#4 // Cautious optimism

Our StoryJoanna ZuidemaComment

A few weeks after getting the test results back, Dr. C wanted to meet for a follow-up appointment to do another ultrasound and monitor how things were progressing as Norah (we had officially named her by now) grew. We met with him again right before Thanksgiving, back in the same room as before – still afraid, but this time much more hopeful.

Norah was still measuring quite small. Her head was measuring significantly smaller than it should. The opening on her spine was still present. He did see a hernia on her umbilical cord now, but it was small and he wasn’t concerned. This time though, he didn’t see any issue with her heart.

Hallelujah! At least her heart was fine.

Dr. C was much less enthusiastic than I was, cautioning that it was very possible he just wasn’t getting a clear picture.

One of Norah’s favorite things is to make anyone performing an ultrasound REALLY have to work for it. She’s an active and spunky one for sure – definitely her daddy’s daughter.

Dr. C decided to refer us to one of his colleagues at a high-risk pregnancy clinic in Minneapolis within the Abbott-Northwestern/Children’s Hospitals of MN complex. He used to be one of the heads of this clinic, and wanted his colleague to take a second look, mainly at her heart. Even with the transfer of care, he said he was ‘cautiously optimistic’ about her prognosis.

With all of Norah’s concerns, I would no longer be able to give birth at the birth center – it would absolutely have to take place in a hospital. Thankfully, the birth center is associated with Abbott in Minneapolis and United in St. Paul, so the transition would be pretty seamless. Both hospitals also have a Children’s of MN campus attached, so no matter which we ended up at – hopefully St. Paul – both Norah and I would in the best hands. And at this point Dr. C thought that a midwife still might be able to be present at the delivery, even at the hospital.


I don’t really know what I expected from that appointment. Was I expecting that everything would miraculously be healed and that this whole thing was an error of some sort? Maybe.

Seeing everything for the second time and hearing that I would have to deliver in the hospital made the situation much more real.

It was like opening up my eyes to realize I wasn’t actually dreaming.


Continue the story > #5 // Preparation