Thursday, February 25, 2010

Getting the All Clear on Hayden

Over the past month especially, it feels like I've spent an awful lot of time at the doctor's office trying to make sense of the whole Mega Cisterna Magna diagnosis for Hayden. A couple days after the amnio was done we got word that the preliminary results were fine, and last week I got a call confirming that the final results were clear as well. I did get a bit of a scare when the gal asked me if I knew the gender, and I said we were having a girl. She sounded a bit surprised when I said that causing my heart to stop for a moment. Luckily she quickly confirmed that the amnio agreed that we have a female Hayden on my hands. Thank God. Now I don't have to deal with all of the "what if the ultrasound was wrong about it being a girl" inquiries.

The next step was the consultation with a local prenatal neurology specialist on the MRI results. Originally we were scheduled to do this on Friday morning, but that is when the funeral was held. Luckily we were able to move it just a few days until Monday instead. As a bonus, another doctor from the Maternal Fetal Medicine clinic called me on Thursday to say that the MRI results looked great, that the appointment with the specialist should be very reassuring, and they did not want me to be worrying about it over the weekend.

So with that peace of mind we headed to the appointment with the specialist on Monday, and he gave us all the reassurances we needed. He said that he preferred the term "Enlarged" Cisterna Magna, which does sound much less scary. He showed us exactly where it was in the brain on the MRI pics and was very kind and helpful. All the evidence points to Hayden being a perfectly normal baby girl.

I am now 30 weeks pregnant. Undeniably pregnant. Everybody at work just looks at me as if they are thinking "weren't you just pregnant?" Maybe I could trick them into thinking that I am that legendary person who did just stay pregnant forever. After feeling quite energetic for most of this pregnancy, I've suddenly ran into a brick wall of exhaustion. Jeramy took over Jillian's bath for me last night so that I could crawl into bed before eight. I started taking iron since my bloodwork recently came back with low levels, but that hasn't seemed to make much of a difference yet. Also, seasonal allergies have hit, which I never really get when I'm not pregnant. Hopefully Jeramy manages to find me some claritin today, because I am a stuffy, eye-watering, sniffling, sneezy mess today.

In other good news my OB appointment was Monday, and I passed the GTT so I can happily continue my carb consumption. They are also scheduling my c section this week. We are aiming for April 27th, which was my mom's birthday and my parent's anniversary. It would be nice to have a reason to celebrate that day again.

And yes, I have a couple of long-awaited belly photos...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

These Boots are made for Walking

The past couple of weeks have been stressful and busy as you can tell from my other posts. There is much to update you all on, but I can't quite muster up the energy at the moment. Instead, you get this post, which makes me smile just a bit.

When I was little, my sister and I spent much time watching MTV with the babysitter. And this was back in the day when MTV actually played music videos. One of our favorites was These Boots are Made for Walking (Nancy Sinatra's version of course...Jessica Simpson cannot even compare).

Anyhow this song comes into my head whenever I witness Jillian's fascination with boots. Really she is fascinated with putting on shoes in general, but boots are easiest for her. She likes her new rubber boots as well as her daddy's work boots.

Of course she best not be wearing a dress as short as Nancy Sinatra's. Jeramy would not be okay with that!

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Tough Weekend

What I had expected to be a relaxing holiday weekend, turned into a very sad time when we got word that Jeramy's stepmom had died early Saturday morning. It was very upsetting to all of us, especially considering that it was unexpected and she was young. Vickie was one of the nicest people ever, and came over several times to help me after Jillian was born. She especially had a talent for getting her to fall asleep! I know she was looking forward to meeting Hayden and had used her money to buy a crib and dresser. She had just gotten to see the room set-up on Thursday.

Rest in peace, Vickie. You are very much missed.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mega Cisterna Magna

Yes that is a mouthful for a title to a blog post. It is the name of a condition that Hayden appears to have. It sounds scary, but in all likelihood has no clinical significant. Before I go any further though, let me fill you in on my roller coaster of a Tuesday afternoon.

I worked a half day on Tuesday morning and was prepared for a killer of an afternoon. From 1pm - 7pm I had scheduled a Maternal Fetal Medicine appointment, 28 week OB appointment, physical therapy and massage. At least I was ending with a massage...right? Anyhow, things went awry almost immediately. As I mentioned around Christmas, a part in Hayden's brain called the Cisterna Magna was measuring borderline during a ultrasound at the MFM clinic. A follow-up ultrasound three weeks later still showed it measuring borderline. On Tuesday, the measurement exceeded borderline and went into the abnormal range making it Mega Cisterna Magna.

So the question is what does this mean? The most common problem would be Danny Walker syndrome, which is often seen with Mega Cisterna Magna and other malformations in the cerebellum. However, my ultrasound showed those other structures to be just fine. It could be a marker for a Trisomy disorder despite the lack of other markers, a well growing baby (78th percentile) and a good sequential screen. The only way to eliminate that possibility was through an amnio. It could be that there are other brain abnormalities that we cannot detect via ultrasound. Or it could be that it is just a really big Cisterna Magna which based on current medical literature appears to have no clinical significance by itself and Hayden would likely be perfectly normal.

Based on this range of possibilities, I decided to go ahead with an amniocentisis. Now that the measurement was truly abnormal, I knew that they would keep coming back to the chromosomal abnormality as a possibility unless it was ruled out. Plus being 28 weeks pregnant, I felt a little better about it than I did at 21 weeks, because even should complications occur there was a possibility that I could deliver a living baby. A scarily premature baby, but at least there would be a chance. We did the amnio immediately. Although the idea of big ass needles does not thrill me, I wasn't very worried about the procedure itself. I looked away when the doctor whipped that sucker out. It was probably worse for Jeramy who saw exactly how large the needle jammed into my abdomen actually was. They wanted me to take it easy for the next 24 hours so I worked from the comfort of the recliner in my living room on Wednesday. The preliminary results came back this morning...they are perfectly fine. We do not anticipate the final results would be any different. Phew!

Oh and did I mention that I had my regular OB appointment and 1 hour GTT immediately following the MFM appointment? Yeah, it was great to down the glucola and then get an amniocentisis. Really, everybody should try it sometime.

With chormosomal abnormalities ruled out, the other thing would be to rule out brain abnormalities not seen on the ultrasound. The MFM doctor referred me for a MRI and a consult with a specialist in prenatal neurology. I went in for the MRI this afternoon. I've never actually had an MRI before for myself let alone for this being living inside me. I asked the technician beforehand how long it would take, and his response was that it depended on how well my fetus stayed still. Great. I can control me staying still, but Hayden...good luck. So I spent about 20 minutes hanging out in the claustrophobic tube and was handed a CD of my pictures. For the most part the are completely unintelligble to me. However, I thought that this one was kind of cool:

As you can see Hayden has her head crammed against my cervix. This seems to be the position of choice with her based on all ultrasounds since the 20 week mark. It makes it a bit difficult to get good ultrasounds photos of her brain and they have to use all sorts of awkward angles and press down as hard as possible. It would make for a convenient exit when the time comes, except that I'm having a scheduled c section.

On the 19th, Jeramy and I will take the CD of photos and go visit the prenatal neurologist. Hopefully he'll tells us that everything other than the Cisterna Magna looks perfectly normal. I am trying not to let myself get overly worked up about this. The odds are in our and Hayden's favor for a perfectly healthy little girl especially now that the amnio has come back clear. Hopefully we'll just have spent a lot of time blowing thousands of my insurance company's dollars determining my baby is perfectly normal.

I told Jeramy that this is karma at work. Jillian was stressful to conceive. Hayden is stressful to gestate.

Oh yeah, and did I mention I'm in the third trimester now? We'll have two under two before I know it.

Monday, February 8, 2010

16 Months

Jillian turned 16 months old yesterday. It is such a fun age as she is constantly learning, growing and having fun. It is also a trying age as her motor skills are greatly outpacing any ability to reason. Kisses and hugs alternate with tantrums and meltdowns these days. My daughter is quite headstrong, independent, determined and rather reckless, but really I wouldn't have it any other way even at the end of another trying day as her energy and enthusiasm are invigorating.

It is so fun to watch Jillian change from day to day. She has sprouted a couple new teeth lately bringing the total to 9 (with another molar looking to emerge soon). Partly in response to the excess drool, she has found great joy in making spitting noises, which I should probably admonish but instead find myself encouraging because it is so dang cute. I must also admit that I'm going to miss her crooked smile, as she has had only three teeth on the bottom for a couple months now. The emergence of tooth number 4 brought relief to Jeramy though, as was beginning to wonder if it even existed.
One of Jillian's favorite things to do is go places. If you get her coat or sweatshirt out, she immediately runs to you wanting it put on. It doesn't really matter where we go because everything is still new to her. I've learned to bring treats along though, because she gets rather antsy in the shopping cart. She will walk holding my hand as long as I don't stop. She must always be in motion. Even in the car she'll still get fussy if the light is red too long.

She occasionally adds a new word to her vocabulary of dada, mama, and dog. First there was hi. Then last weekend she said the word "bye". At first we found it cute, and we'd keep repeating it back to her. After she said it for the millionth time in two days, it had become a bit more wearing. Finally when leaving Costco she said it at an appropriate time to the person checking our receipt.

She is a biter. And a hair puller. I tried telling her "ow" when she pulled my hair. In response she pulls her own pig tail and says "ow". Not exactly what I was going for, but cute nonetheless.

She is fascinated with her shoes and socks. Not only does she love pulling them off (especially in the car) but she loves trying to put them back on too with limited success. We bought her a pair of oversized rubber boots that she can put on. She also enjoys trying my shoes on and shuffling around in them. When I'm sitting in the recliner with my feet up (which is often because she likes to flip the lever if you're feet are down) she'll bring over various pairs of shoes to try on me.

I'm almost afraid to say this, but Jillian has been amazingly healthy this winter and hasn't even had a cold. Jeramy has been the sick one amongst us, which is odd considering that he is home most of the time. By the way his sore throat finally cleared after a few days of antibiotics! Hooray! No mono or anything else horrible.

In less than three short months, her world will be turned upside down with Hayden's arrival. I'm not sure how she will enjoy sharing mommy and daddy's attention, but I hope that someday in the future she learns to love her little sister. In the meantime, I'm trying to enjoy these last couple of months as the mom of one child. In all honesty I'm dreading the newborn phase and lack of sleep. I've ordered up one of those quiet newborns who sleeps all the time, only wakes up to eat, and never cries. That is possible, right?

Here are a few (okay a lot more than that) pictures of Jillian's recent adventures:
After her diaper change, she insisted on trying out Hayden's crib one morning.
Riding around our yard on a quad with Dad and then riding on her own.
Playing outside on an unusually sunny day here in Seattle.
Unfortunately she wasn't as keen on coming back inside.

We'll describe these two pictures as foods that were daddy's idea.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What Not to Wear - Baby Edition

For the most part, I'd say that it is pretty hard to go wrong when it comes to dressing your baby no matter what your budget. Everything in every color, cut and style looks cute on Jillian. She never complains that something makes her butt look big. In truth, she is really too easy to shop for, as evidenced by my many trips to stores to purchase clothing for myself that instead result in even more clothing purchases for her. Because she really does need 100 onesies.

Of course when you have a stay-at-home dad arrangement, the "rules" of baby fashion are often forgotten. And when that happens, I often come home to find this:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Birth/Adoption Announcement Giveaway

Pregnant or adopting a baby soon? Then head over to An Adoption Story where you can enter to win some gorgeous announcements from Ella Bella Designs! Good luck!