Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Testing 1-2-3

Because of my advanced maternal age, I have been offered birth defects screening. In fact, it's recommended. The S.O. and I have some differing views on the tests. Having suffered a miscarriage in the past, I worry about the risk of the tests. My doc says the risk of a miscarriage from the tests is about one in 250 compared to the about one in 40 chance of someone my age having a baby with Down Syndrome. (Side note: My doctor, who has been practicing in the area for several decades, says she has only had two patients give birth to Down Syndrome babies. Which makes me think the odds are a little off.)

My other issue with the tests is that nowhere do I read that these tests can DEFINITIVELY tell us that our baby WILL have a birth defect. They also can't tell us how severe the problem might be. On top of that, there are no tests for autism -- which is much more prevalent. And there's no test to tell me if my baby will grow up to be an ax-wielding maniac, a reality-TV contestant, a big jerk or a Nobel Prize winner.

At this point, I'm doing everything I can to nurture and protect this pregnancy. And I'm not sure these tests contribute to that. Am I afraid of raising a child with Down Syndrome? Honestly (and totally selfishly), yes. I am afraid. Because I don't know enough about it. Perhaps knowing ahead of time would allow me to prepare for such a life.

Of course, the other side of the coin is would knowing make me want to terminate this pregnancy that I thought wasn't supposed to happen?

I think I know the answer to that last question and I'm not sure the S.O. shares my view. Obviously, it's something we need to discuss more. And whether or not to have the first of these tests is something we're supposed to decide in the next week or so.

Is it better to know? What if the tests are all negative, and everything's fine, but I have a miscarriage?

It all makes me what to bury my head in the sand.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Embracing the frustration

As someone who has suffered a miscarriage and was told I wasn't likely to get pregnant without artificial assistance, I'm trying really hard to embrace all the symptoms of this pregnancy. That includes the morning sickness (I'd like to kick whoever named it "morning sickness" right in the throat. If it only came and lasted through the morning, it wouldn't be so bad.) and the fatigue.

The main problem is I'm not that much of a holistic, airy-fairy kind of person. I'm more a live-in-the-moment, kick-the-butt-of-anything-that-gets-in-my-way kind of gal. Obviously, that has to change with the coming of Nubbins (I'm stealing that name from my good friend Lisa over at Grandma's Briefs). Soon -- OK, now -- I have to think about the future and about someone other than myself and the S.O. And I really do need to learn to embrace the symptoms and see them as good things.

I've been lucky that the nausea hasn't led to vomiting -- I guess. But it has meant a change in my normally healthy-to-the-extreme style of eating. Where I used to love most vegetables, now only a few taste good. Lettuce pretty much made me gag. I'm eating lots of yogurt and other dairy, and fruit is OK. So I haven't started eating entire boxes of Oreos or having chili-cheese fries for breakfast, but I do crave ice cream a lot (hold the pickles and that silly stereotype).

The most frustrating thing of all, though, is the extreme drop in my energy level. Before I became pregnant, I was working out five or six days a week. I alternated kickboxing workouts with Boot Camp. I was doing all kinds of crazy moves, like push-ups with my toes on a stability ball. I'd crank out 12 or 15 reps, while the 20-somethings around me just gawked. Now, I'm lucky to do about 10 kneeling push-ups at a time. Still, I tell myself it's a good thing. I was in probably the best shape of my life before the pregnancy, so now my surplus energy is going to Nubbins. That way the nubs can become actual arms and legs and the tiny little brain stem can grow into a full-fledged brain.

And when he or she grows into a real-live person, it will have been worth it to miss out on my kickboxing and eat a few extra scoops of ice cream.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Welcome to my adventure

Hello Internet! Back in April, on my other blog, I said I thought the universe might be trying to pull a long con on me. Well, for those of you not already in on the joke, I was right. Just a few days after the S.O. and I had a conversation about how it's probably all for the best for us to not have a baby, I found out that I am pregnant, in the family way, knocked up, preggers, expecting, have a bun in the oven.

All this at the "advanced maternal age" (that's doctor talk for "old") of 42. So old in fact, the so-called fertility specialists told us we had about a 1 percent chance of getting pregnant "the natural way." (Those specialists can kiss my behind, by the way).

My goal here is to share my experience as a first-time mom-to-be (and later a first-time mom) who started down this road later than many would expect.

I welcome comments but don't try to tell me all the things that can go wrong. I really don't want to hear anyone's horror stories. As someone who used to work for a parenting magazine I've already heard enough of them. Add to that the scary one-in-a-million birth defects they feature on TLC to a former co-worker who told my pregnant friend that the air in Colorado could cause a miscarriage. At this point, I kind of figure the universe will have it's joke and I will have a baby at 43.

I'm just past weeks at the moment, so still a long road ahead. Here is a picture of my nice-week ultrasound. Although I'm pretty sure it's actually a panda.