So far in my first trimester, my brain has been quick to jump to the worst-case scenario whenever I get updates about the baby from the doctor. This week was no exception. At exactly 10 weeks, my wife (K) and I went to our last appointment with our IVF doctor to “graduate” from our clinic to a regular OB. I was both excited for this milestone and nervous because I had not had an ultrasound since week 7. Would everything be ok? With K’s miscarriage, we found out there was no more heartbeat at our 9-week ultrasound, so getting past that point seemed especially important.

Ultrasound Image - Alli's Bump Day Blog, Week 10: IVF Clinic Graduation

Author’s Personal Collection/Alli Baker

My IVF doctor began my exam by reassuring us: baby’s size and heartbeat both looked great.

He quickly added, though, that he did see something he was concerned about. Although it was too early to take an accurate nuchal translucency measurement, he still noticed that our baby had a lot of fluid at the back of his neck. I was clueless about what this meant, but my doctor explained that high amounts of this fluid can be associated with chromosome conditions like Down syndrome. But we had tested this embryo before transferring it–the testing showed with 98% accuracy that this embryo did not have any of the common chromosome conditions.

“What else could it be?” I asked.

“Well, sometimes it goes away, but it’s something your OB will have to figure out,” my doctor replied, and with that, he sent us on our way and wished us luck.

K and I were both at a total loss. What could this mean? What were we supposed to do? Was this pregnancy not viable after all? My mind jumped to every worst-case scenario no parent wants to imagine. I went straight to google after the appointment. If this extra fluid was not caused by chromosomes, Google said the cause could be a heart issue or a genetic issue. Or it could be nothing at all (an option my brain could hardly entertain). K and I sat with this information and total uncertainty for four days until our first OB appointment.

Walking into our new OB’s office, K and I both felt nauseous with nervousness (on top of my usual nausea).

We first met with the ultrasound technician, and my “graduated” status became official: I could now get abdominal ultrasounds instead of transvaginal ones. With every ultrasound, this baby looks more and more human. This time we got to see his face straight-on (looking like an angry alien) while he wiggled his arms and legs and turned his head side to side. He felt more real to me than ever before.

I quickly told the ultrasound tech about the issue our IVF doctor had spotted. She calmly watched the screen for any issues, but assured us that she did not see anything alarming.  She looked at additional views of the baby and even checked with another tech who agreed. Maybe we wouldn’t be the worst-case scenario after all…?

Then we met with our new OB, who was so kind and talked with us for more than forty-five minutes, reviewing my history, medications, and IVF process.

He agreed with the ultrasound tech, and for the first time, a medical professional referred to my IVF pregnancy with a new word: normal. “This seems like a normal, healthy pregnancy,” he summarized. At the end of our visit, he reassured us again: “The ultrasound images look completely normal.”

To further ease our nerves, we drew blood for NIPT testing to re-check that there are no signs of chromosomal conditions, and when I go back during Week 12, we will do an official NT measurement. In the meantime, I feel cautiously optimistic. True excitement about this pregnancy is really setting in!

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