So, like I said yesterday, I’ve resisted talking about baby stuff here because, honestly, it drives me nuts when other folks drone on about Jr.’s cute little habits and sayings and whatever. The other reason, though, is because of the suprising sense of terror I’ve felt over this whole thing.
We’ve known pretty much from the moment it happened that Danielle was pregnant. Due to some somewhat minor fertility issues, she had to undergo a round of hormone treatments which I equate to dropping a gigantic target for me to hit. And we did so, clearly successfully. The fact that we’ve known for so long and that it wasn’t a surprise has made it so that we’ve experienced just about every part of this pregnancy.
Recall that the last time she was pregnant, there were difficulties right out of the gate – the hormone levels didn;t quite jive well, the heartbeat was difficult to find (but we found it), her mood swings were FAR more violent than expected and she had a rather impending sense of doom over the whole thing. A mother knows, I guess, becuase we learned at the nine-week appointment that the fetus had stopped being viable not too long after we heard the elusive heartbeat.
In stark contrast, this pregnancy has gone remarkably well. Yes, she’s had mood swings, but nothing completely out of control. She’s been nauseous off and on, but she wasn;t throwing up every morning. And every appointment has been nothing but the best news – strong heartbeat, active baby on the sonogram monitor, everything well within normal limits. Even with all that, though, there’s a raft of things that could’ve gone wrong and, despite my best efforts, I just could not help but worry. Between mom;s death, the miscarraige and various other things that have happened recently, I’ve just not been prepared for more tragedy – we’ve had enough for a while.
So I grit my teeth, tried not to worry and inadvertantly did the worst thing possible – distanced myself from things. I didn;t want to prepare a nursery or look at baby furniture or read past the current week in the baby books for fear that it wouldn’t turn out well and I;d have all of these reminders of it. I’ve tried to be the good husband to my pregnant wife. Don;t get me wrong, I’ve been excited this whole time, but I’ve been tempering it with, “Well, don’t get your hopes too high.”
We tried to do a CVS test a few weeks ago, where the doctor plucks a piece of the placenta, which contains some of the baby’s genes, so we could be sure the kid was all right in there, but, due to an anatomical anomaly, the doctor was unable to reach the placenta. The benefit of the CVS test is that it happens at about week 11, so there’s plenty of time to make any necessary preparations or decisions based on the outcome. It’s not as accurate as the amniocentesis – and it’s FAR more invasive – but it gives you a stronger hint of what may be coming. So, instead, we scheduled the amnio for th 14th week, which is a squeaker.
First off, let me say that both tests were actually Danielle’s idea – I’m not a fan of using my wife as a science experiment, so I wouldn’t dare push or even suggest these things to her. But she was gung-ho on it because, as she says, she doesn’t like surprises.
The amnio was surprisingly quick and easy and, according to Danielle, not at all painful, though a little uncomfortable. The needle was not nearly as big as people say. All told, it was a breeze – the needle they used on the hormone injections caused more problems then the amnio. They told us we’d have the results in 7 to 14 days, but expect 14 days due to the backlog.
This was an excruciating two weeks. The amnio screens for all kinds of things – neural tube defects, genetic drift, genetic abnormalities like various trisomies, some of which can lead to Down Syndrome or, worse, a short-lived baby. You’re required to see a genetic counselor first and, though she tells you the chances of your child having each potential issues (generally 1 in 400 for each of them) all I could think was, “Criminy, 1 in 400! I do NOT like those odds!”
Our friends Claudia and Phil had their daughter Ceci the same day we did the amnio. A couple days later, Dani and I went to visit them. I had looked at the pictures and saw the videos Phil sent us and was very, very happy for them. They have a very happy, healthy baby. I also felt a little jealous – what if our kid wasn’t as healthy? What if something went wrong? It was bittersweet and I had a difficult time enjoying myself during our visit as I could feel all these fears racking up inside.
For two weeks, I prepared for the worst. I’ll be honest with you, “trisomy” was the word I was dreading the most. I’m just not prepared to handle that. Perhaps I’m weak, perhaps I’m narrow-minded, but I just didn’t know how we’d be able to take care of such special needs. I admire those who do – that’s not an easy road. Danielle practically counted the days. When seven days passed, she leaped every time the phone rang. They told us it would probably be 14 days, so I didn’t get my hopes up for a call until Sunday, with two days to spare.
When the call came yesterday, I had no idea who Dani was on the phone with. She ran into the office with a big grin, looking at me expectantly. I finally figured it out and gripped the chair. When she got off, she told me it was a boy and that all fo the tests came back A-OK. I leaped up, scooped her up in my arms and screamed. I couldn;t put her down. Every visit to the doctor when we’ve seen the kid on the sonogram, I’ve been excited. Every test that came back OK was like a small weight lifted off my chest. This one, though… Oh, man. I finally feel like I can be TRULY excited about this. It’s a HUGE stone off my shoulders.
Look, I know that a million things can go wrong from here, but this was a big milestone. It’s more or less the promise I made to myself – you can be all fearful and whatever until you get the amnio results back, then you need to relax and start enjoying this. The results are in, everything’s swell, and I finally feel free to be excited. We rushed out to Babys R’ Us last night to see if they had the bedding set Danielle had chosen for a boy – cute little planes in a pattern called “In Flight”. It’s been discontinued, but still available on clearance at some stores which is why we’re getting it now rather than registering for it. Today, she announced that the baby bedroom set she wants – crib, changing table with drawers, dresser – will cost around $900 and the chair she wants for the room for when she’s breastfeeding the kid will be about $700. Which means I really ought to be getting back to work rather than writing this.
That we’re having a boy is completely secondary to me. As excited as I am about it, I’m more thrilled that, so far, the kid is healthy. Dani’s at the halfway mark and is really the most adorable pregnant lady ever. Grumpy, but adorable. The kid won’t start kicking for a few more weeks, but apparently she should start feeling the “butterflies” any day now.
As for the fatherhood thing, my biggest concern is money, as is typical with every father. Recall that, the last time I learned she was pregnant, I quit my job to start TechKnowMe. We’re doing well, but we could be doing much, much better. I honestly don’t question my parenting abilities – I have plenty of examples or parenting, both good and bad, to learn from in my life and my overriding belief in all things is that, no matter what, I’ll muddle through and persevere. As for Dani, who only tolerates other people’s children and is concerned about her ability to be a good mother, I think of my own mom. The two of them are similar in so many ways (and different in so many others, so it’s not THAT creepy). Mom ultimately only enjoyed being around one child – her own – and she was genuinely the best mother I could possibly hope for. I’m convinced the same will happen with Danielle.
So, with the newfound excitement and all that, assuming I have time, you can expect more baby-related posts I guess.