A Cystic Hygroma Diagnosis

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A Cystic Hygroma Diagnosis

cystic hygroma

I have learned quite a bit from raising twins. They are almost seven years old and I am still learning each and every day. People comment often and say “Wow, I can’t imagine what it’s like to have twins.” But really, it’s such a blessing to raise them (and our two year old). They bring my joy everyday and I am so thankful. But once upon a time, when my wife was pregnant with our twins, we had a scare and learned what a cystic hygroma is.

It all started with an ultrasound

When we found out we were pregnant with twins on New Years Eve in 2015, that started us on a course to have an ultrasound every single week of pregnancy. I thought this was the norm. It was only until I talked to my friend who had a singleton and only had two ultrasounds their entire pregnancy! With twins, the doctors immediately put you into a “high risk” category. As you can imagine, there could be more complications being that there are now two babies fighting for space and nutrients.

And so we began the journey of going for ultrasounds every week. They were typically quick. Is there a heartbeat? How do they measure? Does everything look good? It was fun seeing them grow each week and I was always in awe of God and just the tiny little details of His creation.

But on our twelve week ultrasound, everything changed. This was our first pregnancy and we were expecting a normal and quick ultrasound. We got anything but that.

“The doctor wants to speak with you”

I remember it like yesterday. I could see the panic in the ultrasound techs eyes. She brought someone else to review the ultrasound, quietly discussing with one another. For a moment, it was like my wife and I weren’t in the room. No one was saying anything to us. But then she spoke up to us.

“The doctor wants to speak with you.”

We were confused. This was supposed to be a normal ultrasound visit. We should be finished by now. What’s wrong? But before we could even ask questions, we were ushered off to another room and handed a box of tissues. Oh no. This can’t be good.

cystic hygroma conversation room
The room where my wife and I anxiously paced back and forth, waiting for a doctor to speak with us.

I don’t remember how long we waited in that room, but I do remember my wife and I using those tissues even before we knew what was wrong. We were scared. We prayed. It felt like hours had passed before there was a knock on the door.

A Cystic Hygroma discovery

The doctor came in our room. He was a young guy. Mid-30s and clean shaven. He smiled and sat down at the table across from us. You could tell he had hard news that he had to deliver. I was certain he was going to tell us that we suffered a miscarriage. I wasn’t ready to hear this news. But I had no choice.

He went on to explain that in the ultrasound, they noticed a cystic hygroma in Baby A, our daughter. A cystic hygroma is a birth defect that causes a large fluid filled sac to sit around the neck. He went on to draw a diagram. In that diagram, he drew four even squares, with 25% labeled in each one. He told us that there was a 25% chance of Down’s Syndrome or Turner’s syndrome. There was a 25% chance of Trisomy 18. There was a 25% chance of a heart defect. And finally, a 25% chance that it’s just an erroneous finding.

The green circle is where the cystic hygroma was found on my daughter during the ultrasound

Wow. Talk about being blindsided. I couldn’t hold back my tears anymore. My wife and I sat there crying. I was scared. What do we do now? I just wanted to fix it and I knew this was out of my control. It was all in God’s hands. He is always in control. At that moment, I remember reciting Psalm 56:3 to myself:

“When I am afraid, I will trust in You.”

Fear and frustration quickly took over

My wife and I sat in that room with the doctor just shocked. Speechless, in fact. I was fearful and frustrated because I just had so many emotions and didn’t know what to do. My wife was only 12 weeks pregnant. We spent the next several months, anxious over every ultrasound. What will they find next? Will the cystic hygroma grow and get bigger?

But with each ultrasound, God reminded me that He is bigger. He is in control. The cystic hygroma never went away in these ultrasounds, but it never got bigger. We had faith. Faith in a God that can heal. It’s scary when it’s all out of your control. We felt responsible and my wife struggled with the feeling that she caused this. As a husband and father-to-be, I wanted to make sure that I was there to comfort her in a time of fear and frustration.

The Big Day

cystic hygroma
Our beautiful and healthy twins cuddling hours after delivery

A hot summer day arrived in July of 2016 and my wife gave birth to a beautiful boy and girl. I will never forget that day. My focus in that moment was on my daughter. For months, we were hyper-focused on her cystic hygroma. I looked at the delivery nurse and asked, “Does she have Downs Syndrome?”

The nurse looked at me weird. “No, she is perfectly healthy.” Wow. What an answer to prayer. It was a scary journey. But it’s important to share.

Because maybe my story can help someone else who is going through a scary pregnancy right now. If that’s you, reach out to me at

I would love to talk to you.

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