Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Basements and vistors

This past week has been one of those weeks... one of those weeks with no good news... and one big mess.

This week we have friends of my husbands staying with us.  They are the same friends we visited a few months back in New York and they are currently expecting a baby in October.  She is vietnamese and has the tiniest little frame with a giant belly bump sticking out of it.  She is the poster child for what a beautiful perfect belly bump looks like.  I am jealous.  As a shower gift we, together with another couple, are giving them a maternity photo shoot session.  She was very excited about it.  And even this early in her pregnancy her bump will look amazing.

By contrast I look lumpy in the wrong places.

It has been nice to see them, but it's also a bit hard to have someone staying with you, especially when they get to sleep in every day and you have to get dressed to go to work.  And last night they came home and put Strawberry cheesecake in my refrigerator.  I have an anaphylactic allergy to strawberries.  The one thing I ask is to not bring strawberries home.  ug.  I've asked them to make sure it is gone by the time I get back.

My father is home from the hospital and seems to be on the mend.  Currently they think he might be able to go to Europe with us, but only because my mother has agreed to put her nursing training to work and pack his incision site from the abscess he had.  Literally a pain in the ass put him in the hospital and caused all of his numbers to go wonky. 

And then there is the mess.  Our basement is flooding.  But, not from the rain.  We haven't had much rain.  My husband thinks it could be that the air conditioner isn't draining properly.  I hope he's right...  The idea of having to rip apart our basement to redo it makes me weep.  We have gorgeous hard wood floors down there.

So, excuse me for not writing much... it's just been one of those weeks its hard to get excited about. 

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Husbands and fathers and heartbeats... oh my!

My hubby and I had no plans for this past weekend.  We had hosted my "precocious" nephew for the previous week and even though we had fun we were exhausted.  Then we realized on Saturday we were going to have to go to my parents to do some laundry.  Because I am really on comfortable these days in maternity clothes, and because I don't have a lot of them, i have to do laundry fairly regularly.  And, of course, our washing machine has elected to break down.  My parents were very generous letting us come and use theirs.  And, my hubby, managed to get a gift from his wife who allowed him to go and watch two, yes TWO horrible summer action movies by himself while I did the laundry.

So I'm getting into the shower and I ask my husband to finish gathering all of the laundry together, strip the beds, while I finish getting ready.  I shower and return to the bedroom to find the linen still on the bed, and on the bed in the guest bedroom.

"Babe, what are you doing?" I call out, I can see he's in the kitchen, standing over the sink, holding his outside running shoes, covered in mud and grass and who knows what else

"cleaning my shoes" he responds innocently.

"in the kitchen?" I can feel the wrath of the pregnant woman hormones overcome me and my husband immediately knows he has done wrong.

Maybe I'm paranoid.  Maybe I know too much.  There are lots of parasites in the ground, in the dirt.  They advise pregnant women to wear gardening gloves and wash their hands well to make sure they don't pick up toxoplasmosis.  And here's my husband dropping dirt and grass bits all over our food preparation areas.

I mean even if I wasn't pregnant , to me this is not where you wash your running shoes.  We have a laundry tub... acceptable.  We have two outside hoses... acceptable... even the bathroom sink or tub to me is way better... but the kitchen????

And this is from my husband who is certain he is a germophobe.

So, sunday morning, after 8 hours of laundry (which my husband avoided by going to two, yes TWO movies) i forced him to clean the kitchen.  A lot.  With bleach.  And then clean it again.  And then I made him clean out the fridge.  I don't think our kitchen has ever sparkled as much as it does right now.  

Then came the bad news.  While I was doing laundry it was apparent that my father was getting ill again.  He looks so sallow and weak.  He can't sit because it is causing so much pain.  At 9pm Sunday night my mom took him back to emergency because he had a fever of 39.5.  He's been readmitted with a bacterial infection and has been placed on IV antibiotics.

We're all supposed to go to Europe together in just 3 weeks.  And i keep wondering if my father will be well enough to make the trip. 

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday morning at the same hospital where my father is a patient so i went to visit him after.  I heard the baby's heart beat for the first time.  What an incredible symphony that little one is making.  The most incredible sound I have ever heard. 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013


I have no idea why this was so hard... but I took a big and scary step for me today.  I had to call our RE's office and say that we would no longer be needing the appointment we have scheduled next week. 

I had put it off as long as I could.  I wouldn't even cancel when they called last week to move it up a week.  I couldn't bring myself to trust that I could cancel because we wouldn't need their appointment.  I am 3 months pregnant and yet, still, hanging over me is the terror that today could be my last day. 

I'm not normally superstitious, but i feel like one of those baseball players that when they are on a winning streak they won't change their socks, or their route to drive to the baseball field.  This total paranoia that even the slightest change in the routine will upset the delicate balance of the universe that has led to them being 12 for 12. 

That is how I feel about Shmily.  I feel like this pregnancy is a streak that is just waiting to be broken.  Like those signs in factories that say 114 days without a workplace accident.  They always seem to be tempting fate.  I have been pregnant for 93 days.  And even now I wonder if I am going to make it to day 94.

I know this is my pregnancy after loss brain that is completely not trusting my own body, or trusting this pregnancy.

But, I called (because my tomorrow we would have had to pay) and I cancelled.  They called back.  They congratulated me.  Told me it was wonderful news and how happy they are for us. 

But I just feel unsettled.  Like I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013


First, sorry for the delay in updating.  I had tried to post something from my cell phone but it didn't seem to work. Then I've been feeling a bit "off" for the last few days.  I don't know if this is a new and "exciting" symptom of pregnancy or if i have a tummy bug.  Either way I'm not enjoying it.  Finally, my beloved nephew of "can I see your lady parts?" infamy is staying for us for the week.  I'm keeping the bathroom door locked. 

First, the NT scan.  I was so incredibly relieved that Shmily's little heart is beating away.  This was my biggest fear.  I was terrified of a missed miscarriage that would be discovered at this scan.  It was keeping me up at night as I ran my hand over my beginning bump and murmuring to the baby within.  But that baby is still doing ok.  That was the biggest relief.  Our beautiful little baby is doing well.  However, it has taken after it's future mummy and daddy and was soundly sleeping through most of the ultrasound.  The tech kept making me wiggle on the bed to try to move the baby around.  It wasn't really well positioned for taking pictures of the neck, which after all is what we were there for.  She even finally tried a vaginal ultrasound and had me wiggle around with that damn dildo-cam inside me... those made for some interesting pictures flashing across the screen.

She didn't tell us the size of anything, but my husband is pretty sure that when she did measure something it measured 1.5mm, which is well shy of the 3mm worry point.  But my husband could be wrong on that front.  She did tell us that there were no red flags and nothing to worry about.  I cried with joy the whole way home that day.  Seeing our babies heartbeat momentarily relieves any fears that still flare up because of my previous miscarriage.  Even though this baby has made it (almost) to the second trimester I still don't 100% trust that this baby is coming home with us.

I was trying to send a picture to my work account so I could upload it to my blog, but I seem to be incredibly technically challenged.  If i figure it out i will include a pic.  

The other update, which is minor in a way, but could become bigger, is that I have begun the steps of talking to the hospital about the "genetic counseling" that we received.  When my maternity nurse called to check that I had all of my paperwork filled our correctly for the NT scan last Friday I told her what had happened.  She was horrified that such a thing had gone on.  I am currently waiting for the Patient representative, or advocate or whatever her title is to call me back about what happened.  The more I thought about it, the more horrified and angry I became.  Until it got to the point that I couldn't not do something.  So i will keep you all updated on what becomes of that.

Other than that, like I said, nephew number 1 is with us this week.  This mostly involves he and my husband playing video games while I nap.  He's taking a camp on lego robotics where you build a robot out of lego and program it to perform certain tasks.  Yesterday was the first day and he really seemed to enjoy it.  And it's good practice for us... well... good practice for my husband... I don't need any practice at napping.   

Friday, 5 July 2013

NT Scan Today!

Today is the day.  The scary test and test results and also another opportunity to see our beautiful bundle of joy.  We are so excited... and nervous.  The test is at 3pm today.  My whole family is waiting for a picture of Shmily.  My parents, who have had the same aging flip-phone for 8 years actually went out and upgraded to a iPhone so that they could receive a picture of their newest grandbaby.  They will be at a party this evening with my father's family and if everything is ok we have given permission for them to spread the news. 

So, keep your fingers and toes and eyes crossed for me today, and for Shmily, if you pray, feel free to add us to your list.  I am hoping that our baby will be in there still, dancing away, perfectly safe and happy after all these months, and that s/he will have a beautiful, slim neck. 

After today we can safely move out of the terror of miscarriages that is the 1st trimester and into the second trimester knowing we have a beautiful healthy baby. 

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Genetics Counseling

So last Friday my hubby and I made our way into the bowels of the city for a VERY early morning appointment due to my ADVANCED MATERNAL AGE.  I feel like this sentence should be read in a deep foreboding voice and filled with reverb. 

Can I tell you, it was horrible?

First, there was the requisite cheesy, outdated movie with outfits that were cheesy and outdated in the 80's.  The entire room burst into laughter at the awful cheesy dialogue and poor acting.  Then there was the over simplified genetics discussion... at least it was oversimplified for someone who has worked in molecular genetics for years.  I imagine that there are many people who don't know what a gene is... but I was annoyed that I had gotten out of bed for that.

Then we met with a genetics counselor,  she was fine, asked some vague questions about ethnicity and disability diagnoses in our family and then turned us over to satan the doctor.

The man was horrible.  I was so angry by the end of the appointment that I couldn't see straight.  It has taken me days to calm down and even still I am feeling my blood pressure ramp up again as I try to write about it.  This was his advice:

"You should have the amniocentesis done.  You might not appreciate this, but life as you know it will be over, forever, if you have a retarded child.  And then, if you go on and have other children their lives will be ruined by this retarded child too.  There are risks of course.  At our hospital we have a very low risk of miscarriage for an amniocentesis 1/900.  Now suppose that we establish you as having a 1/300 chance of having a child with down syndrome.  That means that if we take 900 women with a 1/300 risk we will find 3 children with down syndrome and terminate those pregnancies and we will only cause a miscarriage to one healthy baby.  I know, I know, you think that will be bad if you are the one woman with the miscarriage to the healthy baby, but it won't be so bad if it happens to you.  You will be back here in 6 months pregnant again."

This was spewed at us as one entire sentence.  There was no counseling, we were told that we need to abort a child who had a developmental delay, that they would ruin everything if we didn't.  And a complete disregard for the fact that, no, it took us a long time to get this far in pregnancy.  There was no guarantee we would just be able to ever get pregnant again.  And how dare he disregard a child with a disability as someone who would destroy my life.  As I said my husband later "our life as we know it will be over when this child comes regardless of if it has disabilities or not". 

I am angry, furious, that this is the level of advice that we are given.  No real insight into what the risk profile might look like for someone of my age, the point at while they would recommend having additional testing done, and no information to a family on what support they might have or choices they could make in the event of a diagnosis of a chromosomal abnormality.  This was from a government paid specialist.  A foregone conclusion that we would abort.

Then he tells us an anecdote as a parting shot.  "When I was still in Israel I was talking to this bedouin woman and explaining to her how horrible it would be to have a child like this.  And I figured she didn't understand because she just kept nodding.  Finally, she said to me, 'that is the child I want.  We have some children like this in our community.  They are filled with love, they do as they are told, they cause no trouble, this is the perfect child'. "  He shakes his head with wonder and says "The things these primitive people think are important". 

The benefit of this day is that it seemed to arouse a protectiveness in my husband for his unborn child.  "Maybe we shouldn't even do the testing", he says on the drive home.  "I don't want to risk losing Shmily.  We're a family.  No matter what."