Thursday, November 21, 2013

13 Weeks

Hello.  I'm the husband.  Nicole's husband and proud (and very nervous) father-to-be.  Ms. Preggers asked me to post an update on this blog about how she's doing.  She's doing well, and just hit 13 1/2 weeks. Apparently our baby is the size of a peach.

What's with all these fruit analogies?  Last week it was a lime, and then a kiwi the week before that or something.  It seems like every week we hit another section of the produce aisle.  Anyway, our little pomegranate has still been causing Nicole continued nausea and tiredness. Nicole hasn't had it easy, because she was sent to London (UK) for work and travelling is not fun with our little kumquat.  Hence the lack of blog posts.  We are both in London now (I'm just tagging along) and should be back in the US next week right before Thanksgiving.  She's asleep right now!  Nicole and I went to her doctor's just before we left for the UK and the doctor said everything was fine.  The doctor listened to our coconut's heart beat with a little stick and said it was normal.  Oh, and Nicole got pants with an elastic waistband.  Wait, am I supposed to say that?  I mean, I don't know.  Besides the nausea and tiredness (which I understand *might* start to wane now that we're in the 2nd trimester) Nicole is in good spirits, though nervous about every little twitch and pain, which I understand after what happened previously.  I try to be supportive as best I can for her sake and the sake of our happy little strawberry.  I love them both very much.  We haven't told our extended families yet but plan to do that at Thanksgiving.  So that should be fun.  I hope that's a decent enough update for everyone.

PS  No, we haven't seen the Queen.  Yet.               

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Nuchal Translucency Screening

{Pardon the tardiness on this topic -- I started this post months ago but never finished it.  Better late than never though, right?!}

The nuchal translucency scan takes place in the latter part of the first trimester, sometime during weeks 11-13.  It's a special ultrasound scan designed to screen for chromosomal defects -- particularly trisomy 13, 18 and 21 {Down Syndrome}, in addition to congenital heart defects.

Combined with specific blood tests, the nuchal translucency ultrasound is called the "first trimester screening".   It's a "non-invasive" way of assessing a baby's risk of chromosomal abnormalities, which means there are no needles and no physical risk to having the screening done.  Since this test is a screening {as opposed to a diagnostic test} it will not provide a 100% accurate or definitive answer -- it's more of a gauge of whether things look generally normal or problematic.  It gives the doctor a general indication of whether there is cause for concern, or need for additional testing, such as an amniocentesis or CVS test.

Here's an illustration of the measurement the ultrasound is designed to screen, along with a more detailed explanation of the screening taken from this source:

The nuchal translucency is the fluid found at the back of your baby’s head and neck, just beneath the skin. The thickness of this fluid can be precisely measured and this is called the nuchal translucency (or NT) measurement. Normally the amount of fluid is small, producing a thin NT measurement.
We know that the amount of fluid can increase in the presence of certain conditions, producing a thicker NT measurement. Conditions associated with an increased NT measurement include some chromosome abnormalities (for example, trisomy 13, 18 and 21) and some structural problems (for example, heart abnormalities). An increased NT measurement does not always mean the baby has a problem but it does increase the risk.
{You can also read more about the NT test here and here.}

Our NT screening took place on November 7th, at 11.5 weeks gestation.  I have to admit, I was pretty nervous going into it, especially since we knew our first baby's miscarriage was a result of chromosomal abnormalities.  The 20 minutes or so spent in the office waiting room before being called in seemed to crawl by {especially since I had to pee but wasn't allowed}, and the several minutes during the screening during which the technician measured and took photos and notes but didn't provide any sort of medical insight lasted FOREVER.

The technician did, however, call our baby "cute" while she was conducting her measurements.  While I'm sure she says that to all the patients, we took it to heart and totally agree.  :)

After about 10-15 minutes of ultrasound measurements and photos, we were escorted in to meet with the doctor.  Thankfully, she had EXCELLENT news for us.  According to the screening, our chances of having a baby with any chromosomal abnormalities were extremely low.  Our specific risk profile for Down Syndrome is 1 in 4,463, and for Trisomy 18/13 is 1 in >10,000.  Better yet, the risk ratios matched that of a 20 year old mother, which made me feel pretty good since I'll be turning 33 in a couple weeks.  ;)  Needless to say, we both breathed a HUGE sigh of relief after receiving these results.  Though there are no guarantees, these odds are pretty favorable!

The NT is often followed up with a second trimester blood draw {usually called a multiple marker, triple or quad screen} to check on the probability of open neural tube defects.  We'll definitely be waiting for those results, but for now will just be thankful for these great numbers!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

11 Weeks

First and foremost, I want to apologize for being totally radio silent lately and to THANK YOU ALL sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, for all of your sweet notes!  They all put a smile on my face just when I needed it -- so thank you!  Although I've never met you in "real life", your support and positive thoughts mean SO much to me!

I'm happy to share that as of Wednesday, our little one has a strong heartbeat of 165 and is growing right on schedule.  And, today I hit the 11 week mark!

Our baby is now the size of a lime and the head-to-body ratio is 1:1.  Can you imagine that?!  S/he looks quite adorable in our most recent sonogram photo, if I do say so myself!  ;)

On this day last pregnancy, I was undergoing my MVA.  That was one of, if not the, worst days of my life.  All this past week I've been really nervous, and each little twinge or pain has my mind racing.  I'm trying to stay calm and stay rational, but that has proven to be quite a challenge.  Lucky for me, my hubby has enough patience and calmness for the both of us.  And, he's a pretty darn good cook, too, so count me super-lucky!

In addition to being a bit nervous, the reason I've been MIA on the blog is because I've been feeling like total POOP.  {Pardon my potty mouth.}  I've been able to {barely} drag myself out of bed every morning, get my butt to work, and have tried to act like a semi-normal human while I'm there {since nobody except my boss know my little secret}.  But that's where it ends.  By the time I drag myself in the door at night I'm completely useless.  As in I collapse on the couch inside the door and can't even get to the bedroom to get my pajamas on.  Luckily, I've only physically gotten sick once, and I've been able to eat pretty well-balanced meals on most days.  But, for a large part of every day I have this super gross feeling in my tummy that alters between nausea & pain, and disgusting taste in the back of my throat that makes functioning like a normal adult pretty darn hard.  So this is why I haven't been blogging much.  But, since I'm slowly nearing the end of my first trimester, I'm hoping I'll start feeling better soon and can do some more regular blog posts, because I have SO much to discuss with you all!

In the meanwhile, you know what Kelly Clarkson says.... what doesn't kill you makes you stronger!  And in this case, I'm going through all of this for a VERY worthwhile cause.  So, I'll keep the rest of my complaints to myself and leave you with this funny little laugh:

Happy November!
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