I haven't written for a while and, while I would like to blame it on all this new fangled technology crashing all the time, the truth is...it was ME crashing all the time. Being pregnant, at least for me, has been quite a trip! A trip down a spiral of nausea and headaches followed by evening headaches that could bring a grown man to his knees! Speaking of which, I have one coming on now so I need to speed up this entry so that I can lay my ever expanding pregnant ass on the couch for another evening of upset stomach and TV watchin'.
With all of these "glamorous" aspects of pregnancy, it's no wonder that - not only have I not written in a while, my excitement level has been less than...well....exciting. It's really hard to completely change your lifestyle, feel like a pile of steaming poo every day and see your buttons on your pants moving further away from the hole on the other side. There's no baby kicking or any sort of stomach to put your hand under like a lot of pregnant women do. You just walk around looking like you've had too many Big Macs and, due to the green tint of nausea on your face, you look as if you are paying the price for eating them.
And then there are days like today. I swear the world turned the opposite direction and made the colors of the sky, trees and flowers a deeper, more vivid shade. Everything looked and smelled amazing and my stomach seemed to cooperate even with my nerves escalating on the way to my appointment. Today was our NT Scan (Nuchal Translucency). Just as a reminder, this is a screening test to help assess whether cashew has any chromosomal abnormalities or other chronic conditions. It doesn't diagnose and it isn't fail proof but the scan combined with the blood work makes the outcome 90% accurate.
I was being brave this morning. I decided to keep calm even though I knew it was going to require another blood draw. I even stayed calm when it looked like we were leaving later than I had hoped in order to get there on time. But we arrived on time even after trying to find the building that was tucked in the middle of a huge hospital campus.
When I was called back, T and I went into the sonogram room (straight back, to the left and then the first left - funny what my brain holds on to). I realized immediately that I have hit another milestone in this pregnancy. I no longer have to have the magic wand inserted in low places for my images!! I have now graduated to the cold gel on the belly and the actual ultrasound gadget that you see on all of the TV shows and movies. That alone was one exciting step.
Because I was advised to drink a lot of water before having blood drawn to make things flow faster (thus getting the procedure done quicker), I had drank a glass of water at home (water still makes me gag) and then a large Vitamin Water on the way in. Well, the technician really needed to position the gadget correctly which meant pressing strongly on my large bladder that, yes, she could see on the monitor (oh yes, right there...that big black hole...you DO have to go. So nice how there is nothing to hide when you are getting a sonogram done!). The first thing we saw was...well, a BABY! It is no longer a strange booger shaped alien looking creature. You know, that thing that crawled into the dude's ear on Star Trek the Wrath of Khan. No, cashew has grown. It now looks like a real baby of sorts. And the crazy thing? It's in ME!!! What the???
But it was awesome and I will admit, I teared up a couple of times in sheer amazement. We heard the heartbeat the first time. It sounded good and...wet. Like it was pumping jello or something. The technician promised us a tour of the baby after she got what she needed which was for cashew to lay on his (yes, I am just using the male gender so I don't call it "it") back with his nose in the air so that she could measure the fluid in the back of his neck. After many strong pushes (that almost released some urine), cashew cooperated and she was able to measure the neck.
She said that we were at 13...now, I am an internet junkie and I just researched what a normal range for NT Scans and the numbers she gave us do not jive with the ones on the internet. But I am going with what she told us until I hear otherwise. She said that cashew's NT was at 13 (mms? cms? I don't know) which is skinny. Very skinny to use her exact words. She said that the "big" area was 30 so we are in real good shape! T and I just figured it out! She was using the centimeter scale so it was .13 cm which she just called "13". Putting that in millimeter format, we are completely normal at 1.3 mm. Oh yay! Now I feel better again. I was wondering how that calculation was figured out after looking online. Whew! Ok, back to the story now that I just dragged you selfishly through the mud that I call my brain!
After learning that cashew has good looking neck fluid (he must get that from me), we moved on to the "tour" de bebe! She moved that little gadget around hitting as many angles as she possibly could! It was incredible to see. Now the long awaited pics...here is what we saw today with some descriptions to help you see things a little easier...
This was the pic that she used to measure the fluid in the back of the neck. What you are looking at is cashew's profile. If you look close, you will see an outline of his face. The four "dots" above his face are his left hand fingers. The fluid space that they measured is from the back of his neck to the white line directly below his neck. That small space is what she measured...the key word being SMALL!!
Ok, these pics are a little harder to decipher. There are two separate pics in one. So there is one on the left and then a separate pic on the right. If you look close, you will see where she typed "lower extremities" on the left pic and "upper extremities" on the right pic. I must say, I do not see the upper extremities. She said it looked like he was clapping his hands. Um. Ok. I really don't see it but at least she sees two hands and arms. That's a good sign.
The left pic is one that I am still ogling over. What you are looking at are his legs (she called them frog legs...must get that from T). It is almost as if cashew is diving head first into the bottom right hand corner of that left pic screen. From there, you see his butt (with a bright white dot that T swears is his....well, what makes him a him. Don't worry folks. We are still gonna be surprised. That white dot means nothing and it is still WAY too early to tell). Now, after his butt you should be able to see a little bit of a black gap and then his calves and then his feet. Don't worry, it is all attached (at least I assume so). I am guessing his legs are bent. Plus, the printed pics are kinda different than what you see on the screen and it was pretty vivid on the screen.
The last pic is of cashew trying to smile with his best gorilla face he could muster. I swear I had no relations with monkeys or gorillas in the past so I am hoping that this trait will fade as we move closer to due date! But, really...it does kinda look gorilla'ish. But you can see his left hand giving a wave...all four fingers and a thumb! I really just couldn't believe it.
It was a great tour and finished off with even better news! The blood that they were going to have to take was not coming from my arm!!! It was coming from my finger!! Oh I deal with that so much better! I can even sit up and make conversation during it. I can't watch them squeeze the blood out but I can handle the pin prick. I was so thrilled and it just put a cherry on top of the entire appointment. I think I floated out of there.
It all became very real and exciting after that. I couldn't stop looking at the sonogram pics and realizing that there is a little person inside me. A real one. Like mine...well, and of course, T's. It was so surreal but yet real all at the same time. I realized that I didn't feel pregnant other than the negative nasty parts so I never really felt like it was real. But this little thing was in there growing every day...trying to survive. Inside of ME! It was, and is, so incredibly insane.
Then I realized that this little creature has NO idea of his family out here in the real world. His grandparents, his fuzzy brothers and sisters, his aunts and uncles, cousins...all the places he will go, people he will visit...all the things he will do. He is just in his own little wet bucket swimming around and growing. So crazy and interesting...
I don't know where the old bitchy Dawna that complained about not being able to ride rollercoasters, eat gorgonzola cheese or drink a cold beer went but this new Dawna came out today that couldn't wait to get a baby name book and become the goofiest, cheesiest pregnant woman around! It's kinda embarrassing to admit that I felt that way today but I actually started to feel like...well...I don't know....a Mom kinda. And there was a sense of fear and joy all wrapped up in one big smile that stayed plastered on my face all day even during times of queasiness. I can't believe this is happening to me.
So we headed out after the appointment in search of something to do until lunch time. We walked through a really cool furniture store and then went to El Charro (mexican restaurant) for lunch. The food was one step lower than "below average" but whatever. After that we came on home. After some conversation, we realized I needed to make a deposit at my bank so we headed back out again. We went to the bank and then decided we would go see a movie. Since we had an hour before the movie began, we looked for something else to waste time. I have been wanting to get a library card for a while now so we hit the library. I guess you can imagine the books I checked out with my new card!! Yes, two baby name books, a nursery ideas book, a "bringing home baby" book and a crochet for dummies book. Wow, wild days are rapidly coming to an end for me! Haha!
We went to see The Hangover which was a good mindless movie that had only a few minor chuckles for me...and I might have only given courtesy chuckles which makes no sense since they can't see me anyway. But who cares? It was nice to be there with T and put a nice bow on top of our nice day.
Now we are home and the vices that squeeze my head every night are getting tighter and more intense. I know it is this headache that is making my hearing that much more sensitive so that I can hear the couch downstairs whispering my name. But here is a list of milestones we have reached at this point:
1. The 6 week mark - miscarriage moment during last pregnancy
2. Saw a strong heartbeat
3. Baby measured correctly at 7 weeks
4. NT Scan exactly normal
5. Heard the heartbeat
I am at 12 weeks tomorrow! This is my last week in my first trimester. Another huge milestone is on the horizon. Thanks to all of you who have been so supportive and encouraging through the process. Cashew has the most AWESOME family and friend support system than any kid. I feel so lucky and downright thrilled!
You sure are looking good in there. If your good looks is in any relation to how sick I have been over the last couple of months, you sure are going to be one heck of a knock out! And you already have a cute butt! You definitely get that from your Dad!
We heard your heartbeat today. Sounded like you were kicking back enjoying the ride. Well, cashew, I promise to do the same. I am going to stop stressing, stop complaining and just enjoy this ride with you. You may be the only cashew I ever have so I really want to experience the adventure. And, boy, has it been an adventure! I am moving into my second trimester so hopefully I will start feeling better so that I can start eating better for you.
It is amazing seeing you grow. Daddy and I were saying when we left our appointment today how our cashew isn't really a cashew anymore. But you will always be cashew to us. And, if that was you waving to us today, here's a wave back! Maybe someday they will make technology so that future cashews can have a flat screen monitor in there so that they can see their folks before they pop out. Or maybe not. Some may not want to come out then.
Well, we are excited and feeling awesome about the rest of the year! We are already playing around with names. What a scary thing! Naming you! We want to be sure it is a good one with little to no chance of ridicule. We know it may take a while and, since we won't know if you are a boy or girl until your birthday, we have to think of TWO names. No, wait...FOUR names if you count the middle name! But we have time and we are going to take it!
Daddy is really excited to start on your room. We have decided that we will start working on that when we get back from Louisville in July. Ahh yes, cashew. Louisville will be your second home!!! You have some wonderful Grandparents & GREAT Grandparents that are really looking forward to meeting you and spoiling you to no end. We will be there as often as we can possibly stand it. So keep that in mind when you are working on your crying voice. We will have to be quiet on that long plane ride.
Well, I could sit here and chat with you all night but, thanks to the hormones, my head is splitting and my stomach churning. But that's ok. Your gorilla smile makes it all worth it!!
Love you already,
Mommy at Aunt Lauren's shower - 11 weeks, 5 days (and a shirt that makes me look larger than I am, I think):