Getting Thumped!

So much of what might have been baby movement recently could just as easily been something else.

Until today.

This chica has been solidly thumping me all the livelong day. I fully expected less movement, but this is solid baby movement, which is just fine and dandy with me. I'm thankful...



Gender Reveal Party

 So, apparently when you invite your family for a gender reveal party for your third child, it puts everyone on high alert.  "She's never done this before.  So it must be a girl."  I have news for you, party people... I would have done it either way.  (Do you honestly NOT remember what a poor loser I always was when we played board games?)

And so, I had a gender reveal party with my mom, my siblings, and their families.
This cake was so much cuter in my head.  But whatever.  Half of it was tossed in the garbage anyway.


16 Weeks

How far along: 16 weeks
Gender: See above.  When the genetic counselor told me last Thursday the DNA showed the sex and asked if I wanted to know, I paused.  Then said yes.  When he told me, I nearly shouted a shocked "Really?!?" then felt a little guilty about finding out - for the first time ever - without M.  So, naturally, I immediately texted him that we may be in for a complete surprise, and that I'll believe it when I see it.  It's taken until - oh, yesterday - to get over the shock and feel a little excited.
Weight gain: I still don't know.  And if you think I'm going to find out anytime in the next week (i.e. post-Thanksgiving), you're dead wrong.
Maternity clothes: Still those same three pieces.
Stretch marks:  Nope.
Belly button in or out: In
Sleep: Good.  Trying to improve it more by role-playing with the 4-year old about how to not wake me up.
Best moment this week: Hearing the baby's "vigorous" heartbeat.  And gender reveal party with my fam. And also being invited for Thanksgiving (and getting out of cooking).
Worst moment this week: Seeing the... uncertainty on my OB's face today as I asked her whether she's ever managed the pregnancy of a baby with AMC. 
Miss anything: My disappearing waistline.
Movement: Not really.
Cravings: Pie.  Should be taken care of tomorrow... 
Queasy or sick: Not so much anymore.
Looking forward to: A lazy Thanksgiving and watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.



15 Weeks

How far along: 15 weeks
Gender: Yep.  But it's a secret until after at least one - but maybe three - gender reveal party(ies).
Weight gain: I honestly don't know.  Possibly about 6 pounds.
Maternity clothes: One by one, my fall maternity clothes are making their appearance.  I've worn three maternity pieces so far.  But everything else is still in the box.
Stretch marks:  Nope.
Belly button in or out: In
Sleep: Better, now that my one-year old is sleeping through the night again.  (I probably just jinxed it.)
Best moment this week: Finding out the blood screen was negative for Trisomy 18.  And that it showed what the baby's sex is.
Worst moment this week: Migraine headaches hit hard.
Miss anything: Not really.
Movement: A little, maybe.  But could also totally be gas.
Cravings: Chili dogs with mustard & onions! 
Queasy or sick: Still a bit queasy if I get too hungry.  And again right after I eat.
Looking forward to: My OB appointment on Wednesday.  First appointment since "the news".  And, of course, THANKSGIVING!



14 Weeks

This post is about a week (and a half) late. And what a week it's been! On Wednesday the 13th, I went to the doctor for my ultrascreen.  The ultrasound tech kept going "hmm" but I was focused on my own observations: yes!  there's a heartbeat!   and   yes!  the nuchal translucency looks normal!  

Baby was face down and they couldn't get baby to move, so they had me lay on my left side, then on my right, then touch my toes.  Then, I was instructed to go pee and "do a little dance" while in there (no joke).  Still no dice getting baby to move.  

Then my OB came in and made things a little scary with words like "specialist" and "more information" so we can "make some decisions".  Even so, I was reassured by what I saw, and was not really that worried.

The next morning, M and I went together to the genetic specialist's office.  I love the ultrasound techs there.  Much more forthcoming with helpful information, but even without her explanations, it was very clear almost immediately that something was wrong.  We've seen enough scans together to know that baby was not moving its hands, arms or legs.  So, again with the table-top acrobatics, starring me.

After the scan, we waited for what felt like forever to see the specialist.  Knowing something was wrong, but not knowing what.  We met with the specialist and words started coming out of his mouth.  Something about his southern drawl and the way his words and mouth lilted upward when he spoke were out of sync with what he was telling us.  It was so incongruous, and caused such a severe bout of cognitive dissonance that I couldn't consciously stay in the room.  I've never had an experience like that before.  

Ultimately, I had to force my Self to re-enter the conversation by telling myself to do something physical: take notes.  So I did.  And that helped me gather the wherewithal to at least ask some questions.  

Dr. S. was saying that our baby was suffering from a lack of movement (fetal akinesia) and multiple contractures affecting all four limbs, which may be attributable to FADS, Arthrogryposis or Amyoplasia, or - less likely - Trisomy 18, Multiple Pterygium Syndrome, or Pena-Shokeir.  We were offered an amniocentesis, or a relatively new (and much less invasive) blood screen, to at least rule out the three major chromosomal abnormalities.  I immediately despised the word "normal".

Buoyed up by the doctor's final words -"with therapy, the range of motion these children can regain is remarkable" - it took me until we were almost at the lab for the blood draw to cry.  I was sad at the lack of feeling this baby move as much, at the lost potential of a baby who might (finally!) be able to breastfeed, at no longer feeling the relative comfort and safety crossing over into the second trimester usually brings.  Then, I moved outward to the challenges this child might have.  And outward and outward. 

I felt a chasm of grief, sadness and fear threatening to swallow me up.  I thought of my boys, about going on the Polar Express that weekend, about the upcoming holidays and the first trimester pit I had just crawled out of.  I looked at M and told him I had to find the bottom of the sad pretty quickly, because there was too much coming up and I couldn't afford to disappear again or have sadness and fear overtake Everything.

I walked into the lab and the phlebotomist was ending a call, her voice thick with tears, and greeted me with an apology, saying she'd just received some really bad news.  I teared up again, and said "yeah, me too."  We left with her promise that she'd send my sample off that very afternoon, and her earnest attempt to comfort both herself and me.

Over the next few days, we gradually allowed ourselves to discuss the scarier options of even the best-case condition, Arthrogryposis.  There's only so much a person can process in one sitting. 

I have been sustained by thoughts and prayers of family and friends, and of the incredible faith and strength of my husband.  I have read as much as I can about our hoped-for best-case scenario (and ignored all others until linking in this post), and have come to a place of peace.  On Friday night, I was laying in my boys' bed, between their sleeping bodies, and the thought came as if a question someone might ask me: "Do you wish you were having a normal, healthy baby?"  My mental response: "No.  This is who this baby is.  To wish for something else is to wish that away."

On Wednesday the 20th, I received a call from the counselor at the geneticist's office: the blood screen was clear for any abnormalities.  

One victory down, countless others to go! 

*there's no bump in the photo above, because I just couldn't muster it... 



13 Weeks

How far along: 13 weeks
Gender: Not yet! But planning a series of gender reveal parties, including one where I'm surprised along with everyone else.
Weight gain: Back to pre-pregnancy weight
Maternity clothes: Not yet, but yoga pants? Yum.
Stretch marks: Nope.
Belly button in or out: In
Sleep: Eh.
Best moment this week: Finally feeling better!
Worst moment this week: Still trying to fight off some sort of cold or somethingorother.
Miss anything: Sushi.
Movement: Not yet.
Cravings: Pasta alfredo...
Queasy or sick: Still a little queasy right before and right after eating.
Looking forward to: Ultrasound next Wednesday!  



Wheeee! Here comes Baby #3!

How far along: 12 weeks (due May 14, 2014)
Gender: Not yet!
Weight gain: I've been so sick I've lost 4 pounds.
Maternity clothes: They're still in a box, but my button-up pants are getting tight!
Stretch marks:  Nope.  Hoping I'll dodge this bullet for a third time in a row!
Belly button in or out: In
Sleep: When I'm not peeing or tending to children, sleep is good.  I always forget how a full bladder will wake me from a dead sleep much like the cry of a baby (or a 3.9 year old saying "mom" right next to my ear).
Best moment this week: Hearing the heartbeat at the doctor's office!
Worst moment this week: I threw up for the first time in 25 years.  In my kitchen sink.
Miss anything: Feeling normal.
Movement: Thought I felt a little wiggle, but haven't since so it could have been my imagination.
Cravings: Ever since my birthday lunch at Dead Lobster (crab fest!), I've been craving more snow crab legs and crab alfredo linguini. 
Queasy or sick: Queasy!  Especially at night.
Looking forward to: Ultrasound in a couple of weeks!  Also: the return of my energy.

This is a little late, since today is the last day of my 12th week.  But this is something I committed to doing for this, my third (and last) pregnancy.  I got the idea from this cute little blog.

"May you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world." -Ray Bradbury