I generally hate the word "Normal" because it usually doesn't apply to me, but today it's the best news possible.
Just got a call from the doctor's office: Baby is NORMAL!!!
Friday, March 25, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
My doctor's office called me back on Tuesday with an appointment with the perinatologist. I went to see him yesterday at 3:30pm. I knew they'd do an ultrasound but that's all. I was there for 4 hours, here's what happened.
The sonographer did an ultrasound on my belly but because the baby is still so small (14 weeks, 2 days) she had a hard time seeing. they decided to do the ultrasound trans vaginally and while they could see better, the baby was fast asleep and not budging so they still couldn't see what they needed to. They looked at the brain and it's growing well, but they couldn't see the neck area to measure the thickness. So the doctor came in and tried to look for himself. No such luck.
They had me drink a bottle of water to fill my bladder. After about 15 minutes they came back for another look. Not enough water, so they gave me 4 more cups. 15 minutes later they took another look and all they could see was my overly full bladder! So I went to the bathroom to drain my bladder then they looked again.
We talked to the doctor about our options for learning more information about whether or not the baby had Trisomy 18. We were told that we could do a CVS test (Chorionic Villus Sampling) an Amniocentesis, or we didn't have to do anything. Another option was to just wait and check the growth and anatomy at the 19 week scan. Generally, Trisomy babies are small and underweight so monitoring the growth of the baby is a good indicator to whether or not the baby will have T18. However, this baby has consistently measured a few days ahead of schedule in the growth department so that's reassuring.
Anyway, we opted to do the CVS test because the results are back within 2 days (tomorrow) and it tests specifically for all Trisomy abnormalities. If we did the Amnio, then we'd have to wait until week 16 so do it and the results would take longer to get back. So we opted for the CVS test. What is a CVS test? Well they insert a needle into your lower abdomen and remove fluid from between the placenta and uterine wall. They then test the fluid to determine if the baby is at risk of any chromosomal abnormalities.
They can remove the fluid, one of two ways. They can go through your cervix to retrieve it or through your abdomen. While my bladder was still full, they tried to insert a catheter, the width of a toothpick, into my cervix, up to my placenta. They do this all by ultrasound so they can see what they are doing. However, my cerclage is holding tight (thank God!) and there was no getting through it. He tried a couple time to get through, without success, so he went in abdominally. The gave me numbing medication through a syringe. He numbed the area, then with the syringe still inside me, he poked around til he found where he needed to be (guided by ultrasound) then withdrew a syringe full of fluid. That hurt quite a bit, even with the numbing medication, but it passed rather quickly and once he was done, the pain subsided.
They are testing the fluid and "growing it" to see what becomes of it. They'll determine whether or not the baby had any defects and call me tomorrow. I was there til 7 last night, and the doctor, the sonographer and 2 nurses stayed there without complaint. They close at 5, but never did they make us feel like we were a burden. Or that we needed to reschedule during "normal business hours". We left feeling important and cared for. He and his staff really were wonderful.
On top of all this, I've been experiencing high blood pressure with this pregnancy. In a non-pregnant state, my BP is consistently 120/80 but with this baby is been a lot higher. It doesn't matter who's checked it or where I've been, the time of day, it's been running about 140/90 - 140/100. I've been concerned about it and the nurses have commented about it but not one doctor has said anything about it. The perinatologists office called today and they want me to take my BP 3x daily and call them in a couple days with the results. If it continues to stay high, then I'll have to get on medication to keep it down.
That's all I know for now. I'll find out the fate of our baby tomorrow and I'll fill you guys in on the info. Thanks for being there for me and wishing me the best. I'm trying to stay calm and breathe, but it's tough. This baby is definitely spunky and different than the boys. I have to keep telling myself that. He/she is keeping me on my toes!
Monday, March 21, 2011
I was going to write about the trans abdominal cerclage procedure and my experience, but I haven't been motivated to do it...yet. But I wanted to update you with what's going on. I went to the doctor last Tuesday and opted to do the First Screen test. It's done in the first trimester and it checks to see if you're at risk for carrying a baby with Down's Syndrome and Trisomy 18. I did it with both Sam and Jack and all was fine with them. So I elected to do it again this time.
There are a few different things they check for when they do this test. They do an ultrasound to check the thickness on the back of the neck (nuchal translucency), which can be an indicator of Down's. They also do a simple blood test (finger prick) and send it off, results are back in a week. They called me today to let me know that I am not at risk for carrying a baby with Down's Syndrome (Trisomy 21) but that I am at a slightly elevated risk for carrying a baby with Trisomy 18 (Edward's Syndrome).
I know that there is a 5% chance of the results being false positive, but there's also a 95% chance that I could be at risk of carrying a baby with Trisomy 18. The doctor told me not to worry "too much" because my risk of being a carrier is only slightly elevated, but how in the hell do I NOT worry? Of course I'm going to worry, it's in my nature. They base the results on the ultrasound, the blood results as well at my age at delivery. The nurse practitioner said that the normal range for someone my age (28) to have a baby with Trisomy-18 is 1 in 150, but that my risk was 1 in 137. That seems awfully high to me. I tried to call them back to verify those numbers but they had closed 3 minutes prior. This is not a diagnostic test, but purely a test to determine if you need further testing.
They said they'd refer me to a perinatologist and would call me back with an appointment date tomorrow. I admit, I googled and got sucked in, so I shut it all down and am trying not to worry about this. I don't feel like anything is wrong, but I know that doesn't mean much. I don't want to think about even losing another child. I do know that Trisomy 18 is a deadly disease though and that 50% of babies die within 2 months and 90% die within 12 months. I don't want this to be my story. That scares the shit out of me.
Again, I have to remind myself that just because I am at a slightly elevated risk of having a baby with T-18, doesn't mean that he or she has it. This it is not a death sentence. The baby could be totally fine and I'm worrying for nothing. I hope this is the case, but we'll have to wait and do further testing- another ultrasound, more blood tests and possibly a more invasive amnio. I'll know more tomorrow, hopefully, but I just wanted to get this off my chest. I'm hoping that by letting go of this worry and putting it out there, that it will help me deal with all this. And if you guys want to pray and cross your fingers, I'd appreciate that too.
Friday, March 11, 2011
In the Summer of 2008, I started a "secret" blog in which I wrote about my boys and heartache with much more freedom. On that blog, I wrote anonymously, and I didn't hold back. I shared everything I didn't feel like I could say here. I don't know why that is though. Maybe because in "anonymous land" you can't be judged and I thought I would here??? Not sure. But in July in 2008 I thought I was pregnant and I wrote about it in detail. The very next day I got my period. That was two and a half years ago.
I authored that blog for a short few months then took it down, but decided to save the posts so that I could read them in the future if I ever wanted to. I just read them. There was so much sorrow pouring out of my words and I look back now and I don't know who that person was. Granted it was only 4 months after Jack died and I was in a low place, but I'm glad that person is no longer. Or maybe that person still exists inside me, but I am healed. Forever scarred, but healed.
Reading those older posts made me reflect on where I was then to where I am now. And I wanted you all to know that I am pregnant. There is no way to sugarcoat that. I know some of you will be thrilled by the news and some of you will be hurt by it. I get it. I've been there and everytime I heard of someone's blessing, it stung and made me feel less than. I felt left behind. I felt like a failure. My intention is not to hurt anyone, obviously, but it's been a long time coming and I am deserving of this. You are too and if you're waiting for your miracle baby, he or she will find their way to you. I know it's easy to say "be patient" but sometimes that's what you have to do. It took us 4 years to get where we are and it was worth the wait. I now know that this was the right timing for us.
I found out of January 15th that I was pregnant but didn't believe the stick and increasingly grew anxious and fearful. Mr. H and I were in denial for a week that it was really happening so we ignored it and didn't talk about it for 8 days. Then on the following Sunday, I started to bleed quite a bit and thought I miscarried. There was a lot of blood followed by several clots and as I flushed the toilet I thought I was flushing my baby down the drain. I cried but I've been through so much worse and knew I could handle this. I cleaned myself up, protected my clothing and went to bed. The bleeding ceased and by the next morning, all was "normal" again. I called the doctor and was seen immediately. The ultrasound indicated that there was indeed a baby still growing inside me. It measured 5 weeks, 6 days and we heard it's heartbeat. A true miracle. There was no sign of bleeding within, clots or damage. There was no explanation, it just happened.
I've been to the OB several times so far. We've had a few scares with low HcG and progesterone levels, but this baby is a fighter and continues to thrive. Low HcG levels can indicate an unhealthy pregnancy or a baby that is no longer developing, but once they saw him/her on the ultrasound screen, kicking and stretching, with an even stronger heartbeat, there was no longer a concern. My progesterone levels, which help the development of the baby as well and aid in proper functioning of my organs was supplemented with progesterone suppositories, twice daily for 6 weeks. I no longer have to take those anymore because it's believed that at 12 weeks, the body takes over and starts to produce it on it's own.
I am currently 12 weeks 3 days pregnant with a due date of September 21st. This is all very surreal and it's hard to believe that it's happening. And it's happening so quickly! I waited to announce this pregnancy, not for fear of "jinxing" it but because I wanted to make certain that it was going to last. I didn't want to tell everyone I was pregnant then have to take it back. But I guess now, we're at the point of no return. What do I mean by that? Well this past Friday (March 4th) we flew to New Jersey to have an abdominal cerclage placed in my lower abdomen. I've mentioned this cerclage before but it differs from most cerclages because it's much more invasive. Instead of placing the stitch through your cervix, vaginally, they cut you open, (like a c-section) and tie a Mersilene band around the cervix at the top near the uterus. I'll write another post about this at a later time, explaining all the ins and outs of the procedure and my experience, but in the meantime, it's in place and secure and holding this baby in. It has a 99% success rate so we are optimistically hopeful.
So now we just wait and see how the rest of this pregnancy goes. I am still recovering from the procedure and am very sore and tired, but the pain meds are helping. I know it will take time to return to my normal state, but I'm taking it one day at a time. That's all I can do to get through the rest of this pregnancy.
I thank you all for sticking with me and this blog even when I had nothing to say and for those of you who continue to send prayers and good thoughts. Thank you for the well wishes that you send to me and my family.