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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pregnancy Update: Week 22

Have I seriously not updated since week 12? Wow. I guess it is true what they say about 2nd babies. I’m sorry, Baby #2, but your mom is a complete and total slacker.

07521 weeks

How I’m Feeling:

My energy level has increased somewhat and overall, I’ve been sleeping much better. I no longer wake up randomly at night and am up for hours. However, I am just really uncomfortable while attempting to sleep. My back hurts and I can’t seem to get comfortable lying on either side. I currently use a body pillow, wedge pillow, and a pillow between my legs. I’m thinking about getting a pregnancy pillow – any recommendations, yay or nay?

The nausea subsided around 16 weeks. I’m still taking a prescription medication to control my acid reflux, but as long as I take it daily everything is fine.

I am having sporadic episodes of sciatic pain. It starts in my back and shoots down my hip and leg and can be quite excruciating. I notice it most when I’m doing hard labor: extensive cleaning, bending over, lifting something heavy.

Overall, the word I’d use to describe myself is uncomfortable. I think I’m carrying him pretty low and I just feel a lot of pressure constantly. It isn’t even super hot yet here in Georgia and I already don’t want to leave air conditioning. I never had back pain with Cooper but it is a constant presence with this pregnancy.

I have no idea if this is a “second pregnancy thing” or an “Andrea is 34 years old thing.”

Doctor Appointments:

I had my “big” ultrasound at 20 weeks, but my doctor got called out for a delivery so I wasn’t able to go over the results with her, which was upsetting. After our big scare I just wanted to hear that developmentally the baby looked fine. I returned the next week and was told that everything looked good; however, they could not get a good picture of his heart so I will be doing another ultrasound at 28 weeks. These little scares seem to be par for the course this pregnancy so instead of worrying I’ve just put my trust in God that everything will be alright.

Baby seems to be doing well…. however, Mama is already showing signs up pre-eclampsia. At my last appointment, my blood pressure was elevated, my liver enzymes were elevated, and I had protein in my urine. I honestly expected this to happen again this go round but not so early! I had to do a 24 hour urine screen (of which I have not received the results) and more labs last week. My doctor also started me on a blood pressure medication as a precaution. We are taking a “wait and see” approach but my doctor said that if I continue along this course she will likely deliver me at 35 weeks. I am just hoping to make it through this pregnancy with no bed rest! We shall see!

Gender:

We know… and I will be doing a post about the gender reveal party this week!

Size:

Baby is the size of a papaya.

Mommy is the size of a spare tire… literally. I do not have a “baby belly” at all. It just looks like a have a large roll of fat around my middle. NICE. I’ve gained 4 pounds this pregnancy (I lost 10 and have gained back 4 of those pounds). I’m predicting this pregnancy will be much like Cooper’s. I never really looked pregnant with him, and I packed on about 30 pounds in the last 2-3 weeks of pregnancy due to water retention.

Cravings:

I have much more of a sweet tooth this time around. I like to end my day with some sort of treat (those grocery store chocolate covered doughnuts are divine). I am also loving Jolly Rancher soft chews – like Starbursts, but better!

Husband:

Jason continues to be a rock star. He’s been super helpful in cleaning the house. He’s also taken on lots of little projects throughout the house. Since I got pregnant he’s painted Cooper’s big boy room, the downstairs bathroom, and the dining room.

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Big Brother:

Cooper is a terror lately. I love him to pieces, but he is so defiant! I spend most days just repeating the same request over and over, and finally loosing my temper and sanity in an epic meltdown. I’ve talked to many moms of 2 and it seems like this may be a jealously thing – but honestly, I have no idea how to deal with it. He does not respond to discipline. Spanking, no. Time out, no. Taking things away, no. I’m just at a loss.

He has also regressed in sleeping. In late April, we went to Edisto on vacation and he slept in a bed with me for the week. (Prior to the trip he was still in his crib.) When we got back we attempted to move him to his big boy bed and it did not go well. At first he flat out refused to sleep alone so he would either sleep with Jason in our bed (and I would sleep in his bed – our bed does not fit three) or I would sleep with him in his bed. Then last week we finally got him to sleep in his bed alone but he wakes up in the middle of the night and crawls in bed with us. This is another area where I have no idea how to address this.

Stay tuned for the gender reveal post, coming later this week!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cooper's Big Boy Room

I know what you are thinking. You saw this post pop up in your Google Reader, and you’re all like “how is Andrea going to play this? Is she going to apologize? Or will she act like it hasn’t been forever and a day since she’s blogged?”

A little of both. 

I apologize, friends. Motherhood (to be) X2 is kicking my butt. My work responsibilities have picked up, my husband has recently been prescribed a medication that makes him manic as all get out (resulting in a need on his part to do all the projects, all at one time), my son is currently in what I like to describe to people I don’t know well as a “difficult phase” (to people I know well I say HE IS A BRAT), and I’m the girl sitting in a closet, trying to hide from all the chaos. 

And I know I was all like “Week of Disney!” and then disappeared after 2 days. Ha. I do intend to finish the series…. at some point. Hope you aren’t visiting the park until 2014! 

In the midst of my husband’s Red Bull-ish energy burst, we managed to finish one major project a few weeks ago. We’ve been working on Cooper’s big boy room on and off since February, and it is finally done. 

First off, let me tell you about my inspiration. I based the room off two items: 



The top picture is a print I had made when Jason served on the USS Nebraska. It’s been hanging around in our closet because I didn’t have anywhere designated to put it. The flag he received from the state of Nebraska when he reenlisted in 2004. It was flown at the state capitol in 2003. 

Anyway, I knew I wanted three elements: the print, the flag, and I also wanted to incorporate a rugby striped wall. It ended up being a sort of nautical/patriotic themed room, and we love it!

The first step was to find furniture. We had a bed (in what was the guest bedroom) that Jason purchased before we got married. However, it was in rough shape so I started scouring Craigslist for a set. I lucked out one day and snapped up the set you see below (bed, nightstands, and chest of drawers) for the low price of $500! It had been in the couple’s guest bedroom and was barely used. We saved our old mattress and we were in business. 

Next step was painting. The original plain was to the paint the rugby stripes and leave the rest of the room the existing wall color khaki. I will say several of my IG peeps advised against it but I was like “no way, Jose, no extra painting for me!” I should have listened.
 
Jason is a rock star painter, by the way. I barely helped (I taped the bottom half of the room and then whined a lot about how the paint wasn’t good for the baby) and he knocked out the one wall in a weekend. 


Horrid picture, but this shows the khaki walls. Once I got everything in the room (I used khaki accents and curtains) I realized it was just too much khaki. 

So I decided the khaki had to go, and announced to Jason that the room needed to be re-painted… oh, and the ceiling would have to be painted too since it was khaki as well. Then I went and hid while he calmed down. 

We settled on a lovely light gray for the walls and white for the ceiling. Jason made the executive decision to paint part of the ceiling tray navy… I almost had a heart attack when he started doing it, but it turned out amazing. 


Seriously, rock star. 

We’re replacing the light fixture with a very cool ceiling fan. Ceiling fans are necessary in Georgia, and we found one that is very nautical looking. I’ll share once Jason gets it installed!

On to the room! {details below}


Vinyl – A Hint of Chic {etsy}

Comforter/sheets – Pottery Barn Kids

Navy pillow – Target

Curtains (blackout) – Lowe's


Print – Modern Rosie {etsy}

Bench and baskets – Lowe's

Burlap bed skirt – made by my mom


Lantern – Lowe's

(Chihuahua butt – free to a good home)

Cooper print – Modern Rosie {etsy}

Tin patriotic art – Hobby Lobby

Shelves – Hobby Lobby

Bookshelf and baskets – Target, old

Flag display case, ship wheel, knot art, 5T bookends – Hobby Lobby

Bench – mine from when I was a child

I had so much fun putting together this room for Cooper! We have made a few small changes (I moved the pledge art to his dresser and framed the certificate of authenticity for the flag). We also installed bed rails since Cooper fell out of the bed twice. 

I hope you love it as much as we do!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Call That Stopped My Heart

This may well be a controversial post. It's ok if you disagree with me. It's ok if your reaction would have differed from mine. I debated about whether or not to discuss this on my blog, but in the end I decided it might help someone going through something similar. I strive for being open and honest on my blog, and this is my truth. 

On Tuesday, April 2nd my family of three piled in the car, full of excitement and anticipation. We were on our way to have an elective ultrasound to find out the sex of Baby House #2. Cooper was full of pride and wore blue in honor of the occasion; he was positive he was going to have a baby brother. We would find out soon!


There is nothing quite like seeing your child for the first time. I mean, I knew I was pregnant, but this made it real. Hearing the heartbeat, seeing the child move, hearing the sex... it's all so incredible and precious. Jason and I left that appointment on a high - a high that lasted approximately one week.

The following Tuesday I received a phone call from my doctor's office - my AFP testing had come back showing markers for Down's Syndrome.

AFP testing is typcially done around 16 weeks. It's also known as the quad screening. The mother's blood is screened for alpha-fetoprotein, which can often be linked to spina bifida, anencephaly, and Trisomy 18 or 21. AFP takes into account several factors: race, age, weight of the mother and fetal age of the baby. These factors are translated into a number; for example a 1 in ___ chance of your child having Down's Syndrome. 

The nurse was very short (but polite) with me. She was sure it was nothing, but she wanted me to come back in and do a more accurate, in-depth test to investigate this further. I was honestly in shock; I agree to come in immediately and headed there as soon as I could get office coverage.

I fell apart when I got into the car. I called Jason, sobbing. I was absolutely terrified. Jason, of course, could do absolutely nothing for me. He works a hour away and he just did his best to calm me down and assure me it would all be ok. I called my mom next - and it was the same. She just tried to calm me down and told me it would all work out.

At my doctor's office, I submitted blood for the MaterniT21 PLUS test. This is a newer test on the market and it is being advertised as 99% accurate and a less invasive option to amnios. The test pulls DNA from the maternal sample and determines Trisomy 21, 18, and 13. This test would definitely tell me whether the baby had DS or any other chromosomal disorder.

I cried the entire time I was at the doctor's office. My doctor was out on a delivery and could not see me, but I did speak with her nurse. She gave me all the reassurances in the world, but honestly? All I could hear was that there was something wrong with my baby.

My doctor did call me later - and she went further and told me that according to the AFP test, I had a 1 in 146 chance of having a child with DS. The baseline for a woman my age is 1 in 350. I was told it could take up to 2 weeks to receive results, and if positive I would be referred to a high risk OB for a level 2 ultrasound and an amnio.

So I waited. I prayed. I worried. I cried. I spent time on my knees in prayer, and finally, I found peace in God's perfect plan for both me and my little one.

I know there are many who would have handled it differently. Some of you probably would have shrugged it off and decided that you wouldn't worry until you got your second round of test results back. Some of you may have decided to decline the AFP test entirely. Some of you might have been completely at peace with the thought of having a child with special needs.

Well, that just wasn't me. Honestly? I probably would have been one of the above if I wasn't in the field I am in.

For those of you just now reading, I am a social worker. I work for a foster care agency that provides housing to children and adults with disability. My entire caseload is diagnsosed with Mental Retardation. I have several healthy, high functioning individuals and I also have several individuals who are complete and total care. I know individuals who cannot walk, talk, or communicate in any way. Imagine being wheelchair and bed bound. What if you had to be fed by a g-tube? What if the only part of your body you could move was your head? What if you were institutionalized as a child  because your care was too much for your parents to handle? What if the only family you knew was the nurses and staff who were paid to care for you?

These were the thoughts that kept going through my head. I had someone tell me "well, even if the baby does have Down's, maybe they will be very high functioning and will be able to lead a normal life!" Well, yes, maybe. But DS - as well as other genetic and other chromosomal disorders - is often teamed with other health problems, some of which are life threatening. No mother ever wants to hear her child may suffer in any way, shape, or form. No mother every wants to think of their child's health being threatened.

Of course that wasn't what I wanted for my child. Did being scared mean I wanted to abort my baby? No, absolutely not. Did it mean I wouldn't love my child? NO! I would love my baby no matter what. I wasn't upset because it necessarily was... I was upset because I didn't know how bad it could possibly be.

Jason spent a lot of time on various baby boards, reading about other people's experiences with this test. He read posts from lot of people who said "it didn't matter to me because I'd love my baby no matter what" or "I declined further testing because I love my baby, DS or no." A lot of people who get similar results decline an amnio, stating that is it risky and unnecessary. I would have absolutely have an amnio, simply because I'm the type of person who wants to prepare and be informed. 

A lot of people told me not to worry. They told me false positives were common and mine would probably be a false positive as well. My mom would forward me endless posts from Baby Center talking about "my test was a false positive!" She wanted me to talk to a friend of a friend who had a similar experience that turned out to be a false positive. Jason bombarded me with statistics and studies.

None of that helped me.

I didn't want to hear that it could be a false positive. Sure, I knew that, and I absolutely 100% prayed it would be so. But you know what? False positives are just one flip of the coin. For every false positive there is a true positive. And regardless of what someone else's experience was - I could be the true positive. I am very much a black and white person. I deal best with bottom lines. I wanted to come to peace with the possibility that there could be something wrong, because I needed to know that no matter what happened we would all be ok. Most of all, I wanted to feel what I was feeling, without having someone else tell me I was wrong.

God really worked on me in that week and a half. I finally realized that no matter the result, I would be ok. My baby would be ok. Even if he/she was total care... it was part of God's plan, and God does not give us more than we can handle. God is good, all the time. Even in the darkest times, He is there to be our strength and shield.

One thing I've realized in the past few weeks is that our health is a precious gift. We are not promised tomorrow. As mothers, we are not promised healthy babies. Even if this test came back negative, something else could be wrong. My baby could have a heart defect... leukemia.... SIDS.... or something else. You just never know. Whether we have warning or it happens suddenly, the end result is the same. You endure. You pray. And you trust in God.

Jason sent me a bible verse the night before we got the call with the test results. 1 Samuel 1:27 "For this child I have prayed, and the Lord granted what I asked of Him." Thank you God! You granted my prayer, and you made me no promises except that this baby was part of your plan. You did not promise me a baby with perfect health... you promised me a child. And that you have granted.

I'm happy to report that my second test, the MaterniT21 test, came back showing no signs of Down's. That does not mean that something else could be wrong; it just means that my baby does not have Trisomy 21, 13, or 18. I had an ultrasound last week to look for other abnormalities, but unfortunately my doctor got called out to a delivery and I wasn't able to go over the results with her. I have an appointment to do that on Thursday.

No matter what, I am at peace. I am grateful for God's provision and His plan. He is good, all the time.



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