Monday, December 31

23 Week Update

Seriously! Isn't she SOOO cute!!!??

We had an ultrasound today and we are so relieved!  That may sound a little strange but we've been having some concerns that we haven't told anyone about.

For those who don't know, when you are pregnant you have the option of doing genetic screening to find out if your child is at risk, or rather a higher risk for any genetic defects/problems.  We decided that we would do a "quad" screening which is a blood test during your second trimester.  Since blood is pumping from mom and baby they can now use a blood test to get a basic screening.

Well, a few days after the blood was drawn I got a message saying that my results were fine - but the nurse didn't say what about, so I called to find out.  Turns out I was normal for 2/3 tests and the third they were still waiting to hear back on.

So I again waited

and waited

and then I got a message to call my doctor back.

That's always scary - when they tell you good results over a message and then tell you to call them for the final result.  You know it's not going to be good.

So I played phone tag for 2 days - I thought I was going to go nuts!

As it turns out I tested in normal ranges for trisomy 18 and spina bifida but my results came back slightly elevated for down syndrome. We were pretty worried and waited a few days till our doctors appointment to ask our doctor what steps we should take next to know if our risk assessment was one we should really be worried about.

It's not that we would abort (heck, we've been waiting two years for her to come!) but we want to make sure that we are prepared to help Kaylee in any we can.

So we went and had genetic counseling - this is where they sit down with you and go over all the different tests and you go from there.  We decided to take things one step at a time and so we started with an ultrasound.  The ultrasound checks for "hard" and "soft" markers.  Hard markers are physical signs that are typically associated with down syndrome.  Soft markers are physical signs that are common among people with down syndrome but does not necessarily mean anything and can be associated with other causes.

After a 30-45 minute ultrasound the specialist came to us and told us that from what they could see Kaylee had no hard markers (granted they didn't get good photos of her heart or spine cause she was being bouncy that day).  However she did have a soft marker - while she herself measured in the 33 percentile, her femurs were in the "less than 5%."  Anything under 10% they get a little worried.

So we set up an appointment for three weeks later (today). I've spent the last three weeks wondering and being worried, hoping her little femurs would grow. It is the strangest feeling to be so worried about someone you've never met and you don't know.

I was also conflicted. I know people with down syndrome and I know their families.  These people are so loving and kind and wonderful - would it really be that bad if Kaylee had it too? Could we handle it?  What kind of life would she have?

Basically, the last three weeks have been emotionally tormenting.

I'm so grateful for modern technology though - we felt so much relief today.  After only three weeks our little Kaylee's femurs went from 5% to 22%!  As of now, they are not as concerned that she will have down syndrome.  She could, but there are no more signs for now that would lead us to further testing.

Again, I feel totally conflicted - Is it bad to say I'm happy?  Happy that my child will most likely be "normal?" I can't help but think of all the other mothers out there who have gone through the same thing but had different news - isn't their child normal too?  I know so many people who have different outcomes than myself and my heart goes out to them.  How do you handle that emotionally? Spiritually?  I know it's not the right word, but I feel a little guilty for being so relieved.

Regardless, I'm incredibly happy - happy that I'm pregnant, that we got to see Kaylee, that she's growing, that she's healthy and strong (believe me she's strong - her kicks are powerful!).

So here's our update:

  • Kaylee is now in the 38% (that means out of 100 babies her age, she would be smaller that 62 of them)
  • Kaylee went from 11 oz three weeks ago to 1lb 3 oz (that's 8oz!!!!)
  • She is kicking up a storm, especially at night when I'm trying to sleep.  While I complain about it, I'm secretly loving every minute of it!
  • She also moves - A LOT
  • When she kicks me, she is Garrett's child.  When she is being sweet and makes me happy, she's my child ;)
  • We love her dearly and are excited to move to our new apartment so we can start getting ready for her arrival (our place it too little to start collecting everything we need)
  • She is SO CUTE (see picture above)
  • We are now debating if she will have blonde or red hair (on both sides there are grandparents with red hair) and if it will be straight or curly 
    • We know though that she'll probably be born bald
  • Again, we love her so much!  She's got both of us wrapped around her finger and she's not even here yet!!

Thursday, November 8

Daily Rituals

Wow, I have not written in a while! Sorry!!  I get so wrapped up in the daily grind that I forget that I even have a personal blog here!
Anyways, Garrett’s been out of town all week for his yearly training and I've re-realized how much I love one of our favorite traditions.
My love languages are touch and quality time – I've known this about myself since I was young (er). When Garrett and I got married we often found that school and work did not allow us to spend as much time together as we would have liked.  I would physically and emotionally get stressed and anxious.  Finally one day I was so frustrated that I stomped my foot on the floor twice – very hard – to get Garrett’s attention (we call this “stomp stomp” – and I say it now to get his attention since we live on the second floor in our complex).  He looked over and I exclaimed that we needed to take a break and go cuddle.  These became a tradition called “every five minute breaks.”  While they didn’t happen every five minutes, we knew how nice it was to just stop and take a break from everything going on around us.  We’d be working and one of us would call to the other, “I think we need an every five minute break!!”  And off to our room we’d go to just lay in bed and talk or lay in silence enjoying each other’s company.
In school we often saw each other on campus throughout the day but when we moved to Houston and I started working from home while Garrett was gone most of the day, the separation again started to take it’s toll on me emotionally and physically.  I would get anxious and panic and my back would tense and I would get migraines (clearly Garrett is not allowed to die before me).  So once again we began our tradition of every five minute breaks.  This time though, as soon as Garrett walks in the door, we give each other a hug and one of us leads the other to our bed where we take five to ten minutes to just be.  Sometimes we talk, a lot of times we laugh, but mostly we just lay there holding each other.  We've found that the days we do this are incredibly pleasant. The days we don’t we almost ALWAYS end up arguing or fighting about some stupid thing.  So now we just do it – every day.  We allow ourselves to let go all the stress from the day – we've made our marriage our refuge from the craziness of the world.
I've always known that this special time we have together each day will always be one of our most cherished traditions.  But sometimes it takes not doing it to remember HOW special the little traditions are.  Whether it’s “every five minute breaks, ”  holding hands when praying over dinner, playfully bickering over who’s turn it is to pray, my always trying to steal Garrett’s spot on the bed, Garrett coming home and always finding me turning around from my office chair with a big smile on my face, Garrett taking twenty minutes of alone time to read his comics, Garrett immediately checking out IMDB after we watch a movie even if he’s already read through it…the list goes on.  But those are our traditions and I love every single one of them.  When Garrett is gone my heart hurts because I don’t get to repeat our daily rituals.  But when he comes home I know I appreciate those little daily moments more.