Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fetal MRI

Last friday we had an appointment with Natalie's neurosurgeon to go over the fetal MRI. It went well... he said they (once again) had a hard time getting a good image because of the location of her defect, her position in utero and because she was moving around a lot. I was hoping Natalie would have a quiet morning and not be moving around, especially since I had to be fasting for the MRI. But, about a half hour before the scan she started moving all around. The tech had me lay down on the table and strapped this foam board thing across my abdomen and Natalie did not like that very much... she does not like being squished- haha! It makes me look forard to the final weeks of pregnancy when the only option she has is to be squished! From what they did get, the lesion is nearly positively low and small. The report from the radiologist says there is an approximately 11mm cystic lesion in the lower lubar/sacral region, this would be the menengocele. So, from what they can see, there is only a small sack of fluid, which is why it is hard to visualize. If it was a big fluid filled sack it would be much easier to see. The Doctor said that could be because it is leaking the fluid rather than building up into a big cyst.

Dr. McNatt said there are some good indications because of the position of her legs. He said generally if the baby did not have use of their hamstrings then the legs would be straight and the baby would be kinda bent in half at the waist. Natalie's legs were bent at the knees with her knees tucked up. So, that's good, or at least it doesn't indicate anything bad. Her hydrocephalus looks sigificant. Her head did look larger in comparison to her body overall as well. He's not worried about this, per se, since the infant head is very pliable and able to expand with the extra fluid, but he said it does make the probable need for a shunt go up. I asked if there is a point where he would get worried it is damaging her brain and want to deliver her early and he said no, flat out. That was really good to hear. The perinatologist who gave us the diagnosis five weeks ago made it sound like the fluid could/would damage her brain if it built up too much in utero, but Dr. McNatt said that's not the case. It is far better to keep her in past 37 weeks and then deliver, which he said would not compromise her neurological health. He did say the perinatologist may have a point where delivery becomes necessary just as far as being able to get her enlarged head out of my body even via c-section, so I will have to talk to her more about that at the next ultrasound.

Dr. McNatt told us he had just been meeting with the NICU nurses that same day to go over protocol of care for working with new borns/infants with Spina Bifida. They specifically talked about Natalie and the care she would require. It was so nice to know that our baby is not just another case file. They are preparing for her and making sure everyone has the knowledge they need to really make her birth, surgery and recovery successful. I know I have said if before, but  I'll say it again- we LOVE this doctor! He is very kind and compassionate. I started crying at one point and I swear he was almost crying along with me. I feel very lucky to have such a compassionate man caring for our baby girl.

Here are some of the best images from the MRI:

View from my side. You can see my spine on the right hand side, baby on left. She's feet down and it is like looking at her from a front view.

This is the view of the top of her head (the oval in the middle.) The two big white spaces in her head is the fluid (hydro)


In this one you are seeing a front view of her head and body. You can see her brain where again the two white spaces is the fluid (hydro)


  1. I'm so glad you have a compassionate doctor to take care of your beautiful Natalie. I miss seeing you! Prayers and love being sent to you.

  2. I too am very relieved that you have a great doctor to care for you and Natalie. Sounds like excellent news that you won't have to deliver early due to the risk of brain damage, and the images show that there is a good possibility that her hamstrings aren't affected. The fetal MRI images are so neat! I love seeing a person within a person like that! It's so much more detailed than an ultrasound! I will continue to pray for all of you! (Btw I'm CoffeeCat/Meagan S from TC) :)