Sunday, April 17, 2011

12 weeks, 3 days

"Turn right at the driveway before the stoplight, it will have a sign that says, 'Arbor Circle,'" I tell Shaun as we pull up closer to the doctor office. It had been a long one-hour drive and I was nervous. I barely spoke the entire ride, wondering if I would go in the office and not be able to detect the heartbeat as I had in November with my little girl. The only times I did speak was when I begged Shaun to slow down and not tailgate the cars in front of him.

"This one?" he asks as he was driving too quickly to make the turn.

"Nevermind..." I tell him thinking that he was just going to pass the turn and we would just enter the parking lot from a different direction. But, Shaun crazily spun the steering wheel into the direction of the parking lot and I screamed! The wheels skidded across the gravel on the shoulder of the opposite side of the driveway and the car missed the red fire hydrant by a few inches of the driver's side door, as I anxiously looked at the four foot deep ditch we narrowly avoided rolling into. The car stalled out moments before the large metal sign indicating this was our entrance was right in front of our grill.

"Is this it?" Shaun asked. I didn't answer him as I was in shock. I could feel my pulse throbbing out of my neck and I had a lump in my throat. My nerves were more than a little now, I was at my peak. I slammed the car door and speed walked to the office.

Once back in the exam room I waited for the doctor. The male doctor entered and we talked about some of my history again and I asked him what his recommendation was. He told me that he would recommend that even though a normal pregnant woman would be seen every other week starting at 32 weeks, he would like me to come in twice a week. We would do a ultrasound on the first visit that week and then a non-stress test the second visit each week. We would continue to do that checking to be sure all is going ok, that the placenta is fully intact and if all goes well, we would schedule a c-section at 39 weeks. I asked him if I would be considered normal until 32 weeks, and then he told me that he recommends that I get an ultrasound every 4 weeks until then. So, I will have an ultrasound today, then 18 weeks, then 22, then 26, then 30, then 32 and each additional week thereafter. After listening to my history and knowing how much anxiety I have, he decided that he would also like me to come in for another ultrasound two weeks from now for peace of mind. He was very attentive and listened to me and sounded as though he believed that everything was going to go well.

And then came the ultrasound. This little one was quite somber and still, so I worried that something was wrong, and then the sonographer showed me the baby's strong heartbeat -- 161 beats per minute! This test was to check for genetic abnorm-alities that are incompatible with life and down's syndrome. The baby had a nasal bone (good thing, since down's syndrome baby's usually don't at this stage) and the baby's fluid at the back of its neck was 1.37 cm which is right where it is supposed to be. The heart looked good, the legs and arms looked normal, its placenta looked good and the baby measured 12 weeks, 3 days. The baby was 5.83 cm long and looked just perfect to me. I had to have a blood draw to make a final conclusion about whether or not this baby has signs of abnormalities and will get that result in the mail sometime this week.

Shaun and I went to Once Upon a Child afterward to buy a couple maternity clothes and then went home.

Father, thank you again for blessing us with our fourth child to love, to raise and to cherish. We thank you for the way you intricately weave together this 2.5 inch being with all parts intact. I praise you Lord for it all. I ask that you continue to bless us as we continue to journey this path to parenthood. Give me the grace to extend grace to my husband, who didn't try to kill us, but almost did. I pray that you help me to show him that I love him and appreciate him. In Jesus' name, AMEN!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

10 weeks, 6 days

WOW! Almost through the first trimester. This is starting to get exciting. However, the fear is still there that things will change in an instant.

Last Monday, when I was 9 weeks, 4 days, I had a nursing appointment at my high risk specialist's group. While there, they interviewed me and recorded all the pertinent information about my medical history, about my previous pregnancies and took a real good history. Unfortunately for me, the weekend prior to this, I had was exposed to someone who broke out in a real fine red raised rash. I didn't think anything of it until I decided to Google it. Yikes. Looked like something bad, like fifth disease or the measles. Long story short, the girl was diagnosed with a viral rash. No one took the time to diagnose it further, but both measles and fifth disease are viral rashes and potentially fatal to the fetus if I were to contract it. I spent the weekend sanitizing my hands, cleaning surfaces and staying away from this person, but I had already been exposed. I let the nurse at the appointment know and she suggested that I get a test done to see if I have any immunity to the fifth disease. If I did get the virus or do not have immunity, then they will be doing serial ultrasounds to be sure the fetus was growing properly.

After an hour of combing through detail after detail about my history, and having been given a new book about Pregnancy and a folder's work of reading material about St. Joe's, the appointment was over. The nurse stood up and was ready to whisk me out the door.

"Would you mind if we could listen to the baby?" I asked, as sweetly as I could be.
"I don't mind, but being that you are only 9 weeks, I don't want you to get upset if we can't hear the heartbeat with the doppler. It is still very early."
I nodded, but secretly was planning the conversation I would have when we didn't hear the heartbeat and begging for an ultrasound.

The nurse went into another room and retrieved the doppler and had me lay flat on a lazy boy chair and pressed the microphone into the top my pubic bone. She heard my heartbeat and wiggled the instrument around and there it little ones very fast 160 beats per minute heartbeat!! I grinned and said thank you and left the room. I was waiting for the test results to come back from my prenatal panel and 1 hour glucose test and they would call me when they came in.

An hour or more later, the nurse called to say that all of my results were normal and where they needed to be except that I still do not have immunity to Rubella. I told this nurse that I had just received a vaccine for this in 2006 after Ethan's birth for the same reason. She said that some people do not build up much immunity, but I would still need to get another vaccine after this birth. AND, the one hour glucose test came back slightly elevated, so I would need to do the 3 hour test. They wanted my number to be under 135, but instead it was 147. I was assuming I would be gestational diabetic, so having to do the 3 hour test did not surprise me. I was to load on carbs for 3 days and then fast 8-12 hours and have the test done fasting, then drink 100g glucola and then take draws at every hour after that. If my results come back high for any 2 of the 4 tests then gestational diabetes it is. I scheduled my test for Monday April 4.

And so I loaded on carbs. Candy bars, ice cream, breads, chex mix, tortilla chips, etc. I hadn't enjoyed this kind of food in years. Since before I had been pregnant with Ethan and discovered I was insulin resistant. I had been dieting fairly well since then in hopes that I would lessen the chance of developing Type 2 diabetes prematurely.

And then on Monday, at 10 weeks 4 days, I had my test. I was sooooo thirsty and tired for the 4 hours I sat at the hospital waiting that I was confident that I was experiencing high sugar reactions. And then the test results came back yesterday.

TEST My result What it should be
Fasting 80 <95
1 hour 142 <180
2 hour 142 <155
3 hour 120 <140

I was in SHOCK! I must have said, "wow" like 100 times when the nurse called me as I was so certain that I would fail miserably. But, no. I did not fail even a single test!!! Other than the fact that I have had 3 losses, this pregnancy is not complicated or high risk at this point!!! I will have to retake the 3 hour test at approximately 24-26 weeks as that is when normal pregnant women start to have more difficulty, but I will take another 14-16 weeks of unrestricted dieting and worry! I am so excited. It makes me realize that it is possible that this pregnancy might work. I feel so much better. With Ethan I spotted on and off the entire first trimester. Looking back now, I am certain that was our first indication of something wrong with the placenta. This pregnancy has presented so much different than my previous ones and I am feeling more and more confident each day.

I know it is very early to begin feeling movements, but I swear I feel the flutters in my low abdomen. Even if it isn't sweet baby Plato, I am so excited to think that this is what is soon to come. I have a doctor appointment on April 15 at 10am. There, we will get another ultrasound as I will be just over 12 weeks pregnant. This ultrasound is a screening test to see if there are any soft markers for spinal cord problems, downs syndrome or other genetic disorders that may be cause for additional monitoring and care of the fetus. We will also have our first prenatal visit with the doctor.

Is this really happening? Am I dreaming? Is my chance to finally be a mom honing in? In the midst of all this I have been reading. Mostly pregnancy books, but my pastor recommended I read the book, Choose to Cheat by Andy Stanley. While I was in the waiting room during my 4 hour test I started and finished this book. I had been complaining about my job interfering with my ability to balance my social life with my husband, my family and my friends. This book challenged me to rethink how I was approaching my job. It encourages people to not spend so much time at work and come home early, etc, yet I found it difficult when I work a shift schedule with little flexibility. Due to my husband's job loss 2.5 years ago, and his subsequent decision to go to college, I have been the sole breadwinner of the family. I gladly took on this role to see my husband pursue a passion within him to become a medical professional. But, now, as his unemployment is finally about to run out, I am becoming a hoarder. We have saved his severance pay in preparation for this time and I worked long hours to save even more money to prepare for this time, but now that the time has come, I don't want to use my savings on this time. Why not work harder and longer and save the savings for a vacation or a car or a down payment on a bigger home, I thought? And then I read this book. I am cheating my family by choosing to work more to have more. So, my critical decision is this. Instead of working all the holidays that I usually work and receive double time and a half's pay, I am going to take the day off and just receive a holiday pay. I am going to quit complaining about not being able to spend time with my family because I work and instead spend time with them because I chose to take a day off. I am going to enjoy taking some of my vacation days this summer and spend time with my nieces and nephews poolside, instead of feeling sorry for myself for missing out on summer because I have to work. And then even though I will need time off for my maternity leave, I am not going to feel guilty if I do not have enough sick/vacation days saved up to pay me during that time. I will just use my savings if necessary. And I will trust that God will know what we need and provide for us just as He always has! After I first read this book on Monday, I thought, this is a nice concept, but just doesn't work for me where I am right now. And then on Tuesday, after prayer about what it could help me in, I had the revelation that I should make this critical decision. AND, not only did I decide this, I filled out time off slips for all of the holidays until the end of 2011, and attached a note to my supervisor explaining my obvious insanity. Those of you struggling with this balance, choose to read this book. It is worth it. Thanks, Pastor Scott.

Anyway, I am hopeful, excited and optimistic. I have 5 other books that I am in process of reading and have more to share with you in another post. But, for now, I leave you as I always do, in prayer.

Father, thank you so much for the series of events that lead up to receiving this book and causing me to make a freeing decision. I had not known that I trusted in money more than You when I began reading it, as I do all the right things with my finances according to how You outline it in the Bible. But, Father, I believe that I will not miss my time at my job, but miss the opportunities with my kids, my husband, my friends and my extended family members once I am in my final days. I thank you for once again giving me clear instructions for living when I can sometimes wonder the relevance of old testament stories to current times.

I pray for my friend who just delivered her baby girl this past weekend that you kept her healthy, safe and free from serious complications in delivery. I pray for this baby girl as she continues to grow and heal and be a blessing to her parents and others. "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1 says and I am faithfully believing that you will continue to bless my pregnancy and continue to give me confidence and hope for a future. I pray for the 3 other friends I have who are due around the same time as me that their little bundles are safe and sound and healthy as can be. I ask that you bless those who read this and give them a sense of peace in and around the situations that they may be facing. I love you Jesus and can't thank you enough for your love, mercy and provision. In Jesus' name, AMEN!