Friday, April 20, 2007

Big news!

Ok, I know I promised to post this yesterday, but life is what happens when you are making other plans! So, here's the big news: I've finally got an answer to what has been going on with my GI issues these last few months. And the answer's name is Bucky. Who's Bucky, you ask?
This is Bucky:

That's right, we're having a baby! Bucky is a nickname for Baby Under Construction, which is what we decided to call the baby (it won out over "the little grouper" and "embryonic smoonchkie"--smoonchkie is a nickname we have for the dog.)

We're due in mid to late October, depending on which ultrasound they use to calculate the due date. That puts us around 14 weeks, give or take, which means I'm pretty much done with the first trimester (and all of the aggravating illnesses that go with it).

I promised a few people I'd tell the whole story here, instead of telling it over and over via phone/email, so if you're not so interested in the gory details (not too gory, but some people don't like this stuff), I'd advise you to scroll down for a while.

Tim and I found out we were pregnant literally right before we left for Aruba. He made me do the test twice because he didn't believe it the first time--typical male :) We told our parents when we got back--actually, we told Jen first, because she asked us point blank as soon as we got home from the airport (she was teasing, but I couldn't lie to her!). We had to wait until the next weekend, Sunday, Feb. 25, to tell the rest of our immediate family. We were just about 6 weeks when we told them.

We had planned on telling the extended family the next weekend, but something happened in between that changed our plans. I had been spotting a little since we got home from Aruba, but my doctor wasn't super concerned. She said it was fairly common, but she scheduled me for an early ultrasound just to be sure. On Tuesday, Feb. 27, the bleeding got serious, and I went in that morning for an emergency appointment. Tim left work to go with me, and the hour in the waiting room was one of the most nerve wracking experiences ever. The room was filled with obviously pregnant women, and they decided to start sharing stories about their babies.
Knowing there was a chance we could be losing ours, I did everything I could to stay distracted. I didn't think bursting into tears would help the experience.

When we finally got into the room, I recognized the doctor present as the high risk specialty OB for the hospital. She had taught several classes during med school, and I remember thinking then she was pretty on top of her game. I was partly reassured to see her, but I also knew she was there because I was high risk.

The ultrasonographer dug around for a little while (it wasn't the normal, pleasant type of ultrasound--no other details needed), and she found what she was looking for:
That is our little gestational sac at 6 weeks, with the small, bean-shaped item on the right side of the sac being the embryo. The CRL (crown to rump length) was 0.55 cm, which put us a little behind our due date, but not too far. Seeing the embryo was reassuring.

She also saw something else. She found another sac in the uterus, but this one was empty (it's called a vanishing twin or a blighted ovum). The doctor said that by the positioning, it was likely a fraternal twin that wasn't viable. That sac was miscarrying, which is what was causing my symptoms. The concern was that the uterus may try to expel both sacs, which would cause the viable embryo to miscarry. Because of that, I was considered to be having a threatened abortion.

We were happy and sad at the same time. It was great knowing that we had one surviving baby. However, knowing we could've had a second one, and that the one that was left wasn't out of the woods yet, was pretty tough. The doctor told me that my risk for miscarriage would go down tremendously at my 12 week appointment. If I heard a heartbeat at 12 weeks, then my risk went from about 50/50 to about 2%. Tim and I talked about it, and we decided to wait to tell anyone else until we were in the clear.

It was about two days after this emergency appointment that my lower GI stuff started acting up. It was absolutely debilitating for about a week, and it was unpleasant and painful for several more weeks after that. Add to that the fact that morning sickness kicked in at about week 9, and I wasn't a happy camper. I knew it was for a good reason, and I knew that I'd rather have me be sick and have the baby healthy.

I kept spotting all through the first trimester. Of course, I stopped about a week before my doctor's visit (you never have the symptoms when you actually see the doctor). I had my appointment on April 11 (last Wednesday), and I was nervous as hell. I really like my OB, and she had me come into her office to talk about concerns before I went in the exam room. I filled her in on the high risk stuff that she didn't already know about. She agreed we should look for a heartbeat before we did another thing.

Lying on the exam table, I was so nervous I thought my heart was going to pop out of my chest. She warned me that sometimes the Doppler machine finds the mom's heartbeat before it finds the baby's, so I shouldn't be too excited until she knew it was the baby's heartbeat. It took about 5 seconds, but she found the baby's heartbeat, and it was nice and strong. After that, I could finally be excited about the pregnancy. I had been nervous for so long, preparing myself for the worst, that it was completely surreal to know there was a healthy baby growing in me.

Skip ahead to this Tuesday. My doctor suggests that everyone get screened for Down's syndrome early in the pregnancy. It involves an ultrasound and a blood test, and it has to be done before you are 13 weeks and 6 days gestational age. I should've been within those ranges according to my new due date, but apparently, I am incubating a basketball player.

The fetus measured too long for my expected due date--not by more than a few days, but it put me outside the window for the test. This was actually ok--the ultrasound tech said she could tell the fetus looked normal, and it meant I didn't have to give any more blood. Plus, she had more time to do the ultrasound. It was so cool. She'd thump on my stomach a little with the wand (I got this ultrasound the fun way, not the other way, which was a plus), and the baby would respond to her movements. I got a good look at the baby's heart, brain, fingers, and toes (we could actually count the fingers and toes--10 of each!). I could see the ribs forming, and the facial bones were mostly visible. She got a few good pictures, but it was so much cooler to see it happening in person.

Here's one where you can see one hand of fingers. She even labeled them on the ultrasound:

The baby's heart rate was 143 beats per minute, which was right in the middle of the range. And I didn't get a picture with the CRL measurement on it, but if I remember right, it was about 10 cm (about 4 inches). That means the baby was now about 20 times the length it was at 6 weeks. Just amazing.

So, between the heartbeat at 12 weeks and the ultrasound at 13/14, everything looks normal. We called our parents and told them it was ok to start spreading the news, and I made as many phone calls/emails as I could before I crashed. Exhaustion has been a big part of this pregnancy for me, as well as the GI stuff, and it seems like weekends are usually the worst for it. Doesn't that figure? I didn't get everyone contacted by phone, which had been my plan, but email had to do the job for quite a few. And there are still a few I haven't gotten a hold of yet. Hey, there's six months of this pregnancy to go--everyone will know by then, I'm sure.

So that's our big story. Tim's actually much more adjusted to this pregnancy than I am. I've read my pregnancy book cover to cover, but it still seems pretty surreal. People ask me questions, and I have no idea what to answer.

Have we picked names? We've had a list for a long time, but no front runners yet.

Am I going to do a natural birth (no pain meds)? Umm, probably not--I'd get an epidural at 6 months if I could. I know my mom was natural for all 5 of us, but personally, I think the drugs
are there for a reason. I have some research to do on them, but if it looks ok for the baby, I'm game.

Are we going to find out the sex? If we can. I hate the idea that the doctor knows, and the tech knows, but we don't know. If they can't figure it out on ultrasound, we won't stress, and we'll have a backup plan just in case the guess is wrong (it happened to my cousin).

My sister asked me what size clothes a baby wears, because she saw some cute stuff. Umm, I have no idea--I'm guessing it says newborn, but beyond that, I'm clueless.

Are we doing daycare or family care? Yet to be determined. It has a lot to do with where I am in the lab. If I am writing, I can do most of that at home. If I still need to do experiments, then it's a different story.

The list goes on--I really am clueless about the whole thing. Tim has been planning how he wants to fix up the house for the baby. I guess constructionizing is his acceptance method. I'm still in some shock. I haven't gained any weight yet (actually lost a bit with the GI stuff, but I can afford it), I'm in the same clothes, and I won't feel the baby kick for a few more weeks. Once that happens, I think it'll really sink in.

Anyway, enough babbling. I promise not to turn this blog into all baby details, although you'll hear about it when things happen. I know a lot of bloggers are big into taking pictures of their stomach as they progress. As for me--don't count on it! My body image issues haven't vanished, and I'm definitely not flaunting my stomach on the internet. You'll probably see more baby pictures, though.

Well, back to lab. I'll be back in tomorrow (Saturday), which is always fun, but I'm trying to kiss up to my boss to make up for the pregnancy, in a way. He's not real thrilled about it, but he legally can't do anything to me, so we'll find some sort of happy medium (or at least survivable medium), I hope.

If you have suggestions for me, I'm all ears, especially if you've done this whole baby thing before. And I'd welcome questions too--it'll give me more to think about. You can comment without signing up for a google account, so all comments are welcome!


  1. I obviously haven't done this before, but Congratulations! :) That's such exciting news, and I'm glad that you're doing better! Baby clothes come in months sizes - 0-3 months, 3-6, 6-9, 9-12, 12-18, 18-36, etc. :) So start off with the 0-3s and some 3-6's because they grow so freaking fast! :)

  2. OH MY GOD, congratulations!!! i was so surprised!! and i'm thrilled for you and tim.

    that is very very exciting :) i can't wait for more stories and details!