Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Genetic Counseling, the NT Scan & Ultrasound #4

We had our appointment with the MFM's office this morning. We were there for more than two hours, between the genetic counseling and the scan and the bloodwork, and spent almost the entire time with doctors and counselors, rather than waiting around, which was great.

We started by meeting with the genetic counselor. I had wanted to meet with her because I had really been struggling with what types of testing I wanted to do. T. had said that we should do whatever I wanted, which was kind, but not incredibly helpful. I am really glad we decided to talk to the genetic counselor. She went through our ages, our medical histories, the medical histories of our parents and siblings and their kids, and then on to aunts, uncles and cousins. I have several cousins who have had children with genetic disorders, as does T. I wasn't as concerned about T's, as my own research had shown that it was X-linked and he therefore could not be a carrier, but it was nice to have that confirmed.

The genetic counselor was really nice and spent a lot of time talking to us about genetic disorders, what gets tested for (essentially, with CVS and amnio, they check all chromosomes for translocations, missing parts, and/or extra or missing chromosomes; amnio can test for neural tube defects and CVS can't), showing us pictures of chromosomes to help explain things, and the timing of the tests (CVS up to 14 weeks; amnio from 15 1/2 weeks to 20 weeks). She said that they only test for specific diseases if there is a particular risk factor for them, and since the disease that runs in T's family is X-linked, there aren't any unusual diseases we need to test for (the ones in my family are the standard ones that get checked for).

The big surprise was that when going through family history, T. happened to mention that his mother had multiple miscarriages (5-6). Although I knew this, I hadn't thought much about it. The genetic counselor, however, said that this might be indicative of a chromosomal defect which could be genetic, and she recommended that he be tested to determine whether he has a translocation or some other issue. She said that this could be behind my miscarriages. It was a simple blood test, and not overly expensive even if our insurance doesn't cover it (she thinks it should, though), so we opted to do it. The results should be in in 2-3 weeks, and we should have them before we have to make a decision about amnio. We would have to go into Boston for CVS, and the stat that the Boston hospital that does the CVS is quoting is 1 in 100 for miscarriage, which is higher than I've read in other places. I think she said the miscarriage rate for amnio is 1 in 400. Based on that, and based on the results of today's scan, as well as the availability of early amnio, I think I've decided against CVS.

Once we were done with the genetic counseling, we went back for the ultrasound. The tech was very pregnant and clearly uncomfortable. I freaked out a little at first, because she couldn't find the heartbeat. Well actually, she couldn't find the baby at all. I think it freaked her out, too. My uterus is tipped backwards, and the way the baby was positioned today made it difficult to spot him (I'm CONVINCED, by the way, that it's a boy). Eventually, she found him, and I started breathing again. She had a great deal of trouble getting a neck measurement, though, because he was positioned feet up. In fact, we got great views of his feet, kicking away! His head, not so much. She was pressing down really hard all over my abdomen, which was quite uncomfortable--particularly on my bladder!

Eventually, she went and talked to the doctor, and then came back and told me to take my pants off in case the doctor needed to use the dildocam. The doctor came in a few minutes later, and was very no-nonsense. She used the abdominal ultrasound wand for about two seconds, found the heartbeat (which measured 167 this visit), said that the baby was "growing well" and the baby's growth was right on target for 11.5-12 weeks (I am 11 weeks 6 days today), and also said that the amniotic fluid was measuring well. She was then able to get the neck measurement, because the baby had moved around sideways. I think the baby must've moved around when I got up to take my pants off (well that, and T. was making me laugh while the tech was out of the room). She said the neck measurement was 0.9 (or maybe she said .09, but I think it was the former), and well within the range of "normal," so no concerns there. And then the MFM was off.

After the doctor left, the tech was really sweet. She put the ultrasound wand back on my belly to try to get a good shot so we could take some pictures home with us. She kept apologizing that she hadn't been able to get a good enough shot to give us a picture. She ended up getting three of them, including this one, which shows the baby's head and his nose on the left side of the photo (I'm afraid he's gotten my nose!), and one little leg kicking away on the right side of the photo.

Once we finished up with the ultrasound, they took a vial of my blood for the screening tests, and T's blood for the genetic testing. They are going to inspect all of his chromosomes for any potential problems. If there are any, we can then have the baby tested during amnio, to see if there are any issues we should be concerned about. My bloodwork will be back by the end of the week, at which point they'll tell us what our risk is for Down's.

I feel relieved that we saw a heartbeat. I feel relieved that things continue to go well. I feel relieved that the neck measurement looks good. I am someone that needs a lot of information. I feel more in control with information at my fingertips, so this was a really good experience.

In fact, I am in such a good place that I decided that we might as well tell people now. I'm never going to feel completely safe, until the baby comes out alive and healthy. . .and then I'll just worry about a million other things, I'm sure! I would love to wait until after amnio, which is just another 3-4 weeks (they'd give us partial results within 3-4 days of having it done, and then full results within two weeks). But, T. doesn't think he can wait that long, and the chances of there being a problem really are quite small. I do know that. I am just a worry wart! So, I'm going to spend some time tonight putting together the things which we will be using to make the big announcement to our families. Look for more for this week's Show & Tell.

Monday, June 29, 2009

One More Day

Tomorrow is the NT scan! And then we hit 12 weeks! It will be really good to have both milestones behind us.

T. and I had another long conversation this weekend about telling vs. not telling. It didn't go so well, in that I got really angry. Part of it was no doubt hormonal, but part of it is that I'm also still really mad about how pushy his mother has been. I just can't help it. It makes me so angry that we couldn't just have this little space of time on our own terms. It makes me so angry that she couldn't just ignore whatever she thought she knew. As I explained to T., I can deal with something bad happening. I can't deal with people knowing, and something bad happening. It makes me stressed that she knows. The first miscarriage, she didn't know we had been trying, but T. felt so terrible that he told her about it. She has repeatedly tried to bring it up with me, even though I've never talked to her about it, and changed the subject every time. I know that she would not give me the space I need if something happened again, and that really bothers me.

T. thinks I am looking at this the wrong way, and that I should be grateful because people would be supportive if something bad happened. We are hard-wired soooo differently. He would like support in that situation. I would like to be left alone to process it on my own. He thinks that is backward and unhealthy, and that I would be better off talking things out. I completely disagree (he also doesn't know about the entire IF universe and how much support I get here--I'm not sure why, but I've never bothered to tell him, perhaps because initially I just needed a space to myself to work things out, and then once I moved past it, I just never told him.)

We are supposed to spend this weekend with my MIL and T. had wanted to tell her this weekend, but we obviously won't have the 1st tri screening results back yet, because I haven't had the bloodwork done yet. I told T. that I don't want to tell until we get the test results back. In the end, he agreed, but not without a big debate over it. He thinks I am unfairly upset at his mother. Perhaps that's true--but I can't help how I feel. And if we don't tell this weekend, I'm sure she will push the issue, because she just won't be able to help herself, which I am dreading. I've invited several friends of mine and their kids (it's a big party), and I'm hoping to use them as a buffer.

I'm sure I'm being a complete bitch about all of this, especially because I know my MIL is very excited about having another grandchild, but how I feel is so colored by our experiences of the last few years. I have really tried to give myself breathing space each time we've suffered a setback, and that's what has allowed me to move through the bad stuff. I'm feeling crowded and pushed now, and I don't like it. It's not what I need.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Blah, Blah, Blah

I don't really have anything exciting to update. I have my NT scan on Tuesday, and I am anxious to have that behind me. We will hit 12 weeks this week, if everything continues to go okay, which seems crazy. I am anxious to have that milestone behind me, as well.

I guess I have some vaguely interesting job news. I finally have an interview scheduled for September for that job that I really, really want (I've been working my way through the hiring process for months). The hiring schedule is really quite extended, so I pushed the interview out for as long as I could, because I don't want them to make me an offer before I have the baby (assuming, of course, we get that far with the baby--and I guess it's time for me to get over the disclaimers, because I have no reason to think we won't, at this point, other than sheer neuroses). I would have to turn the job down if I was 8 or 9 months pregnant at the time they offered it to me. Anything beyond that, I can work with. A weird quirk of the position is that I can't negotiate a start date. But I am so completely in love with the organization and the work that I'm willing to do practically anything to make it work.

Curiously enough, I was also contacted this week about another potential job situation. It's all very theoretical, but I would have a really hard time trying to decide what to do, if for some strange reason it actually pans out. The job I really, really want is the one I have the interview for in September, but I am many months from finding out if that job is a realistic possiblity for me. This new job that has popped up isn't nearly as appealing, but comes with a huge salary, good benefits, etc, and I would be doing interesting, challenging work. In other words, if Dream Job doesn't work out, this would be a good second choice. It is definitely time for me to move on from my current job, as much as I love it. The tough part about Second Choice is that it is, well, not my first choice, and they may be looking to hire almost immediately. On the other hand, once they find out I'm knocked up, they probably will not be so interested in me. Who wants to hire a new employee for a position with a high level of responsibility, only to have that person go out on maternity leave six months later? I also can't imagine them wanting to wait around another 9 months for me to finish maternity leave and come work for them, no matter how much they might like me.

But, both jobs are highly theoretical right now. I'm doing everything I can to make myself a good candidate for Dream Job, and not thinking too much about Second Choice. Time will tell what will happen.

And finally, I wish everyone would pipe down about Mich.ael Jack.son. It's been the "top story" on my local news for days. PLEASE. HIS DEATH IS NOT "NEWS." Yes, he had some big hits once upon a time. Yes, I'm sure the people who actually knew him and loved him are quite sad that he is gone, and I am sorry for their loss. But the reality is that the world is no worse off with one less pedophile. It irritates me to no end that people are willing to look past such egregious and terrible behavior because he was a famous and talented person. There are so many people in this world who are trying to make the world a better place who are so much more deserving of the tears of people who don't know them.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

This Week's Show & Tell: All About Telling

This week's Show & Tell falls just as we hit 11 weeks in this pregnancy. So perhaps I should finally get around to telling the story of how I told T. that we are pregnant.

Before I go into the story, I should mention that we went through a miscarriage two years ago, and T. was completely devestated by that experience. When we started trying again, I had decided that if I could protect him from that hurt again, I would. The cycle before this current pregnancy we had a chemical pregnancy. I didn't tell him about that pregnancy until after I was sure it was a chemical. So when we got pregnant the very next cycle, our third pregnancy, I waited until I had the results from two betas before I told him. If I could spare him any hurt at all, I was going to. Oh, and he was under the impression that we were already in the initial phases of an investigative cycle with the RE (we actually weren't yet, as I was still in the 2ww), and had no idea that we had a shot at pregnancy that cycle. So when the beta results were positive, FINALLY, I really wanted to tell him in a special way. I thought and thought about how I would break the news.

T. is a HUGE Harr.y Pot.ter fan. On long car rides, I usually read aloud to him in the car if I'm reading something good. On one trip a few years back, I read him a bit of HP, and he became hooked. We own all of the books and all of the movies, and are anxiously counting down to July 15, when the battle between good and evil will rage on in theaters nationwide.

I am also a big HP fan, and an even bigger fan of riddles. Every year for our anniversary, I torture T. with a bunch of riddles that lead to his anniversary present. Very conveniently, this year my uterus decided to coordinate with our anniversary. Our anniversary fell just after I got the results from my second beta.

So, what to do, how to tell? A Har.ry Pot.ter-esque anniversary riddle, of course!

For those of you who don't share our love of HP, it is worth knowing that in the novel Harr.y Pot.ter and the Gob.let of Fire, Harry was one of four young wizards competing in something called the Tri-Wiz.ard Tourn.ament. As part of the tournament, he had to secure a golden egg from the clutches of a dragon. And then, he had to figure out the secret that the golden egg held, in order to move on to the next stage of the tournament.

Im my travels across the internet, I found a site called Za.zzle where you can make your own custom-made items relatively inexpensively. I have used it several times before, and the results have always been quite good. They sell something called a morphing mug, which changes colors when you put something hot in it. Empty, it is a solid color, and appears innocuous enough. Full of hot liquid, it changes to a white mug, featuring whatever design you have put on it. Aha! I had my golden egg.

Blue Mug: Cold

White Mug with the big reveal: Hot

(wrapping around the mug, it says "Guess What?", then there's a picture of my positive pee stick, and then below it says "We're going to have to finish the renovations!* Happy 9th Anniversary!")

Then, I came up with a riddle:

When Harry saved the golden egg,
a mystery he had to peg.
And so you must do the same,
with this mug that here came.

Earth, wind, water, fire.
One of these you do desire.
Solve the riddle that is near
and the answer will appear.

Now, my thought process was that he would figure out that he needed water for the mug (because it's a mug), he would eventually figure out that the water needed to be hot, and he would then fill the mug with hot water. Presto! The picture of the positive pee stick would pop up, and he would be surprised and delighted.

Have I mentioned how differently T. and I think? Here was his thought process: Mug. Hmmm. If you put earth in it, you can put a seed in it and grow it. "You're pregnant!" Eyes full of tears, he was indeed both surprised and delighted.

Well, it got us there, even if it wasn't quite how I intended it.

Want to see what everyone else has brought for Show & Tell? Come join the fun, and while you're there , wish Mel a very happy blogoversary!

*We have been undergoing the world's longest-running renovations. I fully plan to tell people that I got pregnant solely in the hopes of causing my husband to finally finish our house.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Big Reveal

We are getting close to the point where we were planning on telling people that we are pregnant. I am dreading it. I really would like to just keep it quiet for now. It still doesn't feel safe. Even once we get through the NT scan and bloodwork next week, even if it is fine, I know I still won't feel safe. I am far more comfortable living in my own little world where no one knows, and if something bad happens, I can deal with it in my own way. God forbid something were to happen, I would loathe the "are you okays." I so much prefer to deal with things on my own.

Unfortunately, T. doesn't feel the same way. He doesn't even worry about things. Actually, he doesn't worry about anything, ever. He is the most positive person I have ever met, and greets each morning with a giant smile. He is very excited to tell people, and he is insisting that as long as the testing goes well next week, we tell his mother over the 4th of July weekend. Actually, I think he'd prefer to tell her then, either way. Just yesterday, he told me that it's been impossibly difficult for him to keep it in this long, because he wants to tell the world that he's going to be a dad.

I have a bunch of issues with this plan to tell next week. First, there is the fact that I don't really want to tell anyone yet (Can't we just wait until I'm showing!). Second (and I know this is childish, selfish and ridiculous), I don't really want to tell his family first. I would prefer to tell my own family first. Especially since his mother has refused to respect our wishes to keep this pregnancy private at this point, and has been asking questions about it. I don't feel like she should be rewarded for her lack of respect for our privacy by being the first to "officially" find out. Which is probably a stupid way to look at it, but it's just how I feel. But even more than that, there will be a ton of people at the big 4th of July bash that we are going to at her beach house, and I just don't feel like all of these people should know before my parents know. Ugh, and then there is my husband's sister, who has never been nice to me. So much better that we just avoid the whole telling that weekend (alas, I know this isn't going to happen).

Now, if the scan goes well next week, I could just tell my parents in the interim between the scan and the 4th, right? Except, I really don't want to break the news to either of my parents over the phone by just telling them. When your only daughter is over 35 and about to have your first grandchild, this seems like a lame way of finding out. Unfortunately, my desire to not break the news over the phone is complicated by the fact that a) my mother lives several states away, and b) my father is himself going away on vacation for several weeks, and leaving town just before my NT scan. Unfortunately, he is going far away, too, so it's not like I could just pop over and surprise him withthe news. And, I don't want to tell anyone until after the NT scan, which isn't until next Tuesday.

I also want to tell people myself. I don't want important people in my life to find out from other people. Which just makes this whole thing very complicated. I wish T. could just wait a few more weeks to tell people, so we could do it on terms that work for both of us. I feel like I am being forced to tell based on this artificial timetable that is set in play by the fact that the NT scan is Tuesday, and we are scheduled to see his family the following weekend. I just don't like it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

First Appointment With New OB--10w5d

I am too lame for creative titles today.

On Saturday, T. and I spent the day in a nearby city, looking at baby furniture, having lunch, and generally wandering around and browsing. The city is very artsy, with lots of cool little boutiques and funky restaurants. I won't even tell you what I ate, because it was incredibly unhealthy, but delicious. Let's just say that it involved potatoes and animal fat, and the Americ.an Hea.rt Assoc.iation won't be using me as their poster child for healthy living. I keep craving salty/fatty, and it really hit the spot. I topped it off with yummy fig and Turkish orange gelato, which was to die for (um, and if I keep eating like that, I might). Heaven!

I was amazed at the range of pricing on baby furniture. I have to admit, the only other time I've looked at baby furniture has been in the Pott.ery Barn catalogue, where the cribs are $1000+. I was delighted to discovered that non-PB, heavy, all-wood cribs seem to top out at around $500 at the stores we went into. I am still confused about why PB is charging $1000+ for cribs that are not even all wood (they are partially medium-density fiberboard, a gross, cheap, chemical-laden wood substitute that I don't allow in my house). I would love to know how Pott.ery Ba.rn justifies charging that much money for a crappy MDF crib, when a nearly identical all-wood crib can be had for less than half that. Some of the PB cribs are nice-looking and unique, I will admit, but once I found out they were MDF, forget it. Oh, and some of the non-PB cribs can actually be reconfigured into not only a toddler bed, but a full size adult bed, too. It's so ridiculous how a brand name jacks up the prices.

So back to our adventure on Saturday. . .after looking at baby stuff all morning (which really was more about dipping our toes into the material world of parenting, rather than any real consideration of infant accoutrements), we walked around the cute historic area. And walked. And walked. It felt good, but there is always a consequence, it seems. At some point late in the day, I started with the bright red spotting. It continued over into yesterday, and I had some low cramping, as well. I tried not to worry, as the progesterone supp's plus exercise always seems to make me spot. Although, the cramping was somewhat new.

Which brings us to today and my first appointment with my new OB. The appointment had been scheduled several weeks ago. The spotting has stopped, as has the cramping. The OB seems really nice, and I think I'm going to like her. She seemed a little concerned about the spotting. But, she used the doppler to find the baby's heartbeat (once again promising an u/s if she couldn't find it with the doppler--I LOVE this office!), and there it was! She wasn't sure we'd be able to find it this early, as she said the heartbeat is typically heard on the doppler somewhere between 10-12 weeks, but she was able to find it quickly. It was loud and strong, and she said it measured at about 180.

The rest of the visit was uneventful. She told me that if I am ever worried, to just stop by the office and have them check for the heartbeat. She said some women come by once a week, and it's no problem at all--she rather I stop by than be worried. She also wondered why we didn't just wait for amnio, given my concerns about doing just screening tests, but when I explained that I would like to know our risks sooner than later, she seemed to think it was a good idea for us to go ahead with Tuesday's appointment. I don't go back to her until next month. It's going to be really weird to wait that long. Since the beginning of this pregnancy, I've had doctor's appointments at least every two weeks, if not closer together. If we get through next week's screening okay, we will then go three more weeks without an appointment! I am almost afraid to even whisper it, but this may be turning into a "normal" pregnancy.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Funny Surprise

Today is the first day of ICLW, so welcome one and all who may stop by for that. My history is on the sidebar, but the long and short of it is that we are 10 weeks pregnant after two long years of trying and not trying and things not working out, in general.

Now on to the surprise. . .

T. and I agreed when we first found out that we are pregnant that we wouldn't tell anyone until we were through the first trimester. Despite my best intentions, however, a very close friend figured it out. She is the only person that I have talked to IRL about TTC, because as I've mentioned many times before, I just have no interest in bearing the burden of other people's expectations; it's all I can do to deal with my own. So anyway, my friend figured it out, and has been extremely excited for us, which has been really great. It is so nice to have someone excited for us. Because of our ages, I have every expectation that there are going to be people who tell us that we are screwing up our lives by having kids now, and I am dreading dealing with those people. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, a mother of two teenagers told me that she thinks we are doing the right thing by not having kids, because we have so much freedom, and we aren't missing anything. But I digress. . .

My friend is very excited every time I talk to her. We were at her house the other night, and she was asking a million questions, and then busted out with the following:

"When are you going to tell people? Oooh, can I give you a present? Will that freak you out??? I totally found the best thing at the dump!"

At which point, she disappeared into her garage. A present? The DUMP? Wuh???

She returned two seconds later with something very similar to this:

a giant activity cube, with letters and animals and colored beads. I totally cracked up. I told her that I couldn't wait to write in the baby's baby book that the first baby present we received came from the dump*.

*Perhaps I should explain that here in my little corner of New England, there is no curbside trash pickup (in fact, there aren't really any curbs, since there are no sidewalks in most places). Everyone has to bring their own trash to the dump, so the dump becomes a busy place on the weekends, which everyone by necessity frequents. Because of this, many towns have little rooms at the dump where people can leave items they no longer want, and other people can take them for free. It's sort of like having a little thrift store at the dump. There is often really good stuff there, especially in some of the wealthier towns. My friend got her baby jogger there, and now this. So, it's not like she pulled it out of the trash bin. And of course, I will thoroughly disinfect it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

10 weeks and Other Musings

Time is FLYING by. I'm still feeling well. I am starting to have really crazy, vivid dreams. My boobs still hurt (and are huge!), I'm still getting up to pee at least twice a night, and I am still really tired. I am in bed by 8:30 most nights. Other than that, I feel great. Mornings are bad for me, though. I really drag. It is so tough for me to get out of bed and then out of the house in the morning. Hopefully, in another two weeks when I'm off the progesterone supp's, this will resolve.

I am at the point where I am going to have to buy new bras. Most of mine are getting too small. I am reluctant to spend money on something that is such an interim need, but I don't think I have a choice. I've been trying to get by with some stretchy bras that I have, but they don't provide enough support, and I'm even more sore from wearing them.

My next doctor's appointment, which will be my first with my new OB, is Monday. And, just a week and a half until my NT scan. Hopefully, everything is looking good in there.

With regard to my MIL's impromptu visit last night, she actually behaved herself. (After her recent ambush of T., and her history of ignoring all reasonable boundaries , I wasn't really sure she wouldn't bring the pregnancy up.) I think there were a couple of points where she really wanted to say something, but T. gave her the evil eye, and she didn't. Although, her husband was like "soooo, what's new?," which I don't think was entirely innocent. But whatever. It was nice to see them, and they took us out to dinner, which was lovely of them. I really do enjoy them, and I do love my MIL. She is just a little much sometimes.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I am NEVER home from work early, particularly since I commute. But after a morning meeting near my house and a lengthy stint at the DMV (replacing my driver's license that dear T. accidentally threw out), I decided there was no point in driving to the office at that late hour, and I'd work from home.

Delightfully, T. Arrived home a short time ago, only to inform me that his mother (who lives 1.5 hours away) just happens to be in the neighborhood, and is stopping by for a surprise visit.

I had intended to simply avoid her until we were ready to tell her. If she brings things up, I'm not going to be able to behave.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pondering Genetic Testing

I am still in a quandry about what to do about genetic testing. I wish I felt more comfortable with screening tests. But, I don't. I've been reading up on CVS, wondering if it's the right choice for me, and happened upon the WSJ article today, which explains in part why CVS isn't more widely used.

Test Poses Challenges for OB-GYN's

The interesting and scary thing for me is that I might need to go to Boston for the test, if I choose it. I might well end up at Tufts. But thanks to this article, I won't end up with Dr. Wolf.berg. I appreciate his candor, and I appreciate his need to become experienced, but I still don't wish to be the guinea pig.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dreary Sunday

Yesterday was a gorgeous, sunny summer Saturday, and a glorious day to be out and about doing summer things. Today. . .not so much. Pouring rain, and cold. I've spent the entire day catching up on some reading, much of it in my jammies. There are so many days that the skies just say "don't get out of bed," and yet so few when I can actually listen.

Among the things I've read today were the first three chapters of Randy Pausch's book "The Last Lecture." I cried through every page, although the book itself is very uplifting. The premise goes to one of my deepest fears, which is why I found it so disturbing even though it's not meant to be. The idea of my husband dying and leaving me terrifies me. I think it's because his own father died at a young age. . .I have always worried the same fate will befall him. I am nonetheless determined to work my way through the book, despite how sad I am finding it. I need to find a way to put my fears to rest, as they are simply not useful.

There are so many feelings that I've been experiencing that I have realized are no longer serving me. I've also spent some time catching up on blogs today. I was particularly struck by this post:

I want each year of my life to get better and better, to live up to the bumper sticker picked out years ago by a friend from an English class that says "Destined to be an old woman with no regrets". On the sticker is a woman at the beach wearing a one piece suit and a floppy wide-brimmed hat, waving in a care-free "Mary Tyler Moore" moment.

I want to be her. The woman who lived and lived well. Who sucked up every horrible terrible moment, set them beside all the laughter and smiles and love, and declared her adventure of a life, equal and balanced. I want to be the one who at the end of her days, casually waves it all away like a dream and sends her spirit, her soul out into the energy of the Universe to be mixed, melded and dispersed with everyone else. To be everything and nothing all at the same time.

I am in something of an in-between place right now on so many levels. I have some sense of where I want to go, but no idea whether I will actually get there. I know what I really want, but I'm not sure if it can be achieved, both personally and professionally. And in some respects, I feel held back and weighed down by so many thoughts and feelings and issues big and little.

As I mused over the above post and read throughout the day, it all became clear to me. I need to just face the things that are weighing me down. I need to figure out how to cast them off of me. I have been waiting for the right time, thinking things will sort themselves out, thinking that if I wait a bit longer, I will have more time in my schedule to deal with all of it, or that it will just fall away. But it's been six months that I've felt this way, and it's clear that it's simply not going to happen on its own. In some aspects of my life, I've become a passive observer, and that just doesn't work.

If I want to truly have lived a life without any regrets, if I am to be that old woman who has LIVED, then I need to make some things happen for myself RIGHT NOW. I believe that if you want something in this life and you work to make it happen for yourself, you will get it. You might not get it exactly how you thought you were going to get it, but you'll get it just the same. It's so easy, though, to get complacent and stop actively pursuing what you want, and that's sort of where I've been lately.

I have almost three weeks of vacation time that I haven't taken. It expires in five months. Tomorrow when I go to work, I'm going to arrange to take a week in early July. I'm going to spend that week casting off the bow lines. The issues, the problems, the things weighing me down are not enormous. They are not insurmountable. They just need time and attention and dedication and commitment, and a week of that should be more than enough. I both dread it and look forward to the freedom that I expect I will feel when every last demon has been vanquished.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Edited to Show & Tell: 9w1d & First Appointment with New OB's Office

I totally forgot about the big Show & Tell move. Today's the day, so be sure to check out what the rest of the class is showing.

As fair warning, my Show & Tell will be very boring for anyone who's had a successful pregnancy, and irritating for anyone who is still trying, and for that, I apologize in advance. Please move on down the list to check out the rest of the class, if you're in a bad baby place. And without further ado, here it is:

It didn't scan great, but if you look closely, you can see the baby's head on the right side of the u/s. I had my first appointment with my new OB's office this morning, which resulted in a surprise ultrasound. I think I am really going to like it there. First, they are really, really nice. Second, their office is very attractive and has good magazines (which aren't just pregnancy related, like my old OB's office), which makes it relaxing to go there.

When I first sat down with the NP, she went over my history in detail, let me ask lots of questions, and went over lots of options. When I told her I was struggling with making a choice on testing, she offered to refer me to a local MFM so that I could have a more in-depth discussion. Compare this with my first (unsuccessful) pregancy, where at my first appointment, the NP glossed over everything, and then told me that "of course you'll have an amnio." No discussion about it--just, at your age, of course you'll have it. Since I was fairly sure something was wrong (I'd been bleeding for two weeks), I didn't dwell on it, but now that I'm back in this position again, it makes me mad to think of how little attention she paid to the testing issue, and how she gave me NO options.

The NP seemed to totally understand the stress of previous loss, too. She tried to do the doppler to find the baby's heart rate, but warned me in advance that at 9 weeks, you can only hear the baby's heartbeat on doppler about 60% of the time. She also warned me that if I have a tipped ute (which I do), that makes it less likely that we'd be able to hear it. And (and for this I loved her), she said that we could have an ultrasound if we couldn't find the heartbeat with the doppler.

We couldn't hear the heartbeat on the doppler, but she'd already made me so comfortable that I wasn't worried at all. I waited a few minutes, and they did an ultrasound. I was pleased to discover that they have really good equipment right there in the office. It was an abdominal one this time, which I was psyched about. We not only got to see the baby and the heartbeat, but we got to hear it! The heart rate was 180 beats per minute. The tech spent some time showing us stuff. (There is the baby's head. Oh my, the baby has a head! Oh my, the baby is moving!). It was amazing. Then, she printed us out two huge pictures.

So, things continue to go well. I'm Rh-positive, so I won't need Rhogam. They will be calling me later to schedule the MFM genetic counseling session. Right this second, I'm leaning toward the early risk screen (Nuchal fold, and two blood tests), and then amnio. But, it's all subject to change still. If you have thoughts or experiences with prenatal testing, I'd love to hear them.

Update: I heard back from the office about the MFM session. They scheduled me for nuchal fold test and blood work on 6/30, and I'll also talk to a genetic counselor that day. My Level 2 ultrasound is also already scheduled for early August. It is really starting to feel real.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Today's Random Musings

As I am sitting here trying to eat my dinner, my cat just threw up all over the place. . .four times in a row. Guess how excited I'm not to clean that up? So gross.

I had my first doctor's appointment scheduled for this morning, but right as I was leaving the house, they called to cancel. I guess I'd rather get canceled on than have some virus passed on to me (she was sick), but I was still disappointed. Luckily, they were able to reschedule me for Thursday morning. I am anxious to talk to them about the genetic testing. I am anxious to get it over with. I feel like no matter how well things are going (knock wood), I can't really believe in this pregnancy until we are through with the testing.

The more I think about the testing, the more I think maybe I'm being a little unreasonable about feeling like I NEED to do CVS or amnio. It seems like no one does them any more, unless they are found to be high risk after the screening tests. I was thinking that a risk of 1 in 5000 still feels like too much of a risk. And then I read something this week (damn pregnancy books!) that said the risk of death from a c-section is 1 in 5000. I can't exactly avoid a c-section if I need one, at the end of the day (although of course I'll be doing everything in my power to avoid one, since it scares the shit out of me). And if I can live with that kind of risk, is a similar number for genetic diseases really any different? Of course, I have no idea what our numbers will look like. Which is why I'm anxious to get this next appointment over with.

I just got my water test results back from the guy who had them (I had given him my only copies). As I thought, he was completely misreading the numbers. My level is not quite twice the "acceptable" limit, but less than half what the limit was until 2001. I hadn't remembered, but the paperwork with the test results (which are from a state lab) also say that if we're not drinking the water or using it in soups, pasta, etc., then our risks from the arsenic are minimal. Since I haven't been doing any of those things, except for maybe once, I think we should be in good shape. Although, I still want to put a system in place to get rid of the arsenic.

Oh my, it's way past my bedtime. I can't believe I'm still awake.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Awards Banquet

MAK-now has nominated me for an Honest Scrap award. And if I weren't so damn tired at 8:00 p.m., I would sit here and bang out the most awe-inspiring acceptance speech ever. I would wait until tomorrow, but. . .as days go by, I sometimes forget to complete these things, even though I really appreciate it when someone likes me enough to tag me or nominate me. Since it's already been days since MAK-now nominated me (I am ALWAYS really damn tired by the time I have a spare minute these days), I didn't want it to go any longer without acknowledging her award.

And yet, I'm still too tired to type for a second longer. So, in lieu of reading 10 honest things about me, go read 10 honest things about MAK-now. And while you are over there, check out her wedding photos. Are they not the hottest couple ever?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

8 Weeks and Counting

Time seems to be slipping away very quickly. There are a million things that we need to accomplish before this baby comes (like finish building the walls in what will become the nursery). We've been renovating our house very, very s...l...o...w...l...y for the last couple of years, and T. has finally seen a need to speed up the work (LOVE that!). He's starting to get a little worried about how quickly the time is going by, though. There is SO much to do. We have basically done a gut renovation of our entire house, but there is a lot more putting-back-together that has to be done.

We are currently at 8.5 weeks. I am feeling really good, actually. I've had no morning sickness at all, which makes me worry sometimes, because I'm crazy like that. I am REALLY tired, and need to be in bed by 8-8:30 every night. My boobs are also incredibly sore, and huge (for me). I was built like a 12 year old boy before I was pregnant. Now I am looking a lot more like a 13 year old girl. I'm also apparently one of those people who gets thick around the middle when they get pregnant. It happened pretty quickly. I had to go out and buy some new pants already. Thank goodness for bad economy sales! I had bought a pile of new pants last spring, because I was a little thinner than normal and all of my clothes were hanging off of me. With the Big Project stress that was going on at work at the time, I knew there was no chance that I'd gain weight then. The pants I bought then were all size "0". Unfortunately, one of the pairs of pants went to a suit that I really liked, and most of my size "0" pants stopped fitting a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately, I found the same pants on a sale rack the other day in a size "4" for $14.99, so I can still wear my suit! I also found another pair of dressy khakis for business casual Fridays for $6.99! I had to buy new jeans, too, also in a size "4." So basically, I've gone up two sizes in a matter of weeks. If you knew me well and you looked closely, between my boobs and my belly, you would know that I am pregnant. I've had to dress really carefully when we've gone out with friends and family, because I'd like to stay in the closet for now.

Although I've had no morning sickness, my stomach feels a little off at times. Eating something generally makes it feel better. I've been keeping a big bag of Sta.cey's Pita chips in my desk drawer. They come in a plain variety that stays crunchy even after the bag's been open for a while (making them perfect for stashing in my office), and they're quite tasty, even though they're plain. They're all natural, too. And, they make my stomach feel better. There are definitely things that I am not that into eating. I am so over chicken, beef and pork right now. I know I need the protein, so I struggle to eat some, but I REALLY don't want to. I have to force myself. I still want fish, but I have been avoiding it because of the mercury. I did break down and have lobster last night, but it was the only time I've eaten fish since getting pregnant. It's just too confusing to try to keep track of how many portions I've had of what fish over what period of time, and which fish are okay to eat how often. I've decided that I'll just have seafood once a month. So, lobster it was, this month. It will probably be lobster every month all summer. Can you tell I'm a New England girl?

I've found it a little difficult at times to remember what I'm supposed to eat and what I'm not allowed to eat. I had lunch with a friend the other day, and ordered a turkey sandwich. I was dismayed to discover that it came with brie on it, but peeled the brie off and happily ate the very delicious sandwich. Hours later, I remembered that turkey is a "lunch meat," and I'm not supposed to eat it. Duh. I just don't think of it as "meat," which is stupid, I know. I have felt fine since I ate it, and hopefully, it won't pose a problem. I am trying not to worry too much about making these kinds of errors, since there are tons of things women eat all over the world that are on Americans' "pregnancy no-no" list, and their babies are just fine. I try to be cautious and prudent, without neurotic, which is actually working out okay so far.

Today, I'm craving an Italian sandwich from a particular sandwich shop near my house, but this time I remember that I'm not supposed to eat cold cuts. I'm going to substitute the vegetarian version that they also offer, which is basically tomatoes, pickles, peppers, olives, and provolone cheese. The pickles and provolone really make the sandwich, so it'll be an acceptable substitute. I've been thinking about this sandwich for days. It's really sad!

I have my first appointment with my new OB's office on Tuesday. I'm meeting with the nurse. I went in last week to have all of my lab work done, and they said they'd call if anything came up, so I'm assuming that since I haven't heard anything, everything came back fine. Then, in two weeks, I have my first appointment with my new OB herself. I was surprised they scheduled the appointments so close together. I'll be nine weeks at my appointment with the nurse, and almost 11 weeks at my appointment with the doctor.

Overall, I am feeling really positive right now. I'm a little worried about the genetic testing that's coming up. It's so hard to know what the right thing is to do. I am leaning toward doing CVS. It seems like most women just do screening tests, and don't do amnio or CVS unless the screening tests show a problem. My difficulty with that is that screening tests only tell you probabilities, and don't give you actualities. I think I would rather deal with actual information. I have a cousin who was at higher risk for a baby with a genetic disorder, but still unlikely to have an affected baby, but she nonetheless gave birth to a baby with a significant genetic disorder. Particularly in light of her experience, I guess I'd just rather know for sure (even though I know there is a very small false positive rate even with the invasive tests). It is maddeningly difficult to try to decide, though, and the thought of the needles for the invasive tests makes me very susceptible to changing my mind. It will be interesting to see what my new doctor's take on all of this is. If anyone has an experience with CVS, I would love to hear about it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Freakout Update

Once I got over my initial freakout, I realized that the water guy that called me yesterday has to be wrong. When I initially got the test results back, I didn't just talk to the specialist, I also did research on my own. I would've noticed if the levels were outrageously high. I sent the testing to be done at a particular lab that is some distance from where I live, and I'm guessing the specialist I'm consulting with on the water treatment system doesn't see results from this lab very often. Sometimes, results are reported in parts per million, sometimes as micrograms per liter, and sometimes as nanograms per milileter. I am guessing that the test results I gave him are in a different measurement than he is used to, and he didn't notice. Like, the rate is really .18 whatever, and he's seeing it as 18, because it's in a different unit of measurement.

All of the information I had at the time (based on my discussion with the specialist then and my own research) was that the levels came back at not quite twice the acceptable level established by the EPA (not like 200 times, as yesterday's specialist seemed to think). But, the EPA had set the "acceptable" level at about triple the level that I have until 2001. Which is why the expert I consulted told me not to worry too much about it (because for decades the "acceptable" rate included my rate), and why I didn't worry too much about it. Because of rock formations in my part of the universe, it's pretty common to have arsenic (and radon), and people have been living with it for generations. Several of my neighbors, who presumably have water similar to mine, are quite old. And several of my other neighbors have had babies who seem to be just fine. That's not to say I don't want to fix the problem, but rather that perhaps the guy freaked me out unnecessarily yesterday.

Also, because I knew the arsenic level was higher than the EPA deems acceptable, I haven't been drinking the water since I got pregnant. Since ingestion is the principal means of exposure (not, say, through the shower), baby should be fine. (Fingers crossed).

And now, for a little laugh, a MIL update: yesterday T. had the "big talk" with her. She promised him that she "hasn't told anyone." (Not entirely the point, but okay.) He said the conversation seemed to go well, although it sound like she more understood it to mean she shouldn't tell other people, rather than that I don't want to discuss it with her. And then she told him she's been buying beach toys for the baby (she lives on a beach). I had to ask whether she understood there wouldn't actually be a baby to play with them THIS summer. Argh!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Arsenic and Old Lace

Is it:

A) A play we put on (very badly) in high school;
B). Something you don't want to find in your well; or
C) All of the above

Unfortunately, if you guessed "C," you are a lucky winner. I, like a million other people in New England, have a private well, rather than access to public drinking water. The recommendation is that you test your well every year. Nobody I know does that.

But at some point post-2007 miscarriage, I decided that it might be a good idea. It took me a bit to set it up, but we got the results back. The arsenic was high, but I consulted someone about it, who purports to know about these things, and he told me not to worry about it. So, I didn't.

But now, many months later, I decided to forward the testing paperwork to a specialist to talk about putting a filter on, to deal with the arsenic and persistent hard water. The specialist called and left me a message this morning saying that he needed to talk to me. I didn't think much of it, and didn't call him back.

I became a little more concerned when he called me a second time today. He said that he has NEVER seen arsenic levels as high as mine. In fact, he said that he has never seen arsenic levels HALF as high as mine.

I am freaking out about what this means for the baby. I have bloodwork already scheduled for tomorrow, so I'm going to ask to have the arsenic tested. I am really freaking out.