Thursday, September 29, 2011

Praise God! Emily's Spine is Perfect!

This is Little Bit's first passport photo.  Isn't she adorable?  Turns out, we had to take a new one at the passport place because of the wrinkles on the background sheet, but this will forever be her first "passport photo" in my mind.

Go on and take another second to ooo and ahhh.  I can wait.  I understand.  There.  Feel better? 

Alright, now for an update on our Little Miss.

Last week, we went in for her four month appointment and immunizations, and while examining her adorable toosh, the doctor glanced at the chart and said, "did we get an ultrasound on that?"

I'm sorry.  WHAT?  An ultrasound on her sweet little rump?  Whatever for?

"We didn't get an ultrasound?" (rising panic in his voice)  "How did I miss it?"

What did you miss?  What's wrong?

"These dimples"

(Alright, enough dialogue.)

Turns out, she has sacral cleft dimples.  She has a little forked "Y" coming up her lower back just above her tiny little glute-crack.  There are dimples on the top Y parts as well as on the stem of the Y.  They're perfectly normal in a lot of children, but sometimes, they can indicate spinal issues.  25 years ago, no one paid them any mind.  Then, doctors began seeing correlations, so now they double check just to be sure.

Our sweet doctor had just read an article the night before on the exact measurement to determine "cute-baby-dimples" vs. "look-into-the-cute-baby-dimples", and Emily definitely measured for an extra looksie.

Potential issues: spinal bifida, an attached spinal cord (it should be floating around.  If it's attached at the base, then it won't grow when she does.), etc.  The doctor explained that later on, she could have problems walking or going to the bathroom.

So...we do an ultrasound to check things out and go on from there.  No biggie.  Just a tad scary.


Except for the fact that she's big enough now, her bones will make it difficult for an ultrasound to see the spinal cord.  We'll probably need an MRI, which could mean infant sedation (which sometimes has side effects.

He was hesitant to recommend an MRI on an infant (the sedation thing), and an X-Ray is too much radiation at her age, so he recommended a second opinion from a NEUROSURGEON.  Ahhh!  (Btw...yes, they do brain surgery stuff, but they also work with nerves, and since the spine is a very nerv-y place, they do that, too.)

Matt and I decided that while the situation could be quite a dramatic, scary change in our lives, we'd wait to start alerting all of our prayer-warrior friends (and freaking out ourselves) until we knew for sure we even needed an MRI and when it would be.  We told only a few people.  We just didn't have enough information to get everyone all up in arms and on their knees until we saw our second-opinion doc.

Well, that appointment was today at 8:30am.  The neurologist (who kind of reminded us of Matt's uncle, in a way) came in and said we definitely needed to look into the dimples, but Emily was small enough that an ultrasound might work.  He called over to the children's hospital and asked for an ultrasound STAT*.  They worked us in immediately, and baby girl slept beautifully just in time for us to do the ultrasound.  I had to take pictures, because it was her first ultrasound, and she just looked so incredibly cute sleeping there with goop all over her back.

It was cool to watch!  Her spine reminded me of dinosaur bones.
 She woke up and was a little disoriented (after all, her last ultrasound was from inside of me).  She quickly realized that there was a TV playing cartoons behind her, and she did the best tummy-time workout stretch EVER trying to see them.  I finally flipped her over so she could watch.  Here is her sleepy little face watching contentedly.

"Should I just watch cartoons? cartoons AND suck on my toes?  Hmm..."
The appointment was at 8:30am, and at 11:50am, the neurologist called to tell me Emily is totally fine.  Her spine is fine and normal and unattached, and we don't need to come back or have surgery. 

So, we are totally praising God right now.  Unfortunately, since we only told like 5 people and our Sunday School class, no one knows that Emily almost had spine issues, and they're all shocked when we share the happy news.  Whoops!  Either way, God is really good, and we want to share.  Now you know.

P.S.  I had a marvelous time coming up with euphemistic reference to her nether-regions. 

P.P.S.  *STAT - I had to look it up to see what it meant.  Why don't docs just say "ASAP" - I mean besides the fact that it takes much longer to say?  It comes from statim which means immediately in Latin.  Or, some people in English have adopted it to mean "Sooner Than Already There".  As a languages person, I'm going with the Latin explanation.


  1. I love how you explain things - "it should be floating around". =)

    So glad she's okay and she has normal butt dimples =)

  2. So glad nothing was wrong with her wee spine! When our little one started to have, um, BO at age 2, I looked it up online - FREAKED, talked to the pediatrician who didn't exactly freak but scheduled an appointment with a "specialist" who did a 5 minute exam and said she was fine, she didn't have serious hormone issues and wouldn't be dwarfed for life or anything. Whew. Those medical scares can be brutal on your mentality.