Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Music to my ears

I thought I'd share a picture of me taken during our recent trip to Florida. I enjoyed spending so much time on the beach, which was beautiful and so relaxing. There was no sign of oil there, thank goodness. While Greg played softball, I just sat out there under a big umbrella watching the waves roll in and out and listening to them crashing on the shore. As always, I was taken aback by the beauty of the ocean. I found myself talking with God, thanking him for all the beauty that surrounded me and for the little life growing inside of me. It was a good time to reflect on all we've been through and how far we've come on this journey. And, it made me think about how unlikely this whole pregnancy seems in the grand scheme of things -- how cells not even as big as grains of sand can be combined and nurtured and frozen and thawed and then take hold and begin to grow and multiply and eventually become a human. Sometimes, it is just more than my mind can hold.
We're at 17 weeks today and we had our second appointment with our OB, Dr. Carter. It was a pretty routine appointment. I declined the quad screen and while our choice seemed to rattle the nurse a little, our doctor was fine with it, saying he and his wife chose not to have it when they had their two kids. Basically, the reason I chose not to have the test (which screens for Downs Syndrome, Spina Bifida and other defects) is because the test is not 100 percent accurate. Sometimes, as in the case of my sister, it indicates there's a potential problem when there isn't. Our nurse explained to us that things have changed since my sister was pregnant and that if the test indicated a potential problem, they would send us to have an ultrasound that can be used to determine if a problem actually exists and then we could decide whether to have an amniocentesis. But, even knowing this, we decided that we would simply forgo the test. My sister worried for her entire pregnancy until Josh was born and I tend to worry enough as it is without having a quad screen to add something else to the list.
We talked with Dr. Carter about Wyatt's diagnosis of Cystic Fibrosis. He didn't seemed very concerned. Since we've both already had the screening, he sees no need to go further.
We heard the baby's heartbeat on the doppler. Such a beautiful sound! And, most exciting, we don't have to wait another month to find out the sex of the baby. Dr. Carter scheduled us for an ultrasound next week. I can't tell you how happy I am to finally find out if this baby is a boy or a girl. Dr. Carter asked me if I had put in my order on the sex of the baby. "Yes, I put in an order, and I've already gotten it. I wasn't very specific!" Boy or girl, we really don't care. We will be absolutely over the moon no matter what the sex is. The difference will be we can finally discuss baby names (Greg won't even talk about it until we know) and I can start getting this baby's room ready.
I have gained a total of five pounds so far during this pregnancy. I feel like I really pigged out this month with my trip home and then our trip to Florida, but my doctor was happy with my weight and told me that next week I will really start to "blossom." lol.
The most significant thing Dr. Carter said today was in response to a question I asked about whether I should be concerned about working long hours on my feet. Basically, he told me to keep working, to wear sensible shoes and to prepare my employer for the possibility that I won't be able to work during the Christmas rush. Of course, they already know that and really, I wouldn't have asked him about it if the girls I work with weren't always asking me if they need to shorten my shifts. Anyway, during this exchange, Dr. Carter says "you're as low risk as they come." I know it might sound odd to some people, but I know you ladies will understand. That simple sentence was like music to my ears.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

16 weeks

I've gotten to the point where I look forward to Wednesdays so that I can mark another week passing and read the e-mail updates I get from about what is going on with the baby. Today marks 16 weeks for us and things are moving right along.
I went back to work yesterday after working only one day in July so far. One of my customers was having a hot flash and in an effort to make her feel like she's not the Lone Ranger, I told her sometimes I get very hot when I'm working back there in the fitting room too. She said, "honey, it looks like you have a good reason to have hot flashes but I'm too old for this!" It was the first time a stranger has said anything to me about my pregnancy, so I guess I'm showing a little more than I thought I was.
In other news, I'm not the only one getting a new body around here. My husband Greg has been running, biking and working out like a madman in an effort to meet the Air Force's new PT standards which went into effect at the beginning of the month. He tests at the end of the month and his waist cannot measure more than 39 inches or he won't pass the test.
Greg has always been a big guy and he had the beer belly when I met him. Even though he rarely drinks beer anymore, the belly has stayed with him. He's a relatively fit guy. He has always played softball, volleyball and basketball on intramural teams and over the past few months he's really gotten back into cycling. Still, he wouldn't have been able to pass this new test at the weight he was so he started this P90X workout and he has been running 2 miles six times a week in addition to cycling and softball. He has lost about 17 pounds now and at least 5 inches in his waist. When I came home from my visit with my parents, I couldn't believe the difference. It's like I'm getting a new and improved version of my husband. One of the good things about Greg's new focus on diet and exercise is that we are constantly eating healthy stuff, which is good for me too. In spite of that fact, I continue to grow and he continues to shirnk -- but that's just fine by me!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A good break

I've been absent from blogland for a couple of weeks now. I rarely got on when my sister and her family were here visiting and then I was on my own little vacation -- home to North Carolina to see my family.
It was a great visit and unplugging for a while was probably the best thing I could do. There's been a lot of sadness out there lately for some of my blog friends and my heart goes out to them. Still, reading such tragic news had me worrying myself a little too much so stepping back and taking a break and breathing deep and laughing with my family was probably the best medicine.
But it seems you can't get away from sad news and my family had its own trial while I was home. We learned that our sweet little Wyatt, my great-nephew who is about five weeks old now, has Cystic Fibrosis. This really hit home for me since we know that my husband Greg is a CF carrier through some testing we had done in Italy. Of course, my nephew and his wife never even suspected that they were carriers so the news was particuarly hard for them to hear. For now, Wyatt is a healthy, bright-eyed little wonder and we pray that he will stay that way.
I did not test positive for the CF mutation all those years ago but the doctors explained to us that the test can't screen for all mutations. Yet, they tell you that the chance of having one of these uncommon mutations is very rare. Still, my niece-in-law didn't have any of the common mutations either, but obviously, she carried one of the rare mutations. It has just been overwhelming for our family, particuarly for my nephew and his wife. They have a good outlook though and I know they will give Wyatt the best care possible.
I plan to mention Wyatt's diagnosis to my OB at my next visit. I'm not sure if he'll reccommend genetic testing on the baby, but even if he does, I don't want to have any tests that come with a risk of miscarriage like amniocentesis. Besides, we knew the risk of having a baby with CF before we ever stepped into an IVF clinic, and it didn't change our decision to try to make a family.
As for my pregnancy, I'm still feeling good. My belly is starting to poke out there. My niece-in-law gave me all her maternity clothes so I came home with my suitcase full and I'm so grateful to her because this will save me a ton of money. We are heading to Florida for Greg's annual softball tournament later this week and we managed to get a condo right on the beach this time. I'm really looking forward to having some time at the beach.

Friday, July 2, 2010

I had planned to write a post about how relieved and happy and positive I felt after our first meeting with our OB on Wednesday. I didn't write it sooner because my sister, her husband and their three children were here and we were busy enjoying their company. So, by the time I did sit down to put my thoughts on "paper," I had a lot of catching up to do with all of you out there in blogland. And, that's when I saw Rebecca's post over at The Road Less Traveled. Unspeakable grief and heartache. Lillian Grace born at 22weeks6days.
My mind can't fathom it. My heart is heavy. Rebecca, if you are out there, just know that I'm keeping you in my prayers and my heart goes out to you.
As much as I hate to admit it, this news makes me selfishly focus on my own pregnancy and how perilous it all seems. I don't know that I've ever experienced such highs and lows. On Wednesday, I was on top of the world. We were surprised to have an ultrasound (which we'd been told wouldn't happen until the next appointment since we have already had four) and we were amazed to see our little baby from a different perspective. The baby even appeared to be waving at us. To put it simply, we were over joyed.
We'd been warned by our RE that an OB might be a little freaked out by our means of conception (an FET) but Dr. Carter wasn't freaked out. In fact, he seemed to relish in this miracle of modern medicine. "You're 33 years old and you've never been pregnant before?" he asked. "No sir," I said. "Well, this is just wonderful. This is fantastic!"
And he's right. It is fantastic, but so is tightrope walking and truth be told, that's a little how I feel these days -- like a tight rope walker working without a net.
Dr. Carter said all the right things. He said exactly what we needed to hear. He said that there is nothing I could do barring jumping from a building that would lead to pregnancy loss. He said the statistics show that once a pregnancy reaches this point, only 1 to 2 percent of pregnancies are lost and that includes losses related to car accidents, murders and the like.
He said that the next few weeks will be difficult for me because I won't be getting the ultrasound every two weeks like I've been used to and because I can't yet feel the baby moving (apparently, what I've been feeling is digestion, doh!). Even so, he insisted that I stop worrying and advised me to do all the things I normally would. He told me to get on that plane on Sunday and fly home to N.C. and let my Mama pamper me. He told me everything looks great. The baby is "beautiful," and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with my "mama parts."
He said all these things and more and I felt like I could finally exhale. I foolishly drank the Kool-Aid. Even though the pap smear caused some heavy spotting because my cervix was inflamed from the Progesterone, I still felt more peaceful than I have since that positive HPT.
And, then, this heartbreaking news. Now, I feel like the balance pole in my hands has shifted in the opposite direction and it's a long, long way down.