Monday, May 16, 2011

A Big Announcement

Most of you already know, but it's time I end the blog silence and actually blog about our big news. We're pregnant. Yep! I will be 14 weeks pregnant tomorrow. Now you know why the blog had been so quiet recently. I've been dead-dog tired by nap time, so instead of blogging and keeping up with the "record" of our lives, I've been sleeping.

My rheumatoid arthritis requires that I take methotrexate, and methotrexate and pregnancy are not compatible. In January 2010, I came off the nightmare drug and started taking a much weaker drug to control the RA. While I wasn't symptom free, it enabled us to make it to May 2010 when we started the baby making journey. We hoped conception would be fast so that I could avoid the cold winter month without the big drugs. We figured on a 6 month window of trying before we'd have to give up. Turns out my body likes the weaker drug, and we were able to try through the winter as well with only mild flares in the RA.

When nothing was happening despite using ovulation predicting kits, I went to see my trusted OB. Without grossing out the men who read this blog, I was also having some pretty wicked female issues. After a sonohysterogram and some blood work, it was determined that my progesterone levels were out of whack. Basically I wasn't ovulating regularly because my hormones were low. Dr. Simmons suggested a few courses of actions. First, keep trying and see what happens. Second, try taking clomid to promote ovulation. Third, try insemination. Fourth, try clomid and insemination. Adam and I talked over these options. With RA and its side effects always looming in my mind, I decided that clomid was not for me. There is an increased risk for twins when taking clomid, and the thought of trying to chase a busy toddler and two infants during an RA flare scared me to no end. Since Kenly already made us parents, the other intrusive options became non-options. We tried a few more months after my doctor's visit, and about February I had given up. I figured we would keep trying until the RA dictated starting methotrexate again.

About this time, my mama had several unexplained ladybug encounters in the dead of winter. Let's just say that there is a history with ladybugs and my first pregnancy. She started proclaiming that February or March would be the month. Truth be told, I was annoyed. She was getting my hopes up, and I didn't want to be disappointed again. So, in early March I asked my bible study group to pray that I wouldn't be disappointed if I was not pregnant. On the way home from study I stopped and bought a home pregnancy test. On March 9th, I took the test and it was positive. I was excited, but optimistically so since my hormone levels had been so low. I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to sustain the pregnancy. Adam's birthday is the 16th of March, so I wrapped the positive test and made him open his early "present" when he got home. We were both excited but shell-shocked. We had both decided that we were to be parents to one child, so the news came as a shock to our system.

Then the waiting game began. My first doctor's appointment wasn't until April 22nd. My mama came to the first appointment with me in case I got any crazy news. Turns out the appointment was routine. My uterus is tilted, so hearing the heartbeat wasn't an option. They quickly scheduled my first ultrasound for the 26th. I was incredibly nervous going into this appointment. I had two main concerns. First, I was terrified that they would discover twins. this fear is not unfounded. Twins run in both families, and this is the generation they are to appear again. The other reason I feared twins is because of how quickly I looked pregnant this time. By my sixth week of pregnancy, I was already wearing maternity pants and tops. Secondly, I feared the worst. I wanted to see a fluttering heart, and I knew I'd be crushed if they couldn't find a heartbeat. Adam went with me to the ultrasound, and we both held our breath until the tech turned the screen for our first view of our baby. The first thing I said was, There's just one, right? There's not another critter hiding in there somewhere?" Then I think I gave Adam a high five. The ultrasound was perfect. My due date is November 15th based on the ultrasound and other tests. The baby's heart rate was 173 beats a minute, and that critter squirmed all over the place.

Later that night we told Kenly she was going to be a big sister. We talked about how my belly was changing, and she said, "There's a baby in it" before we ever told her the news. When we ask her if she wants a brother or a sister, she says, "I want a girl." She enjoyed watching the ultrasound video, and she loves showing off her baby's pictures. She tells everyone that she is going to be a big sister.

Because I'm 35, they also do a more specific ultrasound to test for Downs Syndrome and Trisomy 18. Once a woman reaches 35, she is considered of an advanced maternal age(AMA). Finding out our child showed signs for either of these chromosomal abnormalities would not have changed anything, but Adam and I preferred to be prepared if we were going to walk that road. So, I was scheduled for nuchal translucency screening, a specific ultrasound to measure the nuchal fold on the baby's neck. God had given me a real peace about this test. I didn't even need anyone to go with me. I met with the genetic councilor and she explained the test and how the results would be calculated. During this ultrasound, the baby's heart rate was measured twice--162 and 168 beat/minute. The baby was not cooperating, so my ultrasound was long. I was able to watch the baby play stubborn for about 30 minutes. They prodded my stomach and made me cough to try and rouse the critter. Finally they were able to get an acceptable picture and measurement of the nuchal fold. The tech said the fold looked very thin. I breathed a sigh of relief. I met the doctor briefly, and she told me that the ultrasound looked good. They would contact me with the full results by the end of the week. After getting my blood drawn and scheduling my last ultrasound for June, I was able to pick Kenly up from Meghan's house. Kenly was able to show her friends some cool pictures of her baby.

The genetic councilor called me on Friday with the results. Before having the test, based solely on my age, my chances for having a baby with DS were 1 in 200. After the test, my risk for a child with DS is 1 in 2,300. Our risk for having a child with T18 is 1 in 10,000. I was thrilled with those numbers.

When I tell people I'm 14 weeks along, the reaction is always the same. Bug eyes and open mouthed amazement. I'm trying hard to resist the urge to slap them. I hope my growth slows some or I will be a big as a barn come November. Is it bad to have the pregnancy waddle when you're just entering the second trimester?

We are trying to decide if we will find out the sex of the baby before birth. Kenly was a surprise, and we loved the suspense. I'm wondering if Kenly will be crushed if this baby turns out to be a boy without some preparation. The jury is still out.

I know this post is long and dull, but I regret not keeping a pregnancy journal while I was carrying Kenly. I remember some of it like it was yesterday, but I wish I had heart rates and first kicks recorded forever. I'm going to try and do better with this pregnancy.

Other than the exhaustion, this pregnancy has been so much easier. With Kenly I was horribly ill. I've had mild nausea and a few vomiting episodes, but pretzels and Sprite seem to be keeping things at bay. All things sweet are disgusting to me right now, but I'm craving salty and sour. I hope that salty craving calms before summer and before the swelling begins. The RA seems to be in remission for now. I saw my RA doctor this morning, and he seems pleased with how my body is handling the pregnancy. Many women find that their RA goes into remission during pregnancy, but not all women are so lucky. My prayer is that I can make it through the pregnancy and few months of breast feeding before having a flare.

If you made it to the end of this post, thanks for reading. I will be back to the "regular scheduled programing" soon.


Shannon said...

Still so SO sooooo happy for you and Adam :) I think you look great for being 14 weeks.

Shauna said...

Thanks for sharing this, Rhonda! I'm so happy for all three of you - and I'm looking forward to meeting the newbie!