Thursday, June 17, 2010

22 Week Update

Last week’s update was a total downer. I owe you guys a bit better than that, especially since things have mostly been good with the exception of last week! Here’s what’s new aside from my ultrasound craziness.

I am now just past the halfway mark at 22 weeks along and I can’t believe how quickly it has gone! Noah came early (right on the nose at 37 weeks) so if this goes like last time, then I am well past the halfway mark. Hard to imagine!

I have an update on the amniocentesis results. The fertility clinic we used has gotten involved and been coordinating the results that the amnio lab is finding and what the PGD lab found. (Remember that the PGD lab is the one that tested Aaron when he was only 8 cells big!). The PGD lab found that Aaron was a carrier of MCADD, where the amnio lab found that he wasn’t. I guess that the PGD lab has a policy where if they find even a weak signal indicating than an embryo has an illness or is a carrier of an illness, they report it. Better to be safe than sorry. Aaron showed a weak signal of being a carrier, so they told us he was a carrier. They weren’t surprised in the slightest that now that he is more mature, he is looking like he isn’t one after all. They also have scenarios where they get what they call a “mosaic,” where one cell they test comes out positive, but the others come out negative. Again, they report the illness to be on the safe side. Either way, it looks like Aaron is free and clear of any instance of the illness and we are extremely thrilled about it! However we arrived at this test result is irrelevant to us!

We also got his chromosomal map as promised. This is just amazing to me to look at. How many kids have this? We just shake our heads in wonder when we look at it. The only things that mean anything to us are that 1) all chromosomal pairs are present and accounted for, and 2) that the XY thing at the end means that he is in fact a boy. So much for looking in ultrasounds! I don’t think it gets any more accurate than that!

One last fun fact about the genetics stuff is that when they implanted the two embryos, one had the carrier gene from me, and the other had the carrier gene from Chris. I was curious to see which boy took, and it turns out it was the one with the carrier gene from Chris. Kind of a silly little tidbit to know, but I love hearing about him having some of Chris in there. In the end, he will be his own little person and we are very excited to see it, but a fun fact to know regardless!

As for the pregnancy, I am beginning to feel the effects of having the extra weight on my body, and things are starting to get uncomfortable. My back hurts a lot and my feet are getting to be sore at times too. It is a clear signal to me that it is time to begin the regimen of training involved with preparing for natural childbirth. Last time around when life started feeling this way, the Bradley Method was my saving grace with the weird stretches and diet that they prescribe. There is something about that stuff that makes the aches and pains of pregnancy feel so much better. I started doing it all a couple of weeks ago, and I immediately started to feel better. I can’t believe it is childbirth preparation time again already! I did love doing this stuff last time, and I am working to get back into the full swing of it all.

As of Memorial Day weekend (right at 20 weeks along), I can definitely say that I am starting to feel him move. It started off that late at night when I would lie on my back, I could feel him tapping. Or I would feel it when I had my seat belt on in the car. At first it was subtle and I don’t think anyone else but me could feel it, but now he has grown to the point where others can feel him kick (within the last two weeks). It all happens so quickly, how fast they grow! He now seems to be more active in the mornings and less active in the afternoons. Noah was more of a shy baby, and would do modest kicks, and would quickly stop when I put my hand down to quiet him down. Aaron is more active I think. Bigger kicks and he doesn’t care if I put a hand down to quiet him down. That only works about half the time! I am wondering about this personality coming our way!

Finally, we completed another (and I think the last for now) big house project before Aaron comes. We had the exterior of the house painted. This was high on the priority list because it had been far too long since it had been done last time. There were lots of places where the paint had worn off and the bare wood was exposed to the weather elements. Before we had a major problem on our hands with rotting and such, this needed to be fast tracked. We hired a couple of really great guys to do it for is. The speed with which they could do it was pretty attractive. Below are the before and after pictures.

Hope all is well with each of you. Thanks for reading!

(Click any of these pictures to make them bigger.)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

21 Week Update - The Real Story

20 week picture...

I am going to be honest. I didn’t post the other night because my visit at the doctor for my usual 20 (or in my case 21) week ultrasound didn’t really go as planned. I will start off by saying that now, everything is just fine. I have been on quite a bit of an emotional roller coaster the last few days to get to the place of being just fine today. Here’s what happened:

Tuesday, I had planned to do my midway-through-pregnancy ultrasound. We brought my parents along, so they could see Aaron too. It is such a fun appointment. This is the point when most parents find out the sex of their child, and at this stage they really do look like a baby. To see them moving around on camera like that is just truly a miracle. We all really forget that as fun as that visit is for us non-medical spectators, it is a business trip for the ultrasound tech and the doctor. They are doing it solely to take measurements of the baby and to look for anything out of the ordinary.

First, the good stuff. We got through the ultrasound just great. It was amazing to see him. He had had an active morning of kicking and squirming, so by the afternoon, he was pretty pooped and was not so interested in moving very much because he was sound asleep! He would shift a bit when the tech bumped him to try to get him to move, but he was pretty comfy, and was on his own agenda as most babies are. He yawned a few times for us, which was crazy to see. He was breech (head up, butt down) which they didn’t seem to bothered by, but my natural childbirth brain was willing him to flip over. Guess we still have time to work on that. He loves having his arms up by his face. He also loved pushing his legs way out, which explains all the kicking! He is measuring one week ahead of schedule. That is consistent with how Noah grew too. Very hard and fast, and he always measured ahead of schedule. Since Chris and I are both very tall people, that is to be expected.

Once that was over, we went to meet with the doctor. She came in, and I could tell she was holding something back. After the initial pleasantries, she told us his chest wasn’t looking quite right in the ultrasound. It was heart-shaped with a potential indentation at his sternum. There is a condition children can get in utero called “pectus excavatum” where the sternum is overly sunken into the chest. It causes decreased lung capacity, and depending on the severity, heart problems. The sternum’s purpose is to protect the heart. When it is sunken into the chest with a condition like this, the heart gets shuffled off to one side or the other. It can get twisted in the process, or crunched in such a way that it causes issues like heart murmurs or other more severe problems. You can look it up on google images to see what it looks like. The treatment can involve surgery where you insert a long metal bar across the chest that is left there for a few years as the chest re-forms. It is quite painful, as well as the cosmetic effects of having a deformity like that.

In our world, no problem is insignificant when it comes to our kids. Thank God, the condition isn’t life threatening, but to watch him struggle and suffer with this is an unbearable thought. We left the doctor’s office devastated, and with instructions to let him grow for another month and then do another ultrasound to see if they see it more pronounced then. We kept ruminating on all of the steps that we have taken to date, and the thing we kept coming back to was that we just did a whole round of ultrasounds a month ago when we did the amniocentesis. They didn’t see anything wrong with him back then. They still had the pictures at that doctor’s office. Maybe they could pull them out and look again to see if they see anything? Or is it reasonable to assume that this developed in the last month? Also, from our research on it, there are related genetic disorders that can cause this. Was he tested for those? I called and talked to our contact there. She was pretty shocked that they would see this. The clinic where we did the amnio was so thorough with us, and were wondering if they missed something. Or if there is something there, what is the extent of it? They still have Aaron’s cells leftover from the amnio, and if they need to do something extra with them, they need to know sooner rather than later. They suggested I come up and do a second opinion ultrasound so that they can see what they think. I got an appointment for today, and hightailed it up to Denver. Because it was so short notice, Chris couldn’t make it, so my dad made the trip with me this time.

They did the full ultrasound examination over him and didn’t find a thing wrong with him thank God. He was so sleepy the day before and didn’t want to move. He was curled up in a tight little ball, than they think that this is how we saw his chest like that. It was such a relief to know this, rather than sit on that potential diagnosis for a month until I did the next ultrasound to know for sure. I made sure I relaxed a lot this morning, and had a good lunch just before the appointment. He wasn’t crazy active, but moved around enough that they could see him fully and measure him like we needed. His head is 7.75 inches in diameter, and overall he is in the 80th percentile on growth. This is a bit ahead of schedule as the other ultrasound revealed. Today he was in transverse position (sideways with his head on my right and butt on my left). They were able to check off the measurements they didn’t get the last time we were there because he was too busy doing somersaults. Everything looked perfect. They spent a ton of time looking at his chest, and they saw absolutely no cause for concern.

I am absolutely relieved, and very pooped after having been so worried the last few days. Because of the nature of both this high risk baby, and my own paranoia, I know that I have a lot more ultrasounds in store, and I am kind of wondering if I still want them. I don’t blame my regular OB for reporting this. It is the function of the whole procedure to look for anything weird. They saw something weird and they reported it, as they should. But the stress of worrying about whatever it is is may be more than I can handle. That is something I am pondering right now. Either way, I am glad this bullet was dodged, and I am so grateful for the amazing experts that I am connected to that jumped to action to help us through this. Now to put this behind me, put my feet up and focus on my healthy boy!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Aaron at 21 Weeks

I have a full blog post that I need to do about what's new, but it is late and I am pooped! At the very least, I will share the good stuff - the pics of Aaron. You can click on any of these to make them bigger.