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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Deju Vu

My next appointment with my regular ob/gyn is next Monday, the one after Memorial Day. My first real appointment with the doctor last year was the Monday after memorial day. Do you see where I'm going with this?

I feel like I'm getting a real sense of deju vu here. My second appointment was the Monday after Fourth of July, which signaled the beginning of the end. I am NOT going to make my next appointment for the Monday after Fourth of July this year. I can't do it, and I hope she understands. The reason I want the appointments on Monday is so Brian can go with me.

If we do four weeks after my appointment next Monday, the date will be June 29, and I will be 19 weeks. I'm hoping I can get my gender ultrasound that day, too, even though I'm going to try to get another ultrasound at 16 weeks to decide about the amnio.

As for the sense of deju vu, I find the closer I get to the time when Jenna was diagnosed, the more nervous and superstititious I get. I want to get there and get past it, but I also don't want to because I'm scared of it happening again.

I dread July and August of this year. It is the starting of my two months of hell last year. I know how low I sank at Christmas when my due date was approaching, and I had my anti-depressants and no pregnancy hormones then. Imagine how hard it will be now without them and a full dose of pregnancy hormones coursing through my veins.

Also, last year, we had our vacation (albeit a small one) planned out, but decided to cancel because we got the diagnosis just a few days before we were set to go. I couldn't have handled it. We have another vacation planned for June 15-19, and we are going to the same place as last year, but are going to stay longer. I'll be 16 weeks when we go on vacation, around the time I'll have the AFP and the ultrasound. I think I'll just do it after we get back. I feel like I ruined last summer for Tessa, and I don't want to do that this year.

I know it's silly to worry this way and be superstititious and letting a sense of deju vu fill you, but I can't help it. I don't know how to get over it. Sometimes, I wish I wasn't due around the same time I was with Jenna. At least, there is about a months difference. Has anyone else experienced this?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

To have the amnio or not?

Since our nuchal fold and PPAP-A test results came back so good, I have been trying to decide what I want to do about the amnio.

On the one hand, the peace of mind it would give me would mean so much. I know I could sleep easier if I knew 100 percent that the baby didn't have a chromosomal disorder. It would not take away all my worries because after nine months in deadbabyland, I know what can happen. But, it would take away my fear of the same thing happening again.

I also know how safe it is. My doctor said his risks are one in 1,600. That's extremely low, but the risk is still there. I would hate myself if I decided to have the amnio and something went wrong. That is the whole problem right there with having it at all.

What I think I have decided is to do the AFP test at 16 weeks, along with an ultrasound. If the AFP comes back as good as the nuchal did and the ultrasound shows no markers, I will wait until the big ultrasound at 20 weeks to make a decision about it. Most babies with one of the disorders will show soft markers on the ultrasound. If any of these ultrasounds show a soft marker, I will definitely have it done.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Never has negative sounded so good

I waited until 2 p.m., today to call the maternal fetal medical specialist. I don't know how I waited that long at all, but I did.

The receptionist checked my results and came back and said the test came back negative. Usually, negative just sounds so, well, negative. A negative on a pregnancy test is a bad thing for people like me who have trouble conceiving. I can think of other areas where negative is a terrible thing, a negative checking account, a negative return, etc.

But, I was so relieved to hear it that I didn't even think to ask for my numbers. Luckily, the specialist sent my results to Dr. McGowen, and her nurse called me. I love her nurse.

Anyway, I asked her for my numbers, and she looked on the report. She said they hadn't put down the numbers, just that it was much lower than the norm for my age group. She said the specialist said my numbers were absurdedly low. I'm just in shock.

Now, I have to decide if I want to do an amnio. Even though I know how low risk they are now, I know I would feel terrible if something bad were to happen. I guess I can do the AFP test and an ultrasound at 16 weeks and go from there.

Now, I feel like I can start buying. Our first step is stock up on diapers.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Waiting on the bloodwork

Yesterday, we had the ultrasound part of the nuchal translucency test, and we also had the bloodwork taken for the test.

The ultrasound tech was one that wasn't aware of our history at all, and I didn't like her at all. I told her we had lost our last baby to Trisomy 18, and I was extremely nervous about the test. She didn't even tell us she was sorry. She just nodded her head.

At one point, the baby was moving around, and I thought it was in a funny way. I asked her if it was all right for the baby to move that way, and she snapped at me and said, "I want it to move that way."

Brian told her that we were thinking boy this time, and she snapped at him with, "Well, I can't tell you that."

I asked her if the baby was measuring on time, and she said, "A little ahead at 12 weeks."

I said, "Good, last time, the baby measured behind all the time." I meant Jenna when I said that.

She snapped, "The baby DID NOT measure behind last time."

I just told her that I meant the baby we lost. Again, she didn't say she was sorry or anything at all. I am going to request that we get the lady who has been with us and knows our history the next time we go.

So, our baby is measuring ahead according to my dates from the first ultrasound (but right on time according to when I think I ovulated), and she gave us a measurement of one for the nuchal fold.

Now, I'm just waiting on the blood test results to come back. I know everything looked good on the ultrasound, but what if the bloodwork comes back high risk? Is that possible?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Nuchal translucency and PPAP-A test tomorrow

I am so nervous about taking these tests. I am so afraid it's going to show something wrong.

I know it's not necessarily accurate, so even if the test comes back high risk for Down Syndrome or Trisomy 18 or 13, it doesn't mean the baby will have it.

I have told myself that I wasn't going to let myself get attached to this baby until we found out whether everything was all right or not, but I can't help it. I already am. I love him or her or want to have him/her in my arms come the end of November.

I hope we get the good ultrasound tech tomorrow. She will tell me what she sees. I wonder how long I will have to wait for the bloodwork results.

My friend's doppler came last week. We've been using it almost every day. Mostly the heart rate has been in the 120s, but today, Brian found it for just a second at 168, then the baby moved away from him.

Anyway, I guess I'm just rambling because of nerves, but please wish us luck tomorrow.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Today is Tessa's sixth birthday, but it is also nine months to the day that we found out that Jenna had died. I have tried to focus on Tessa's birthday, so I wouldn't ruin the day for her. Tomorrow, it will have been nine months since Jenna was born, and I think I'll let myself grieve then.

Tonight, we were at my mom's, and my brother said something insensitive. I tried to say something back to him but my nudged me and shushed me. I was so mad, at her and at him. I hate how she plays favorites, but it also brings back memories of what he said to me several months ago. He told me that Jenna's death was God's way of telling me we shouldn't have any more children.

Even though my belief in God is sketchy right now, it still bothered me that he said it. You don't say something like that to a grieving parent. He also asked me once if Jenna looked like a real baby and why would I want to see that. He just isn't the most sensitive person on the planet, and if I didn't love his wife and sons, I would probably avoid him a lot more than what I do.

Anyway, I brought it up tonight to my mom that I didn't appreciate her nudging me and shushing me, and she said she didn't want a fuss. Well, why didn't she say something to him? It's because he is her favorite, always has been. I told her about the things he had said in the past, and you know what she said, "Well, he probably shouldn't have said it, but....," and launched into a defense of him.

No, he shouldn't have said it, period, not probably shouldn't have said. How do you get past someone saying that to you, especially when it's your brother?

Should I just let it go? It doesn't help that him being insensitive tonight of all nights just brought up all of his insensitive comments in the past.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother's Day

I've been writing a column for the newspaper where I'm working part time. We named it Blink and You Miss It, a play on my last name, which is often mispronounced as blink.

The three I've written so far have been about funny subjects, although I'm no where near as funny as one of my co-workers who also writes a column. They asked me to write something for Mother's Day this week.

I sat down to write something funny, but I couldn't come up with anything. Then, I decided to write about Tessa and her being born on Mother's Day (she'll be six on Monday, sob), but even then, I had so much trouble coming up with what I wanted to say.

I finally figured out the problem. I couldn't write a funny column about Mother's Day because this is such a bittersweet day for me. On the one hand, I have the memories of Tessa's birth and how special that day was for me. I'm excited about having a new baby growing inside me right now, but I am also sad because I miss my Jenna.

I also have a heaviness on my heart for all those women who lost their first babies. I know how lucky I am to have Tessa here with me, but my friends don't. I know they are so afraid people won't consider them mothers, but they are. It doesn't matter that their children never took a breath. They are still mothers because they loved those babies more than anything.

So, I decided to write a column about what it's like to lose a baby. I informed them about what Trisomy 18 is, and I also told them if they knew someone who had lost a baby to mention that baby by name. Here's my column for the week. I hope my followers here on my blog read it and know that even though I did it for myself, I also did it for them, because I carry those women in my heart always.

I also hope that it might help someone in my community who has been through it and might make others see how we feel. Maybe it will even open up some dialogue.

Here's the link.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Fears and paranoia

I find the closer we get to 16 weeks, which is when our nightmare with Jenna started, the more my fears increase. I am around 10 weeks now, so I just have six more weeks until I get to that point.

Part of my fear comes from the fact that my doctor changed my due date. I thought, based on when I think I ovulated, that I would be due Nov. 30. I would be 10 weeks today. I am not sure exactly when I ovulated, though, but I do know when Brian and I had sex. So, it had to be around that time or a few days afterward. The reason she changed my due date was because my ultrasound on April 10 showed I was six weeks exactly, when by my calculations, I would have been six weeks, three days or six weeks, four days.

The reason that bothers me so bad is that after my first ultrasound with Jenna they changed my due date, too, because she was measuring about five days off. Of course, my ultrasound with Jenna was at 11 weeks and not six weeks and was after my first appointment. Comparing just doesn't work. I have to keep telling myself that. This is a different baby and a different experience.

Also, at my second appointment, the one where blood was taken to do the AFP test, Dr. McGowen wanted me to go ahead and do the glucose test. We were never able to have that done because I got the results two days later, and we didn't really feel the need to do it. That bottle of glucola sat in the refrigerator for months because neither Brian and I had the heart to throw it out. Brian told me over the weekend that it nearly broke his heart when he finally did it. Again, I know you can't compare the situations, but it is so hard not to.

A friend of mine gave me the suggestion to call and ask for another ultrasound. I think I'm going to do it. I'm going to tell Dr. McGowen's nurse how nervous it makes me that the dates are off and see if we can do anything about it. Also, this friend is going to lend me her doppler, so I'll be able to hear the heartbeat whenever I want. She's a wonderful person, and I hope she's reading this. She really helped me a lot when I was going through my loss with Jenna.

I'm not sure if this paranoia and anxiety will go away until I'm holding this baby in my arms. For those who are reading who already have their rainbow baby, how do you get through it? I don't like being afraid or nervous, and I think being off my anti-depressants aren't helping any either.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

We heard the heartbeat

First, I want to say that I hope I didn't sound too insensitive to the lady who lost two babies to Trisomy 18. I feel so bad for her, and I did send her a note on babycenter to let her know I was there for her if she needed to talk.

She hasn't gotten back to me yet, but I hope she does. I know very well that alone feeling you have when you get the diagnosis.

On to my doctor's appointment. Her nurse got me right back and took my blood pressure, which was fine, and weighed me. I had gained nine pounds. I usually don't worry at all about gaining while pregnant, but I am a little this time. I'll come back to this in a minute.

On a funny note, yesterday, Brian got a voice mail from Blue Cross, Blue Shield that it was time for his pap smear. I'm pretty sure it was meant for me, but it was still too funny. Dr. McGowen did do that, too.

She came in and asked how I was feeling. I told her I was having lots of nausea, and I also told her about how my stomach would swell during it. I also told her about the pain in my rib cage. She thought it could be gall bladder and instructed me to cut out greasy and fried foods. I'm definitely going to try that.

She then said she was going to try to find the heartbeat, but we might not hear it because it was still early. She said she had had trouble finding one on a patient earlier that day that was about as far along as I am. But, she found it. What a beautiful, beautiful sound. Tears filled my eyes. I told Dr. McGowen, "That makes me feel so much better."

She said, "I thought it would."

I am having my glucose testing done early due to me being insulin resistant, and she also thinks my lightheadedness could be from my blood sugar. I go in Wednesday morning to have that done. I hope I can drink that nasty orange stuff down without throwing it up.

We did discuss my weight. She told me if I didn't gain another pound, she would be fine with that. She wants me to try and cut out all my sugar, white flour, potatoes and pasta, just in case. She is very worried about me developing gestational diabetes because of the fact that I am insulin resistant and that my blood sugar has run high in the past.

She told me she had recently had another patient who had a baby with Trisomy 18. The baby wasn't diagnosed until birth because the girl was only 19 years old and hadn't received any testing. Dr. McGowen said she knew the baby wasn't growing right, but ultrasound didn't show any kind of abnormalities at all. I feel so bad for that poor girl. I know it's really a personal decision, but it's stories like this that make me think everyone should have the testing.

I go May 18 for the nuchal fold test. I did tell her that I was scared of the CVS, especially after reading that it was more dangerous than the amnio. She said it was just a little, but she wouldn't recommend it unless the Nuchal Fold and the PPAP-A came back as high risk. I think I agree with her.

I wish we could just get the test over with so I can feel better about things. Overall, I think it was a very good appointment.