Twenty weeks and beyond

As Alex and I adjusted to the news that we had just found out with our little mister, we still couldn’t be happier with this amazing blessing that we had been given.

We went to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City on a beautiful December morning.  We checked in, filled out all the paperwork, and went back to have our fetal echo completed. Now, there’s something that I have left out about our little mister.  He HATES the littlest bit of pressure on my belly.  Ultrasounds are always super tricky, and so is listening to him with the Doppler.  This echo was no different.  The poor ultrasound tech was getting so frustrated, because she would find the perfect view, and mister would move.  I felt so bad because there was nothing that I could do! Luckily, with a little patience on her part, and lots of re-positioning and a few good stern talks to mister (They never work, but I like to pretend that they do! :D) She was able to complete the ultrasound.  The fellow came in and took some pictures while the tech went and reviewed the ultrasound with the attending.  Shortly after, the attending came in and informed us that his heart looked perfect for his gestational age (25 weeks).  He couldn’t see any abnormalities or anything.  He cautioned us that there was still a possibility that as he was born, one of the holes could not close properly, but we would monitor for murmurs and cross that path if we came to it.

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(I snapped this picture from the parking lot.  It doesn’t do the view any justice.  It was SO pretty that morning!)

We prepped for Christmas, and had a wonderful holiday with our family.  We celebrated New years, even if we happened to celebrate the actual new year in bed as I was fighting to stay awake! We couldn’t have asked for a better holiday season, as not only were we greatly blessed, but little mister was blessed and spoiled as well!

I returned to work (I work for a local school district and had been off for Christmas break.) and was looking forward to our next anatomy scan at 31 1/2 weeks and getting to see our little boy.  I’m not sure I could ever survive a “normal” pregnancy, because I’ve grown so accustom to having ultrasounds all the time and getting to see our sweet precious babies.  The thought of only having 2-3 ultrasounds the entire pregnancy, is mind blowing to me! Anyway, as luck would have it, little mister had different plans for me.

It was a snowy Thursday morning.  I got up, got ready for work, and left early because I had a feeling the roads would be terrible.  I got to work and went about my day.  Around noon, I realized that I hadn’t been feeling mister as much as I normally do.  I had some juice, sat down at my desk and waited to see.  Luckily, he gave me a few good kicks and I relaxed, just a little bit. I went home for the day, made sure I had plenty of water, and rested.  Now, remember when I said earlier that we have a very active baby? Well, as the afternoon and evening went on, he still wasn’t as active as he should be.  I laid down and did some kick counts, and they were down as well.  Alex was at school, so I texted him and told him my concerns.  We decided that I should probably go in and be checked, just to be safe.

When we arrived, they hooked me up to the monitor, and we heard his beautiful heartbeat, and all of his wiggles as he was trying to escape the monitor.  I relaxed as I knew he was okay.  However, also showing on the monitor, were some pretty consistent contractions.  They asked me if I could feel them, and I answered honestly.  The truth was, I had been feeling them all day, and had noticed they were a little more intense than normal, but, I was more concerned about the fact that I couldn’t feel little man anymore.

They did a swab on my cervix that tells them if I am going to go into labor in the next two weeks or not.  It tests for a protein that is excreted around your uterus when you are supposedly close to delivery. My test came back positive,  and with my cervix being dilated to a 1 and 50% effaced, I then received the first dose of steroid shots to help develop misters lungs in case he were to be born soon. They also started me on an oral medication that is supposed to relax the uterus and slow contractions. All of this took place around 11:00-midnight-ish. I was moved to a different room, where I would be staying the night to be observed and make sure the medication was working.

Around 1:30 a.m., my nurse came into my room and told me that they didn’t really like the fact that I was still having regular contractions, so they would be starting a magnesium sulfate drip.  This drip is given to help the baby, again if it is born premature, with any bleeding that could occur on the brain.  It also could help with the contractions.

This medication, is of the devil.  They warned me that I would feel horrible, and they weren’t joking! As soon as it started going in, I literally felt like I had been hit by a bus! However, the contractions slowed down and things were looking better.  In regular people morning hours, I made the venture downstairs to see MFM.  Everything looked good, Mister still had dilated kidneys, his ventricles were holding which is a good thing, his femurs were measuring about a week behind, and I suddenly had extra amniotic fluid.  Both of these are markers for trisomy 21. Besides those new findings, they suggested we stop the Mag drip (hallelujah!) and I come in for weekly non stress tests just to monitor the baby and make sure he was doing okay.  I returned to labor and delivery, they stopped the drip and switched me back to the oral medication.  My body behaved well, and I was able to come home the next day.

Today, a week and a half later, i’m still at home on bed rest and mister is still inside, happily growing and swimming away in his extra large pool.  I still take the medication every 6 hours if I have contractions (I’ve only been able to space it out while i’m sleeping, during the day, I take it pretty close to every 6 hours), and I feel like a ticking time bomb. We’ve made it to 32 weeks, which is a huge milestone and goal to me.  Now, the goal is to get him to 34 weeks and let his little lungs develop a little bit more.  Really, the goal is to get him to this Saturday, so that I can attend my baby shower! Its the little steps and goals we look forward too!

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The beginning of our current little mister

When you become pregnant after loosing a baby, whether it be from a miscarriage, still birth, neonatal loss, or infant loss, they call the baby that follows a rainbow baby.  Why a “rainbow” baby you ask?  Because a beautiful rainbow always follows a dark storm.

We became pregnant with little mister at the end of June, early July of 2016.  We did a frozen embryo transfer in June when we transferred one embryo.  We consider ourselves beyond lucky to have had our transfer work,  and to become pregnant with another sweet little baby.

Things started out very well in the beginning with the pregnancy.  The baby was growing like it should be, I was sick which always means good things to me, we were happy.  My regular OB wanted to see me sooner than normal just to make sure that we watched this pregnancy very closely.  I started going to the perinatologists (MFM) who would follow me closely and intervene if needed at 12 weeks.  I was scheduled to see them every two weeks as they would measure my cervix length and make sure that it was holding strong and I wouldn’t need a cerclage. I started taking a once a week shot of progesterone to help calm the uterus and help prevent preterm labor.

At 16 weeks, I started to have anatomy scans when I went to MFM every four weeks.(I was going in for a cervical length scan every two weeks, and they did an anatomy scan every 4) We discovered at this appointment that we were blessed to be expecting another little boy! As the doctor told me, apparently we are boy makers! Also on the ultrasound, it showed that our little babe had renal pyelectasis.  Basically, his kidneys were a little bit bigger than they like to see, but the doctor made sure to let me know that this is very common in boys, as they tend to not pee out all that is in there.  She said we would monitor it and make sure that it didn’t become an issue. At this time, the MFM doctor also asked me if I had my quad marker screen drawn yet. I told her that I had, but I didn’t know the results.  She left to look up the results and told me she would be back.

When she returned to the room, she told me that my results had come back positive, and they were indicating towards trisomy 21, commonly known as down syndrome. She said this made our odds of our baby having down syndrome 1 in 48.  She also said that with the findings of the dilated kidneys, this was a soft marker for down syndrome. She urged me to have further genetic testing completed, and gave me two options for this. 1. have an amniocentesis done or 2. have a cell free DNA lab test drawn.  The amniocentesis came with a risk of pregnancy loss, so it was thrown out the window as soon as I heard that.  I opted for the blood test on my part. The nurse came in, filled out the lab packet for the test, and I went to the out patient lab to have the test drawn. The results were supposed to take about a week before we heard anything.  After a week had gone by, I hadn’t heard anything.  So, I called MFM to find out what was going on.  Come to find out, my blood sample had broken in the mail, and I needed to have it redrawn.  I’m glad I called to follow up! I went in that day and had the test redrawn, and four days later, we had the results back.

It was the week of Thanksgiving, and I was at my parents house when my phone rang. I answered it, and it was the genetic counselor for our MFM clinic.  She told me that my results had come back, and that she needed to talk to me about them.  Never really a positive happy thing to hear, but I had been having this little feeling inside that I knew that’s how my phone call would end up.

The results of our cell free DNA test had come back positive for trisomy 21.  This meant that we were now looking at a 98% chance that our baby would have trisomy 21, down syndrome. The genetic counselor then proceeded to say that with the kidneys that were dilated, and the recent findings of slightly elevated ventricles in his brain, they were pretty positive that it was more of a 100% chance that we were looking at down syndrome. She gave me some resources, and scheduled for us to have a fetal echo-cardiogram completed to get a more in depth look at his heart.

Alex and I took this information in and tried our best to accept it.  Alex struggled a little at first with the loss of dreams he had.  (I’ll have him touch on this more in the future when I ask him to write about it!) My mind went to worrying about what it meant for the future.  Luckily, we both have very supportive families that we knew would help us get through this challenge!

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(His 3D ultrasound picture at 20 weeks)