Thursday, June 15, 2006

halfway there

I decided not to write about this before because I've been tired and going through some big ups and downs, but there's no hiding it anymore, I'm pregnant. 20 weeks to be exact, the baby is due on Halloween.

Luckily I decided to spare the internets reports of my countless nights of heartburn and burping (sometimes for 6 continuous hours), my many fruitless shopping trips for new bras and how I used rubber bands to keep wearing my regular jeans as long as possible. Being pregnant hasn't been so bad so far, it's taken more of a mental toll than a physical one.

The hardest part of the last 20 weeks was all the testing they did and waiting for results. Originally I figured I would opt out of most of the tests, but when I went in for my first OBGYN visit I was handed this giant folder of papers which I like to call the "so you're 35 or older, that means your baby is most likely a disaster" packet. After reading all the info and sweating a lot, Alex and I decided that we would move forward with the blood test and the nuchal translucency screening, but we would skip the amnio because of the risk involved. The nuchal fold screening was normal, but the blood test came back showing an elevated risk of the baby having Down syndrome. We were still feeling fairly hopeful despite the elevated risk, so we continued to decline the amnio, but decided to go for a level II ultrasound instead. It was great to see the baby that day; we found out that he's a boy and he did some nice posing for us. Although it was exciting to see the baby for 20+ minutes it was also a very nerve-wracking process, because the test is done to look for soft markers for Down syndrome. Obviously Alex and I had no idea what we were looking for, or sometimes looking at, so anytime there was a long pause or it seemed like the woman operating the equipment was measuring something too much we got very tense. By the end everything seemed status quo to us, but the doctor came to check all the pictures and informed us that the baby is missing a bone in his right pinky, which is a soft marker for Down syndrome. We left the doctor's office feeling okay, but the more we thought about it and the more research we did on the internet (perhaps the worst thing we could have possibly done) Alex and I decided that we needed to know if the baby had Down syndrome or not. I couldn't stand not knowing until the end of October, I was worried sick. We finally gave in by the end of the day and decided to get the amnio done. We had to wait a week to get the test done, and then wait another 10 days for the results. The amnio itself wasn't the worst part, it was the waiting that almost killed me. I can't even explain the kind of panic, worry and fretting I did during those 10 days. I wondered if I had made the wrong decision to even know, because if the news wasn't what I wanted to hear what would I do? How would I prepare for that? I made up a million different scenarios over those 10 days. I went for lots of walks and I had tons of support from Alex and my friends. We finally got the results back, while I was at work I got a message on my cell phone from a genetic counselor telling me she had good news and I should call her back. The baby does not have Down syndrome or any neural tube defect. Just a missing pinky bone. I've never felt so relieved.
Here's our boy giving a shout out. Now if you'll excuse me I have some chips to eat while I tune into a very special Dateline. Sure Britney is on, but more importantly it appears that Matt Lauer is all casual-like; he's not wearing a tie, but I do believe he's wearing jeans, loafers and NO socks. Now that's good watchin'.