Dee told us the news we didn't want to tell anyone except immediate family at the time because Brandon was out on a Survival Training mission and he wouldn't know he was expecting a son until he got home yesterday.
Last night Brandon called us to share his excitement both about his recent training mission and about his new baby.  Along with his excitement, though, was a piece of worrisome news that they just received from the doctor yesterday.
Dee's blood work just came back and it shows elevated levels of AFP - a protein produced by the fetus. This COULD indicate spina bifida. You can read more about this here:

This is rare and does not mean that the baby definitely has spina bifida, but it's an indication that they like to check on further. They don't have Dee scheduled to see a specialist until May 7. Needless to say they are very worried, as now we all are.

I called a very good girlfriend of mine, Cheryl, right away last night.  Cheryl used to be a nurse and worked with her husband, Michael,  when he had his own private OB/GYN practice. He now works for a large hospital out of town and is now a perinatologist (specialist in problem and high risk pregnancies).  Cheryl said it is probably nothing. They get false positive readings on this type of thing all the time.  Dee and Riley are going to be coming home here on the 22nd for two weeks and Michael will be glad to talk to Dee and look at her sonogram DVD while she's here to see if he can determine anything further from it.  Dee's doctor told her she saw nothing indicating on the sonogram at all. Cheryl said that if they were really concerned they would have had her into the specialist immediately instead of setting it for May 7

Brandon said he wished they hadn't even said anything to them, but as Cheryl explained to me, it is much better to know these things ahead of time for a couple of reasons.  When the baby is born the hospital and doctors are well prepared for any immediate action that needs to be taken.  And secondly, it gives the parents and family 4 or 5 months to physically and mentally prepare themselves. 

I think everything is fine, but we will all be concerned until her May 7 appointment.  Regardless of the outcome, one thing is for sure.  This will be a very lucky little baby boy to have the parents he's going to get.


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