There comes a time when a doctor has to tell you the absolute truth. For us, it was October 6th at the maternal fetal medicine department of Grant Medical Center in Columbus. My husband, Brad, and I had found out in August that we were having twins. It was a terrifying and beautiful shock. By October, we were ready to find out if we'd be playing defense against boys or girls.
In my head, I was looking forward to a day off of work, an exciting ultrasonic glimpse at our future family, and hopefully a huge cheeseburger at Thurman's down the road from the hospital. An ultrasound at a maternal fetal medicine specialist is typical for any multiple pregnancy, so I was not worried about anything. I had butterflies in my stomach (and it was too early to feel those kicks).
About an hour into the measurements, the ultrasonographer stepped out to show the images to the doctor. Brad and I glowed with the joy of seeing and hearing our babies' heartbeats, Baby A and Baby B - concrete evidence of the lives forming inside my body.
When Dr. Amburgey, a tall, brown-haired lady who spoke with a gentle voice, walked in, we were all smiles. Looking back, she didn't shake our hands, she patted by knee and walked right up to the ultrasound machine. First, she told us that Baby A's arms were shorter than they should be. So are his legs.... Okay, maybe she'll tell us he has dwarfism. Maybe he'll need surgery or a wheelchair... and there's a problem with his chest cavity. The space isn't right for growing lungs... Will he need surgery?... His head is slightly misshapen.... ... I'm not allowed to say 100%, but this will be fatal.
I don't remember much more than this. By this time, I was well within the throngs of a panic attack, crying, hyperventilating, and in a cold sweat. My world ended. I remember trying not to make eye contact with Brad. I didn't want to see his face. I've never seen him cry and I wasn't ready to. Not like this. I thought the first tears I would see of his would be at our babies' birth. Tears of joy, not absolute despair. He held it together.
Dr. Amburgey told us we had options - let the baby go to term, watching closely to make sure he doesn't affect the other baby or terminate the unhealthy baby. That's how we left it. That and an appointment for three weeks later.