This is my final installment in the “Things No One Tells You” series (you can read the others here and here). This time its about babies, and if you’re thinking “oh man here’s another long rant/list” you can relax, thankfully, people never fail to tell you endless amounts of information about babies (even when you don’t want it). So here I go, throwing more information at you, unsolicited.
Things No One Tells You:
Soft Indicators on your Ultrasound. I’m not a doctor, but I’m going to try my best to give you the simplest explanation I can. At our 20 week ultrasound, they identified a “soft indicator” or a spot on the heart. This is likely a hole in the heart (which is very common at this stage, and will likely close up). The doctor asked us to come in and explained this to us. The first thing she said was “I am legally required to tell you this, otherwise I would not. In my experience this is usually not an issue, so don’t stress out about it”.
What they are looking for are indicators of a genetic disorder (most commonly, Down Syndrome). This particular indicator was considered a “soft” indicator; basically there needs to be other indicators for this one to be taken seriously. I had initially said no to some blood tests at the beginning of my pregnancy, because the doctor explained there are a lot of false positives and it wasn’t worth the stress unless I was willing to put a giant needle into my belly for the 2nd set of tests (which I was not).
This day was the last day we could do the test. We opted to do it, not so we could terminate the pregnancy based on the results, but so we could prepare ourselves better for the future. (If you did terminate a pregnancy based on these tests, no judgement, everyone is different and every situation is different). The doctor scheduled us for another ultrasound a few weeks later and the test results came back fine.
That day was stressful, and it took mentioning it to a few friends before we realized how common this is. You probably know someone who has experienced this exact scenario, and all turned out well. This would have been a nice thing to know about ultrasounds prior to having one. Rather than the usual pseudoscience of gender guessing based on the location of the placenta.
As it turns out, many doctors are pushing to be able to withold this information unless there are more than one indicator, citing that the stress is harmful and the extra testing is a burden on the system, given the low rates of actual diagnoses compared to the high number of ultrasounds with “soft indicators”. So don’t panic and definitely don’t google this when you get home from the doctor’s office.
Benign Neonatal Sleep Myoclonus. This is the fancy term for this absolutely terrifying thing your baby might do. But guess what? It’s common and its not an issue. If you do a search of this, there are THOUSANDS of posts of panicked mothers looking for direction.
Here’s what it is, in simpleton: While nursing Callahan, he was falling asleep and he started shaking. Initially it looked like a seizure. And I freaked out. I started yelling his name (which he still didn’t know, so, not helpful) and then I noticed a few things that helped me calm down… 1) Only his upper body was shaking. 2) He wasn’t clamping onto my breast, but still nursing. 4) He wasn’t flailing, it was fairly mild, but still alarming. 3) It stopped after about 7-10 seconds. I immediately googled this and saw all these responses and calmed down.
You know when you’re falling asleep and sometimes you twitch/feel like you’re falling? Essentially this is what’s happening with the baby. Their Neurological systems are still developing and are just firing at random. This happened a few more times and then it happened one day as he was waking up, poor Tyler, I had forgot to mention it had happened at all, so he rightfully panicked. I decided to mention it to my doctor, as the waking up shaking wasn’t mentioned in any of the posts, just the falling asleep. I wasn’t worried, but as one of my sisters had been diagnosed with epilepsy a few years prior, thought it best to be sure.
Given the family history, my doctor agreed it was likely nothing, to try and catch it on video (which I never managed since it was always done before I could grab my phone), and referred us to the pediatrician for peace of mind. All was well, the pediatrician said its very common and not a concern. My sister having epilepsy (and her type of epilepsy) was not a factor, unless I or Tyler had epilepsy, and unless it gets worse or he doesn’t outgrow it in the next year or so, there is no need to be concerned.
Having mentioned this to a few co-workers and friends, yet again we learned it was common and no big deal. He rarely does this now, but he also doesn’t nurse to sleep anymore, and when it does happen, its always when he’s being woken up in his car seat or stroller. Even then, its usually just one of his hands twitching, not a full body spasm anymore.
So there you have it, things no one tells you about your baby. Now you won’t panic if it happens, you’re welcome. I also think the advice my friend told me about pregnancy can be applied to babies:
Everything is normal until its not.