Thursday, July 31, 2008

Finally, some normal screening results - now, KICK ME!

Yesterday, I called the doctor to get the results of my latest screening test. The only minor thing was that there was a bit of bacteria in my urine culture, so they told me to drink cranberry juice. It's not even enough to take medicine for and I had the same amount back in May apparently.

On the bright side, we got our first ever normal screening results back. My quad screen, which tests the level of Alphafeto protein in my blood came back normal! I am really not a fan of these screening tests. I've now had 1 with Dashiell and 1 with this one come back with a false positive. The older you are, the more age can skew the results. I've also learned that when you have extremely high or extremely low levels that it can indicate a higher risk for pregnancy loss. Unfortunately, the doctors can't specifically identify what the cause would be, just that there is a higher risk for that. Now, how is that useful information for a patient? Really, it just throws you into panic and worry. What mom to be needs that?

This past Saturday, this baby was moving so much, it felt like I had a little rockette (or male rockette - whatever that's called) in there. I went to see Glenn's show and the baby only moved when he spoke. I'm sure it was coincidence, but it was very cool. I was so happy to feel that much movement. It's just so reassuring. Well, not for long. Sunday, Monday & Tuesday, I barely felt anything. Even though I know that this is normal for this point, (after all, I'll only be 20 weeks tomorrow) it takes me back to this past Christmas and throws me into a panic. One of the lovely effects of post traumatic stress disorder. I was feeling the baby, just not like Saturday. Since I was still feeling movement in a different place I'm sure it was because the placenta was in the way. Even though I rationally know that, it does not help with panic.

I had a serious talk with the munchkin on Wednesday. "Listen, you. I'm your mommy here and I need you to move and let me know you're ok in there. I need you to keep mommy sane. You can drive me crazy all you want when you're a teenager, but don't play those games with me now!" Since then, baby has been more active and I am feeling relieved!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A leap of faith

Shopping for maternity clothes should be a lot of fun. I remember last time how happy I was when I finally had to break them out. This time, I've been avoiding it altogether. I had ordered some clothes online that arrived the day we found out about the elevated risk of Trisomy 13 & 18. Afraid, to jinx anything, I left them in the box until after the amnio results. Most of them have to go back, anyway, but I didn't want to do anything until I knew what was going on.

Finally, on Sunday, my friend Taifa and I went shopping for maternity clothes. I'm so glad she was with me, because I actually enjoyed the experience instead of panicking the whole time. She also found some great stuff for me!

We finally went to check out and the woman tells me how they'll send me free samples of this, free subscription to parent's magazine. NOOOOOOO!!! Please don't send me anything. I can't bear the thought of having to cancel anything again. It's too much. Thankfully, with Taifa's encouragement, I was able to relax a bit and say yes. I just wonder if I'll ever feel comfortable with this pregnancy.

I'm afraid that the minute I start to relax, I'll get knocked down with some big blow. The magical thinking ("if I don't buy maternity clothes, then everything will be fine. " "if I don't subscribe to any magazines, then everything will be ok.") has to stop sometime, right? My therapist tells me to just ask myself, "what's your proof" Even though I know the answer is "there is none", my mind says, "because that's what happened last time". I can only hope that after I get past that 24 week 5 day point, that things will start looking up and maybe I will be able to trust a little more.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

So thankful

Thursday afternoon, I was sitting listening to a town hall at work with my hands on my stomach. For the first time, I felt this little munchkin kick on the outside. I was so excited! I never was able to feel Dashiell move with my hand. I really didn't even feel Dash move at all until about 20 weeks. Here I was at 18w 5d really feeling this baby move with my hand! I couldn't wait to tell Glenn. When I did, he just got the biggest smile and said, "Wow! I'm excited now. I want to feel it!"

Yesterday, we had our level 2 ultrasound (aka the "big" ultrasound). This is where they check to make sure that the baby is ok anatomically. I was very nervous about yesterday, especially given that we've been so lucky so far. I was also nervous about the possible of a single umbilical artery.

When we went in, we could see the baby right away, moving as usual! S/he would either kick or punch the u/s machine when the tech would depress the probe on my belly. The cord is a dual artery cord, the heart has 4 chambers, 5 fingers on each hand, 5 toes on each foot, just perfect!

This may sound strange, but I feel like this baby looks a little more like me than Dash did. Dashiell was the spitting image of Glenn, and I could tell from the ultrasounds. This baby definitely has a little more "Mayne" in him or her.

After the ultrasound, we saw Dr. G. He is pleased with everything so far. I have gained a total of 10 pounds (using my weight prior to being pregnant as the starting point), which he was happy with. He said that so far, everything looks good!

My next appointment will be in 4 weeks and I will have a follow up level 2 ultrasound. I'll start seeing Dr. G every 2 weeks starting at 28 weeks, with a once weekly bio-physical profile. Depending on how everything goes, he may up the profiles to 2x per week.

I'm still feeling a little trepidation with the approach of the 24 week 5 day mark is looming. That said, I do feel like we've finally gotten over some major hurdles. I'm just so thankful that things look good.

On a separate note, I'm thrilled that 2 of my online friends who lost their first babies in their second trimester just found out that they are pregnant again! It really brightens my day and gives me hope for the future.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Three for Three!

Much to my surprise, on Friday, we found out that the rest of the amnio results came back and this is a genetically normal baby! What a relief. I'm so thankful.

Today, we found out that this baby does not have alloimmune thrombocytopenia. We are so relieved. A huge weight has been lifted. If all goes well, I won't need the c-section that I would have if the baby had NAIT. I won't need the blood treatments and maybe, just maybe, I can actually start to enjoy this pregnancy.

I wish I could relax and trust that everything will be ok, but I still feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. That said, I'm feeling more hopeful today than I have for this pregnancy.

I'm praying that our "big" ultrasound on Friday goes well, and that the umbilical cord is not a single artery cord. We'll see, but for now, I'm just so happy and thankful!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Still Waiting...

Here we are, 1 week and 2 days after the amnio. It feels like a lifetime. We're still waiting for results, but I did get a little information yesterday. Megan, Dr. JB's assistant called the Blood Center of Wisconsin. They told her that my results should be ready by Tuesday. These are the results that will tell us whether or not this baby has NAIT. I'm praying that the baby does not, but if s/he does, I want to start treatment immediately.

I can't believe how much my life has changed over the course of one year. One year ago today, I wasn't even thinking about having a baby. Little did I know that I would conceive a child, lose a child and conceive another by one year later. I found out that I was pregnant with Dashiell on August 4, 2007. One week from today will mark 7 months since I lost him.

I think of my precious Dashiell every day. I picture him in heaven, being spoiled rotten by my mom and playing with all of the other angel babies. I know he is a part of this baby and it's comforting to know that this baby has such a wonderful guardian angel.

Since finding out last August that I would be a mother, it's hard for me to remember a time not so long ago that motherhood was the farthest thing from my mind. Over the past year, I've become very attached to my new role and it has changed me profoundly. I may not have a living child in my arms, but I am a mother. When people ask me if I have children, I answer, "Yes, I have a child, but he died." I want people to know. I now understand depths of love that a mother feels for her child.

Now, no matter what happens, I have two children. I pray that this one will be my earth baby that I can hold and watch grow. I'm still very scared of losing this baby and I probably will be even after this one is born. I'll feel much better once we have the amnio results back, but even then, I know all to well how many women lose their babies at term.

I really envy anyone who can have a carefree pregnancy. It's something that I have never had and never will. I wonder what it would be like to have my biggest worry be what stroller to buy, or what color to paint the nursery. On the flip side, I do realize how precious each and every day is with this baby. I thank God every day for the time I have already had.

This baby started to make itself known to me last week. This past Monday I got an actual jab! Of course, it is still too early to feel any kind of regular movement, but it's nice that to be reassured. It's as if s/he is telling me, "Hey, mom, I'm in here and I'm fine so stop worrying!" I'm so thankful for each day and each flutter. This baby is loved so much already. As much as I love this baby, I still miss my baby Dashiell. Although I am thankful, this baby will never be a replacement for him. He will always be my first child, my Christmas angel, my precious Dash.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Good news - for now

Yesterday, I waited by the phone all day for the preliminary amnio results. They were supposed to tell us is the baby has trisomy 21, 18 or 13. The wait was awful. I finally broke down around 2:30 and called Anna, the genetic counsellor, to see if she could call the lab.

She finally called back around 3:30 saying that the lab would not have results back Friday. She spoke with the director of the lab, put my number in her cell phone and said that she'd call today either way with an update.

I waited around all day today with the phone by my side. I wasn't holding my breath, though. I assumed that we would probably hear on Monday. At 4:28pm, the phone rang and it was Anna. She said, "I have good news. So far, everything is normal." I cried from relief and thanked her. She really went above and beyond for us, calling the lab on her day off and calling to let us know results. I'm so thankful that we had her again.

Now, we just need to hear about the NAIT results and the rest of the amnio results. We're used to waiting, but at least we have one hurdle behind us! I'll take that for now and just be thankful and revel in the moment.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Waiting Game

We finally had the amniocentesis yesterday. Luckily, I had my sister and niece in town Tuesday night and yesterday morning to distract me. We got to the doctor's office around 10:45am for our 11am appointment. We waited for what seemed like forever, but what was really only one hour.

We finally got into the procedure room and I was looking forward to having a full scan with measurements and all, but since they were done last week, the ultrasound tech did not do any. The munchkin's heartbeat was 148. As soon as she put the ultrasound on my belly, we could see the little one in there moving all over the place, as if to reassure us.

I asked the tech if she could see if the cord had 1 or 2 vessels. At first, she said she thought 2, but later she said it could possibly be a single artery cord. This can be a marker for Trisomy 13 or 18, other physiological defects, or not a problem at all. She couldn't be sure one way or the other, though. DAMN!!!!! One more detail to worry about.

About 1/2 hour later, Dr. RB came in to perform the procedure. He let me know that my uterus had moved enough to give him a spot to go in without going through the placenta. I was extremely nervous. The amnio that I had last year for Dashiell was one of the most painful things I have ever experienced. Glenn held both of my hands. The needle went in. I felt it go through my uterus, but barely felt anything at all! I didn't even feel the pressure of the fluid coming out. It was over quickly and I felt fine afterwards.

The little munchkin had curled up after and the heartbeat was 158. All was well. We got home around 1:30 and I immediately went to lie down in bed. My sister and Pat brought my niece over last night. It was a welcome distraction, but I was told to take it easy. My friends Taifa and Paul came over to help me with her, which allowed me to spend time with her, without having to get on the floor and play.

I did not sleep well last night. I woke up around 4:30 and never quite got back to sleep. It's only 3:45 pm right now. This waiting is killing me. I need to get a phone call tomorrow saying that the baby does not have trisomy 13, 18 or 21. I can't lose this child. It's just not an option. Please God, please, let this baby be born healthy, alive and normal.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Jerk Pat!

My sister called me on Friday to let me know that she would be coming to NYC with my 4 year old niece this Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Not great timing with the amnio coming up again, but I was still very excited to see them. They were planning on staying with us.

Last night, I got a call that they were going to stay in a hotel and that our close family friend, Pat (affectionately known as "jerk Pat") is coming, too. Now, I'm excited to see Pat, but I do not want her to know that I am pregnant. I don't really want anyone else to know until we're very close to delivery, or at least until we know what we're dealing with.

I guess I'm going to have to dress in a giant trash bag, or something similar with no form, because I'm bigger than I've ever been! On the bright side, my precious niece will be having a sleepover at my place on Wednesday night while her mom goes to a Broadway show with Jerk Pat. It will be a good way to take my mind off of the amnio, plus, I love her so much!!!

The anxiety is starting to build again about the amnio, the results for any Trisomy and the possibility of NAIT. I feel like we've been in a holding pattern for so long. I'm just ready to move & do something. It's horrible, helpless feeling; especially for a control freak, like me.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

No Go for the Amnio

So, I got to the Dr office yesterday morning and went through the genetic counselling. (ironically, the genetic counsellor was the same on I had back in November at a different hospital. She just moved to this office 1 month ago and she's fantastic).

After that, I was brought into the procedure room. The u/s tech wanted to do a "mini" anatomy scan. Since it's still so early, there is only so much to be seen. She really reassured me that everything looks really good. The nasal bone was very visible (an absent nasal bone can . She said that usually with Trisomy 13 &18, there are things that are very abnormal. Baby was moving around like crazy, weighs 5oz, measured at 16w5d (over 1 week ahead!) and had a heartbeat of 154.

After the scan was over (about 1/2 hour later) we got ready for the amnio. Dr RB came in to take a look. Since my placenta is anterior, there was no way for him to go in without going through the placenta. Normally this would not be a problem, but because we may be dealing with Alloimmune Thrombocytopenia, he was nervous about the baby's blood getting into my blood stream, causing my body to vigorously attack the baby. He wants to wait a week and see if my uterus moves into a different position where he can go in and avoid the placenta. If next week, he is not able to, but it looks like things are moving, it may be delayed until the following week. If it hasn't moved and doesn't look like it's going to, he will do it next week.

At least I got a little reassurance regarding the trisomy 13/18 situation. I think I'll be ok waiting until next week. Plus, the genetic counsellor is going to call the lab personally for an early pick up so that we can hopefully have results for trisomy 21, 18 & 13 the next day.

This is all very frustrating, but as long as the end result is a healthy, normal, living baby, I don't care what I have to go through.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Peace & Bad Dreams

I've been plagued by bad dreams lately. This past Sunday night, I had a very vivid and intense dream that I was bleeding and blod clots were coming out. I went to the hospital and my mother was there. At that point I woke up. It was 1am. I went to the bathroom to make sure it was just a dream & went back to sleep.

The dream started back up again. I was waiting in the hospital with my mom; waiting to see if something was wrong. We finally got in an elevator with 2 pregnant women who were happy. I remember crying and praying when I woke up again. It was 4:30am and I could not go back to sleep.

It's ironic, because on Sunday afternoon, for the first time since the NT screen results, I had a feeling of peace and a strong sense that everything was ok.

Needless to say, the dream threw me for a loop. These results can't come fast enough. I'm not looking forward to the actual amnio. I know how painful it will be. It will all be worth it, though, if everything is ok.