At 21 weeks along Pam went in for an ultrasound. We were expecting all of the results to be normal and the appointment to just confirm our baby was healthy and developing properly. All prior appointments had determined that the baby’s heartbeat was beating at the appropriate beats per minute and so no red flags were ever raised. We were surprised when the doctors told us that we were going to need to travel to Billings to see a specialist to confirm the possible issues that had been seen during the ultrasound.
Over the next couple of weeks we met with two specialists in Billings, a perinatologist and a pediatric cardiologist. They have both confirmed, after several fetal echocardiograms, that baby Tucker is up against several life threatening issues upon birth. While in the womb Tucker is growing and everything is able to function, but once he is born and the organs have to function outside of mommy several red flags are raised. The doctors said that the next step was for us to choose a hospital where Tucker can be born and have his surgeries. They said our closest options were Salt Lake City, Denver, and Seattle.
The drive home from Billings was emotional. So many questions and concerns were rolling around in our heads. One second we thought the pregnancy was going great, and then the next our world was turned upside down. The doctors were able to give us some information but that of course just created even more questions. Also, they had me do an amniocentesis test during the appointment and said we would have to wait one to two weeks for the results. We wondered what the results would be all the way home. The doctors said that we were in no way responsible for the baby’s conditions and that sometimes things just don’t develop correctly. Knowing that we were not at fault was comforting but having no explanation at all for the issues was very disheartening. During the first half of the trip we talked over so many things, but as we got further into the drive we grew quiet from mental and emotional exhaustion. Of course driving through the blizzard on the way home didn’t help the situation.
On the drive home we decided that it would be best to find out if the baby was a boy or a girl so that we could pick a name. When Pam was pregnant with Teigen we chose not to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. We planned to do the same with this pregnancy, but after finding out all of this information we changed our minds. Though we began discussing names on the drive home from Billings, it took a few weeks to finally decide on Tucker Vance Volkman. We were trying to stick with the theme of having all of the boys’ names starting with a ‘T’. Now it will be Travis, Tyler, Teigen, and Tucker! We decided on Vance because that is the middle name of Travis’ dad. All of the boys now have middle names that come from family members! We felt that naming Tucker would allow us some comfort when explaining his conditions to people and would allow everyone the opportunity speak of him and pray for him by name instead of having to refer to him as baby Volkman. Choosing a name has proven to be a great comfort for us all.