What’s poop got to doo, got to doo with it?

Tonight we had our second to last ultrasound. {Woo hoo, almost there! 8 more weeks, baby!} We found out great news, and potentially not so great information about our little boy, but it was to be expected.  How can a seemingly perfect pregnancy not have a bump in the road? {And when I say “seemingly perfect”, I’m sarcastically referring to my discomfort, not my darling Wessie “Poo”.}

The good news:  Wes is 3lbs. 15oz. which is right on target! According to Babycenter.com, babies should be around 3lbs. 12 oz. at this point, so he’s a little above the curve. Fine by me! He’s growing steadily, but he’s shorter than the typical baby at 32 weeks which is approximately 16.7 inches long. His humerous and femur are measuring between 28-29 weeks respectively, which would put Wes at about 14.8-15 inches long. We knew that he was our little tea pot {you know, short and stout!} since day one, so this isn’t a surprise to us. Honestly, he’s so freakin’ active that I don’t know what I’d do at this point if he were 2 inches longer. I would be in even more agony. Okay, I may sound like a total wimp, but I’m not kidding when I say this kid moves CONSTANTLY. Today, I got a jab to the right side that I couldn’t help but react to. The poor little 5th grader thought she hurt me when she was asking me to sign a pass to the bathroom.

Ok, the not so good news, but not the end of the world: Wes’s heart is fine! {We already knew that, right!?} It’s his

digestive track that may be an issue. During the ultrasound, Dr. D pointed out that there were bright spots along his colon which could represent a lag in his digestive system. Basically, my little turd will struggle to make a hearty turd. If this is the case {and we won’t know for sure until he is born} Wes may have Hirschsprung’s Disease.

The following information is straight from the website for 

Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford

What is Hirschsprung’s disease?

Hirschsprung’s disease occurs when some of the nerve cells that are normally present in the intestine do not form properly while a baby is developing during pregnancy.

As food is digested, muscles move food forward through the intestines in a movement called peristalsis. When we eat, nerve cells that are present in the wall of the intestines receive signals from the brain telling the intestinal muscles to move food forward.

In children with Hirschsprung’s disease, a lack of nerve cells in part of the intestine interrupts the signal from the brain and prevents peristalsis in that segment of the intestine. Because stool cannot move forward normally, the intestine can become partially or completely obstructed (blocked), and begins to expand to a larger than normal size.

The problems a child will experience with Hirschsprung’s disease depend on how much of the intestine has normal nerve cells present. Seventy percent of babies with Hirschsprung’s disease are missing nerve cells in only the last one to two feet of the large intestine.

Hirschsprung’s disease causes 25 percent of intestinal obstructions that occur in newborns.

I hear this helps...

What causes Hirschsprung’s disease?

Between the 5th and the 12th weeks of pregnancy, while the fetus is growing and developing, nerve cells form in the digestive tract, beginning in the mouth and finishing in the anus. For unknown reasons, the nerve cells do not grow past a certain point in the intestine in babies with Hirschsprung’s disease.

Scientists are not sure why the intestinal nerve cells do not form completely. Nothing has been shown to cause this problem, including medications a mother takes while pregnant or what a mother eats during pregnancy.

How often does Hirschsprung’s disease occur?

Hirschsprung’s disease occurs in 1 out of every 5,000 live births.

Who is at risk for Hirschsprung’s disease?

Hirschsprung’s disease occurs five times more frequently in males than in females. Children with Down syndrome have a higher risk of having Hirschsprung’s disease.

There is possibly a genetic, or inherited, cause for Hirschsprung’s disease. If a family has a child with Hirschsprung’s disease, there is a 3 to 12 percent chance that another baby they have will also have the disease. Also, there is an increased chance that a couple will have a child with Hirschsprung’s disease if one of the parents has the disease. The chances are higher if the mother is the parent with Hirschsprung’s disease.

Why is Hirschsprung’s disease a concern?

Because a segment of the intestine lacks normal nerve cells, digested food and stool cannot move forward through that portion of the digestive tract. The intestine becomes blocked with stool, and the baby will be constipated, or unable to have normal bowel movements.

The obstruction (blockage) causes pressure on the inside of the intestine, causing part of the intestinal wall to wear thin. Eventually, a bacterial infection can develop in the digestive tract, causing serious problems.

What are the symptoms of Hirschsprung’s disease?

Eighty percent of children with Hirschsprung’s disease show symptoms in the first 6 weeks of life. Children who only have a short segment of intestine that lacks normal nerve cells may not show symptoms for several months or years. The following are the most common symptoms of Hirschsprung’s disease. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently.

 

Symptoms may include:

  • Not having a bowel movement in the first 48 hours of life
  • Gradual bloating of the abdomen
  • Gradual onset of vomiting
  • Fever

 

Children who do not have early symptoms may also present the following:

  • Constipation that becomes worse with time
  • Loss of appetite
  • Delayed growth
  • Passing small, watery stools

 

So, we’ll see once our little pooper {literally} is born and we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. It’s just good to know this in advance so we can prepare and be aware of what we will need to look out for. We’re so thankful for the great technology out there today; it’s such a savior for planners like us! Oh and any more, nothing {new} seems to phase us – we seem to be adjusting well to the “slim chances” in life happening to us! Be jealous – it’s okay. 😉

Oh, and soon I will have something up about our trip to the Eastern Pennsylvania Down Syndrome Center. I’ve just been crazy lately and this post needed to go up before I forget. Oh, and since bowel boy is getting so big, they’re unable to get a good picture of him. I swear, we’re getting the shaft lately! No 3D/4D picture this time, D’ah!

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