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Thursday, September 30, 2010

The UPs and DOWNs

So today we went for the genetic counseling and level 2 ultrasound.  Things went rather well, as I presumed they would.  The geneticist was very positive and friendly in a "we could hang out" sorta way and told me that she's worked with some clinics that would have considered my lab results to be normal.  HuH?  Interesting.  I'll be honest, I'm still upset I had the damn test.  Here's a breakdown of how stupid it all is.  And I'm not saying people shouldn't do it, but it should be better explained going into it.

* At age 38 I have a 1/138 chance of having a baby with Down Syndrome.
* The QUAD screen showed that 2 of the 4 results of mine were slightly off.  This actually decreased my odds to 1/252. 
* The range for "normal" at my clinic is 1/295, but some clinics us 1/250 as normal in which I would have been considered normal.

So basically, this should all be great news!  So why the further testing?  You would think that they would only do further testing if the results showed anything under 1/137.  OY. 

The ultrasound today was fabulous.  The Tech was wonderful and again "we could hang out" and in fact we'll be at the same conference this weekend.  YAY me for finding a friend for the weekend!  She looked at the heart from every angle.  Definitely more than I could have since I'm not that skilled in the fetal heart.  Our ultrasounds look for 4 chambers and we basically eyeball it when it comes for finding something irregular.  She also measured the nasal bone and compared that to the ear-to-ear measurement and that looked good.  She was able to see he had all the bones in his pinkies, which is good.  His PENIS was out and about, flashing us constantly.  Just like his Daddy...

This all means that the ultrasound further decreases my chances of having a baby with Down's.  This can't rule it out completely.  Your baby can look entirely normal on an ultrasound and still have that extra chromosome.  The only way to COMPLETELY rule out DS is by having an amniocentesis which tests the fluid around the baby.  Ouch.  There are risks.  Babies can die.  And if that comes back positive?  What then?

This is my dilemma.  I had no idea until today that you can by law terminate a pregnancy up until 22 or 23 weeks if the baby has an abnormality.  I tell myself I couldn't live with myself if I did that and so would never, but how do I really know?  Am I just saying that because it's the right thing to say?   So people won't be mortified by the truth of me not wanting to raise a baby with DS?  Most I know, which is few, live with their parents for the duration of their life.  Most people say they are the sweetest God given gift ever.  We had quite a group of them that ate lunch in the cafeteria with us in High school.  I remember "TINA" who would strut down the hall in her denim jacket and cowboy boots with her head held high.  She thought she was the shit.  Save for all the belching she'd do behind me in the salad bar line, I did too.  Some would arm wrestle while the rest of us cheered them on.  The winner would stand up and pump his biceps to the crowd, all proud.  And they have bad days too.  But something tells me this extra chromosome they have prevents them from seeing evil.  From what I know, they are happy more than I.  They don't see themselves as different, but rather, superior.  They represent unconditional love because they don't comprehend the multiple complex conditions we do.  Does this make them abnormal?  So much so that you are allowed by law to terminate the pregnancy because they lack the shit that makes "us" complicated and conditional bastards?  Dunno. 

I only hope I can make the right decision.  My heart tells me that the baby boy developing inside my uterus, kicking me already, is perfectly fine and lovable to every degree.  Normal?  But can my mind listen to my heart between now and February?  Will I have to convince myself on a daily basis that "it's fine" and if it's not I'll love him regardless.  If I don't find out will the first words out of my mouth be "Does he look like has Down's?"  Cause it's fine.  It is.  He is.  IS HE?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Up iN The aIR

I got some stoopit test results back today that hinted to the fact that my baby in-utero may have a chance of having Down's Syndrome.  Granted, it's less that one percent chance, but that chance is still there.  Now I'm hating myself for opting in on the QUAD screen test that delivered this bad news. 

You see, with my first pregnancy it was offered by I refused because of all the "false positives" I had heard about.  My Aunt, for one, had this "scare" with her youngest daughter who turned out to be fine.  A classmate in college went through it as well.  But being I am now OF ADVANCED MATERNAL AGE my doctor pressured me a tad more with this pregnancy and I caved.

So what do I do?  I meet with a perinatologist for genetic counseling to find out more odds and percentages.  Then I have an ultrasound done that looks for soft Down's markers, such as missing finger bones, shortened legs bones, wide spaced orbits...to name a few.  As an ultrasound tech I have glanced at my baby boy several times and haven't noticed anything different, but I'm only trained to look for certain things.  I haven't gotten a real good view of his face since he likes to hide his face downward.  Anyway, after that test I imagine I'll be offered an amniocentesis, where they stick a needle in my belly and test the amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby.  And that will rule out things..

Less than one percent chance. 

I want my baby to be normal.  Children are a challenge as is.  Could I handle this?  People do. 

Less than one percent chance.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Dad, My Hero

Last weekend my man and my kid and me packed up the rusty suburban and headed nort'.  Waaaay up dare too, eh!  Well, okay, not exactly to Canada, but close.  We went to visit my Aunt and Uncle at their cabin for some fishin' and grillin' with a side of Dominoes (the game, not the pizza).  On Saturday morning we headed even further north to visit my Dad's "Deer Camp" so that my Uncle could fix my Dad's satellite TV.  You see, my Dad (bless his technically challenged heart) only screws things up more in a panic trying to fix something.  My Uncle, on the other hand, grew up inside of a TV console and knows everything you need to know about appliances.  He's fixed 'em all. 

As we pull into camp and exit the vehicle, I hear a really faint and sickly "meoooow" that I figured was a squirrel mating call or something of the sort.  Yet I somehow felt compelled to yell "I hear a cat".  Nobody heard, or so I thought.  And we went about our visit.

I started getting chewed to beat hell by mosquitos and the heat so I took Miss M into "the lodge" of sorts where random hunters take shelter and play foosball and drink lots, I imagine.  She ran around jumping on bed after bed and scavenging for lemonade and bananas while I cooled off under the ceiling fans that spun from the vaulted ceilings.  Eventually that got old (for the toddler)  so we ventured back outside to check on the progress of the dish positioning.  This is where my entire day quickly changed.

"There are kittens in this trailer" says my Aunt.  "Didn't you say you saw a cat?"

"I didn't see a cat, but I thought I heard some meowing when we got here" I said.

She brought me closer to the wood filled trailer all littered with spiders and their prospective webs.  I peered down into a hole between logs and there they were..the tiniest of tiny little orange baby furballs.  They were meowing and wiggling.  One looked up at me and appeared to have a dirty or bloody nose.  I immediately started "awwwwe"ing at the cute site.  Then my Dad caught wind of what was happening. 

"There are kittens in there?" He asked all surprised.  You see he didn't have his hearing aide in and probably didn't hear the high pitched meows all weekend...or did he?  Anyway, he went on to tell us that he pulled the trailer from a business in our home town about 4 hours south and when he started loading the trailer to the hitch of his truck, a big orange cat jumped out.

"WHAAAAT?"

Here I thought these kittens were suckling on mama's teets this whole time I was admiring them.  Suddenly everything changed.  I freaked.  I'm sure I hid it well on the outside, but on the inside my pregnant self wanted to take these babies and get them fed and loved, at all costs!

"Dad, you have to take them back with you!  The mama has probably been looking for them".

I don't remember the insensitive shit that all got said, but basically I was told that they'd been there for two days and likely would die in that trailer and become food for some wild animal. 

"What about the farmer down the road?" my Aunt asked.  She felt my panic.  She knew my motherly instincts were on fire about now and was trying to be helpful.

I felt hopeless.  We are in B.F.E afterall.  There is no animal rescue or humane society down the street.  I knew if I tried to give them cows milk they'd get diarrhea, so that was out.  Water?  Would they get desperate enough to know how to drink out of a bowl?  I thought of my friend in the cities that volunteered at a feline rescue.  I bet if I called, she'd make the 4 hour trip and come get these kittens.  Although she would never find the place.  WHAT DO I DO?

More jokes were made about the fate of the kittens.  I resided to the fact that they would in fact, die from starvation.  It was out of my hands.  I had to give up and move on about my day.

We packed in the car and headed back to the cabin.  The kittens didn't leave my mind.  I could have done something.  Why did I leave?

A couple hours later and we were on the boat fishing when my phone received a text message.  It was from Dad.  (Okay, so he can text.  He's not ALL that technically challenged)It said this:

Jen who lives dwn the road is taking cats n will find a home 4 them. I couldn't leave them either.  Spent 2 hrs finding someone but now will b ok.

And before I could process that this wasn't a sick joke I got another text:

Jen went 2 g rapids 4 bottles n formula.  Told her id pay 4 it.

Had I not been on a boat fishing with two grown men whom I'm never seen cry, I woulda started bawling right then and there.  But I held my composure and told everyone on the boat the good news!  And then I responded:

Awwwwe.  Softy.  Thanks Dad!

And eventually another text:

Jen has kits.  2 very weak n not sure if make it. 4 days old she thinks.

At least you tried! Never know. I replied, in which he said:

Damn things but deserve a chance.

And if you know my Dad, he is NOT an animal lover, especially the feline family.  Don't get me wrong, he loves his own dog, but that's about as far as it goes cause he won't even admit that!

The rest of the afternoon I kept getting updates including this forward from Jen:

I found someone whos cat just had kittens in the last 2 weeks so im gonna take these ones in and see if she will nurse them.

It was wonderful news.  The next morning I got another forwarded text from Jen:

Good morning!  One kitten died last night but the other 4 are doing great with their new mom!

It was wonderful news!  Sad as well, because one died.  But first of all, I had no idea there were five to begin with and to find out that they were being nursed by a foster mama?  Tears swelled in my eyes.  And just when I thought I couldn't get more emotional, I get this text from Dad:

U made me look at kittys from a dif view. Thx. I luv u. Enjoy the day.

And I did enjoy the day.  My Dad saved the kittens.  My Dad, My Hero.

Update:  I spoke with Dad yesterday and all four are still thriving!  He and his wife are going to deer camp this weekend and are planning on stopping by to visit them.  All four have already found homes when they are big enough!  Isn't that fabulous?  I cry every time I think about it all.  I'm crying right now.  Thanks again Dad.  You absolutely rock.

He's gonna take a picture for me, but this is how I imagine they will look.  Orange and fluffy and happy and loved and waiting to get into trouble.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cod vs. Cud

"Panko encrusted Cod" was the description.  And I watched as she put out a whole new pan of fresh pieces all crispy lookin' and garnished with parsley and lemon wedges.  "Mmmm" thought my pregnant appetite.  (Welcome back, by the way).  So I ordered up a chunk, along with some peas and roasted new potatoes.  Dinner is served.

WHAT THE FUCK did I just eat?  Is there such thing as imitation cod?  Cause I guarantee you that what I ingested just now was ne'er a swimmer.  NO..this grew stationary in shit and muck, and not the good fertilizing shit and muck either.  I could barely chew it?  And to make matters worse, it is now stuck in my teeth and I don't have any dental floss at work.  I found a straw but since my adult braces I lack gap so that failed.  OY, I'm distoybed.

Even more disturbing is the fact that I ate it all!  But really, anything smothered in tartar sauce is edible. 

Speaking of parsley, here's a joke that my bro told me at a recent family function:

Q: What is the difference between parsley and pussy?
A:  Nobody eats parsley.

Yup.  That's my family.  Come to think of it, that cod is what I imagine pussy just might taste like. 

What's wrong with me tonight?  I best hang this thing up~