Despite an innate fear of jinxing everything, I’m sharing an update on the little dude’s kidney situation. At our 20 week anatomy scan, it was determined that he has a multicystic dysplastic kidney (MCDK) on the left side, and slight hydronephrosis on the right. In layman’s terms, MCDK means that the kidney didn’t form correctly in that 10-20 week timeframe and was collecting fluid in multiple cysts around the kidney itself. It is irreparable and you hope that the other kidney is good enough to pick up the slack. Hydronephrosis is excessive fluid collection in the kidney due to some kind of blockage or deformity in the ureter that goes to the bladder. Highly curable, and frankly, Ava had it and it cured itself almost immediately after birth.
From that fateful 20-week scan, we were sent to a maternal fetal specialist for routine checkups, then a pediatric nephrologist, then a pediatric urologist and appointment after appointment after appointment.
Despite my being 40, I didn’t personally have any of the associated issues that go along with being “old” (in the eyes of male-centric modern medicine) and pregnant. No gestational diabetes, no high blood pressure, no excessive water retention. But I did develop some seriously excessive amniotic fluid. About twice as much, to be precise, which could be attributed to his failed kidney.
Being pregnant at 40 years old with an almost 10-year-old and a very easy, set lifestyle is stressful enough as it is without introducing unavoidable health problems on top of that. I cried a lot. I was angry and sad that there was absolutely nothing I could do to help him. And I was so anxious about having to deal with a child with potentially serious health issues. I just don’t think I’m emotionally equipped to handle it. I don’t.
But, about three weeks ago, things started to shift. At our last maternal fetal medicine ultrasound, what had originally looked like 15-20 cysts on his tiny kidney were now about three. The right kidney looked 100% healthy.
The doctor actually said, “Wouldn’t it be shitty if the man upstairs has been messing with you this whole time?”
Like I need another reason to not be religious …
The next day, we took our results and visited the pediatric urologist for his opinion and to get a care plan in place for after the little dude arrives. He reviewed the ultrasound imagery and concluded that this may be much less severe than what was originally diagnosed. From the latest images, what had been diagnosed as a serious condition leading to kidney failure could very well be just a case of hydronephrosis due to some kind of repairable blockage in his ureter.
While I was so happy to hear that he may be on the mend, I couldn’t help but be extremely pissed at the fact that I had been required to undergo so many tests that gave us so much anxiety and sadness for the better part of this pregnancy. What if all we did was the 10 week genetic testing (which was perfectly clear)? What if we avoided so many frequent ultrasounds that were riddled with tears and helplessness? We never would have even known that his tiny body was fighting to repair itself this whole time. And I don’t see why we ever had to know, given that they couldn’t do anything to help in the first place.
Sure, I get that the medical community is concerned about liability. But I really don’t see how that is my problem. If I had it to do all over again, I would have refused so many expensive and unnecessary tests.
But, I’m not doing it again.
I’m never doing this again.
Now, we are just a couple of weeks away from meeting the little guy. The nursery is done. I’ve almost finished packing the hospital bag. My short term disability claim has been filed. Everything has been scheduled and basically paid for at this point. We have all of our ducks in a row as best we can at this point. And we are as mentally equipped as we can be to deal with whatever scenario presents itself.
I do hope that the most recent diagnosis is the right one. I sincerely do hope for that. But if that’s not the case, we will deal with it the best we can. We’ve assembled the right team and have a plan for treatment already in place. He is perfectly healthy otherwise, as far as they can tell, so we cling to that.
And now we wait and see for ourselves.
Note: This post was supposed to be so positive, at least that was my intent from the beginning. But now, after reading it, it makes me sound so bitter. Maybe I am. I am bitter about the way women’s healthcare is handled. I’m bitter about being subjected to unnecessary tests to cover some doctor’s ass. I’m bitter that I haven’t been afforded the ability to enjoy this pregnancy at all. It’s a shame. But rest assured that I am very much looking forward to having this new addition in our lives. Chuck is so excited to have a son and Ava is over the moon that she will no longer be an only child. As for me, I’m warming up to the idea now that there is some modicum of emotional relief. And I can’t thank everyone enough who sent their good thoughts, prayers, mojo, etc. to all of us as we dealt with this these past few months. Maybe it worked? Who knows? But I definitely believe in the benefits of positive energy regardless of the source. Thank you, thank you, thank you.