Friday, December 19, 2008

Everything but the kitchen sink.

Annabella is working through her first cold. I think she's almost over it, and we all survived. I might be a bad mother for saying this, but she slept many hours at night while she was sick (she hit 9.5 one night!), and it was awesome. Now that we're back to 6-7 hours, my body hurts from exhaustion.

Other Annabella news: She is also going to sleep with much less hassle than before! We just swaddle her and rock her in her dark nursery and she slips off to sleep and usually stays down, and this is all before 11pm! She will fuss some at night still, but not really all that much, and it's usually just an idication of her being tired. She's also not pooping as frequently, which I can't even tell you how exciting that is. A couple poopy diapers a day is much easier to handle than 8. She's also smiling more readily and holding her smile more, and she coos to us a lot now. Oh, and when I first go into her room in the morning to get her from her crib, she smiles up at me. That feeling, the one you get when you see your child smile because they see you, might very well be the best feeling in the world.

In other news, my brain still is not back. I miss it. Working without it just isn't going well.

Did you know the 17th was this past Wednesday and not today? Well, I didn't so much. At least not until 5 minutes after my year-end review was due. So as I'm hastily trying to write my review stuff up, I realize that it's sure been a long time since I pumped. So I quickly put my pump stuff together and started pumping. Then I go back to my panicked mode of MUST GET THIS DONE ASAP and forget about the pumping. A few minutes later, I notice something cold on my leg. I reach down to feel what's up and get splattered with breast milk. I'd forgotten to put the collecting bag on the pump and had been actively pumping milk straight onto my leg FOR SEVERAL MINUTES! Yeah, I don't notice my leg getting wet until the spot is the size of a basketball and the milk has chilled in the air enough to be cold. That right there, is an example of my brain being missing.

Is it ironic that this happened because I was so focused on writing up comments about my work standard that I didn't notice getting soaked and yet couldn't use that as an example of my exemplary focus?

What else has happened in the last 11 days? Hmm. Jason and I have scrambled to write thank-you notes, Christmas cards, and get together a list of addresses for baby announcements.

If you think you should be getting a thank-you and don't get one, then 1 of 2 things happened. Either we totally forgot to write you one and apologize profusely but promise that we totally appreciate your genoristy. Or you've graduated to the list of people we no longer feel expect thank-yous. Again, we apologize if we're wrong about this. Please don't hate us!

If I personally know you and you'd like a baby announcement and you think that I might not have your current address or that I might not have included you on my announcement list, please send me an email with your address.

What else what else? Oh yeah! We decorated for Christmas. I'm usually super tentative about decorating and think I have no taste; so Christmas was a good place to start. And you know, I think we did good. The decorations mostly all match each other and look pretty and make our home feel more homey. If my brain returns for long enough for me to remember to take pictures of our decorations, I'll post them for you.

Monday, December 8, 2008

We are truly blessed

Before Annabella was born, Jason and I would sit on our back porch and just smile and think about how much we loved our lives. We had everything we wanted and needed: good health, a fulfilling marriage to someone we love, good family, good jobs, and a nice place to live, and the exciting prospect of a baby to come. Not that life was perfect, but it was pretty darn good.

I remember being worried about how a baby would change all that. Would we still be happy post-baby?

To say Annabella changed our lives completely would be an understatement. From the time I wake up to the time I fall asleep, thoughts of her aren't far away. Taking care of her is a full-time job plus some, and almost everything I do is impacted by her.

Here's a simple example of one of the changes. My pre-Annabella morning routine:
  • Set the alarm clock for 1 hour before I intend to get up.
  • Hit the snooze button a billion or so times and then finally drag myself out of bed.
  • Run and jump in the shower.
  • Brush my teeth and hair, put deodorant on, throw clothes on, run out the door.
  • Time from when my feet hit the floor to when I'm in my car ~30 minutes.
My with-Annabella morning routine:
  • Alarm clock? Why would I need one of those?
  • Wake up because Annabella is starting to wake up, meaning the baby monitor is picking up her grunts and sighs and clicking on.
  • Lie in bed awake for a few minutes to see if she'll go back to sleep. (Often times she will and I'll get another hour of sleep.)
  • At the first sign of a real cry, go flying out of bed and up the stairs to grab her.
  • Take her downstairs to feed her.
  • Get the breast-pump stuff ready. Put Annabella beside me and pump. (She's normally slept long enough now that I'll be engorged by the time she gets up; so I have to pump even though I've fed her.)
  • Label the milk with the date and put it in the fridge.
  • Make sure all of the bottles are ready and properly labeled for daycare.
  • Change Annabella's diaper.
  • Empty the dishwasher so the bottles and pump parts will be dry for later today. Put the newly used pump stuff in the dishwasher.
  • If it's early enough, spend a few minutes trying to get Annabella to go back to sleep. This will most likely fail.
  • Put Annabella in her bouncy seat outside the shower. Turn on the bouncy part and the music part.
  • Hop in the shower. Sing the songs along with the music to entertain Annabella. Hop out midshower to bounce the seat more than the bouncy mechanism will do and to give her the paci. Try not to drip on her. Hop back in the shower and try to get all the soap off ASAP.
  • Get out of the shower and sing whatever I can to entertain her. Run around during calm times and try to brush my teeth, brush my hair, put deodorant on, etc. Run back over periodically to give her Paci again and to bounce seat some more. Beg for just 3 more minutes.
  • Throw clothes on. Try to remember to check for spit up stains on my pants, but don't really care enough to make this a priority.
  • Grab Annabella. Change her clothes if they're not appropriate for the car-ride. Maybe rechange her diaper.
  • Pack Annabella's bag, the breast-pump, the breast-pump parts, her bottles, and my purse.
  • Put Annabella in the car seat.
  • Run everything but Annabella out to the car.
  • Run Annabella out to the car. Adjust her car seat appropriately, and make sure the sun visor is in proper position.
  • Finally get in the car.
  • Time from when my feet hit the floor to when I'm in my car ~2.5 hours.
But while life is so much more hectic and activity filled than it once was, it's also so much more fulfilling. And while I imagine that I'd be much less sleep deprived if I didn't have a baby, I can't imagine life without my precious girl.

And this past weekend Jason and I sat back and marveled once again about how good life really is.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

You think I'm feeding her enough?

Annabella at 7.5 weeks (11/20). My tiny little baby isn't so tiny anymore. Oh, and that size diaper is starting to get pretty snug now. She's growing like a weed.

And because 2 baby pictures are better than 1...
A friend of ours came over to the house to take these pictures. I think he did an awesome job. (Thanks Justin!) I have a few more I'll post over the next few days.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Daycare

Annabella went to daycare yesterday. Jason and I each spent some time with her there before leaving her there for a few hours. Not that this is a big surprise, but leaving your child in daycare is not easy.

Annabella seemed to handle it well though. She's still young enough that strangers don't scare her, and she's pretty used to being passed off to new people after meeting so many relatives over Thanksgiving.

I'm not sure I handled it quite so well. But the daycare workers were really sweet to me, and they sent me an email of pictures of Annabella to make it easier.

Here she is, smiling away, not missing Mommy at all. Mommy was probably sobbing away in her office when this was taken. (Yes, I now refer to myself in the 3rd person all the time. It just started happening as soon as she was born. Apparently there's a valid reason parents do this though...young kids have problems with pronouns. So it's easier for them to understand "Mommy" than "I" or "me".)

Having her in daycare is actually a little easier for me than having her at home with Jason for the full day because at least the daycare is close by and I know I can visit her over lunch. And while I'd much rather have Jason watching her than some random daycare worker, I just can't stand to be away from her that many hours straight.

The daycare workers all seem to be really nice, and I'm not really too worried about the quality of care she'll be receiving. The daycare is rated really well, I've heard glowing reviews, and my daughter's room is adjacent to another infant room with a half-wall, meaning the workers on the other side can see into Annabella's room...so there's really a lot of eyes around to make sure everything is ok.

I think there will be a bit of a learning curve for them though with Annabella. You see, my sweet darling daughter is not one of those babies who only cry when they're hungry, poopy, wet, or sleepy. Her cry might start because of those reasons, but it quickly escalates into an "I'm very angry with you" cry. And Annabella fights sleep really badly, and when she's overtired she's just altogether cranky. So I think they're confusing her crankiness for hunger cries and feeding her when she's not really that hungry. Feeding her does tend to calm her down most the time; so I can't really blame them. Plus infants don't tend to overeat; so it's not really a problem. Figuring how many bottles to send and how much breastmilk to put in them is a bit of a challenge though...especially since there's not really an endless supply of milk and they have to throw away whatever milk is left in the bottle 1 hour after it's taken from the fridge. And because I'm a neurotic mother, I spend a ridiculous amount of my time thinking about all of this.

One more picture, just for good measure.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Baby Update

Annabella is doing great. We are traveling for Thanksgiving, and she's met a lot of her extended family. She's smiling and cooing more and more.

Here's a picture of Annabella and Auntie Corrie. She likes to grin and coo now when you tickle her chin, which you can see :)


She's traveling pretty well. She's only cried for about 45 minutes of the car rides so far.

Annabella is growing like a weed. We think she's close to double her birth weight now, but we won't get another official weigh-in till December 8. She's almost outgrown some of the outfits that were swimming on her originally though.

Jason and I are doing well too. Each week is a little easier than the last, and she's sleeping more and more consistently through the night. It's quite a struggle to get her down for bedtime, but once she's there, she usually sleeps 5 or 6 hours straight. Jas and I definitely appreciate the extra sleep.

I need to get back to family stuff, but I thought I'd give a quick update. I owe people phone calls, emails, thank you notes, and baby announcements (not to mention Christmas cards...) I promise I'll try to catch up on all of that soon!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Quick update

A few mornings back Annabella woke up in such a good mood, which was nice since she'd been a sour-puss the night before. I carried her down the stairs and talked to her as I went, and her entire face broke out in this great big smile, and she held it for several seconds. Totally melted my heart. Was nice to see that maybe my child does love me, especially after she'd screamed at me so much the day before.

She's also cooing a lot more, which is also super nice. For the first so many weeks babies only make upset noises; so hearing them make happy noises is surprisingly relieving. You start to feel like maybe you're not messing them up, at least not too bad.

Jason and I are starting to be able to laugh at her sometimes when she's angry, which I think is good. Especially since we can only see to one of her needs at a time. If we're already changing her diaper, and she's screaming because she's also hungry, she's just going to have to wait a couple minutes to eat. So she'll scream for a minute and then she'll stop and pout. She sticks that lower lip out like a champ. And it's just too cute not to be funny. (We've tried to get a picture of her pouting, but she doesn't hold it for long, and she has to be mad to do it...and we're usually trying to make her happy when she's mad instead of trying to take pictures of her angry. Maybe we'll catch a pout one of these days though.)

Our sweet little girl is also working her lungs more these days. I'm not sure why, but she's fussy quite often. She seems to be fighting sleep. That last hour before we finally get her to sleep at night is especially rough. In fact, I'm on the phone with Jason right now and I can hear her screaming in the background now.

I'll try to update more soon, and I'll include a new picture next time!

Monday, November 10, 2008

First day back

I went to work today for a half day.  I didn't realize how nervous I was about it, but now that I'm back home I can feel that familiar low that means a bunch of adrenaline is leaving my system.

Work was good overall.  I felt like me, and Jason had a good morning with Annabella.  Being away from Annabella was very hard though.  I don't know how I'm going to cope when it's time to put her in daycare.  Knowing that Jason was home taking care of her was what made it all okay today.

We've taken more pictures, but haven't uploaded them to the computer yet.  When we do, I'll try to put some more up here.  Until then, if you want to see what pictures we do have posted, shoot me an email and I'll send you a link to where some are posted.

For those looking for Annabella updates:  Annabella is 6 weeks 1 day old today.  She is more and more aware of the world around her and likes to watch her mobiles.  She doesn't like bright lights and puts her little hands in front of her eyes to shield them.  She's starting to smile in response to my smiles, which melts my heart every time.  She's cooing more and more, and is more able to wake up mid-nap and go back to sleep without us comforting her.  Her favorite trick seems to be waiting to go pee until the diapers off her butt during a change, which causes many costume changes.  These mid-change pees sometimes have distance, and she's managed to pee all over Daddy's clothes the other day.  She's starting to like to nap on her swing, which is nice because it gives me a break to eat lunch and blog sometimes!  She grunts really often, but especially when she's trying to break her arms out from being swaddled.  Even when she's fussy she's the cutest baby I've ever seen, though I might be biased.  

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One month

I can hardly believe it.  Annabella is one month old today.  She has grown and changed so much in the past month.  
This picture was taken this past Saturday right before we took Annabella on her first walk, which she loved.  I hope we get some warmer weather so we can take her on a few more walks this fall.

Annabella's personality is showing more and more.  She loves to snuggle and sleep on my chest, but she hates to be messed with once she's asleep.  If I lean down to give her a kiss on her forehead and I disturb her sleep, she throws her head back and grunts.  She's also looking around more and smiling.  I think she might actually be starting to smile in response to my smile, which is super cool.  And now when she looks at me, I can see her actually focusing on my face and listening to my voice.  And she's beginning to coo.  

She also is growing like a weed.  I didn't realize how scrawny she was at the hospital until we got her home and she started adding some meat to her bones.  At the hospital the skin on her hands and feet was literally hanging off her bones.  There was just nothing under it.  Skin and bones.  Now she's got chubby little fingers and toes.  Her face has filled out a bunch too (especially the cheeks), and she looks so much longer to us.  Her clothes are also fitting better, and she's even outgrown her first pair of socks.  She's still smaller than some newborns, but to me she looks huge.

Also her eyes seem to be getting darker and her hair is getting lighter.  She looks like she'll be a blond baby soon.

Watching her grow so quickly is bittersweet.  I'm really looking forward to when she's more interactive, but I feel like time is slipping through my fingertips.  She already needs me less than before.  She's holding her head up more and more and can take a bottle.  Just one short month ago she was in my belly and dependent on me for everything.  So yeah, I cried when she lost her umbilicol cord, and I saved it (although this could have more to do with the fact that she lost the cord at 1 week and that I was pretty emotionally raw right then...)  And I cried when she took that first bottle.  One short month ago I wouldn't have understood why somebody would cry at these things, but now I do.  It's both exciting and hard to see your baby start to grow up.

One thing I'm really looking forward to is more sleep, which I'm hoping will come soon.  Sometimes holding her and snuggling with her is the best feeling in the world.  And sometimes I'm just so desperate for sleep that I can't even take in the moment, even if I try.  And crying in the middle of the night when I'm up yet again to breastfeed is pretty much par for the course right now.  

All in all though, being Annabella's mom is the best thing that's happened to me.  I love her so much my heart aches when I look at her.  


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Delirium

I used to dream I was drinking Diet Coke.  

Now I dream that I'm feeding my baby.  Realizing in my sleep that I'm asleep and therefore probably crushing my baby, I wake up in a panic, feel that my front is wet with milk, and that I'm hugging a pillow to my chest.  I look and look for the baby, and finally remember that she's either in her bassinet or downstairs being held by someone else.  

Last night I quit waking up in a panic and instead later believed that I'd actually fed her.  Which almost led to her being put back to bed hungry.  It took several minutes of awake reasoning to figure out that I really hadn't fed her in hours.  

I don't know how single mothers do this.  I couldn't do this without Jason.

Besides almost starving my child due to exhaustion induced delirium, things are good here.  Annabella seems healthy and happy, and she's starting to sleep more and more on her back at night.  

I used to say that we were having problems because Annabella wouldn't sleep through the night unless she was being held, and people would look at me funny and say that we couldn't really expect that...  "Through" turned out to not be the right word.  "During" would have been the word of choice there.  Annabella wouldn't sleep during the night unless she was being held.  

So now that she's starting to do better and better with that, we are all managing a little better.  

Being a new mom is both awesome and hard.  Some days I can't say enough about how perfect she is.  Some days I feel like I'm going to die unless I get more sleep soon.

Today falls somewhere between those 2 extremes...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Above birth weight

Annabella passed her birth weight on Monday, weighing in at 5lbs and 15oz. This is great news because it means we can let her feed on demand instead of trying to force feed her every 3 to 4 hours. Hopefully this will help Amber and I get some longer uninterrupted sleep.

Here's Annabella's favorite sleeping position, difficult to keep up all the time, but awfully cute and adorable.




And one more cute picture of her from the hospital:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Annabella Grace

Just wanted to update everyone with her name. She also had her first pediatric appointment today and everything is going well. We are still so in love with her.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Baby Girl

Amber gave birth to a beautiful baby girl at 12:21pm on Sunday September 28th. She weighed in at 2654g which is 5lbs and 13.6oz. She was 18 inches long. Baby and mother are both happy and doing well.

Amber is also such an amazing person to go through what she did these last few days. Here's the not so brief highlights. We were admitted to the hospital at 9:30pm on Friday with a cervix not open at all and barely any effacement. By 11pm they had inserted a Foley Bulb which is something to help dilation and cervix thinning. We got a relatively good night's sleep on Friday which is good because we started pitocin to stimulate labor at 7am Saturday morning.

We started low but worked up to 72 mL / hr. This resulted in very frequent contractions, as often as every minute and 20 seconds. They weren't that strong, but the frequency of them was very tiring. Around 6pm we were tested and had only made 4 centimeters. At 6:15pm Amber's water broke and the intensity of the contractions very much increased. They cut our pitocin back to 36 mL / hr. With the increased contraction strength and still not making much cervical change Amber got an epidural around 7pm.

They started to kick up the pitocin eventually working back up to 72 mL / hr. The also installed a cathiter and an internal contraction monitor. The nice thing about the epidural is that Amber was able to get some sleep. Around 11pm Sunday the fetus started to not handle the strong repetative contractions and cut the pitocin back and then eventually to nothing. Amber had already started labor so were happy enough to let Amber's natural contractions take over. They also also put Amber on oxygen to help the baby cope.

Around 2am they came in and wanted to start discussing cesarian with us and possibly schedule one for us. We asked for an additional hour to see if we could get any cervical change. We were at 5cms at that point and had been for a while. They came back and checked us again at 4:45 and we had no change. We decided that we wanted to try again with the pitocin though on a lower level. The midwife wasn't very convinced that it would work, but thought that she'd let it try so long as the baby could handle it. We started at 6 mL / hr and worked up to 24 mL / hr. The baby stopped being able to handle that as well and we dropped back down to 12 mL / hr though she handled that only with amber laying on her right side.

We were also really frusted at this point since the monitor was showing the contractions getting weaker despite the increase in the pitocin. After a few hours of this the nurse decided to try to re-zeroe the internal monitor. As soon as she did the contractions were showing large and regular.

The midwife shift changed at 7am and the new midwife wanted us to set a concrete time to stop trying to get cervical change and to get the ceasarian. We choose 10am since that would be about 12 hours since we knew we had 5cm dilation. Around 9am the contractions started getting stronger and different, we brought the midwife back and she confirmed that Amber was 0cms dilated, 100% effaced and at +1 station. This was very encouraging and we were now almost certain to have a vaginal birth.

The contractions started to get stronger and we were going to call the anaesthiologist, at which point the nurse asked us how often we had been pushing the button. We responded "the button??". Apparently there's a button to give you a bit of an additional dose, Amber started to use it and began to feel alot better. Around 11:30 we began to get to the point where it was time to push.

We used first the stirrups and then the birthing bar. Amber wanted to be able to feel the contractions better than she already could, so we called the anaesthiologist and had them cut back the dosage on the epidural. Amber was only actively pushing for about 40 minutes and our beatiful baby girl was born at 12:21pm. She had some immediate skin to skin contact for a while until it was time for her to deliver the placenta.

We handed the baby off for measurement and then they swaddled her and let me hold her. I held her and cried my eyes out for the next half hour or so while they attended to Amber. The placenta and the umbillical cord were small but well formed. Amber had a minor tear that needed to be sewn up.

It was just so amazing what Amber went through, and that even after all the trials she was able to have a vaginal birth. I'm so proud of her. We are both just so estatic to have the vaginal birth and we both love our new little girl so much.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Floors and Painting update

The floors are finished and the walls are painted. I thought I'd post a few pictures so that everyone can see the final results. We still need to move the furniture and appliances back, but it's nice to be able to actually hangout downstairs again.




Friday, September 5, 2008

Today's ultrasound

Here's the basic rundown:
- Baby G's in the 6th percentile for estimated fetal weight (EFW). Not what we were hoping for. We really wanted to see her get above the 10th this time, and this is the lowest EFW measured yet.
- She's 27 days behind. This number is apparently not very accurate towards then end, and not a reason for concern. I'm still a little concerned...because this number means that she's grown 10 days worth of growth in 21 days worth of time. Accurate or not, I'm still a little concerned.
- She weighs 5lbs 6oz.
- She's growing close to 200 grams per week, which is pretty much right on target (even though she's losing days and percentile points. I'm not sure I understand how both of these can be simultaneously true.)
- Her head circumference is still small, but we found out that number is calculated badly and that we should just ignore it.
- Adjusting her due date by 10 days (the difference the first ultrasound we had showed) puts her in the 21st percentile for EFW.
- Our doctor sees no reason to induce us before we hit 41 weeks! Even with all the numbers, the doc thinks that our problems are really due to a dating issue. They won't be changing my due date at this point. But unless something changes, they'll try to let me go into labor naturally. I don't know that we'll be able to convince the doc to let us go longer than 41 weeks though...so let's just hope Baby G decides to come in the next 28 days.

So today's appt was a mixed-bag of news. We were hoping for better, but can't be too upset at what we were told either.

From here until I pop, I'll have 2 appts every week - one with the midwives for all the normal stuff, and ultrasound. They won't measure her growth again until 40 weeks (if I'm still pregnant then). So unless I go past 40 weeks and they measure her growth, there probably won't be any blog-worthy pregnancy news until I pop.

Oh, and I'm technically full-term now. Which means that as long as her dates are correct (which they probably aren't), then if I go into labor, she's most likely completely able to survive without much intervention, if any. From here on out she'll just be packing on the ounces and making her lungs stronger, stuff like that. :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Date night

Awhile back, Jason and I went to a yard sale in our neighborhood. We ended up buying a glider, which wouldn't really fit well in my car. The sellers were concerned about it; so we told them not to worry, that we lived in the neighborhood. And we chit-chatted a little bit about Raleigh and such, and it turns out that the guy had been a chef in the area for something like 20 years, and now worked with Sysco foods. So when we said that we didn't know where the cute little restaurants were up here yet, he gave us a couple of suggestions.

Well tonight we randomly tried one of his suggestions. Neither Jason or I had it in mind to go out to a really nice dinner, but we wanted to try something new. The guy had recommended a fancy French place and a Thai place; so we went out looking for the Thai place, which we didn't find. We did however find the fancy French place, and decided to give it a try.

Wow was it good!

Besides just having really awesome food, it was super nice to have a little bit of time where the 2 of us just relaxed and spent some time together, where we actually just enjoyed the moment and paid attention to each other. With life being as hectic as it has been, we just haven't really taken the time for this. And even when we've tried, the stress of everything that needs to be done in time for Baby G's arrival has clouded the experience. Tonight we managed to let all that go, and it was just really nice.

I'm super excited for the baby, but part of me is frightened as well. Because, you know, I like my life. I like the freedom to go out and spend 2+ hours at dinner on a whim. I like that I have quiet time at the end of the night to myself if I want it, and I like that I can hear the crickets chirping during this time (and not hear a screaming baby). I like spending time with my husband. I like my job and my house. I really am blessed.

And I know that having a baby will soon be awesome. And that she'll change my life in ways that I can't foresee, but will end up being good.

But all in all, I think a night of relaxing over an awesome dinner with my husband was just what the doctor ordered.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cheap Daycare! Finished Floors! Painted Walls!

Baby G made it off the waiting list and into the cheap daycare subsidized by my company. We have our orientation for it tomorrow. The daycare has a really good reputation; so I'm pretty excited. Plus, with my company footing a huge portion of the bill, Jas and I will literally save thousands per year that she's there. Pretty sweet.

Also, in other very exciting news, the floors have been laid. We're getting them sanded and sealed next week. I'm so excited that I will soon get my house back. And they look soooo pretty :) (A big thanks to Jon B for helping so much with this! We owe you some serious manual labor.)

And we're going to prompty spend some of that money we're saving on daycare to hire somebody to come in and paint a bunch of our rooms. I know this is something we could do ourselves, but painting is not fun at all. And the timing is really ideal since the rooms will already be empty. Plus, we've beat the walls up pretty badly putting the floors in; so we really would have to fix a bunch of them...and it would be nice to have all of this done before the baby comes. Yay!

So lots of fun stuff going on here. Lots of work still to be done to prepare for the floor finishers and wall painter (tools to put away, sawdust to clean up, wallpaper to remove), but we're close.

And then we can actually have people into our house to visit. And we can actually cook dinner. And we can buy wall hangings and area rugs and dining room tables and finish some of our rooms. And they'll actually be usable. Maybe it's because of that whole nesting instinct and such, but the thought of all this makes me giddy :)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Follow-up ultrasound

Our appointment went well yesterday. I spoke to the doctor, and I'm less concerned now than I was before. This is the gist of what he said (that I remember at least).

1) They really think that Baby G's small size is a dating issue. But they won't move my due date anyway because of how far along I am. (This makes me wonder when exactly they do move due dates...since they wouldn't move mine earlier either...)
2) All babies under the 10th percentile for size are considered to have an intrauterine growth restriction. The majority of these babies are fine. They just pay extra attention to these small babies because problems are more prevalent here.
3) We would have most likely seen other bad things if there were something actually wrong with the baby (like a chromosomal abnormality or an infection.) He said that a lot of these babies are way undersized or that you see other problems with them.
4) We can take it as a good sign that Baby G has stayed pretty close to the 10th percentile curve on the graph, and hasn't shown a dramatic drop in growth. If she weren't getting what she needed from my body, we most likely would have seen a more normal growth early on followed by a pretty drastic drop off in growth on the graph.
5) Unless something changes (like a bad doppler test or if she drops to like the 3rd percentile), they won't just automatically induce me early. If my body doesn't look like it's ready to be induced, they'll most likely let me wait awhile. They might even let me go past my due date still...this is still unlikely though.
6) They're not really worried that Baby G is getting neurological problems by staying in me. The doctor said that this is a bit of a murky area, but that IUGR babies that do have neurological problems were most likely small due to the neurological problems, and not the other way around. So we're not really frying her brain even if she's not getting quite what she needs from me.
7) The main thing they are worried about with IUGR babies is stillbirth. And yes, that would suck a whole lot. But as long as she's still kicking, I can relax.

Most of this was apparently NOT new info. Jason heard and understood a lot of this from the appt last week. I however heard "they might induce me early" and shutdown for a bit, hearing nothing else. So it was really nice that the doctor patiently retold us all of this. And it was nice that I was actually prepared to hear it this time.

We did get a sorta decent picture from her this week though:

You can sorta see her little face and hands. I think this is the best we're going to get. Apparently, it's not just that she's keeping her face down by my hip bones...there's also less amniotic fluid in that area, which means not as good pix. In this one she's actually facing towards my belly...so I don't expect to see anything clearer until I pop.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Kick counting

I suck at counting kicks. You'd think I'd be able to do this simple task. But nope. I lose track.

I'm supposed to pick 2 hours in a day, and pay attention to her movements. She's supposed to move 10 times in that 2 hours. And it can be small movements. Like a hiccup counts.

I can even cheat and pick a time when I notice her being super active and start counting then.

Part of this isn't really my fault... Well, maybe it still is. It's just that I feel like I'm cheating if I count multiple movements too close together...like, maybe it's just one movement. So maybe I'm padding the numbers, you know? But where do you cut this off?

If I feel her move pretty continuously for several minutes, then I think that's supposed to be enough. But what if it's just one giant continuous movement?

So at the end of the day, I tell myself that tomorrow I'll do better. I'll pay more attention, and I'll count the kicks. And I'll try harder to distinguish separate movements.

Maybe tomorrow will be that day.

Feeling exhausted right now

Most the time I feel like I'm handling the stress of all this crazy baby stuff pretty well. After all, worrying at this point isn't going to help anything.

And then every once in a while I just break down when I don't expect it.

Jason and I took a labor/delivery support class tonight, which focused on coping techniques through a natural labor and delivery. At one point, the instructor wanted each of us to take 2 minutes to tell our partner our concerns about labor/delivery/baby/etc. And the tears started rolling down my face before we even began, while she was still talking.

I think I've spent so much time and effort actively trying not to worry that it was just totally overwhelming to be told to focus on it for even 2 minutes.

We've been scared repeatedly, and we've known for a long time that she's small. Analytically, I understand that they haven't really given us a whole ton of new info to freak out over. But apparently my emotional self hasn't exactly caught up.

I think all the scariness they've been heaping onto us has sorta overwhelmed all the other regular scary things as well. So I haven't even thought very much about what it will be like to have her home with us, and how hard that will be...at least I haven't thought about it in a real way. And all of that is there below the surface, but it seems absurd to think about those things with all of these bigger concerns looming.

I just want her to be healthy. The rest will come.

I just hate this waiting game.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A little scared today continued

After our Friday morning Ultrasounds we typically have Friday afternoon with the Midwives. This is usually anticlimactic compared to the morning sessions but this week was entirely different.

Amber picked me up from work and like usual I jumped into the drivers seat. I started a heated bitch session about what is currently stressing me out at work. It went on for so long and was so distracting that 5 or so minutes into it Amber realized that we were actually on the wrong road. I had meant to take 147 S to 40 W, but had instead taken 147 N. I got off at the next exit and looped back onto 147 S. 40 W was three exits away but for some reason in the heat of the moment I just got off at the next exit. I realized my error immediately, apologized, and drove through the green light to get back on the road. Continuing to bitch about work though, I made the same mistake again, and took the next exit. This one didn't make it easy to get back on the highway; I had to make a left, then a U-turn. I felt like a bit of an idiot and apologized again, but then got on track and made pretty good time to UNC.

We made it to our appointment only about 10 minutes late. I never realized that the students were what accounted for all the congestion that we typically see, but it's the only explanation for the extremely light traffic that made sense. The clinic was about to close so we actually got in right away (positive reenforcement to continue to show up late). They took Amber's blood pressure and weight immediately. Her blood pressure was a bit high at 145 / 89 (probably due to her annoyance at me, which to her credit she hid pretty well) so the nurse, instead of letting her relax for a few minutes and try again instead ordered a urine test.

Hypertension can be a symptom of preeclampsia and a cause of IUGR (IntraUterine Growth Restriction), which we were just warned about during our ultrasound. The test showed proteins and blood in the urine. The proteins could be caused by preeclampsia or it could be there because of the blood. Blood in the urine is apparently nothing to worry about on its own though because it could be from many things including the baby hitting Amber's bladder alot.

The combination of her small fetal weight, Amber's high blood pressure and the protein in the urine was a cause for concern and they wanted to run additional labs. Since it is after 4 on a Friday we'd typically have to wait until Tuesday for our results. Since preeclampsia can be a big deal I guess they decided that they would instead admit us into labor and delivery so we could get our lab results back in an hour, and during that time they could continue to monitor Amber's blood pressure as well as the fetal heart rate.

We were a bit shocked by the news of being checked in and wanted to understand what could happen depending on what the results of the tests showed. The midwife explained that in the worst case they would keep us admitted, and said or at least implied that they would then induce birth that weekend. We freaked out a bit, cried some, and realized how we were so not ready quite yet.

We get to the room, hooked up to all the machines and learned the normal ranges for the numbers on the monitor. They draw Amber's blood and have her take another urine test. As we sit longer, we see her heart rate drop back into her normal range: 119 / 66, and we start to feel alot better. That and the fetal heart rate behaving perfectly normally for half an hour really put us at ease. We felt as though we just had to wait for the results to come back so we could leave. They eventually came back, and as we expected they were normal. The process from walking in the door, to being checked out took about 3 and a half hours.

We went to the cafe to eat and then drove home and I managed to not make any wrong turns. One additional thing to mention is Amber is doing a couple of research studies during her pregnancy and maybe because the people running the studies tend to have a bit more free time, but they stopped by, talked to us and were very comforting and reassuring. It was really nice to have them there especially in labor and delivery when we were otherwise left alone. Two very long, stressful events today, but we are mostly filled with relief and looking forward to 6 whole days without having to see a doctor, nurse or ultrasound technician.

A little scared today

We had another level II ultrasound today. Below is the only picture we got from it. Not a good picture, I know, but Baby G just won't cooperate. Her face was once again buried in my hip. I'm not even going to bother posting pictures from the previous ultrasound, because they are also really unexciting.

What does this picture show you ask? Well, her face, sorta. you can see the bones in her arm at the front, and you can sorta see an eye. This is a profile shot. Just not a very good one. According to the sonographer, if she would move, we would most likely get beautiful pictures because there's plenty of amniotic fluid. But our little bundle of joy is already camera shy.

Now to the not so exciting part. Well, I guess it's exciting in the terrifying kind of way. Baby G was 16 days behind in growth today, which means she gained a day. But she dropped to the 7th percentile in size. Below is the summary page showing the graph and her EFW (estimated fetal weight).


They get the estimated fetal weight by taking a bunch of measurements of different markers, like head circumference, femur length, etc. The graph is shown in grams; so you have to do the conversion to lbs (1kg=2.2lbs). Right now, she weighs about 4 pounds, 1 ounce. Because she's been sticking pretty close to the lower 10% graph line, you can sorta guesstimate how much she'll weigh at different points by following that line. So if she were born at 40 weeks, she'd be a little over 6 pounds.

Before I said that they start to worry when the percentile drops below 10%, which today it did. And they were more worried. At this point, their concern really seems to be that maybe the baby isn't getting enough nutrients from my body. The doppler measuring the blood through the umbilical cord looked good, and there's plenty of amniotic fluid surrounding the baby. She's also moving around the way she should, and her anatomy looks good. But they're concerned anyway. Of course, she could also just be small. Or there could be something wrong with her that the amnio wouldn't have detected. Or she could just be dated wrong.

I think if she would have stayed above the 10th percentile that they would have changed my due date. That doesn't look likely now. Instead, they might induce me to deliver even earlier. Which is way scary.

From what I understand, the reason they would induce me early (or at all) would be due to the nutrition concern. In other words, at some point it becomes better to get her out of there early rather than leave her in if there if she isn't getting enough of what she needs from my body. Because they can't be certain of whether or not there is a nutritional deficiency, they might decide it's safer to proceed as if there is.

This of course does not make me happy, because if it's a dating issue, and she's 2 weeks younger than they think, then they're pulling her out even earlier than they think. I'd rather give her as much time as she needs to develop. Pulling her out early seems scary.

And also, getting induced sucks. It makes labor and delivery harder in a lot of instances. You can only force so much. If your body isn't ready, it's just not ready. So if I were to be induced, I'd be a lot more likely to need other medical interventions to get her out. Which sucks for both of us.

They do at least want to give her time to hit what would be considered full-term even if there is a dating issue. Full-term is 36 weeks. So it's relatively safe to assume that they won't induce until at least 38 weeks, and the doctor's notes say that he wouldn't want to deliver at less than 39 weeks, unless something changes.

(Below are the doctor's comments.)


So I now have even more doctor's appts. The bliss of only going every 4 weeks for ultrasounds is gone. I now have one next week. This one will just measure the Doppler and make sure she's moving around enough and all that. They have to wait longer in between ultrasounds to measure growth...so the ultrasound for that is 3 weeks from today.

I found some of the individual measurements to be scary today as well. Last time around I looked at how many days a bunch of the measurements were off, and assumed that her head was keeping up better than her body because her head was less days behind. Either I misread, or there's less variations in head size, because her head circumference was less than the 3rd percentile today. Kinda scary to me.

On the up-side, the sonographer we saw today is the one I really like. She's very comforting. She wasn't supposed to show us this...but she did anyway. If you do adjust our due date by the 16 days we're behind by, then Baby G is growing just fine. She would be measuring in the 35th percentile then, which is still a little less than average, but way better than 7th. You can kinda figure all this out though by looking at the graph and seeing where we'd fall if our date is wrong.

OK. I think that's probably about all the news from today.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

My friend Jenni got published!

Jenni's one of the most creative people I know, and the most Martha Stewart like...but in a good way. She's sweet and genuine and caring and reminds me so much of Ohio (and all the people there that I love) that it's impossible for me not to love her. Her family is adorable, and she's my go-to person for any baby advice I need.

Jenni eventually hopes to write a book (fiction); so hopefully this will help her get there. Here's her first published story.

North Carolina misses you too Jenni! I know I do.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Scary quad screen - False Positive for Trisomy 18 and SLOS

So most of you that read this blog already know this story, as it happened a long time ago, and this blog is really to update family and friends. But I'm writing this anyway, mainly because when I went through this, I couldn't find a whole lot of info out there. And it was terrifying. And all the info I could find didn't apply to me very well. And all the stories I could find of people in a similar situation ended with a very sick baby. So I just feel like I should put my story out there. So here it goes.

Jason and I initially decided that we didn't want to go through any genetic screening tests. We knew that they weren't really diagnostic, that they really just gave you a ratio stating your chances of having a baby with various diseases. During the first trimester, this screening involves a level II ultrasound, several hours of your life, blood tests, and possibly a lot of expense...so that seemed like more of a pain than it was worth. Especially because the main disorder you hear about with these screenings is Downs Syndrome, and there are many happy Downs babies in this world. Also, if the tests do show an increased risk of something, the next step is an amnio, which carries a risk of miscarriage. In our heads, the worst case scenario was that the tests would show that we had say a 1 in 100 chance of having a Downs baby. Amnio's can carry somewhere around a 1 in 200 chance of miscarriage. So we knew that even if the tests did show an increased risk for Downs, we wouldn't risk an amnio. The benefit of knowing just didn't seem worth the risk. Plus, I'm 27. Not exactly a spring hen, but not anywhere close to the age where you really see increased risks of these things. Given all that, the genetic screening tests just didn't seem worth the hassle and worry.

But then I went to an appt by myself. And I was a little bit overwhelmed. And the midwife asked if I wanted this test, which was just a blood test...and since I already needed to have my blood drawn, it wouldn't even require an extra stick. And this test looked for neural tube defects, and I knew that with neural tube defects, a new baby can need a lot of corrective surgery... And the midwife made me feel like it was standard. So I caved. I let them test my blood. After all, it would cost me approximately 8 seconds, just the time it took to fill an extra tube. This was on a Friday, and I was 16 weeks along at this point.

The following Tuesday, Jason calls me at work around 6pm to let me know that he just checked our home voicemail, and that one of the nurses had called and asked me to call back. And that she'd actually called Monday, and he'd just gotten the message. She left her pager number. At first I couldn't figure out why a nurse was calling me. Then it dawned on me. It had to be about the screening. I ran through all the other options in my head, and none of them made sense. The nurse wouldn't call to reschedule an appt, or at least they hadn't the last time I'd had to have one rescheduled. The nice lady at the front desk did that. The other blood I'd had drawn was for a research study, and they weren't looking for anything in my blood that would warrant a phone call. I hadn't had any other tests done. What else could it be?

So I call the pager number over and over again. I have Jason try. But it's after hours. And I'm not having an emergency. I'm just going nuts. So it really wasn't appropriate to call the midwife or OB on call. They were probably doing important things like delivering babies. And Jason is convinced that I'm just worried about nothing, that they really are just calling to reschedule my next appointment. So after crying and worrying myself sick, I manage to calm down enough for the night.

Wednesday I get up as early as they open though and call the nurse. Finally I get through. And I was right, my screening had showed troubling results. But not for Downs or neural tube defects. My chance of having a baby with either of those was incredibly low. Instead, I showed increased risk for Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome (SLOS) and also for Trisomy 18. The nurse though obviously isn't trained in genetic counseling though, and doesn't want to give me any extra info until I talk to the genetic counselor. I can't really blame her for that. What did suck though is that she actually gave me the WRONG info. She said I showed an increased risk for Trisomy 13. They don't actually screen for Trisomy 13 with the quad screen.

Anyway, she told me I should make an appointment for a level II ultrasound and a possible amnio for as soon as possible. So after some hassle, I got through to the people making the appointments. The first available thing they had was for that Friday afternoon...which meant I had to wait. The waiting was excruciating.

The nurse did give me enough info though that Jason and I could Google stuff for hours trying to figure out what the deal was. After some research, we assumed that what I heard as "smith lemon something or other" had to be SLOS, which is a genetic disease where the body can't make cholesterol, and causes mental retardation and other health problems. We researched Trisomy 13 as well, and found out that a diagnosis of Trisomy 13 would be devastating. Of the few babies that are born alive with Trisomy 13, very few survive the first year. We knew that they'd tested my blood, and the nurse said that one of the hormones they'd tested was AFP. What the nurse said beyond this, I couldn't remember by the time I got off the phone. I do know that after lots of research, we still weren't sure which test we'd had given all the info we knew.

Because I still felt clueless, I called the nurses back, feeling like an idiot, because I was supposed to be waiting until Friday to speak with the genetic counselor. I don't know if the nurse this time gave me wrong info or just worthless info. She told me that 10% of people have positive screening results, and only 2% of those people have babies with the disorder. She didn't know much beyond that. Her info was pretty much useless though because the majority of positive screening results are for Downs Syndrome, and you can't assume that because that statistic works overall, that it would work for each disease tested for.

So we researched and waited and cried until Friday afternoon came around. At this point we were continually researching Trisomy 13, as it was the worst case scenario. Every story we could find seemed to be about screening results for Downs Syndrome though. I know the people writing those posts were scared and that everybody wants their babies to be healthy, but I remember getting mad at them. I saw these posts and I thought that they didn't know how lucky they had it. If their babies did have Downs, at least they could be healthy and happy. If my baby had Trisomy 13, she might not even live an hour, if at all. Plus how much pain would she be in?

Finally Friday afternoon came, and we met with a very nice genetic counselor, who patiently answered all of our questions. Some things we already knew, but it was good to hear it explained more clearly anyway.

We learned right away that the test had NOT screened for Trisomy 13, and rather we had shown and increase risk for Trisomy 18. We were so relieved! Trisomy 18 can't be nearly so bad as Trisomy 13... But the genetic counselor gave us this funny look, and burst our bubble. Trisomy 18 is pretty much just as bad. If my baby did have Trisomy 18, many doctors wouldn't consider the pregnancy to be viable anymore. So right back to immensely worried we flew.

We learned that the blood test had been the quad screen, which tests for 4 different hormones in the blood. All 4 of my hormones had been lower than they should have been for my age, weight, and various other factors. This meant good things for the risk of Downs and neural tube defects...but my chances of having a baby with SLOS were greater than 1 in 50...and the chances of Trisomy 18 were greater than 1 in 15...and the lab we went through doesn't give out ratios higher than that; so it's basically the worst possible news at this point. We asked if those ratios were accurate in her experience, and she said yes.

We learned that less than 2% of women screen positive for Trisomy 18. The same is true for SLOS. And way less than 2% screen positive for both. That was why we had such a hard time finding info about our situation, and why stuff about Downs was everywhere to be found.

We learned that even though SLOS is a genetic disease which requires both parents to be carriers, that no test exists to check if Jason and I are carriers. We also learned that SLOS has a wider range of disability, meaning some people with SLOS are closer to the normal side of the scale while some aren't.

We learned that if our baby did have either of these diseases, that our likelihood of having another baby with the same diseases was increased (with SLOS, it goes to 1 in 4).

We learned that there are different kinds of Trisomy 18, and that this is a mutation that happens when the cells are multiplying. Depending on when the mutation occurs, some people have an extra chromosome 18 in all of their cells. Some people have this mutation in only some of their cells, meaning the mutation happened further along during development and only shows in cells descended from the mutated cell.

We learned that the ultrasound would give us a better idea of what was up, but that to truly know if our baby had either of these problems, we'd have to do an amnio. If we did the amnio, we'd get 3 rounds of results. The first round (the FISH results), would test for Trisomy 18 in a small sample of cells. So this test wouldn't necessarily show all variations of Trisomy 18 because the sample could be of healthy cells from an individual with both healthy and trimsomy cells. If all went well with the amnio, we'd get these results in about 3 days. The second round of results would be diagnostic for SLOS, and we'd get these results in about 7 days. The third round of results would test more cells for Trisomy 18, and should show as positive even if not all the cells have the mutation. These 3 tests are supposed to be 99.9% accurate.

We also learned that we could decide whether or not to do the amnio based on the ultrasound. If we opted not to do the amnio, we could do a follow-up ultrasound when she was a little bigger. If at 18 weeks the ultrasound looked perfect, the chance for Trisomy 18 drops to 1 in 150.

I'm sure there's more, but I think that's the gist of it...so at this point we went in for the level II ultrasound.

It was really cool to see her hands and feet and head, but we were so worried. The ultrasound tech was nice though and told us what she was looking at and whether or not it looked normal to her. Thankfully, we saw 4 chambers to her heart, which was a good sign. We also saw her clench and unclench her hands, and we saw 2 hemispheres to her brain. All good signs. What Jason and I didn't realize then is that she was measuring small. And small is not a good sign. It's actually a symptom of both Trisomy 18 and SLOS.

So after the ultrasound was over, we went back to the genetic counselor and learned that the ultrasound was inconclusive because of how small she was. Apparently, because she was small, they couldn't see all the markers they were looking for, or at least as clearly as they'd like. Also her size was a red flag (she was 10 days behind at this point.) With Downs and some of the other disorders, they recommend retesting with an adjusted gestational age to see the ratios again. Not so with Tri-18 and SLOS.

Also, because all 4 of my hormone levels had been low, and because only 2 of them are supposed to increase in levels as pregnancy goes on, retesting with an adjusted age would only fix a couple of the levels, not all...meaning that there might be something else wrong.

It turns out though that if we were at least 7 days off in her gestational age, meaning that she is 7 days younger than we think, then the test was completely invalid. I know when my last period started, but I also have irregular cycles. So it was possible that we were just wrong about her age.

All this left us with a choice to make. Either we are happy not knowing, come back later for another ultrasound and hope that all is well at that time, or do the amnio. Waiting just the 3 days for this appointment had been hell. So I knew I couldn't just not find out. Waiting for another ultrasound didn't guarantee any answers at all, and even then we might end up doing an amnio. Which then we'd end up waiting even longer. So we decided to go through with the amnio, which is scary in itself. It helped that the rate of amnio related miscarriages was really pretty low at this facility, somewhere in the 1 in 500 range. And we took some comfort in knowing that if nothing happened in the 2 weeks after the amnio, that we were out of the woods with most of the worry from amnio related problems (most of the concern is about the hole sealing up).

A lot of people ask me if the amnio was painful. Honestly, I wasn't worried about myself at this point; so I hadn't considered the pain. So when they told me that it's less painful than most people expect and that you just feel some pressure for a minute, I took that to mean it wouldn't be bad at all. And then it was worse than I expected. But still not bad really. Quite uncomfortable for a short period of time, like a minute or so. In my opinion, the pain is definitely not a reason to back out of an amnio. I couldn't even find the place they'd poked when I got home from it, and it stopped hurting almost immediately when they were finished with it.

The waiting at this point was sheer hell. I'm not even going to go into all the thoughts that were in my head during this time.

Because our amnio had been done late Friday afternooon, we'd missed the lab pickup for the day, and the lab didn't get the sample till Monday. Then they had a hard time finding enough cells to test in my sample; so I didn't get the FISH results until Wednesday the next week. Much more agonizing research happened in between these days, and I found a couple sites that are really good for families of Tri-18 babies, but not so good for those of us in my position. Reading about all the babies that were born dead or died so quickly was soooo hard, and yet I kept doing it. It was hard to press through the day, and when I got home from work I'd struggle to stop crying. More than once we called friends and said we had to go out just for the distraction...that I couldn't stop crying unless other people were around.

I called the genetic counselor about a billion times asking if she'd gotten results. She was really sweet, but I felt bad for calling so often. I knew she'd call when she knew, but I still couldn't stop myself. Especially when Tuesday rolled around and still no results at the end of the day. I knew best case scenario we would have gotten them on Monday (the lab can get samples on Saturday...so 3 days from that is Monday). End of day Tuesday was supposed to be worst case...so waiting till end of day Wednesday was hard.

I have a friend at the lab which ran my tests. She could have gotten in a lot of trouble for giving me my results. But guess who still harassed her? She told me info like, "they're starting to test your sample today". But she couldn't tell me much more than that. And I understood that. And I knew that if something were wrong I wouldn't want to hear it from her because that would suck a lot. But I still called. I was still desperate for anything she could tell me.

But the first round of results finally came back, and they showed no mutations. And they showed that our baby is for sure a girl.

We were still worried after this, but the first round of results really gave us such a feeling of relief that it helped us get through the next so long. And we got the next round of results Friday, and they were normal too. So we knew for sure that the baby didn't have SLOS, and we really just had to be worried about the Tri-18 that doesn't show up in all the cells. This made waiting even easier, but still pretty tough. (The kind of Tri-18 that doesn't show up in all the cells can be less devastating than the kind that is in all the cells in some cases...so that was helpful knowledge at this point as well.) Then we got the next round of results earlier the next week than we expected, and they were normal as well!

So the scary quad screen terrified us unnecessarily. Everything it showed as a possibility the amnio ruled out.

The one thing I regret is that we told my in-laws right after we'd had the amnio. We like to keep them informed, and I think we just wanted to talk to people about it as well. When Jason called his mom she was at home by herself. She asked a bunch of questions, and seemed ok. He called her back a few minutes later though to tell her that the US made it look like we were having a girl...and she was apparently quite shaken, and had been sitting at home by herself crying. We didn't want the world to know about all this at this point; so we'd asked her to keep it to herself...which I think made it even worse. At that point we realized that we were done telling family until we had more info. No reason for everybody to be sick with worry.

We've still been worried about the baby's size, but we're more and more convinced that she's just younger than originally thought. Besides that, she looks anatomically good.

So yeah, really the reason I wrote this post, and why I put in so many details that most the world really won't care about is in case there's another terrified expecting parent out there who's going through this. If you are that person, and you need to talk, leave a comment with your email address (leave it on whatever post is newest). Hopefully I'll see it in time to be helpful...

Oh, and some of the details here might be wrong. My memory is a little fuzzy, and Jason remembers some of the details a little differently. Most of the stuff came straight from the notes I took at the time though...so hopefully it's right :) Regardless, this is just the story of what happened to me and what I learned and shouldn't be taken as medical fact.

(One more thing, the quad screen isn't diagnostic...so saying false positive is misleading... I know this, but I Googled for phrases like that when I was desperate and didn't understand this...so maybe it will help somebody find this post who needs to hear a story about a baby whose tests ended up being ok in the end.)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Baby stuff galore!

Jason and I had 2 baby showers in Ohio this weekend, one for each side of our families. Everybody was so generous, and we have sooo many baby clothes now :) I'm actually a little worried that Baby G will grow too fast and won't get to wear them all, at least for the first several months. We also have most the rest of the baby gear we need, minus some odds and ends.

So for all of you generous people that are reading this, I just want to say thank you so much! (Real thank yous should be in the mail soon...)

Besides all the great stuff everybody got us, it was really nice to see so many friends and family. Ohio had such nice weather and was so pretty...it made Jas and I both wish we could move back. Sometimes it's really hard to be so far away.

OK, more later...just wanted to give a quick update :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Baby Shower

Jason and I had our first baby shower. This one was thrown by my coworkers at work, and I was both surprised and grateful for their generosity.

Besides a whole bunch of cute little outfits, towels, wash cloths, and other baby supplies, they got us the Pack N Play, shown here.

Having stuff in our nursery is really helping my excitement level in general. It feels good to know that at least we have some of the stuff we need to care for a baby. Like maybe we can pull all this together.

We've also been getting all sorts of cute gifts from friends and family, many of them hand-made. We've gotten the cutest blankets and hats and such. Plus a bouncy seat and all sorts of other odds and ends. Super exciting.

And Jason and I were absolutely thrilled when the infant car seat was delivered to our house. It was completely unexpected, and very thoughtful of our friend who sent it all the way from Saudi Arabia. Well, the car seat didn't come from Saudi Arabia, but the order did. :)

So all in all we're feeling very blessed to have such thoughtful friends and family.

Oh, and so far I've sucked at sending thank you cards. They'll be coming soon. I really truly appreciate all the generosity people have shown us though, and will be sending out thank you notes as soon as I get back from our upcoming weekend travels.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Taking home baby outfit

Jason and I had to go to Babies R Us last week because I got a lovely email saying something like, "We're sorry, but we've discontinued every important item on your registry. Have a nice day!"

Sooo aggravating. I think Jason was about to lose his mind. But we survived re-registering.

And then we rewarded ourselves by picking out the outfit we'll take Baby G home in from the hospital.

The first thing we saw was this cute little purple thingie, but the neck opening wasn't very big, and Jason said he heard that new parents worry about ripping the baby's head off with stuff like that. So we kept looking. And Jason actually found the main part of the outfit. I think it's called a sleeping gown, but I don't really know the baby lingo very well yet.


So the "gown" opens real wide at the top, and doesn't have legs, just some sort of elastic thingie at the bottom. We bought her little socks and a little hat as well, since it might be cold out if it gets too late into October before she arrives.

So super fun times :)

Plus, I left the store still happily married, which wasn't the obvious outcome after explaining to my disgruntled husband all the reasons why we really did have to go back to the store to re-register, instead of just letting people try to get what they think we wanted but in a different color.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Baby's Growing

Jas and I went in for another ultrasound yesterday.

Sorry all, I haven't gotten the pix scanned in yet; so you'll just have to wait till next week sometime. Was busy at work and such. But the pix weren't that exciting this time anyway. She had her face buried in my hip bone; so I only gone one picture of her fist and one picture of her arm. I'll post them next week though for your viewing pleasure.

Here's the rundown:
- She weighs 2 lbs 9 oz.
- She dropped to the 18th percentile for growth/size.
- She's still 17 days behind in growth - still holding steady.
- She was sleeping this time and wouldn't move. She might take after me after all!
- The doctor is more convinced that her smaller size is a dating issue, and will most likely move the due date to the first week of October later on.
- Her head is less behind in growth than her arms and legs. My guess is that I'll have a small baby with a huge head. I think the benefits of a small baby at labor time might not matter if her head is huge. We shall see.

At my appointment with the midwives, I learned about counting her movements. I should be able to feel her move 10 times every 2 hours. She's supposed to sleep 90 minutes at a time; so that's why they measure over 2 hour increments.

I think that's it for baby/medical news.

I'll post later to tell you about our Babies R Us trip as soon as I get some pictures to post with it! I really don't know how to describe what we bought :)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

My secret obsession

OK. So it's not really a secret. I am completely obsessed with Grey's Anatomy. What most of you don't know is that I've been working my way through the first 3 seasons on DVD again. It's taken quite awhile, because I've been so busy, but I've almost finished. And this makes me sad. Because I don't own season 4 yet. I might have to remedy this situation though. Immediately.

Other news in my life... I got a phone call from Saudi Arabia this week. I think I probably cost my friend 7 trillion dollars just by answering the phone, but it was really nice to hear his voice.

Saudi Arabia is a place I plan to never visit. I'm fairly certain I would get shot within a week. Because I wouldn't think twice about jumping on an elevator with a man who isn't my husband. And wearing a headscarf would drive me nuts. And my friend almost got shot for taking a picture of a camel. So yeah, I'd have very little change of getting out of there unscathed.

Nothing much new on the pregnancy front. According to Jason, my belly's getting much bigger (thanks Babes, that's what I love hearing!) and it's misshaped based on where she's laying. And my belly looks like somebody's popping popcorn in there when she kicks a lot. I haven't had any appointments though since before I went out of town. I have 2 appts this week though. Friday's is another ultrasound...so keep your fingers crossed. Hopefully she'll have gained a few more percentile points of growth.

So check back Friday afternoon if you want to see new ultrasound pix. Besides that, my life is boring as always :)

[Update: Immediately apparently means Sept 9. I didn't read closely enough. Season 4 is on Amazon for pre-orders. I have to wait 2 months!]

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Busy week, but I'm back now

Number of new sisters-in-law: 2
Number of states visited: 6
Number of miles traveled: 1500
Number of hours in the car: countless

So I'm tired. And my ankles are huge.

But I'm happy. Being around family really lifted my spirits. They were so excited about the baby that I grew more and more excited with them. In Raleigh, I'm more just terrified. But they make me feel like I can do this, and that it will be good.

And it's awesome to have 2 new sisters-in-law. Jarrod and Amy and Jake and Lynn all seemed so happy. I hope their days were everything they hoped for. I know I loved my wedding day, and that it was my happiest day to date. I hope they look back on their big days in a year and smile.

No new baby news, except that Baby G is kicking up a storm. I'm starting to feel her movements cover bigger areas. I'm guessing this is just because she's bigger. I'm also wondering if she flipped around last night. Her movement was crazy then. And today her kicks have felt different, stronger.

OK...off to bed for me. Jason and I are carpooling again for the next couple of days, which means I'll be out of bed much earlier than I'd like. Plus I have busy days ahead preparing for a 30th birthday party I'm helping to throw!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Ultrasound 4

Today's ultrasound went really well. Baby G is still small, but she didn't lose any days between ultrasounds this time around (meaning she grew 3 weeks worth in 3 weeks time)! And she's now up to the 20th percentile in growth (as opposed to the 13th percentile from 3 weeks ago).

I don't have a ton of time to post, but here are the best pictures they gave us...

This is the top of Baby G's head, and you can see her hands and her finger bones pulled up towards her face.


This is a profile-ish shot. I think that's actually her face you can see on the right though.


They actually measured the blood flow through an artery in her head here. The graph below corresponds to the pumping of the blood, and you can sorta see the artery they were measuring through the line in the box they drew.


Baby G wasn't cooperating very much today. She was constantly moving. The scary thing is that I was barely feeling her move, but she was being super active. Meaning that she's really going nuts when I do feel her move. I think I've just learned to tune out the little movements at this point. This also means that we might have a super active baby. So she definitely takes after Jason in that regards. I slept all the time when I was a baby. But no, she couldn't take after me there. Had to inherit Jason's childhood energy levels, which from all the stories I've heard, was really really high.

Anyway, her face isn't really visible because she keeps moving and such, but you can see her arm pulled up around it, and her knee and leg pulled up to her torso.


And here you can see Baby G's face a little bit. Remember that the 3D scans cut off in funny places because it just captures the area they've specified. But again, you can see her arm wrapped around her face a little bit.

Most of the time all you could see was Baby G's arm completely blocking her face; so at least she moved a little bit for us. (The US tech totally had to poke at her to get her to move her arm even that much out of the way though.)

That's it for now. I have my normal checkup in an hour, but the US was the scary appointment. I'm so relieved she's growing more!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

6 years

This upcoming Sunday is Jason's and my 6 year dating anniversary. I know you're not supposed to count dating anniversaries once you're married and such, but I'm still pretty darn excited about it.

6 years together and still really happy. Pretty cool.

And today is Jason's 7 year anniversary at his job. So in 3 more years he gets a week more vacation a year. Yay!

Oh, and Jason's birthday is July 2. So exciting days all around.

Plus, my brother's getting married Saturday, and Jason's brother's getting married a week from Saturday. So even more exciting days all around.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Exhausted

Some days this pregnancy thing is just really exhausting. Lately these days are stringing themselves together. So life is hard right now.

Things I'd like to do but can't:
1) Drink a margarita.
2) Get throughout an entire day without feeling incredibly sad.
3) Stand up without feeling like I have to pee.
4) Lie for an extended amount of time on my tummy.
5) Feel well rested when I wake up.

I'm sure the list could go on and on, but I'm done venting for now. And I feel a little better for it.

So...several times a day I feel Baby G bouncing off me, corresponding to where her head should be (ie, around my bladder/lower abdomen). I figured this corresponded to her bouncing around...but I totally forgot about hiccups. I guess babies get hiccups often; so maybe that's what I'm feeling. I read that it feels like flutters, but nothing I've felt has felt like flutters. So who knows. Pretty cool though.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hello Summer...and the 3rd trimester!

Due to our awesome planning, Jason and I managed to align summer perfectly with the 3rd trimester of my pregnancy. Not that I wasn't going to be hot and miserable enough already with either one of those 2. Obviously the best thing would be to combine them :)

It is pretty exciting...well exciting and scary...that today starts trimester 3. Baby G will be here so soon. We're so not ready. But it will all come together. It has to, right?

I think she knows I'm talking about her. She's going nuts beating up on my insides right now.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fla-Vor-Ice

New thing I learned about Jason: He loves Fla-Vor-Ices. I would have thought that after close to 6 years together, that I would have known about all of his favorite treats such as these. But nope. New and exciting things every day.

Also, I saw my tummy jump a little when Baby G kicked me today. That's a first for me. So cool.

Monday, June 16, 2008

House pictures, as promised

This is a view of our breakfast nook, as it looked when we went on the walk-through when we bought the house. So all of that furniture and stuff is not ours. Notice the closet on the right, and the ugly striped wallpaper.

We've still got some work to do to finish it, but we opened up the room by removing that closet, which was a HUGE pain. It turns out that electricity, water, and sewer went through the walls of that closet. Oh, and it was a supporting wall. So we had to move all that. The ugly wallpaper is gone. We ripped out a stupid desk from beneath the glass cabinets. We're not sure yet whether we're going to add more cabinets in its place or remove the glass cabinets. Also, my house really is a construction zone right now. That's a miter saw on the left, and a table saw in the center. Sawdust is everywhere.

More ugly wallpaper that's now gone:

More of a construction zone. you can see in the back of the image the part of the dining room that's not yet done.

Jason, mid swing. There's red rosin paper that goes underneath the wood to help it slide into place and also to protect the wood from moisture. The pieces where Jason can use this tool go much much faster than the pieces that are close to walls. For those, Jason has to drill holes through the wood and then hammer nails through the holes. That entire process takes forever.


We've been putting the floors in for about 5 weeks. Taking out the closet and pulling up the carpet, staples, and linoleum took a few weeks on top of this; so we're probably rounding out 2 months of work right now.

Hopefully just 1 month or so to go!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Life in general

I got a bunch of emails asking how I was outside of baby stuff...so here's the update on everything else.

Jason and I are good. We just celebrated our 1 year anniversary on the 26th. How time flies!

The new house is a construction zone right now. We knocked out a closet to open up the living room and the kitchen, which turned out to be a ton of work (One of the walls was a supporting wall we had to move. Also running through the walls there: water, electricity, and sewer! The sewer alone took a couple weeks of effort from Jason to get right.)

Besides that, we're busily putting down hardwood floors on the entire main floor and up the stairs. We're going to hire somebody to paint the rooms and to sand and seal the floors for us, but besides that, it's been all us with some (ok, in some instances a whole lot) of help from friends. Fortunately, one of our friends is totally awesome at this stuff and totally teaches Jason how to do everything he doesn't know. So we're hugely indebted to him.

I've still got a little sister in the Big Brother/Big Sister thing, which is fun. I'm also in a couple prenatal exercise classes, one of which I love and one of which I don't so much love...

So I'm keeping busy.

I'll post pictures of the floors (and the construction zone) soon.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ultrasound 3

Baby G's third ultrasound was Friday. This is at 24 weeks.

This is supposed to be a picture of her foot. What exactly is her foot in this picture, I don't know.

The US tech printed this picture though because I asked her where the baby's feet are. Apparently, her feet are somewhere above my belly button. Baby G is already in birthing position, which means her head is lower, and most the time that I think I've felt the baby "kick" me has actually been her head-butting me.



This is another profile shot of Baby G. You can see the shape of her head on the right. The dark space in the center of her torso is her stomach, and the lines you can see going up and down are apparently her diaphragm and liver. The tech said this was a beautiful shot of her diaphragm and liver, which is why she gets paid to do this, because I don't see what she was seeing at all. On the left you can see her leg bones and her knee. (She's got her legs pulled up towards her torso here.) The thick thing at the top going from her mouth to her knee is actually the umbilical cord.



This is a 3D picture of Baby G's face. She's a little young for the picture to come out very well, but they showed me and printed it out anyway. It's pretty cool that you can see her eyes and nose and mouth, and her little arms and hands are pulled up towards her face. During the scan, they actually showed me some 4D images, which means I could see her moving over time in 3D, and she was moving her hand around.

The 3D pix are puts together with 1mm thick slices of 2D images, just like with MRIs. So if her head cuts off in certain areas or anything like that, it's because that part wasn't in the scan range of the 2D image.

I'm hoping these images come through ok, but if you want me to email them to you, send me an email to let me know.

Now for the medically prevalent and slightly scary info. If you're friends/fam and this is the first you've heard of all this, I apologize. I'm not trying to keep anyone out of the loop...just not doing such a good job of keeping everybody updated, which is sorta the point to this blog. If you want to just hear the good stuff and not the scary stuff, STOP READING NOW...


Baby G is still smaller than we'd like for her to be. Right now, we don't have any reason to believe that this is problematic, but the doctor still wants to monitor her pretty closely. As of Friday, she was in the 13th percentile for size. They don't start to get really concerned until the 10th percentile. (For the curious, they calculated her weight to be 1lb 2oz on Friday.)

Reasons to not be concerned:
1) The doctor said she looks anatomically perfect.
2) We've had an amnio which rules out a lot of scary possibilities.
3) There is plenty of amniotic fluid around her, and the doppler was normal, meaning that enough blood is going through the umbilical cord. These 2 things together indicate that the placenta is doing it's job and the problem shouldn't be undernourishment.
4) As of my appointment with the midwife the week before, my uterus is the size it should be. (There's nothing really exciting to report from this appointment; so if you're wondering why you hadn't heard about it, that's why.)

Reasons to maybe be concerned, but probably everything's ok:
1) The first US 8 weeks before showed her to be 10 days behind in growth. The second US 3 weeks before showed her to be 13 days behind in growth. This last one showed her to be 17 days behind in growth. So she's grown 6 weeks worth in 7 weeks time. Babies grow at different rates after the first trimester; so this might be nothing to worry about. The doctor said this is why we're continuing to be monitored as closely as we are.
2) The doctor wants to see us again at the smallest increment to really show a difference in ultrasounds, which is 3 weeks. It always makes me a little nervous when they want to see us as quickly as possible. She's a high risk pregnancy specialist; so she's probably more apt to monitor us more closely than a normal doctor would. We don't mind though, because she is great and if there is a problem, we feel like she'd be the one to catch it.

OK. I think that's it for now.

[Update: I mistakenly thought the first 2 ultrasounds were 4 weeks apart, but they were really 3 weeks apart. I fixed the post accordingly.]