Tomorrow starts the beginning of going full circle. It will be one year since we first heard the words “cystic hygroma” at our first ultrasound. Emmett had developed a large, fluid-filled cyst on the back of his neck, what doctors told us is usually caused by chromosome issues such as Down’s Syndrome, Turner’s Syndrome, etc.
We went from being perfectly elated hearing our baby’s heartbeat the first time and seeing a bouncing blob on a monitor to being completely petrified and devastated in the matter of minutes.
At that appointment, we were instructed to get a follow-up ultrasound later that week at a different medical center to see if the findings were true. They were… but the news got worse. The advanced u/s machine also detected he had developed fetal hydrops, a condition where his organs were filling up with fluid. This causes them to work much harder and in a fetus that can be difficult to do for a full-term pregnancy.
The chances of Emmett making it the full 40 weeks was going to be a long shot since he had developed the cystic hygroma and hydrops so early. The chances of him ever making it outside a hospital was even lower. The chances of him celebrating his first birthday, lower than that. There was also the risk that I could develop maternal hydrops, putting my health and life at risk. It was a lot of news and information to absorb in such a short time.
They gave us the option to end our pregnancy that day or wait it out to see if things would improve. We did the latter and it was the longest April of our lives.
Sorry I’ve been quiet for a while. But I thought I’d quickly pop in to provide an update on how things have been going the past few weeks…
Work has been picking up since its prime event fundraising season for all of the walk and runs this upcoming summer and fall for my clients. I’ve been busy putting together sites for one client alone that has 60+ events. Needless to say, I’m on the computer…a lot.
I generally like to write in the early morning or in the evening; however, after hours-upon-hours looking at a computer screen, I just can’t get the will to continue typing or generally being coherent.
I had my neurologist follow-up last week about my intensifying migraine headaches. I started back up on a preventive medication and it seems to be helping now that it is getting into my system. It’s also helping with the insomnia that I have, but thankfully that hasn’t been happening as frequently as it was a few months back. Still, there are some nights where I just can’t find the off-switch and I’m antsy in bed at 3 a.m. The true test for this med will be in a week or so once I ovulate since hormone changes seem to be a huge trigger. The goal is to not have me popping Midol like Skittles this month.
I’m still having a bit of GI distress and the erratic high blood pressures. Awaiting my follow-up with a new GI at the end of the month and my 5-year colonoscopy. Yippee. But, I’ve started to regularly take a pre/pro-biotic and drinking kombucha tea several times a week. I thought that would help with that ongoing bacterial/yeast infection issue but at my physical earlier this week they found I have another yeast infection so I was back on antibiotics again. I just hope we can find the root of all of this. I can’t help but think all of this is just from the stress of this past year. I started to see a chiropractor as well. Been twice so far and have another appointment this weekend. Let’s just say my back and my neck are jacked-up. I’m sitting here as I type with a hot pad around my neck after today’s adjustments and massage therapy.
There are a lot of things I was never able to share with anyone about our pregnancy since we had decided to wait until the second trimester to let everyone know. By that time, we already had learned that something was amiss so we never were able to share what-should’ve-been-joyful news with most of our family and friends.
I wanted to share a few things about our pregnancy. Some aren’t entirely new but some I haven’t shared with people before.
I experienced horrible morning sickness
It’s really common for pregnant women to have morning sickness. However, mine was really bad. I developed something called “hyperemesis gravidarum” around the 8th or 9th week of pregnancy and it lasted pretty much until I delivered in April.
Let me just say, it was awful. I would eat something and within five minutes would be rushing to the bathroom, enduring violent vomiting (or dry heaving if I didn’t have enough in my stomach). I tried nearly everything. Candied ginger. Mints or chewing gum. Eating smaller, more frequent meals. Saltines. Cold compresses.
My doctor also prescribed me some medication, along with some Unisom, to help with the nausea. However, Preggie Pops seemed to be my best friend during the last few weeks once I found them at GNC. I was popping those things like Skittles to keep my tummy settled. I think Brett was on a first-name basis at the store when he’d pick up their entire supply for me.
The nausea was so bad that I lost weight during pregnancy so I didn’t even look pregnant. I was wearing all of my normal clothes up until the end at nearly 5 months. I think that’s what makes me the saddest sometimes that I never got to experience the joy of looking pregnant and having people come up to me and ask to touch my belly.
This is going to be the one and only political rant that I’m going to make during this 2016 Presidential election. I’ve been hesitating over the last few weeks to actually put my thoughts into words about this topic but I finally couldn’t stay silent anymore. I hope I can adequately put all of my thoughts into something that can make an impact if you’re still on the fence about who to vote for on Nov. 8, 2016.
I’ve always been pro-choice. A woman should be able to make her own decision, along with her family and medical professionals, about what she does for herself and her unborn child. I always thought that people who had abortions were those who just didn’t want babies. Turns out I was wrong. It wasn’t until Brett and I were faced with the reality that we needed to make this decision about our pregnancy that we received a real-life crash-course. There’s all these misconceptions that swirl around about abortion and terminating a pregnancy. I hope I can debunk some of those myths or at the very least let you know what our personal experience was. I’ll admit, I’m not a medical person. I’ll do my best to explain things but scientifically 100% can’t guarantee I say everything correctly.
First, we wanted this baby.With all our hearts. If I could be holding Emmett right now, I would be the happiest person in the world. Instead, I grapple daily with the grief and pain of the decision we made. It wasn’t something we took lightly. I was answering a question last night in an online support group about doctors that we had seen. Until I typed out my response, it hadn’t really dawned on me how many doctors and specialists we really saw in the 18.5 weeks of our pregnancy. We saw no less than 8 different doctors and specialists about high-risk pregnancy and chromosome disorders. Because of what’s happened during this pregnancy and after, I don’t know if I’ll ever mentally be able to go through pregnancy again. Physically, I know I can have a baby. But, this experience has pushed me to the emotional boundaries that I wish no woman ever has to go through.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m adopted. My Mom, Liza, shared some of her insight about why she decided to put me up for adoption in one of her previous posts. An uncle and his wife adopted both my mom and I, so I was raised essentially calling my mom, my “sister.” She moved to California when I was still pretty young, I think maybe 5 or 6 years old. We didn’t see each other much, maybe every few years or so. Upon talking with her and reading her reflections about our relationship, I now have a slightly better understanding of why we had such a distant relationship for so long. It wasn’t until recently, that we’ve become closer and I started referring to her as “mom,” which is a completely different post for another day.
My adoptive parents – Joe and Dona – were great. Just much older. They already had grown children. My “youngest” brother, John, and I are 18 years apart. He’s like my second dad. My Dad was born in 1930 and my Mom in 1924. So…if I do the math right…they were 51 and 57 when I was born. Mom would always tell the story about the judge who did the adoption. He commented that, “Why would someone your age want to adopt a child?” She always said that they didn’t believe she was that old and they took 10 years off her age on the adoption papers. Don’t know if that’s really true or not…
Mom died back in 2001. I was 20 and a sophomore in college. My dad, who is the youngest of 13 kids, is still going at 86. He lives in a senior home back in the hometown that I grew up in.