Saturday, July 30, 2005

All is Well

I went to the doctor, and guess what it was? Round ligament pain. Yes, something that can possibly continue the rest of the pregnancy, is more prevalent with the second pregnancy, but is nothing to worry about, except it will hurt. I felt very relieved, but also a little foolish for wasting a doctor's visit over ligament pain. But my fears were put to rest, since the baby was moving and the heartbeat was fine.

We finally started telling family and friends that we are pregnant. I suppose at this point, if something happens it will be sad, but I can't really keep getting bigger and not have people notice. We told Erik's parents the other night, and of course his mom said, "I knew it! I just knew it! I could see that you were getting fat." She even called my sister-in-law to tell her how fat I was getting, and asked her if I had said anything about being pregnant. Nothing like a MIL to make you feel good about yourself, which is precisely why we waited to tell her in particular.

Erik and I spent Friday at the National Down Syndrome Conference which tool place in Irvine, California, this year. What an amazing event. First of all, I have to say that I have never met so many parents who are so in love with their children. We attended some panels, but the most exciting part of my day was having a chance to talk to Dr. William Mobley, who is at the forefront of the studies on Down Syndrome. He had given a speech months ago about how they are about 10 years away from developing a drug that can help to isolate the extra protein that is being given off, and the result would be a greater cognitive ability, even bringing some kids into a normal cognitive range of IQ. When I saw him on Friday, I told him how impressed I was by the research and that I was looking forward to the advances that could be made. I asked him if it was true that they would be ready in ten years (when my son is 12), and he said you can call me out on it if we don't have it before then. Then I said, "so it's entirely possible that my child may be able to have a career one day, and even get married and live on his own?" He told me that we better invite him to the wedding, because he intends on dancing at it.

Later in the afternoon, they had some support groups for women with children 0-2, and then a separate one for men with children from 0-2 (they had all age groups, but that was what we were concerned with). I thought it was so healing to be among other women, from all kinds of backgrounds, all age groups, all ethnicities and different parts of the country. We were able to really talk about issues that were affecting all of us, on different levels. It was comforting to me, to know that every one of us in there had been picked to be a parent of a special child, and we were all succeeding, on many levels.

Owen just woke up, have to run.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Still Keeping Quiet

My husband and I have now passed the 12-week mark, and still we haven't picked up the phone and started dialing our friends and family to tell them. I'm not sure why. I guess I still think there is a chance something could go wrong, and I've been there before, backtracking to tell everyone things didn't work out as we imagined.

Ever since I had the ultrasound, I've been having this funny pain in my lower left abdomen, that keeps coming and going. It's not a sharp pain, but it's there, and it lasts for a second or two, and a minute later it comes back. I have no idea what it is, and I am trying to keep myself calm about it. I called my doctor's office and told them, "I don't want to be one of those patients where everything is a big deal, but..." The receptionist assured me it's better if I come in than go into the weekend with something going on. I've been on the computer all day googling the symptoms, trying figure out what it is. I don't think it's my appendix, because that would be my right side, but did you know that it is not rare for women to develop appendicitis while they are pregnant?? That they find it more often in first and second trimester pregnancies, but a reduced rate in the third trimester? As if there wasn't enough to worry about...

I really do wish this pregnancy would just go on about it's business and not bother me anymore. It's as if the moment I start to relax, some other symptom comes knocking at my door. I guess that's why I'm afraid to tell anyone anything yet, but if my body continues to give me these signals, we're never going to tell anyone anything! I told my husband yesterday that now we have reached the 12-week mark I just want to hit the 20-week mark. It's all about rushing through it again, isn't it? I was hoping the 12-week mark would give me the okay to slow down, enjoy the pregnancy, feel good about myself and the baby.

And won't I feel like the biggest loser if these pains are just from plain old gas??

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

2, 3 and 4D Ultrasound

This morning I had an in-depth ultrasound with the perinatologist. It was a mixture of a 2D, 3D and 4D ultrasound. I was almost not going to look, but they had the room set up so that the computer monitor (which was as big as a TV screen) was right in my line of view. All of a sudden, there was a fully formed baby on the monitor, moving around. I was amazed. I didn't realize that at twelve weeks the baby looks so much like a baby!

The doctor explained that he would tell me what he was looking for as he went over the baby. He told me he was going to be very thorough and measure various parts of the baby. As he began, he would list the area and say, "looks normal." He did the nasal bone first, since I had asked about that (and obviously, that is a Down Syndrome marker if the nasal bone is small or missing at twelve weeks), and he said "measures normal." He went over the brain, the head, the palate (another Down Syndrome sign if it is small), the femur bone, the spine (which looked fully formed, yeah!), and everything he could measure. He watched the heart chambers, and then measured the cord and the placenta. I was amazed at how much they could measure, and everything he looked at he said, "normal." He finally told me that from the looks of it, I am growing a healthy baby. I was so relieved. I know I am not out of the woods, and that a zillion things could happen, but then a zillion things could NOT happen, too.

He actually told me that he could tell me right now (if I wanted to know) what the sex of the baby is...I was stunned. I didn't realize you could tell that early. My husband now thinks it is a boy because there is always something to see, as opposed to a girl, would not have an appendage.

That's all for now. I'm pregnant, and tired, and feel as if I am feel blessed to be a part of this miracle.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Holistic Healing, Part II

So, on the advice of the girl who I saw for energy work, I finally caved and went to see the Maori healers. They are only in LA about once a year, and they are known for their work with infertility and pregnancy. I told myself back in January that if I wasn't pregnant again by July, that I would go see the Maori healers. But when I read their website, they talked about helping to eliminate fear, which can create disease.

This is from their website (
What we do is work the other bodies too (not just the physical, as many people concentrate on now) with the ultimate aim of having the spiritual body open and flowing. There is a difference in energy work and hands-on, of course, because there is the physical touch and then the non-physical touch. We use different amounts of energy to move the emotional traumas that are ready to be released. We see ourselves as no more than the instruments of change.

I was very nervous about going; because I had heard they work some people so intensely that they cry out in pain. I certainly didn't want them to hurt me or my baby. But when I called for an appointment, they told me that I would be with Papa Joe, who is the only one who works with pregnant women. Apparently, he has had healing powers since he was born. The Maori healers are part of an ancient tribe who have been practicing this healing for centuries. They read your body and use pressure to help relieve tensions and anxieties that have been created within you. I was so nervous, because they had already started on one guy and he was screaming in pain (he reminded me of my brother,though, he was a little overly dramatic). I got on the table, on my back, and Papa Joe came over. He didn’t say a word, just sat down and held my feet, reading them, I assumed. After about 10 minutes of this, he used something (his fingernail? A needle?) to dig into certain parts of my feet, deeply. A couple of times the pain was intense. But afterwards, I did feel some sense of release in my feet. I think he was possibly doing pressure points that corresponded to my body, since he couldn’t really work on my body because I was pregnant. Then, from the door to the left, came a man in a wheelchair. He seemed very kind. I was on one of those pregnancy massage tables that has a hole for my face, so I could see him roll up to my head, pull his feet out of the wheelchair, and settle in. Papa Joe said, “whenever you’re ready,” and I was even more afraid that something painful was coming. I looked up at him and asked, “should I scream if it hurts?” “If it hurts,” he replied. “Will it hurt?” I asked. “It might,” he said, with the kindest eyes I’ve ever seen.

But it didn’t hurt. He mainly lay his hands on my head, then my chest and my arms, again, as if he were reading my body. I felt myself go into a trance, and I went down, so deep that I was at the bottom of the ocean, and I was living there. It was as if he took me to a former life, where I was part of the sea. Life was calm, and wonderful, and exploratory. Then I was thinking about Owen, and about how sad I felt for him, for his life that I created. And I felt tears prick my eyelids. I felt so overwhelmingly sad, for both of us. After a while, they asked me to turn over, and I again felt such sadness overwhelming me that tears were falling out of my closed eyes. Finally, a woman came over and asked me how I felt. She told me my session was over. She helped me off the table, and I said, “They made me cry.” “You had much sadness to bring to the surface. It’s probably long overdue.” She was right. I had never allowed the deepest sadness to come to the surface and come out. I thanked Papa Joe, and the other man, and walked away, tears still spilling out. I was given some notes that Papa Joe had written for me.

When I walked out of there, I felt so free, as if chains had fallen off me. I didn’t feel that different, I just felt relaxed, and okay with myself. The demons of my mind have stopped their constant chatter, and for me, that is well worth it.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Holistic Healing

I know I haven't written in a while, but so much has gone on. I have been going in a different direction lately, seeking out holistic help, because my brain can not stop thinking of horrible, awful things that might be happening to this child in me. The environment, the food, the air, the plastics, the chemicals, the chromosomes, the stress!

So I went to see this woman who was recommended to me here in LA. She does energy work, which sounds really hokey (and at $150 I was really hoping to get my money's worth) but she was amazing. She was so intuitive, and worked with me for about 3 hours. She basically read my body's energy, talked with me about where I was at mentally, and then did some massage. She works with a lot of pregnant women, as well as participates in birthing conventions, etc. She has studied to be a doula, but found she was better suited with this type of healing.

What I found so amazing is that she told me the child I am carrying is not sure whether I want him/her to stay or go; it's afraid to get comfortable because I have not embraced him/her. She told me that I needed to talk to my baby, embrace it, allow it to feel acknowledged. She also told me that Erik and I have to stop pretending it's the white elephant in the room and talk about our fears and our hopes for this baby. She really hit home with that, because that is exactly what Erik and I have done, avoided any conversation about the baby.

We spoke about my family, and Owen, and everything connected to this baby. We talked about my guilt over Owen, and feeling that I was responsible for him being born with Down Syndrome. There was so much emotion that came forth in this session.

I can't really explain it all, I just felt that there was a healing process that took place. When I went home that day, I finally acknowledged that I am pregnant with a life, a life that is here and present now, with me. It gave me the ability to open up and allow Erik and me to talk about what this pregnancy means to us, and how we feel about. Erik has begun talking to the baby, something he did with Owen but I wouldn't let him do until recently. It feels good to welcome this child. It feels right.

And I really do feel pregnant now, and I feel like things are going to be okay.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Feeling Out of Sorts

My cat hasn't come home for two days, and I know that he's not going to come home, ever. Friday night, when we came home from our softball game (I know I have to stop playing, but they were short a girl, and I don't play hard), Giles was at the door, as usual. We went to bed (and I so regret not giving him more attention that night), and the next morning when I got up the fog was heavy and thick. Giles wasn't home, but he usually comes in the door when I'm making the coffee (yes, it's half decaf). But there was no sign of him. He didn't come home all afternoon, and his bowl of food remained full. This, by the way, is a cat who never misses a meal. I knew something was wrong, and the feeling I got was that the coyotes were out this morning, using the fog to muffle their noises so they could get the cats. We always have a lot more coyotes when it's hot during the day, and you tend to see more signs of small dogs and cats missing. I had a bad feeling about this, especially since I lost my other cat, his sister Buffy (yes, I had a thing for Buffy the Vampire Slayer) to the coyotes about 8 months ago. I thought Giles would be smarter, and survive, especially since he's survived this long. Later that day, one of our neighbors came by and said they just saw a coyote with what looked like a brown raccoon in it's mouth. I knew it was Giles. He has a ringed tail just like a raccoon, and he's a pretty big cat.

I can't bear to throw away his food yet, or take away the towel he used to sleep on in the living room. I half expect him to come through the door again, meowing like he's saying "mom." He really was my first baby boy. My house feels lonelier now, like someone is missing. I have always loved my house, so much so that even though there are no kids in the neighborhood and no sidewalks, I keep putting off moving to a kid-friendly area because I love my house. But now that Giles is gone, I am ready to move. I just feel like it's time to move on. I can't stand the fact that the coyotes can roam the hills and kill people's animals, and we're not allowed to kill them. They are just the ugliest, mangiest looking animal I have ever seen. But because we live in the hills, they are there, and we cannot have any more cats until we move to the flats.

Lately, since I've been sleeping so much, I feel really out of sorts when I wake up. I feel like we don't have a lot of friends, and because I don't feel like going out, and am always tired so early, I'm kind of bored. I wish I had more friends who had kids and were available for play dates, but it seems as if all the people I know who have kids either live too far away and it means planning far in advance, or they already have their play groups they belong to. I suppose it is time we move to a different neighborhood, make some changes. After all, our lives are going to change pretty drastically next year when we have two kids (God willing...)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

What's in a name?

Okay, does it bother anyone else that people are deliberately spelling their children's names wrong? I mean, take Francis for instance. There are TWO spellings: one for a girl (Frances) and one for a boy (Francis). Did it bother anyone else but me that Brooke Shields named her daughter FRANCIS? And now I just saw someone else who named their daughter FRANCIS, the boy's spelling? I could understand if they named their child by a boy's name, and there was only one spelling, but there are two distinct spellings for each name. To me, it doesn't seem like a creative choice of a name, just someone who was too ignorant to know the difference.

Next up: Britney Spears names her baby girl Sean, and if it's a boy: Shawn, although you gotta give it to her, because she's really isn't smart enough to know the difference.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Testing, Testing

I made an appointment today with a perinatologist for the exact day that I am twelve weeks. I have to say, sometimes I wonder about the people who work in doctor's offices. The woman on the phone kept asking me when I wanted to come in, and it was like pulling teeth to get her to explain what exactly I was coming in for and when. When I got on the phone with her, I immediately informed her that I was referred by my OB/GYN and that I had a Down Syndrome child, I had had a miscarriage and was now ten weeks pregnant.

Receptionist: So when do you want to come in?
Me: When would you like me to come in?
Receptionist: When is your due date?
Me: February 7, 2006 (Oh no, I am actually writing the date, I hope I don't jinx myself!)
Receptionist: When are you twelve weeks?
Me: In two weeks.
Receptionist: Is this for your first trimester appointment?
Me: I don't know, what exactly do you want me to come in for? An ultrasound? A consultation?
Receptionist: Your first trimester appointment.

Okay, I'm bored with typing her remarks already. Needless to say, it took a couple more rounds of back and forth before she informed me that it would be for an ultrasound and a nuchal fold screening.

Now, I'm wondering. We have decided that we don't want to test for Down Syndrome, so why would I want to get the nuchal fold screening? Will it just make me crazy? Is this the beginning of all those crazy tests the doctors are going to try to enforce upon me? Should I just go with what I did last time when I was pregnant, cross my fingers and pray for a healthy baby? By the way, we did get a healthy baby. He just had a different genetic makeup.

I suppose, for now, I won't think about it. I will just continue to hope I get to twelve weeks. Doesn't that sound like a good milestone?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Ten weeks today!

I can't even believe I've already gotten through six weeks of being pregnant (since I found out when I was four weeks pregnant). It seems like a lifetime already. And I'm not even over the hump. I still have two weeks to go until I'm actually twelve weeks. But, I'll take ten weeks, and a heartbeat. We still haven't told our families, and I'm not quite sure I want to, to be honest. My husband the other day said, "why don't we just not tell my parents? See if they guess." I laughed, because I know his mom thinks she knows everything and the minute we tell her she'll say, "I knew it!"

Once again it is baby season. In my mommy and me class, two women are pregnant with their second ("only 20 months apart, but we wanted them close together...") and I remember that my second would have been only 20 months apart from my first. Erik's cousin in Norway also spread the news that his girlfriend is pregnant, and due the end of December. I think it's kind of funny that all these people are announcing their pregnancies, and when people ask me, I just say "we're still trying." Luckily, my stomach is easily hideable (that's not a word, I know) at this point.

Yesterday, I actually felt a little bit excited, that maybe this will actually work out. I still keep looking for the spotting, every time I go to the bathroom, but my confidence has been building a little bit lately.

Now, this time around, I'm not concerned so much that we have another Down Syndrome child. What scares me more is a child with autism, and you don't even know until months after they are born. What makes me nervous is that the diagnosis is now 1 out of 151 children in the state of California (I think the statistics are higher in some areas). That means, my chances of having an autistic child is just as great as having another Down Syndrome child. But, I suppose, I'm not one to buy into statistics anymore; especially, since I beat the odds. One out of every 800 children is born with Down Syndrome, and mine was the lucky one. Those are some pretty high odds.

I worry about the food I put in my mouth, the water I drink, the air I breathe when I take a walk. Is it better to stay inside and not be breathing in the LA smog? Or should I get some exercise? Is it better to drink water that has been sitting in plastic, or not drink water at all? I still have half a cup of coffee every morning, because I like it, and it's soothing to me. I'm sure some women are tsk tsk'ing me right now about that. Just wait until I'm four months pregnant and I have that glass of wine...some eyebrows will definitely be raised. I do laugh when I realize how cautious I was when I was pregnant with Owen. There is absolutely nothing I could have done to change his genetic makeup, the mold was set at conception. So every time I worried about little things, like the sushi I had, or the glass of wine, it was so not an issue. But, I suppose, there is sanity in being cautious with this pregnancy as well. After all, in seven more months I can have all the wine I want...and coffee, too.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Feeling Much Better

Today I am feeling much better, and much more pregnant. Although, I had a scare yesterday. I actually had a little spot of brown blood. I freaked out. But so far, nothing else. I feel like every day is so up and down. But I have to stay calm. My husband thinks I am creating too much worry and stress, and it could be why things seem so shaky. I really do just wish I could get to twelve weeks (yea, and then the real worry begins?)

Today I read a post another blogger wrote about the whole idea of testing for Down Syndrome, after she was told about someone who found out they were having a Down Syndrome child. It has become such an issue in today's society, because we have the scientific knowledge now to test for it. Many women are opting to test, and they say that 90% of women who find out terminate. I have such a hard time with the whole issue because we were surprised with the diagnosis of our child. At the time, of course, we were just as afraid as anybody else. We cried, we prayed, we questioned what we were doing. But what helped us through is that we reminded ourselves that we had set out to have a child, and we felt blessed with whatever child we got. It wasn't easy to think that when we first found out, but as time went on, we realized what a special, amazing little boy he is. I can't help but think that there are a lot of Down Syndrome children who are not born because their parents feel that they could not handle it, but I really do feel that God chooses well, and that he chooses for a reason.

There is so much to say on this subject (and you can read all about it in my soon as I get it published), and so many emotions and feelings you go through. What I always wonder, though, is why did they create a test for Down Syndrome? Why not cerebral palsey? Why not autism? Why not blindness or deafness? Aren't those all considered horrible afflictions, too? Wouldn't these same parents want to guarantee that they were getting a perfect child all the way around?

Let's face it, if I had taken the test, we might have been pressured to do something different. I don't know, but I'm just glad that I didn't have to face that decision. All my life, I have been raised to believe that life, no matter what form it comes in, is a gift. And I don't think I could have dispensed with it so easily.

My sister just told me about some friends of theirs who had a perfectly typical child, and two weeks after he was born he had a seizure and became a quadriplegic. He recently passed away, at 15 years old, and my sister said the funeral was packed with people who knew and loved him. So, can we test for that? Would you take your chances? Do you think those parents look back and regret that they had their child?

By the way, I do believe in free choice, and I think every woman should have the right to decide and I hate the idea that the government is toying with a woman's right to choose. After all, isn't our country founded on the principle of having the freedom to choose how to live your life? Don't get me started.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I feel like something's wrong...

Yesterday, I felt different, like something was off. I wasn't that tired, and by the time I got home last night, I had enough energy to bake some banana bread. That started to worry me, as usually I've been so incredibly tired every day from this pregnancy. Then, even at 8 o'clock last night, I still wasn't that hungry, and usually I'm famished. I started thinking that maybe something was wrong.

I got up in the middle of the night with Owen, and after I fell back asleep, I had this horrible dream. First I dreampt I was in my doctor's office and we were all celebrating because we were able to hear the heartbeat on a doppler machine at only nine weeks. We were having a party, and my doctor gave me a hug and cogratulations. Then he went to sleep in the back of his office. The next scene in my dream, I am in Michigan with my family and I have begun spotting, then bleeding, then it has turned into a full miscarriage. My family is trying to tell me it's okay and I screamed, "Leave me alone! All of you had fucking perfect pregnancies. You don't know anything!" Then I felt a horrible cramp and sank to the floor.

I woke myself up, because I was so frightened by the dream. The thing that scares me is that I had a dream about having a miscarriage just before I had my real miscarraige. So, how do I know what it is? Is is intuition? Does reality breed imagination or does imagination breed reality? Am I just being paranoid because I am at the same point in my last pregnancy when I found out it wasn't going to work? How much can I rely on the fact that there was a heartbeat two weeks ago?

Today, I don't feel pregnant. I keep waiting for the nausea to return, but there is none. I am not tired, and when I got in the shower, usually my nipples are very sensitive to the water and today they were not. I don't know how I'm going to get through whatever is coming. Can I create my own reality? Or is it set in stone?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Fingers Crossed

I'm nine weeks today...I can't believe it! In some way, I still don't believe this is real, so I haven't been walking around feeling as if I'm about to burst with a secret. I just continue doing my normal stuff each day, checking to make sure I'm still pregnant. We haven't told any family yet; I think I'm putting them off the longest. A few friends know and that's it. I don't want to make the mistake of telling people and then having to retrace my steps and tell them things didn't work out. Out of the blue, a couple of months ago, one of Owen's old babysitters called me and wanted to check in to see how everything was going with the new baby. I had forgotten that we never got a chance to see her and tell her things didn't work out. It was weird. I mean, I would have had a three-month old right now, as well as Owen. Not sure that would have been a good thing for Owen. Maybe God does know what He's doing.

If things do work out and I get to that stage of being very pregnant, I think I'm going to paint a T-shirt with the words "I'm not taking the test, so don't even ask." Of course, I'll have to put an asterick so that in tiny, tiny words I can say that if we find something incredibly wrong, of course we will do an amnio. But let's face it: my son has Down Syndrome, and they never found anything! In fact, nobody even suspected for two whole weeks! And then they only verified it through a blood test. I'm sure by the time he was a year old and not walking we would have questioned things, but there was really nothing physical that indicated anything wrong in the beginning. I just hate the way people always want to know if you're going to take the test. Look, I already have a child with Down Syndrome, it's a known factor for me. Why take a test on the second child? To rule it out? Wouldn't that be like saying "oops, we made a mistake the first time by not taking the test, we better take it this time." A funny thing I heard recently from a friend of mine who started working at the hospital where we had Owen. She started working there about three months after we had Owen, and apparently, we were known as The Undiagnosed Down Syndrome Case. I guess, in some ways, we're famous.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Relieved (for now)

I had the appointment yesterday, which I'm not sure if it went well or not. First of all, the radiologist who did the exam was in and out of the room in about 30 seconds, and was quite abrupt. She asked me to show her where the lump was, then pointed out that my doctor noted it was further up on my breast (I told her that I've never felt it laying down on my side in the position I was in now, so maybe when I stand up it is further up on my breast). I was a little annoyed because I felt like she could have been a little nicer. I really felt like I was taking up her precious time, as she quickly scanned my breast with the ultrasound machine and told me she didn't see anything. I asked her if that meant that I didn't have to worry about a mass that shouldn't be there, and she said, "Well, you're pregnant so we can't do a mammogram, and the ultrasound isn't 100% accurate." There was no reassuring words, no comfort, just "I can't see anything." I asked her what I do now, and she said, "have your doctor keep an eye on it."

I am almost tempted to get a second opinion, but then, am I looking for something that isn't there? It is tender in one spot, and my doctor did feel something as well, but I've also been told that this happens to some people when they are pregnant because of the extra surge of hormones.

I guess I do feel better that it's not some cancerous tumor that is going to interfere with this pregnancy. I am now feeling a little more optimistic. I feel as if I can at last breathe a little bit, and maybe enjoy it. Then, as quickly as the positiveness was there, it was gone. A little niggling doubt started to creep into my mind: What if this child has Down Syndrome too? Or worse? It's my demon thoughts. They have begun to rear their ugly heads again. I try to keep them at bay, but they catch me when I least expect them. I must think of some alternative ways of silencing them.

So tired. I wish I could sleep all day. I've been pretty naseous this time around too. So unlike the last two pregnancies. I've actually lost a few pounds, so I still fit in my clothes, which is a good thing, since we are not going to tell his parents until we are closer to 12 weeks. Last time I was pregnant, his mom was not happy with the news at all (I think she thinks that if you can't have perfect children, why have them at all?), and made some comment after the miscarriage that she never had a good feeling about the baby at all. So I don't need any bad vibes coming from her. She'll just have to be surprised, won't that be lovely?