Monday, June 27, 2005

Needles and Pins

We were worried, but we were also happy and excited. I was a bit hesitant about the whole boy thing until I talked to my friend L who had two boys and raved about them. They had two very different personalities but were delightful children. The more I thought about it, I quickly warmed to the idea of being a mom to a little boy. Growing up a tomboy myself, I could easily relate and understand climbing trees, catching frogs, snakes and worms, not to mention the many holes I dug in the yard... Just because.

We bounced a few names back and forth, but nothing really blew my skirt up. I woke up at 2 a.m. one working and it hit me - Benjamin! That clicked - that was it. I was always an admirer of Benjamin Franklin, and so was dh; it was perfect.

So now we had a name to the wiggling little baby bee inside of me. The fifteenth week mark passed and I stopped the frequent trips to the bathroom in the wee hours of the night. My acne started clearing up a bit (thank GOD!!!), and I was hard pressed to find jeans that fit comfortably.

The weeks ticked by, and we were growing more and more anxious. The sixteen week mark came and went as our anxiety increased with each passing hour. We were on pins and needles: would we be expecting a bouncing baby boy in mid January, or would we have to do the unthinkable (which we were forced to face and think about)?

The 17th week arrived, and we finally received a call for our genetic counselor: Ben was indeed affected. They took longer because once they performed the biochemical test, they wanted to make extra sure and test his DNA. There was no doubt.

We were crushed. Knowing that this might be a possibility, we were so determined in the beginning not to get our hopes up. As this pregnancy progressed, we couldn't help but get excited. There was also a part of me that was afraid I would never experience this again. I wanted to enjoy it and live it to the fullest while it lasted. I steeled myself and called my OB/Gyn, who was disappointed to learn the results. Because we were 17 weeks along, he said he could induce labor and then deliver Ben. Because he was 17 weeks, he wouldn't live on his own. He said there were some places that would do a surgical extraction, but it would be riskier to me with a higher rate of complication. As we really wanted to try to have another child, we went for labor and delivery.

This was really not the way we envisioned our first trip to the maternity ward.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Oh Boy...

At 11 weeks we went for the Chorionic Villus Sampling. For those of you not familiar with this fabulous test, first, they do an ultrasound. While imaging the fetus, your belly in numbed. Then a very large needle is inserted into the placenta, which is a bit painful. A smaller needle is inserted through the larger needle and into the placenta to obtain cells from the placenta. This doesn't seems to have a negative affect on the fetus at this stage. If performed earlier than 9 weeks, it can interfere with blood flow to the extremities, sometimes causing stunted growth to the fingers and toes. Which is why the test is not performed before 10 weeks.

When we saw our little butter bean, she was wiggling around all over the place - very normal, as I was informed by the doctor and nurses performing the test. They obtained the cells, then tried to get more so I wouldn't have to wait so long for the DNA results. My uterus was contracting (also apparently normal), so it was a no go. What they would then do was the chromosome testing, for things like downs syndrome. They would then culture more cells, and send them down to the specialized lab to test the DNA and see if this baby was affected, a carrier or healthy.

The waiting was murder! Oh, I also forgot to mention that my dh and I work together, with his parents. It's a small family business with another employee. We decided not to tell anyone else until we had the results. Because if it was a positive results, we knew what we would have to do and we didn't really want to share that with everyone.

During the course of our waiting, we actually told a couple of friends. M & L, because M had told me that L was pg, the same time I was. That was actually a deciding factor for me in not getting an abortion at planned parenthood but waiting to find out if our little bean was healthy. Then L had a miscarriage, sort of. She was still pregnant, and had her 3rd healthy baby boy in February, '05. She's quite the fertile gal.

L & K invited us to go to London with them in the fall, which we were putting off deciding on, because I wouldn't be able to fly that late in the pregnancy. So we spilled the beans to them, and they were thrilled. L is PCOS, but they both do not want kids, 'fortunately' for them. Sadly, she has to deal with all the problems of her condition, and I hate that such a dear friend has to go through this.

My aunt knew- I talked with her at least once a day and discussed everything with her. She was a real rock to turn to, and always a delight.

So that was it. Neither of our parents knew, our employee didn't know (oh, wait - my therapist knew. Thankfully I had starting seeing her right after our first cycle failed). We completely hid this. My skin broke out spectacularly, and I told everyone it was from stress and sweets. Which was actually partially true (see tootsie roll fixation in previous post).

My bosom was getting larger and was way sensitive. My hair was thick all of a sudden - and I have REALLY fine hair. My pants were getting tight and I could only fit into my loosest pair of jeans. I broke down and bought a pair of used maternity capri cargo pants on eBay.

Finally we got a call from the genetic counselor two and a half weeks after the CVS. The chromosone testing was all normal, and the baby was a boy.

W-W-What?! What do you mean, a boy? We had a name picked out for a girl! I didn't even know 'boy' was a option. Boy, was I wrong. Now the excruciating waiting for the DNA results....

Thursday, June 23, 2005

So THIS is What it's Like...

We went to see my new MD (as my previous doctor has just moved far, far away), and liked him very much right off the bat. We explained our circumstances in technicolor detail and he completely grasped the situation. I had an ultrasound the following day to date the pregnancy - 7 weeks 1 day, and ooh! Look! A little flicker of a heart beat! Next up: we scheduled the chorionic villus sampling, which would allow us to test the baby's DNA and find out what exactly was what.

I had made up my mind that, even after reading "What to Expect When You're Expecting", I would still keep my expectations open. I had never been pregnant before (except that one time in college when I was late and out of sheer panic drank myself into getting my period), and I would keep an open mind as to what I would be experiencing. I know it's different for everyone, and even different pregnancies in the same woman can be different. So I was just going to sit back and see what unfolded...

In the interim, I became well acquainted with frequent nocturnal urination, but morning sickness avoided me. The closest I got was the faintest nausea; "hmmm, maybe I should eat something..." And then it would disappear. So that was nice. My cravings were for very specific foods, and when I ate them, it would be the best EVER. One day I really wanted chicken cutlet on a roll with lettuce, tomato & Russian dressing. When I ate it, I swear it had never tasted so good. And that's my favorite sandwich. Yet when I had the same sandwich the following day... Nothing. Lost my taste for it immediately. Also, I'm usually very passionate about my chocolate. While pregnant, the thought of actually eating chocolate did not thrill me. But I did enjoy chocolate flavored things. (Enter tootsie rolls - I had 5 a day). Because they were just that nutritionally rich for my growing embryo.

All throughout this, dh would awake every morning and kiss me (as per usual), then kiss my tummy and say "Good morning, baby bee!" That was just lovely. We already had a name picked out, so that wasn't a problem. It was a girl's name, because clearly there wasn't an option that I would ever have anything else except a daughter. Right? RIGHT??

Friday, June 10, 2005

Can Open, Worms Everywhere...

We were pretty saddened by the results of our first cycle. Mr. Right was particularly hurt. He knew he wanted children, he just didn't realize how much until my hCG levels went to 0. I felt the same way, which in its own way was good - at least we knew we were on the right track.

We regrouped, figured out what would be the next favorable astrological sign, and planned our next cycle in late July of 2004. We had about five months to relax and get our ducks in a row before starting up again. No problem! Well...

About the 3rd week into April, I was feeling especially randy (not unusal, considering I was also ovulating). I let my dear husband aware of my intentions and we had quite a bit of fun that evening ; ) As events wound down, we realized the condom had slipped off. We were concerned initally, but Mr. R said he had just had a special moment the day before, so we figured "immature sperm!" No worries! As I write this, I realize this sounds like something coming from a 16 year old, but no - I was 33.

I'm sure you can see where this is going.

On May 16th, after coming back from a friend's son's christening, we decided to take a hpt. This was the 40th day of my cycle and even though I was feeling a bit crampy, we decided to just make sure.

You cannot imagine seeing the second, faint pink line and feeling panic - What if it's affected? To want to get pregnant so badly and be so afraid of getting pregnant at the same time is just odd - and I will never get used to it. This wasn't safe, it wasn't planned. It was the 'old fashioned' way, which for us was a scary concept.

I told Mr. R; he thought I was kidding. We immediately thought of termination. I also called my aunt Cyna, who is the greatest godsend of a woman. She was supportive of our decision, whatever it was. She has been there for me in ways my own mother never could. (She called me every day of my IVF cycle to see how I was feeling, what my results were, what my meds were. She was so excited for us! She was always so happy and cheerful; laughter just flowed from her lips and it was so natural! She's 180ยบ different from my mother, but that's a post for another day).

The next day I called Planned Parenthood. I actually went to Planned Parenthood. Everyone there was kind and sensitive, and I scheduled the abortion later that week. As I talked this whole situation over with Mr. R, we kept wondering: but what if it's healthy? There certainly was that possibility. So I cancelled the appointment & called my ob/gyn.

We were going to find out just where this would lead us.