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tested

I’ve been remiss in posting for far too long. A combination of laziness, exhaustion, and anxiety, I suppose. But I want to write more. I need to. It’s a good outlet for me during these long, quiet days of fall.

We had a scare this week. A big one. One that will likely stay with me for quite some time. We had our big fetal anatomy ultrasound on Wednesday, at exactly 17 weeks. I’d had some abdominal and back pain in the week leading up to it, so I was very anxious (who, me?). But the ultrasound tech was very sweet and understanding, and pointed out both heartbeats right away. I relaxed. That was all I cared about.

Soon we knew the genders, too: it’s two boys for us. I will own up to a little disappointment. I’ve always wanted daughters. Always imagined myself as a mother to girls. Really never envisioned myself parenting sons. Of course, I love and will love my boys endlessly, boundlessly. But it’s a bit of a mental and emotional readjustment.

It all got put into perspective, though, when the u/s tech left the room and a radiologist appeared. She did some additional checking before telling us that “Baby 2 looks great. With Baby 1, I see some things.” Those “things” turned out to be multiple soft markers for chromosomal abnormalities: an echogenic focus (heart), mildly echogenic bowel, and choroid plexus cyst (brain). Two soft markers for Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome), one for Trisomy 18 (generally fatal).

After a brief talk with a nurse practitioner, we were fast-tracked into an appointment with a genetic counselor who, though still reassuring about our odds, did agree that amnio — if we were comfortable with it — was probably a good idea. Given my age and the soft markers, our risk for chromosomal abnormalities in Baby 1 was higher than our risk of miscarriage from the amnio. And so off to the procedure we went. Soon I’d had two needles inserted into my abdomen and amniotic fluid withdrawn from each baby’s sac. Physically, it was only mildly uncomfortable. Emotionally, well — I was gutted.

We are lucky that our practice is in a big hospital in a big city, and that they offer FISH (rapid) results on the amnio. Rather than waiting 10-14 days for the final results, we would have preliminary (and 95% accurate) results in 24 hours. But oh, those 24 hours. I cried. I wandered the house. I tried to eat, at my mother’s urgings. I couldn’t look at the ultrasound photos, or at my growing belly.

When the call came at 2:55 p.m. on Thursday, I had already resigned myself to what I was sure was the inevitable. But then there was the genetic counselor on the other end of the line, telling me she had good news. The amnios for both babies were normal.

We have another week to wait for the final results, but for now, we are breathing again. We are relieved. We are grateful.

We are expecting sons.

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moving day

I’m 15w2d, and I think I just felt a baby move.

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1 food baby + 2 human babies = kind of ridiculous 12-week photo …

12 weeks

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pruned

I am still here. And now with somewhat less nausea! Which would be making me nervous (okay, *more* nervous) if I hadn’t had an ultrasound on Tuesday at my first OB/maternal fetal medicine appointment. An ultrasound during which both babies looked good, measured just slightly ahead of schedule, and had heart rates of 178 and 180. It was a relief to see them. The night before I’d had a dream that both heartbeats were gone; the rest of the nightmare involved me compiling a list of all the people we’d already told about the pregnancy and then crafting a bad-news e-mail to send to them. That was fun.

As for the waning nausea, my new doctor told me it’s normal for morning sickness to start to improve around now (I’m 10w1d). I’d been expecting another couple of weeks of misery, so this is an unexpected and welcome respite. If I can keep the worry (where have all my symptoms gone?!) at bay, that is.

According to one of the ridiculously many weekly pregnancy e-mails I get, the babies are now the size of prunes. Not my favorite dried fruit, but I’ll take ’em.10 weeks

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HPT-free zone

Tuesday was rough.

It was my own fault, really. But rough nonetheless.

After my first ultrasound, I bought a 3-pack of home pregnancy tests. I had two weeks to wait until the big u/s, at which we hoped to see the babies’ heartbeats, and I knew I’d be anxious in the interim. Taking the HPTs, I figured, would reassure me that the pregnancy was progressing. I “scheduled” them at 4-day intervals to pass the time until the u/s.

On Tuesday, for a variety of reasons (anxiety being one of them? Me? No!), I moved Friday’s u/s up to Wednesday (with the blessing of one of the nurses, of course). And then, even though I had less than 24 hours to wait, I figured I might as well use that last damn stick as planned.

The second line appeared, but far, far lighter than all the others had been. Lighter than the control line. Lighter than my already fragile nerves could handle.

I called the nurses’ line hoping for reassurance. A “Don’t worry, the darkness of the line is irrelevant,” perhaps, or a “Those tests aren’t quantitative” or even a simple “I’m sure everything is just fine.”

Instead, I got “You’re 7 weeks pregnant. Why would you do that?” Followed closely by “Do you feel any different?”

At which point I started to hyper-analyze every symptom (or lack thereof) and decided aloud that, actually, my boobs weren’t as sore as they had been. “And now I’m starting to hyper-analyze every symptom,” I told the nurse.

“Well, don’t do that,” she said. (Um … but didn’t you kind of just tell me to?)

I asked if I could come in that day for the u/s, but the u/s techs were already gone (at 10:45 a.m.? Huh?) and she could really only send me down to the main hospital for an u/s if it was an emergency. Which this wasn’t.

“Why don’t you pick up a book and try and pass the time until your appointment tomorrow?” she offered.

Riiiiiiiiight.

Needless to say, Tuesday was a very, very, very long day. Excruciatingly long. And of course devoid of sore boobs and nausea, which made it feel even longer. I was certain something — everything — had gone wrong.

I slept fitfully and woke before my alarm on Wednesday morning. The Boy and I arrived 25 minutes early for our appointment. “How are you?” asked the u/s tech. “Very anxious,” I said. I blurted out the HPT mess, still hoping — even as she prepared the u/s wand — for some reassurance. Nothing.

And then.

And then in the dark room came the flicker of a heartbeat. And another. And suddenly we were looking at two live babies, with heart rates of 133 and 136, both measuring exactly on track at 6w6d. And the anxiety — at least for that brief moment — melted away.

And now I can say this: there will be no home pregnancy tests in my house again, ever. Acupuncture, yoga, meditation, walks around the neighborhood, screaming into a pillow … I will find other ways to deal with my anxiety. Those sticks will not be one of them.

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on today’s menu

1 bowl melon with Greek yogurt
plain bagel with cream cheese
1/2 can alphabet soup
1/6 chocolate shake
1 plum
3 handfulls Pirate’s Booty
3 bites cold macaroni and cheese
1 pickle
3 blueberry pancakes
ginger ale

Which of these things helped to quell my newly-developed all-day nausea?

None of ’em.

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2 words

It’s twins.

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