The Storm Has Passed!

 Finally, I get a nice big sigh of relief. After two completely agonizing weeks, the test results came back! I am so happy to say that they are normal and negative. Our chances of having a baby with Down Syndrome is less than 1 in 10,000. I could still choose to have the amnio (to make 100% sure) but guess what? <1:10,000 is absolutely fine by me! I also tested negative for the other trisomy and sex chromosome abnormalities so Sophianna is going to be a healthy (thus far) baby girl!

I can’t get over how terrifying and emotional that was for us. It took a little while for everything to sink in so that we could mull it over rationally. I have a background in the sciences and I understood a lot of what was happening but the emotions were running high and I wasn’t getting answers very fast. I do feel for all the other moms out there who have gone through this or have had risk ratios higher than my own. You ladies are strong ❤

We didn’t even want to tell anyone what we were having until we KNEW that it was going to be ok. I didn’t want to get everyone excited about something that may or may not have happened. In all honesty, before we got to see her on the ultrasound (you know-when I fell in LOVE), I was accepting that we could terminate the pregnancy. At 17 weeks, I still didn’t feel a thing of emotion towards the baby. I still felt like I had a parasite in my belly making me sick and absolutely zero attachment to it. Of course, I knew it was a potential life (my future son or daughter) and no one wants to end something so lovely, but if the baby were to be sick, termination was an option I was willing to consider. Children with DS also have a plethora of other health defects that could be life threatening. A lot of children die. If it came that my baby was going to be affected like that, I did not want to bring a child into this world simply to suffer.

Fast forward to the ultrasound… as soon as the tech put that probe to my tummy, I saw her kicking her legs and moving around. I saw her little spine and her ribs and little arms and legs. I got to see her little heart valves, organs, and brain. Then came the profile picture. Oh my gosh-she looks like a little Who! I fell head over heels in love and felt a bond forming quicker than you could imagine. I thought “Please God, let her be OK” and my thoughts on losing her were so much different. I wanted to fight tooth and nail to make sure she was happy and healthy. Talk about emotional!

I decided on the HARMONY blood test, as I mentioned in my last post. It took over a week and a half to get the results in, which wasn’t too bad for such a test however, it was KILLING us. We have been keeping busy with the house. When life gives you lemons (and a tax refund), renovate the entire first floor! The project is almost finished and adds just a bit more sweetness to this whole thing knowing we are getting the house ready for her now. I will post pictures when it is complete.

When the genetic counselor called me and told me she had good news, I almost cried. I was so overjoyed to know that my daughter wasn’t going to be born with such an unfortunate syndrome or disorder. I immediately called my parents, who knew about this, and Hubby and everyone was so happy. It did help a little for me that some of my good friends here at work are MDs and reassured me that it was going to be fine. It helped a lot my family was so supportive and loving towards us. But now! The waiting game has probably given me a good chunk of grey hairs and I am so, so glad that it is over.

Everything has changed in this pregnancy in the last few weeks. To start, I don’t feel like death/zombie/dying. I eat normal meals now and my appetite is increasing ten fold. I saw my baby and found out it was actually a she, exciting me beyond belief. I also got to see the little munchkin hanging out and being happy, making me fall in love. Now, I can feel her kick and move as she gets more and more active and grows bigger and bigger every day. I HATED being pregnant more than anything. I am still not a huge fan but knowing our little girl is on her way and feeling her move has been life changing. I FINALLY feel like I thought I should. I am happy, excited, content, and overjoyed. That storm has passed and we couldn’t be happier.

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Waiting Game

So as an update from last week, we went and had an ultrasound done. The baby looks good except for the bowel area. The bowel gave off a little extra pizzazz to the machine so it means there could be a problem as this is an indicator of DS. So super scary. We opted for a non-invasive blood test called HARMONY which we will hopefully get NEGATIVE results by the end of this week or early next week. I am still a nervous wreck. However, the doctor asked me if I had any bleeding during the first three months and indeed, I had. I had some light spotting for at least like 3 weeks during the first 2-3 months. He said that the echogenecity that the ultrasound was picking up was probably from the baby swallowing blood. Well that is ok with me! However, on the actual transcript of my test results, it says that this increases my odds by 6.4. I suppose I should be grateful that this doesn’t increase my odds to 6.4? Either way, I am still fairly scared and uncertain.

However, everything changed when they told me we would be having a …… GIRL! I am overjoyed! I wanted a little girl so so badly! I am trying to stay positive and I can tell you right now I will be doing cartwheels (or at least trying to) when I hear that the test results came back negative. The only difference between an amnio and the HARMONY is that the amnio can say definitely YES or definitely NO about DS. HARMONY can only tell you definitely YES and PROBABLY NO. However, it will decrease my risk to <1:10,000 which is absolutely fine with me. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and counting the days till I hear the good news.

Even with this potential dark cloud hanging over us, Hubby and I are very excited. I finally feel like a mother-to-be and not just some parasite’s host. As weird and heartless as that sounds, that is exactly how I felt until they told me it was actually a she and I saw her kicking and moving around on the screen. I also got a really great US profile shot with a tiny little ski-jump nose and her little hand in the picture. I also got to see her heart, stomach, brain, and her little bones. She is about 6 oz (probably a little more this week) and very active. I’ve also started to feel her! It is a strange feeling and it is hard for me to decipher what is baby and what is gas or what have you. However, my sister and Hubby BOTH swear they felt her this week. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Dave so excited. As soon as he felt her, he texted like half his friends! It was actually kind of cute. 

So before I announce that I’m having a girl and I announce what we plan to call her (so far), I am going to wait until the results. We would like to have a very small gender reveal party for our immediate family and close friends as soon as we hear. I wanted to have a party this weekend if we found out the good news by the end of the week, but my sister is in Kentucky until Sunday night and I don’t want to do it without her. She already knows, of course, but I would love for her to be there.

I am also super excited to go shopping now that I know what I’m going to have. Registering will be fun too, but I am going to wait until my sister comes home to go with me for that! I finally feel “normal” and I think I will feel AMAZING once I know my little girl is going to be healthy.

If you could send positive vibes our way, I would be very grateful.

Love, as always,

C.

Pregnancy Is Scary

I’m going to be honest here. Pregnancy is some scary shit. People mostly only talk about all the good stuff: The excitement of having a child, the kicking they can feel, the happy glow of the mom, knowing you’re growing a little human inside of you… People don’t generally talk about all the scary shit that can go on, too. Like having a miscarriage. They are far more common than people care to think about. Spotting or any blood really can send an expecting mom right into a nightmare. Or what about the risks of having a child with a disability or a deformity. It happens.

There is a test that the doctors order that assess your risk of having a baby with Spina Bifida, Down Syndrome, and another one (I can’t remember right now… pregnancy brain??). If you are at a risk of 1:250 for DS, you are positive. Well, my test came back positive. I am at an elevated risk and I have a higher chance of having a baby with DS. I am totally scared, I won’t lie.

What is next? Today, we go in and meet with a genetic counselor and a doctor. The good news is that we get to see a 3D ultrasound today and while they will be checking for all sorts of normal things as well as abnormalities, we should be able to find out the sex. Hopefully they just say “Oh wow, what an awesome looking baby you guys have in there!” and it ends there. Otherwise, I know we can have an amniocentesis done, which will tell us for sure yes or no on DS. That is scary too as it carries a higher risk of miscarriage and it would be sort of silly to do that test if it isn’t completely necessary.

This is so frustrating to me. I have gone through so many tests to make sure I could conceive. We conceived on our own (high five!) after trying for a while and thinking for a while that there is a possibility that I couldn’t have children. Now, we are finally pregnant and there could be something wrong with my baby? I am frustrated because there are moms out there who do drugs, don’t take care of themselves, are still in high school, etc. that can get pregnant and have happy healthy babies and we work hard to take care of ourselves and be healthy and have our ducks in a row to bring a child into this world and we have to face so many challenges? Of course it could be worse. I AM pregnant after all, which is definitely a miracle and something to be extremely grateful for. But I’m just being honest when I admit to my frustration. I feel like I have a 5 year old inside of me saying “It’s not fair!” with a nice petite foot stomp to really drive the point home.

I know there are a lot of options for us and there are things we can do for ourselves and our baby if the tests come back positive and it does have DS. Maybe it is more scary to me because I spent two years working with individuals with DS and their families and I know first hand that it is a very bumpy uphill road, albeit rewarding and full of love. I don’t know if we are ready for that. I can’t even guarantee you we are ready for a baby yet!

We are going to take it one day at a time. Yesterday, we were very busy with work and things, which turned out to be a blessing. Today, I sill have about 2 hours before I leave for my appointment. I am just hoping and praying for good news and for the scan to be very good news and perhaps drop the risk to a better ratio.

My poor husband doesn’t know what to do. I hate leaning on him when I am upset and don’t know what to do because I don’t want to burden him. However, that is what marriage is all about. You lean on each other to make it through things and you have to be strong together. I know in the end, we will be just fine. I know that we are going to be blessed with a happy and healthy life and family. It is just getting over these little scares (or the entirety of this freaky thing called pregnancy!) that we have to take one day at a time and keep on trucking.

I know 1:250 is a high number and by reading lots of comments and things on the internet, many many women with much higher risk ended up having great healthy babies. It means I have a 249:250 chance of having a healthy baby. I just hate when the doctors come back saying something isn’t right (like when they found cysts on my kidneys randomly??) SCARY. Maybe its just a test? Who knows. We will figure this out.

Hopefully I will have good news to share later!

Much love.

-C

Sweet 16!

This week marks week number 16 of ~40 weeks. Almost getting to the halfway point! I named this little diddy Sweet 16 because I FINALLY feel more human. My energy has increased 10 fold and I find myself wanting to do stuff. I still get really tired by nighttime but I think that is normal for any human being. It is very exciting to be able to look at a piece of food and be like “Oh hey long lost burger, I think I can probably tolerate you now!” which, in my case, means I’ll eat 3 bites and save it for later in which I will take 3 more bites. But hey, we’re making progress.

My mood hasn’t really changed. I don’t think I am so much of a beast anymore, though, which I am sure everyone is grateful for. Unless I am hungry. Then I am still a complete asshole. Oh well. My tolerance for bullshit hasn’t wavered from the almost zero tolerance policy I so quickly adapted at the beginning of this. I don’t have the energy or the patience to be “politely nice” anymore. If you’re being a douche, I’m not going to pretend you’re not. I am in full Mama Bear mode and will gouge your eyes out if you look at me wrong. I’m going to chalk that up to being “natural”.

I am slightly showing. My biggest fear is having a missed miscarriage, which I suppose is every pregnant lady’s fear. I am reassured by one of my doctor friends that some women do drugs, live in poverty, or consume copious amounts of alcohol and their kids are (sometimes) ok. I feel a little better because I am fairly healthy and all. But it is a huge fear and I am starting to stress about my doc’s appointment on Monday morning. I wish I could call and be like “Hey, so can I just stop by today? You know, just to say hi. NBD”. All this stuff is normal (that is what I keep telling myself).

On Monday, I will make my appointment to have the ultrasound which will hopefully tell us if it is going to be a boy or a girl. I am still keeping my fingers crossed for a girl and for some reason I am convinced it is going to be a girl. A lot of other people are too. I am just hoping they are correct. I want to be able to play dress up and dollies and tea parties. I also want to be able to team up against Hubby 😉 In total honesty, I want to raise a daughter to be a strong independent woman and to do whatever she wants, regardless of sex. Same with a male, I suppose, but the challenges facing women are so much more today than they should be. I have lived my entire life being a strong woman and doing what I wanted and getting what I wanted from life (by working my tail off). I want my daughter to grow the same way and live her own life the way she wants. I mean a boy would be cool too, but I’m just keeping my fingers crossed for a daughter!

Anyways, I am doing pretty well. Starting to get excited about our little bundle of joy coming this September. Nesting is beginning to happen, so this weekend new hardwood floors are going in and I AM PUMPED. I’ll be posting some before and after pictures next week. We took up the carpet and already my house doesn’t smell like dog/dirt anymore. So excited to get the flooring done! Bring on the weekend!

 

Lesson Learned #235

Today I learned that I cannot use “mind over matter” for everything. After driving like a dog with my head out the window and walking around my car to get rid of the nausea, I frantically looked around to figure out where I could puke. I chose the snowbank in front of my car and proceeded to puke on the front bumper of my car while pretending to be checking out my tires. Professional park and some lady is puking on her bumper? Hey, it’s cool, right??

My mind did not prevail today. Not. At. All.

An Open Letter to Moms

ImageDear Mommy,

Congratulations! You are a mother! I am very happy for you. I, too, will soon be a mom! What a wonderful feeling! I was just wondering, though, because you’re a mom now, does it mean you have to try to scare the bajeezus out of everyone else who is yet to go through what you have gone through? Or perhaps you enjoy this? Some sort of right of passage as a mother?
See, I’m a bit confused. I can’t really tell if you’re intentions are good or you’re just trying to be an asshole.

I will admit, this is new to me. Just like marriage was new to me. When I was getting married you bet your ass I was getting all sorts of unsolicited advice from every Tom, Dick, and Harry (or Tina, Debbie, and Henrietta?) about my marriage and-more often than not-how it is going to completely fail. I would also like to publicly thank everyone who told me horror stories about how terrible marriage is and how the honeymoon phase is now over so I’d better invest in a good moo moo and some bonbons. I would also like you to know that my three year marriage is fantastic and we are still waiting for this “honeymoon phase” to come crashing down around us so we can start really hating each other.

Do think that I truly believe my newborn baby is going to sleep 12 hours a night and change itself? Or that my baby isn’t going to throw up… ever? I’m really not sure. I have heard so many times “Better get your sleep now… you’ll never sleep again!” Yes, I realize that. That is what happens when there is a baby to take care of. I am also a person who wakes up at any hour of the night to drive to a strangers house to perform CPR when their husband is having a heart attack or helping a little old lady off the toilet when they’ve fallen and can’t get up. It is ok. I will figure it out. We kind of knew this going into having a child, so it isn’t going to be a surprise-but thank you so much for the concern!

Yesterday, a friend came to visit and noticed I had bought a new bottle of cocoa butter. She laughed at me about stretchmarks. I really just would like some moisturizing lotion to help with my dry skin, but ok. I have no illusion that “stretch mark cream” or body lotion is going to prevent or cure any stretchmarks. You may tell me that no matter how skinny you get you will never wear a two piece again and that I will be in the same boat with you. I don’t think so. You know what? I might look like Tony the Tiger after this is said and done-but that’s ok. I’ll figure it out when the time comes.  Did you also know I have had severe stretchmarks on my butt, hips, and knees since a huge high school growth spurt and I went on to prance around in a bikini onstage WITH my wonderfully purple stripes? It will be ok.

How about my motorcycle? I should sell that thing, huh? I’ll never ride again now that I will have a baby. Hubby better sell his bike too, if we want to survive financially. Why keep them if they are just going to sit in a garage or a shed and never get any use? Quick question-do YOU want my bike? Am I supposed to sell it at a discount to you or something because I am never allowed back on it? I don’t understand. I have family locally, Hubby has family locally. There isn’t any reason why we can’t ask Mimi or Grammy play with Little One for a couple of hours while we go out for a ride once in a while. And if you’re worried about my finances (bless your heart!), they are paid off and insurance is dirt cheap, so please don’t worry. We’ll figure it out. It will be ok.

Lastly (for now), I would just like you to know that I do NOT, in fact, like to be pregnant. This isn’t “wonderful” and I don’t feel good. You may have had the world’s easiest happiest most feel good pregnancy known to man, but I’m not enjoying this. With this, I just want to remind you that everyone is different. While you enjoyed every second, I am counting down every second until he or she is here so I can hopefully get a little relief. While you might have thought your kid was going to be super-baby and never cry, I am expecting my kid to be a little terror. While you sit there all smug thinking “This lady has NO idea what she has gotten herself into”, please know I made a conscious choice to try to have a child and start a family and I have a pretty good idea that life is going to change. I am expecting it to change. It is terrifying, exciting, and non-negotiable. Shits gonna hit the fan and it is going to be both great and sucky at the same time.

With this being said, I would like to pose a serious question: How am I supposed to respond? I just nod, giving my most sympathetic face and say “Oh no” or “Oh yes” or “Oh my!” and pat my belly for good measure. There is no way to really respond to “You’re never going to sleep again”. Because what I’d like to say is “I will sleep. Whether I fall asleep in my cereal or actually get to squeeze a nap in when my sister is watching the baby, I will sleep at some point!” Because I’m not a fucking vampire and neither are you.

All I ask is that you stop treating me like I’m an idiot. I will completely admit that I haven’t experienced this yet and I have no idea what is really going to happen. But I would very much appreciate it if you’d stop treating me like I was born yesterday. Instead, ask how I am feeling. Give me good advice (keeping a roll of tums in my purse? Great idea!) and be positive. Of course there are going to be crappy things to watch out for and to dread, but your smug “You just wait!” attitude is exhausting.

Just an FYI though: I will figure it out. It will be ok.

A very exhausted and annoyed Mom-to-Be,

C.

P.S. I know this whole getting advice thing is inevitable and is going to continue happening (for the rest of my life). I just wish I had a mute button, that is all.

 

Baby Firefighter Coming September 2014!

We finally made our announcement. We let the guys on the fire department know and well-they are guys-so the overwhelming response was “Cool. Congratulations.” However, if I was still dancing, my fellow dancers would be sashaying around me screeching and blowing out eardrums so I guess it is just the company that you keep. We also posted on Facebook and got a lot of congratulations and support, which is nice. It just feels so good to finally let the secret out and not to have to pretend that I’m totally normal! 

Here’s the announcement we made:

Image

We really are super excited. I am getting more and more used to the idea every day. I am fairly certain I am beginning to show now. You can tell my belly isn’t just fat, there is something there. I am looking forward to being a little more pregnant so that people aren’t all like “Wow-that’s a fatty!”. However, I am totally loving being able to wear my own clothes still and not have to worry about getting new pants just yet!

Life is good. Baby is coming, I am starting to understand that, and Hubby is excited (and as of late helping around the house, making my job SO much easier!!)

xx C