Friday, February 10, 2012

7.3

Crap. I thought I hit 8 this week and that sounded so good, but then I realized that couldn't be right based on the whole 40 weeks vs 9 months dealio, so I found a calculator online and I'm...7.3. As in months pregnant.

That's not nearly as milestone-sounding-y.

But it is over 80% complete, so that's something, right?

I'm not really in a rush to be done, because I'm quite far from being ready, so why this even matters, I don't know. I have been pregnant a really long time though, or so it feels. With Playette, I found out late. With her brother, I found out super early. It is what it is.

You know what I woke up thinking about this morning? Weight gain. Specifically, weight gain due to pregnancy after losing 52 pounds and then gaining back six, but who's counting.

I haven't done such a great job with this whole weight thing. I thought I'd do fantastic since I was thoroughly Weight Watchers-ized and in really good shape last summer, but the first trimester had me losing my mind by eating things regularly that used to be treats or Absolutely Nots. And then the whole working out thing went away.

So I'm up 30 pounds. Totally my fault. But strange all the same.

I didn't gain this much with Playette. I think it was 25 pounds by the time I gave birth.

But, then again, I started out 24 pounds lighter this time.

This is boring, I know. But it's what I've been thinking about.

You know, when I'm not busy stuffing my face with Pop Tarts.

At least they're not buttered.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Billboard Girl

I came across these photos the other day and I don't think I ever posted them. I'd like to place them here so that they're easier to find later on. They were taken by the NDSS photographer in Times Square, just prior to the 2011 NYC Buddy Walk in Central Park.





Saturday, February 4, 2012

Feeling Chatty, Pt. 2

I had a pretty crappy day yesterday and, unfortunately it was related to my being pregnant. I must always first clarify that it's not baby related. My issues are emotional, not physical, and resulted from my having an appointment with someone that just plain didn't know how or feel like being compassionate at that moment. It was pretty bad, y'all.

And I've been reminded, yet again, that I really don't know enough about the wee babe to say whether he's ok or not. I just simply don't know. I'm waiting to see how things go. Which, ironically, was what I was planning to talk about next: my choices related to prenatal testing (PNT).

It's strange going from one pregnancy/child that was so heavily monitored to one that I'm just supposed to, based upon my own decisions, let be.

[We did not have a prenatal diagnosis with Playette, but she had decels in her heart rate that became evident when I went to the hospital for a high fever and ended up receiving twice-weekly non-stress tests and fluid checks throughout the third trimester.]

The last time I had a look at him (him? - I guess), the newbie, was almost three months ago. I'm just supposed to trust. I'm not sure how to do that, exactly. I mean, I've already been on the other side. Being surprised. That didn't work out well for me.

But before about a week ago, I was fine with this. So I do realize that I had a hand in this fate. I just never thought that I'd start freaking my freak near the end.

Am I afraid of Ds? No, not really. When you know better, you do better.

Would it kinda rock my world if he had it? Hell yes. Not like before, but Ds is not what I'm hoping for, honestly. I'd really like to give 46 chromos a try, if that's ok. I also know that that guarantees nothing.

I know that there are people in the world who are quite sure that they know my position on PNT. For some, the fact that I'm 35 and have already had a child with Ds is enough to make an assumption that of course I'd only be being responsible to seek more information. Or, you know, make sure that it didn't happen again.

And that's totally ok for some. I don't fault my fellow Ds mamas for requesting some peace-of-mind in the early (or later) days of their subsequent pregnancies. We're all part of a club that you just can't understand until you've been initiated. You're no longer naive, as much as you would like to be. You can't turn off the part of your brain that wants to remind you that things don't always work out the way you think they will. And you also have been exposed to a world where Ds is far from the worst thing you can ever conceive of...you now get it when people call Ds "the Cadillac of disabilities."

I also don't give my friends that have chosen to adopt another child with Ds the side-eye. There's room for all of us and I can see why they love their babes to pieces.

Bottom line: I declined everything. So much so that I felt off going in for the 20-week ultrasound. I felt like, "If I didn't want to know anything, how does it make sense that I'm walking knowingly into a situation that could tell me something?" It felt hypocritical in a way. Like the two positions didn't match up.

Again, I'm just talking about my own personal situation. And I didn't start to question the ultrasound until maybe a day or two before it happened.

But I did it. We did it. And everything was "fine."

No follow-ups.

Strange. For me. I live in the land of See You Next Time.

And this time? There was no Next Time.

Which was good. But still strange.

Please also know that I believe that the 1% additional "risk" they offer to people like me, in addition to that associated with my "advanced maternal age", is a load of hooey. 1%...1 out of every 100. Not possible. I've heard of spontaneous, random Ds reoccurring biologically in a family, but it's far, far lower than 1% of the time.

Anyway.

That brings us full-circle to what I had been planning to talk about when I mentioned that "something really interesting happened...[and] it wouldn't be brought to my attention for many months."

You see, I read Alison's blog and she had mentioned conducting interviews with people as part of a research project that she was doing on PNT (she still is, by the way, in case you're interested).

I was all in. I am an open book. Pretty transparent, actually.

Our phone interview took place in July. Right before I got pregnant. So, while I was running my mouth, I had no idea what was about to happen.

She followed up with me in December, after I announced my pregnancy on this here blog. She asked me some questions and then...she asked if I was interested in hearing some of what I had said five months before.

Wow. The timing was just...wow.

I couldn't resist. Here's the part of the interview that related to this topic:

I really honestly don’t even know what I would do if I was faced with that now, because it’s like I know just enough to be dangerous, but I don’t necessarily want another child with Down syndrome, but I also realize that it’s not the life change that I thought it was.

I’ve gone back and forth on what would I do? I don’t know that I would have a CVS or a triple screen or a quad screen because I still believe that they are—that there are a lot of unknowns and if I had the amnio, I don’t know—would it be for peace of mind? Or would it be—I don’t know what it would be for, and I would really need to know what I was doing it for before I did it. But I couldn’t imagine looking at my child and saying that I didn’t want another one like you.

I’m not na├»ve anymore, so walking into another pregnancy, a second one, or any subsequent pregnancies, I would be –I couldn’t just be happy-go-lucky about it because I would wonder. You know, there’s a million things that could go wrong. And Down syndrome—as much as they try to make it seem, at least for me, like the worst possible thing that could happen, it’s not. So, you know, did I just get off easy? I don’t know.

Full disclosure: I read this when she sent it to me over six weeks ago and then not again until I just pasted it here. Any similarities to what I wrote today are purely coincidental. It's not like my memory can be trusted, so this is just real stuff here, folks.

It's a complex set of emotions and thoughts, and run-on sentences and question marks come with the territory.

It's not just a black and white issue with me.

I wish it were sometimes.

I do feel very fortunate to have these thoughts documented though.

That, I do know.

And I love this little inside my big, brown belly to pieces. Regardless of anything, I can't wait to meet him.

Or her.

Whatever.

No guarantees.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Music Class Trial

I must admit, the class was great! I really enjoyed it and so did Playette. Her two close friends were in there with her, too, which made it even better.

Another thing I noticed, because I do tend to look for these things, was that neither the other parents nor the teacher seemed phased by having a kid with Ds in the class. Shoot, let alone three! Not that I think they should, but...it happens. Often enough that I am aware to look for it.

The kids in the class? Kids are great. They don't care. Inclusion comes natural to them. People have to be taught to be jerks.

I feel much better about the girls not having 'asstics (heh) anymore and I do believe that I'll sign up and make this music thing official next week.

They start the kids (3-5 years old) with singing several songs each class. Yesterday, it was the US presidents and states and capitals.

Let's just say that I was reminded of how much I've forgotten over the years.

Our homework: "Washington, Adams, Jeff-er-soonnn..."

They went on to play a game that taught them the difference between the musical terms "piano" and "forte."

Next, they watched a couple of videos of people playing the trombone.

Trombone Shorty

Bach

They discussed the styles of music of those artists and how they differered.

And then?

They all freakin' practiced playing a trombone!


WHOA.

But they weren't done.

They learned how to find "D" on the keyboard. (I had no idea it was the white key between a pair of black keys.)

They played another game that taught them about the types of notes - quarter, half, whole, dotted, etc.

Mixed in was a song that taught the Preamble to the Constitution.

And the kids were having fun the entire time!

*swoon*

Of course my little was playing shy for some of it, but that'll pass, I'm sure.

Aaaannnd...it's $3 cheaper per month than 'asstics. Win-win.

*exhale*

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Feeling Chatty, Pt. 1

I already know this will take some time to write, so a multi-parter it is. Plus, we're trying out a highly recommended music class tonight (no more gymnasstics - WOOT!), so I don't have a ton of time.

Oh, while I'm thinking about it, someone mentioned that maybe the instructor wasn't pure eeevil since she did do Special Olympics and all. I felt the same way! But then something hit me. If she stopped the class before due to low participation, then how come when she re-started the "Special Needs Class" in the fall, she didn't have the support/backing of SO? I mean, why not, right? They paid for it before. Just something I've been thinking about. I think there's way more to this story. If I get some interesting info, I'll share.

We've got about two more months, give or take, before the baby arrives. Um, yikes?

I haven't really talked about the pregnancy much here...for a few reasons.

First and foremost, I know what it's like to want to be pregnant and not be able to have it just happen. I would never want to lead to anyone feeling bad because of that. Which, I know, it's unavoidable and people dealing with infertility understand that other people have babies, but I'm sensitive to it. Because I've been there.

Having this baby was a process. It's no secret that after Playette, I wasn't hardly thinking of adding another kid anytime soon. I was too busy being sad, feeling screwed over, and about a million other emotions. I couldn't imagine having another baby. And then, honestly, I felt like I blinked and she was three. How did that happen?! So, we decided that it was time to try. Except that I know my body and how it doesn't like to cooperate. Before waiting too long, I involved my doctor. We did test after test before he finally agreed that maybe I knew what I was talking about regarding not ovulating. He said that he could put me on Clomid, after already trying some other alternatives with no success.

And then BD was deployed. I cried and cried because I realized that by the time he got back, I would be over 35 when/if the baby came. To me, that represented a whole new can of worms because not only did I have a child with Ds, but I'd also be classified as AMA and I was devastated at the idea of possibly being treated poorly by medical professionals. Again.

Close to the time he was due home, I went back to the doctor and said I was ready for my prescription. I tried one cycle of the Clomid, in the midst of our move. And nothing happened.

In a new place, I had to start from scratch. My old doc never did forward my records. I have no idea why. So I went and found a new primary care physician who referred me out to a fertility specialist, which was denied, and then I was sent to the military hospital to be seen by the Reproductive Endocrinology Department.

They were a lot more involved than my doctor in CA had been. They tested me. They tested BD. I had an HSG. I was given Clomid again and told that we would attempt IUI in July.

You know, because of my age. There was no time to waste. Gag.

But then you know what happened? The day I was to go in for an ultrasound post-Clomid fell over the July 4th weekend. And there was no way they'd allow me to proceed without first making sure that I didn't have a zillion follicles.

I was rescheduled for August.

I was heartbroken.

I sat and analyzed when I would take my Provera so that it wouldn't run into the situation of being in San Antonio for the NDSC conference when I needed to be home for more testing.

When I finally thought I had it all figured out, I started the Provera.

That weekend, I went to take a physical for the reserves. It was a Sunday.

A couple of days later, I checked in to make sure that all of my paperwork was complete and that the results from those seven mystery vials of blood they took were a-ok.

And that's when I found out that one of those mystery vials was for a pregnancy test.

I will never forget that moment. She said, "And you know you're pregnant, right, ma'am?"

Say huh?

"You didn't know?"

Wha?

I finally asked if she'd ever seen a case of a blood test being wrong.

"Never," she said.

Wow.

So I called the RE department and told them what I found out. They scheduled me to come in the following Monday for another test.

My first HCG level was a 13. The second was 836, I believe.

I was really pregnant.

And, apparently, I was going to make a fantastic designated driver in San Antonio.

No margaritas por mi.

But, right before all of that, something really interesting happened. It wouldn't be brought to my attention for many months.

I'll tell you all about that next time.