I am pre-warning you to bear with my rambling. Between happy tears and being speechless, I don't quite now how to put today into words.
Asher and Nolan both had repeat head ultrasounds today. We weren't worried about Nolan because his has been normal all along, but I was nervous about Asher's because he is now old enough that most of the blood should have reabsorbed and we would be able to see the damage the bleeding caused. But before I go on, let me give you a reminder of the anatomy of a brain bleed, or intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH).
IVHs are graded 1 through 4, with 4 being the worst. Grade 1 and 2 bleeds generally don't cause any damage because the bleeding is contained within the ventricle. Grade 3 starts getting more scary because the blood completely fills the ventricle, and Grade 4 is the worst because the blood has spilled over into the actual brain matter. When a Grade 4 bleed reabsorbs there is a pocket where brain matter used to be. Essentially, a big hole where the blood killed the tissue.
When we were given the initial diagnosis of Asher's left side Grade 2 and right side Grade 4 IVH it was devastating. The Grade 2 was barely mentioned but the Grade 4 was essentially sentencing him to some sort of brain damage with the extent unknown. All we have prayed for is that somehow his premature and very plastic brain would learn to re-route around the damage and leave him with minimal, if any disability.
Needless to say, it was scary to find out what the result was today. I bugged the neonatologist a couple of times but didn't push too hard because part of me didn't actually want to know. Late in the day I heard him mumble to himself about going to check if the results were online and he came back a few minutes later and very stoically said "Both boys look good". Nolan was a given, so I moved right on to Asher. The scene went something like this:
Tracey: By good you mean the blood has reabsorbed?
Dr: Yes, the blood has reabsorbed....but also...there's no hole.
Tracey: What do you mean no hole?
Dr: Well generally I would expect to see black (emptiness) where the blood was. Except I didn't see black, I saw white matter.
Tracey: What? Various incomprehensible blubbering, crying, melting on the floor. You're kidding.
Dr: I'm not making this up.
Tracey: More blubbering; has to stop herself from hugging the doctor
Dr: Looks at Tracey, unsure of what to say next because of Tracey's ridiculous behaviour and apparent loss of english language skills
5 minutes pass and Tracey tries to pull herself together. Conversation resumes.
Tracey: So let me get this straight. The blood is gone and there's no hole? Is this normal?
Dr: I have seen it before, but no, it's definitely not the norm.
Tracey: So no damage whatsoever?
Dr: Well, we do have to wait and see how he progresses, but it looks good right now.
Tracey: So let me get this straight - there's NO blood.
Dr: There's a few clots left in the ventricle, but that's it.
Tracey: Enough to cause hydrocephalus? (fluid on the brain caused in this case by the draining blood blocking the ventricle)
Dr: No, he looks to be past that now too.
Tracey: More blubbering. Conversation between Tracey and Doctor ceases.
Enter Jordan. Tracey shares news. Blubbering continues. Tracey tells nurses. Hugs and talk of miracles abound.
So there you have it. If you didn't believe in miracles before, you should now, because I believe we are witnessing one. We by no means have a guarantee that Asher is going to be fine, but it is certainly looking like a much greater likelihood than we had ever imagined. Jordan and I are so stunned that we both feel like this is too good to be true and maybe the scan didn't get the right angle or maybe the doctors interpreted the results wrong or maybe I imagined the entire conversation. A large part of me feels that by sharing this news with all of you I am jinxing us. But maybe the reality of this is that the very difficult year we have been through has all lead us to this. If that is the case, then every second of pain/loss/anger/worry/(insert other negative emotion here) that Jordan and I have felt has been worth it, a thousand fold.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, to each and every one of you who prayed endless prayers and sent endless positive thoughts. Someone or something bigger than us was listening and some special guardian angels have been working very hard. All that being said, the boys aren't completely out of the woods yet, so please, continue whatever it is you have been doing because clearly it is working!
And with that Tracey is sobbing and exits to get a glass of wine.