16w4d It’s a….

BOY!!!

J and I are thrilled to announce that come February 1, 2013, we’ll have a little boy to hold and to love!  I hate to say I told you so…

BUT MOMMY KNOWS BEST!  I’ve always had a feeling that I’m harboring a little boy in here…

To be honest, both J and I are still in a bit of a daze.  When the technician first told us that Baby Z is a boy, both of us just kept looking at each other and muttering, “I can’t believe we’re having a boy” over and over again in shock, as though we were expecting Baby Z to be a panda or something.

Of course, J said that he knew that Baby Z was a boy as soon as the ultrasound came up (before the technician even said anything), because,  you know, Baby Z’s boy part is just sooo huge and all.  *Roll eyes*

The most important news to us was that Baby Boy Z is looking very healthy!  We did a thorough anatomy scan, and our little boy is currently 6 inches tall, weighs 5 ounces, and possesses all his body parts (10 toes, 10 fingers, 2 kidneys, 2 eyes, 1 nose, 1 heart, 1 umbilical cord and a partridge in a pear tree).  His heart is beating steadily at 150 bpm, and his limbs, brain, face, and internal organs all look great!  In fact, while the technician was doing the anatomy scan, our little boy kept waving his little hands at us as if to say, “Hi Mom and Dad!”  He also kept rubbing his eyes and wiggling his toes.  We love him so much already!

The amniocentesis was also not as bad as I had feared.  We first met with a genetic counselor to go through some of the risks and benefits of the procedure, as well as looked at various cases of possible chromosomal abnormalities beyond Down Syndrome.  Our doctor who performed the procedure was very matter-of-fact, which I actually very much appreciate.  I’m not a big fan of doctors who “ooo” and “ahhh” or coddle you too much.  I prefer ones that are efficient, competent and offer you tough love instead.  In fact, that’s also why I like my OB so much – she’s a no-nonsense type who is smart, capable and a straight-shooter.  When it comes to delivery, I already know that I’m going to be such a freaking hot mess that I need someone who will tell me to snap out of it and just get it done.  Haha.

Anyway, setting up for the amino took way longer than the actual procedure, which lasted all of 1 minute.  Even though I’m the biggest baby in the world when it comes to needles, the sting of the amnio needle was surprisingly not too bad.  I did feel some pressure when the doctor started extracting the amniotic fluid, but overall, it was definitely not as horrible of an ordeal as I had feared.

Now I’m a little anxious about the results, but I’m hoping and praying that everything will continue looking great.  Plus I’m really looking forward to getting a chart of our son’s genes and chromosomes.  We saw samples in our genetic counselor’s office, and J and I both thought that they looked so cool.  We may frame Baby Z’s chart (assuming all goes well…oy).

We go in for a second anatomy scan in four weeks, when we can see Baby Z in 3D!

In the meantime, here are a couple of pictures of our perfect boy and his tiny feet 🙂

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12w3d the greatest gift

Today is my 31st birthday (oy)…and the day of my first trimester screening.  I don’t know what had possessed me to schedule this screening on the same day as my birthday.  If, heaven forbid, the screening didn’t go well, then today would be a double whammy.

But!  Thank goodness, this wasn’t the case.  Our screening went really well – Baby Z had a normal nuchal translucency (NT) of 1.3mm, which means that he is at low-risk for Down’s syndrome.  Baby Z’s heart is also beating normally at 169 bpm, and he’s measuring at approximately 2.5 inches (barely the size of my palm)!

Of course, the true highlight of the screening was seeing Baby Z again!  He was wiggling and moving up a storm during the ultrasound – our technician said our baby couldn’t stop dancing for us.  He’s such a little show-off already! (Takes after his Dad, for sure).

Here are a couple of photos of the newest love of my life.  Until today, I didn’t realize that it’s possible to love someone so much from just a photograph.

Best birthday present ever.

We will find out whether Baby Z is a boy or girl during our next ultrasound on August 20.  Stay tuned!

8w0d: the most beautiful sound in the world

Your pregnancy: 8 weeks

New this week: Webbed fingers and toes are poking out from your baby’s hands and feet, his eyelids practically cover his eyes, breathing tubes extend from his throat to the branches of his developing lungs, and his “tail” is just about gone. In his brain, nerve cells are branching out to connect with one another, forming primitive neural pathways. (Source: BabyCenter)

Two weeks ago, J and I went in for our first prenatal expecting to see and hear our baby’s heartbeat for the first time.  We were excited and anxious (J the former and I the latter – if you know us, this should not surprise you).

The first twenty minutes went the way of the expected:  I completed some forms, peed in a cup, undressed and sat on the exam table while our doctor asked us general health, medical history and lifestyle questions.

(Sidebar:  I’m convinced that peeing in a cup is one of the most stressful experiences known to a woman.  How far out do you hold the cup?  Too far and you risk splattering all over your hand, too close and you risk splattering over the paper label on the cup and have to spend the next ten minutes frantically blotting and blowing to make your name legible again.  So good people of the internet, if you find a good solution to this conundrum, this inquiring woman wants to know.)

When the doctor finally got to the transvaginal ultrasound, J and I were feeling quite reassured – after all, we had just told the doctor that we led a healthy lifestyle and were relatively healthy people ourselves with no history of medical problems on either side of our families. So when the doctor did the ultrasound, we were shocked when the first words out of her mouth were:  “I’m sorry, but I don’t see anything in there.”

No heartbeat.  No little fingers and toes.  No blueberry.  No kidney bean.

No baby.

My mind went blank.  I vaguely remember J putting an arm around me, our doctor giving me a gentle pat on the leg, and getting dressed, but the rest was a blur.   Later J filled me on what our doctor said (I wasn’t aware that she had said anything else).  Our doctor told us that it could be too early on in the pregnancy for the ultrasound to pick up the baby’s heartbeat, although she at least expected to see something.  But all hope was not lost.  She wanted to monitor my blood levels for the next few days and she also wanted us to make another appointment with a diagnostic imaging center with state-of-the-art ultrasound scans for a second opinion.

The next three days were torture.  I went back to the doctor’s office to give more blood, dragged myself through work, watched entire seasons of Modern Family, cried, called my mother, and cried some more.

By the time Friday came around and it was time for the second ultrasound, I was a mess.

J met me at the imaging center, where he filled out the necessary forms (I was in no state to do anything except to nurse my cup of decaf coffee and stare at the clock).  An interminable hour of waiting later, we were finally ushered into a dark room by a no-nonsense technician.  Immediately, I could tell that this was going to be an all-or-nothing affair – either my baby was in there or it wasn’t.   If these enormous, fancy-looking machines and large HD monitors could not find my baby, then I didn’t know what else could.

About five long minutes into the exam, our no-nonsense technician (who had yet to say a word to us at that point), finally said, “I don’t…”

I grabbed J’s hand and took a bracing breath.

“Wait, I see it.  There is your baby in the corner.  And this is the sound of your baby’s heartbeat.”

Thump, thump, thump…

It was the most beautiful sound in the world.

I would tell you what else happened afterwards, but frankly, I just can’t remember.  I may have floated out of the building and floated back home (ok, I took a cab).  I’m not even sure where J went afterwards.  I think he went back to work.  Hmm.

In any case, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my little expert hide-and-seeker, Baby Z.   (aka white blob on the bottom right)

It’s funny, because up until the moment that I heard my baby’s heartbeat for the first time, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to become a mother.

Scratch that.  If I’m honest with myself,  I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to be a mom.  J and I had just started trying to have a baby when I became pregnant – I thought that I would have more time to mentally prepare myself.   After witnessing many of our friends struggle for months, if not years, to conceive, I just assumed (and secretly hoped) that I would be no different.

But after the experiences of the past couple of weeks, I can honestly say that while I’m still not sure that I’m ready to become anyone’s mother, I do know that I want to be this little fluttering heart’s mom.

So Baby Z, I can’t wait to meet you.  I hope you turn out to have your dad’s brains, my offbeat sense of humor, and a beautiful heart that flutters to a beat that is uniquely your own. Oh, and if you hide from the ultrasound again, you’re grounded for life.

Love,
Mom