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Heather's Parenting Journal

Entry Nine ~ December, 2006
~ Little bit of this and a little bit of that

The new pregnancy is going pretty well. Iím only nauseous if I am not constantly putting food in my mouth. Yuck. Iím tired of crackers already. I crave milk, but canít drink it on an empty stomach. Water makes me nauseous also. But, Iím not as nauseous as the last time. Iím still thinking it is a boy.

I went in to see the doctor for my first OB appointment. I was 10 weeks and 4 days. The doctor could not hear the heartbeat so had me get an ultrasound to verify the baby was doing fine. The first thing we saw in the ultrasound was the baby and his/her heartbeat. It was so wonderful to see the little one floating and kicking around. Mom and baby could bond on a whole new level, long before I could feel his/her movements in my belly. Iíve only had a 10 week ultrasound with Alex (my first). All the rest I had to wait until 20 and even 26 with Isabella. So, it was a treat.

Upon returning home, the doctor called me. She said the babyís nuchal fold measured larger then normal and she wanted me to see a maternal fetal specialist the next day. I began doing the dreaded internet search on the nuchal translucency screening test and scared myself even worse. The larger the nuchal fold, the larger the risk for Down Syndrome, other chromosomal abnormalities, as well as congenital heart problems. So, my happy pregnancy has been overshadowed with fear, anxiety, a bunch of Ďwhat ifís, and lots of tears. I would never change the course of this pregnancy whether I knew if the baby had Downs or not. But, why should I have to worry for the next 30 weeks. Iíve decided this might be the longest pregnancy yet.

The next day I went to see the specialist. He verified the nuchal fold to be larger then normal, but not exceptionally large. Okay. That does not exactly ease my mind. Then he brought in a genetic counselor. AHHHH! Iíve been spoiled with non-complicated, lovely pregnancies until now. Now, I am mapping out my family history to a stranger who is telling me that having a baby with disabilities is okay. I know Iíll be okay, but it would be easier to know then, and not worry now. But, Iíve gone down this path and must continue it at this point because the worry has been set in place. So, my options are many. First, I can do nothing, ignore it, and go on. For me, that is just not an option. Secondly, I can have a sequential blood test, which I did do. It is a blood test taken at 10 weeks and 15 weeks (my blood). The blood along with the babyís measurements are sent to a lab. The lab determines a ratio of my chances of having a baby with Downs. It does not determine if the baby has a heart problem. It only tests for Downs. And then from the results of that there is CVS and amnio which are both more invasive and carry risks of miscarriage. I opted against any invasive test. The doctor said my care, if I was carrying a baby with Downs, would not change whether I had the CVS or amnio done. So, why risk the baby? I am also scheduled for a fancy ultrasound with a cardiologist who will look at the babyís heart in detail via ultrasound around week 18. The ultrasound will not harm either of us, and if the baby had a problem, it is good information to have in order to get the best help possible at the time of delivery for our little one. So, needless to say Iíve had a lot on my mind.

The results of the first blood test came back yesterday and they were negative. I am not at any higher risk for carrying a baby with Downs than any other 34 year old. So, I have to rest my mind and just know that what will be - will be. Any child is a gift and this one whether with Down Syndrome, a heart problem, or perfectly healthy will be loved the exact same either way. Sometimes Ďknowledgeí is not powerful. It just brings on extra worry.

My mother-in-law also had a scary episode (during my scare with the baby) and was rushed to the hospital and put in ICU for several days. It was an infection that overtook her body quickly due to her immunity being so low. She is now recovering nicely at home and we are looking forward to Christmas with her. She is still so strong willed and is not going to let this cancer get her down. This was only a minor hick-up. Now she knows to listen to small clues of being ill and get to the doctor.

Other than all of that, we have had a good month. Our Thanksgiving was fantastic with my parents, aunt, uncle, and cousin visiting and I ate way too much. My Christmas is almost shopped for as we approach the final week before Christmas. The Christmas cards are mailed. It has taken me 10 times longer to put up any decorations in our house due to being super tired. Iíve been told it is because I am breastfeeding and pregnant. So, I am still considering quitting, but Isabella does not think it is a good idea. She has refused the few bottles Iíve tried. Isabella now sleeps through the night and Iíve taught her how to put herself down to sleep. So that has helped with the exhaustion. Alex is in his last week at school before Christmas break. Maria is now out as of yesterday. We are all just adjusting to the flow and waiting for some snow, which does not look like it will happen any time soon.

I am hoping for a rather non-eventful Christmas with the typical cookie baking, eating, enjoying family, and celebrating. The kids and I always make a birthday cake for Jesus. They think it is fun and it brings the real meaning of Christmas to them. Who does not like a birthday party? The only thing they wonder is why they get all the gifts? My husband has some extra time off work over the holiday and is making these cute snowman ornaments by hand with the kids. It has taken three days but they are all having a great time together painting and watching dad make them on the lathe.

Now that Isabella is going to sleep so nicely my husband and I have a date night every week. We work around our babysitterís schedule and take off for a few hours for dinner, shopping, or just to grab a coffee at Starbucks and catch up. As we are approaching becoming the parents of five kids, we are making sure to take that extra time for just us. It is hard to have a great family without a solid foundation. Brian and I being the first in our family are the foundation for our kids.

Have a blessed holiday and a wonderful month! See you in 2007!

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