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Monday, June 23, 2008


It has finally become clear, in my opinion, that I am pregnant. I sang on the praise team at church on Sunday morning and I looked down and realized that my tummy is sticking out quite far. It was a shock! I know it shouldn't be a shock since I've been pregnant for more than 5 months. I know I've seen her on the ultrasound screen. I know that she's becoming more and more active. All of those things combined should be enough to prove to me that I am, in fact, pregnant. Nonetheless, I was surprised to see my little bump. I'm embarrassed and a little excited about it. One gets many privileges when pregnant - perhaps I'll begin to reap those benefits (first to get a seat, first in line at a buffet, waited on hand and foot, etc)!

Time sure does fly! It seems like only yesterday, they were putting Alexander on my chest and I was exclaiming, "He's so little!!" Now, he's three years old, walking, talking, and going potty all by himself. In just three more short years, Alexander will be in first grade and I'll be typing about our little girl's preschool accomplishments. None of these realizations are earth-shattering. Just coming to terms with the fact that kids really do grow up!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Doing the wave

After reading the blog of an acquaintance who also lost a child to trisomy 18, I was reminded of another part of our ultrasound that was breathtaking. The sonographer kept trying to look at our little girl's hands - one of the markers of a chromosome abnormality is clenched hands. Matthew had this when he was born and so I was well aware that this was one of the things that we needed to see. I began to get nervous because our stubborn little girl wouldn't open her hands. Just as my heart began to sink into my stomach, she gave us a wave. Beginning with her pinkie, she opened and closed each little digit in a carefree manner that somehow said to me, "Mommy, stop worrying!"
So, a weight was lifted - one that had been placed on me just after Matthew's diagnosis. I feel lighter, happier, and excited to greet my little girl when she decides to make her entrance in October.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

It's a.....

I just about jumped off of the examining table when they told me that they didn't see anything dangling! So, it's off to the store to buy one of everything pink! Peter is already groaning thinking about the amount of money that will be spent on pink frills!
In addition to getting the fun gender info, we also got really good news on the health and development of our little girl. All seems well with our little one - she waved at us while she was playing shy (the doc had a hard time getting her in the right position to see her heart). Her arms and legs are measuring the right length, she seems to have the right number of appendages (arms, legs, fingers, toes), heart was beating strong at 150, and measurements of vital parts seem to be right on track.
We enjoyed chatting to the high-risk obstetrician, Dr. Carpenter, who was young and very friendly. She made us feel very comfortable and we asked lots of questions about our little girl's development!
We thank you all for your continuing thoughts and prayers. I still feel a bit nervous about having another baby but today's visit calmed most of my fears. In 20 more weeks (or possibly a few less) we'll take our little girl home from the hospital!
Now...on to the daunting task of naming our child...thoughts and suggestions will be welcomed and considered (but don't be offended when we wrinkle our noses at thought of naming our little one after your great-grandmother, Bertha)!
Happy Father's Day to all of you dads out there! We hope that you have some relaxing family time this weekend!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Everywhere I go, people ask how I'm feeling. I guess that's the question you should ask when a person is generating a new life inside her body. The truth is, I'm feeling so much better now that I've entered into the second trimester! I'm 17 weeks along and all seems to be well. As of my last midwife appointment, I had lost four pounds but I have a feeling that I'll be up at least one or two at my next appointment.
We spent Memorial Day weekend with my parents in Indiana. My brother, Matt, and his wife, Michelle, were there too. It was such a relaxing weekend! We really had no agenda aside from making strawberry jam using the strawberries that we picked ourselves on Saturday morning. The six of us, Peter, Alexander, Dad, Matt, Michelle, and I picked over $40 worth of strawberries. I made 18 16-ounce jars of freezer jam and we still had a huge bowl of cut berries, one bowl of puree, and one large bowl of uncut strawberries left. We'll be eating berries until we turn into berries! The jam turned out really well and has passed the taste test of my very discriminating little one. It was my first attempt at making jam - I think I'll try it again with other fruits. We're due to pick blueberries during the second week of June but I'm not sure that blueberry jam sounds very appealing.
One more note before I work on unpacking my suitcase...I have begun to feel little flutters caused by the baby kicking. Each day, I seem to feel one more and they're a tiny bit stronger. It's fun to finally feel these on a consistent basis. It reminds me that there is a reason for the weight gain, the moodiness (sorry, Peter!), and the constant cravings! Only three more weeks until we find out if we'll reuse Alexander's clothes or if we'll get to buy pink and purple. My hopes are slightly raised for the female variety but at this point, I'm praying for a healthy baby with all his or her fingers and toes!

Thursday, May 8, 2008


I told Alexander yesterday morning that I was going to the doctor. He wanted to know why. I told him that I was going to listen to the baby. His response was, "But the baby can't talk!" I smiled and said that he was correct and that they would use a special machine to hear the baby's heartbeat. He said he wants to hear it. He put his ear next to my tummy but said he couldn't hear anything. My midwife told me that Alexander is welcome to come to any of my appointments. I hope to take him with me to one of my next appointments.

I love going to my monthly appointments because now I get to hear the baby's heart beat each time. She puts the Doppler machine on my tummy and I immediately hear: whoosh, whoosh, whoosh!! It's a pretty happy sound! Baby's heart beat was in the 150s yesterday. That's in the normal range and according to Emma, is indicative of a baby girl's heartbeat!! Boys usually have slower heartbeats and girls have faster. I'm not getting my hopes up for pink dresses but it was pretty exciting to know that there's a possibility of having a girl.

Alexander will not be happy at all if it's a girl! He is counting on a baby boy and says that he wants a brother. He asked me what the baby's name is going to be. We have lots of options and no definitive answer for him!

I have scheduled my 20-week ultrasound which is when we hope to find out if the baby is a boy or a girl. We're seeing a maternal fetal specialist and they'll look at everything to make sure that baby is healthy and happy. This is scheduled for June 12, just a few days after we return from our Florida beach vacation!

Monday, April 28, 2008


Alexander is only 3 years old but has a new girlfriend at least once a month. He's had the same one for a while now though. Her name is Wyatt and that's her in the photo above. This pic was taken at Alexander's 3rd birthday party back in March. Despite the fact that we've spent plenty of time outdoors, he is still as pasty white as he is in the photo. I'm going to blame that on his red-headed daddy who burns if he's out in the sun longer than about 4 minutes. Alexander is beginning to have freckles on his face! You can't see them in this photo or in any photos, unless they're extreme closeups. They're just lightly dotted across his nose. So cute!
My next midwife appointment will be May 7. I'm sure I'll post before then but just in case I don't, know to expect a post on or just after May 7!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Peace in small doses

Well, I spoke with my midwife, Emma, this morning. I don't think I've mentioned yet how terrific that I think she is. She's so down to earth and reassuring. We had a long discussion about the results of the ultrascreen. She had only received the ultrasound results and said they looked fantastic. The nuchal translucency was just right (Matthew's was totally not right), the heartbeat was strong, and the baby's size was right on track for 12-13 weeks. She was so surprised when I told her that the ultra-screen showed an increased risk for Down Syndrome since the ultrasound looked clear. While Emma couldn't tell me that we got a false positive, she did reassure me that the risk was still relatively low.

I think Peter and I have pretty much decided not to have the amnio until after my 18-20 week ultrasound (if at all). Emma pointed out that the risk of miscarriage after an amnio was 1 in 200 which is greater than the risk of the baby having a chromosome abnormality. All these stats are just gripping, aren't they?? Ugh. Anyway, we think that it isn't worth putting the baby at risk before we get some additional indication that something isn't right. Emma is going to send me to a maternal fetal specialist for my 18-20 week ultrasound. The specialist will take an in-depth look at the baby, especially at the markers which can indicate chromosome abnormalities. If something comes up at that ultrasound, then we can make a decision about whether or not to do an amnio. The risk of losing the pregnancy at that point goes down since there are more pockets of fluid to draw the amniotic fluid.

All of this technical mumbo-jumbo is probably more than any of you ever wanted to read! But, I wanted to reassure you that I do feel better about the results of the test and know that we can handle whatever comes our way.

In the meantime, we're spending our time enjoying having a potty-trained, well spoken little boy who is a joy! I just took Alexander to the pediatrician for his 3-year-old checkup and he passed with flying colors. He is 30.5 pounds and 37 inches tall. His pediatrician said that we didn't need to discuss the milestones for this year since he had already exceeded them at his 2-year appointment! You should have seen this proud mama strut out of his office! Peter, of course, being the overachiever of the family, wondered why the doc couldn't have checked him for all the 4-year-old milestones! I was going to try to post a current photo of Alexander but the uploader is having some sort of mid-life crisis right now so you'll have to wait until my next post (if blogger has fixed the problem) to see what he looks like!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Introducing Baby Hamilton

Thump, Thump, Thump...That's what my heart was doing as she placed that wand on my tummy. Since this was the first ultrasound that I'd had, I was anxious about the baby being in there. And then, thump, thump, thump, went the baby's heart beat! What a reassuring sound! So, there is a baby in there and his/her heart is beating like a drum!

It took quite a while for the sonographer to get all the pictures that she needed for the ultrascreen. I had to move from my back to my right side, to my back, to my left side...she asked me to cough several times and then jiggled my tummy to get baby to move into the right position.

I guess she found the right position because she went off to find the radiologist to read the results. I was so nervous while we waited. It took about 5 minutes and then both the radiologist and the sonographer returned to the room.

I can't quite tell you how I feel about the results. In my opinion, they didn't really tell us anything. I think that we'll probably end up getting an amnio during my second trimester. Here's exactly what the radiologist explained:

The computer generated results show that the risk of having a baby with Trisomy 18/13 have decreased from 1 in 132 to 1 in 2,621. When we had the test with Matthew, my risk was 1 in 12. So I do have to believe that this result is favorable. The other part of the test showed an increased risk of down syndrome, from 1 in 609 to 1 in 259.

I'm trying to stay positive since I know that this is only a screening test. Peter reassured me that 1 in 259 is much different from 1 in 12. He's right. But I still don't like looking at this sheet of paper in front of me that says, "INCREASED RISK." It's all in capital letters. Is that supposed to give me peace?

So, now that I'm getting my worry and frustration out via writing this blog, I feel a bit better. I've lodged a call with my midwife and hope to go ahead and plan an amnio which I believe that I can have between weeks 16 and 19 (or anytime after that). I'm 13 weeks tomorrow so in the long run, 3-5 more weeks isn't that much longer to wait!

Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers! I'm going to continue to request them until I get the results of the next test. :)

P.S. In the ultrasound photo above, it looks a little like an appendage is coming out of baby's head. That is, in fact, an arm. However, it's in the correct place, baby was just waving hello to us (and you)!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Wednesday, April 23

This date is significant because at 9:00am, I will go to the doctor's office to have my ultrascreen. I still don't know whether or not I'll get the results right away or if I'll have to wait for them to give me a call. We got the results right away when we had the test in England but socialized medicine is a much different animal from the U.S. private healthcare system.

Peter is going to be able to go with me to the test, thanks to our good friend, Kristen Thompson. She's going to take care of Alexander for an hour or so and then take him to school. I'm sure that Alexander and his good buddy, Benjamin, will have a great time on Wednesday morning (much more fun than me)!

I'm trying to pretend that I'm not nervous about this test but the truth is, I'm quite nervous. I'd just ask that you all take a second to pray for our little baby on Wednesday morning. I'm trying to have a little faith, especially knowing that there is nothing that I can do to change the outcome of the screening.

After Wednesday's test, I'll post again to let you know how it goes. Even if I don't get immediate results, I will update you so you're not left hanging. At least not hanging any further than me!

I best be getting outside to plant a few flowers. I purchased a couple flats at Home Depot yesterday and I don't want them to dry up in this Spring sunshine. I hope you all are enjoying as beautiful weather as we have here in Nashville!

Friday, April 18, 2008

A brand new year, a brand new blog.

Greetings, friends! I bet that many of you have stopped checking this blog...but if you're reading now, then you must be keeping up! Sorry that I fell off the wagon! I'm back in the saddle and ready to share our lives with you!

I am still cancer free and have been working keeping my TSH at the right level. I think we were close to getting me on the right dosage of medication when I discovered that I was PREGNANT! Yep, that's right...pregnancy number three! They're trying to get my medication adjusted again since the baby steals my thyroid hormone for his/her own!
Wow, am I ready for this? As of yesterday, I am twelve weeks along and have been feeling every moment of the pregnancy. I've been tired, nauseated, sore, and the heartburn has already begun! But I'm happy. A little nervous...but very happy!

I have seen my midwife once and she's scheduled me for an ultrascreen next week. The ultrascreen is an ultrasound combined with some blood tests. They'll look at the nuchal translucency which is the fluid behind baby's neck. This is the test that showed that Matthew probably had a chromosome abnormality. I'm not sure how long it takes to get the results of the test back but I'll keep everyone updated as we know anything.

Until that time, we covet the thoughts and prayers of our friends and family. After a couple years of some pretty rotten life events, all that we want is a healthy baby.

In other news, Alexander has been accepted into a different preschool that has a summer program. Beginning June 1st, he'll be at Glen Leven Day School three days a week from 9-3! He had been on the waiting list for nearly two years so I am very pleased that he's been accepted. I am a little sad that he'll be leaving his current school - they've been great and he's loved his teachers, Miss Jo and Miss Patti! But, Glen Leven is closer, has a summer program, and had an opening for him! Hooray!