Friday, March 27, 2015

Tips for dad-to-be on how to help your partner deal with the stress of being pregnant.

Since I am nearing the end of a pregnancy, I feel qualified to make a post like this. (Since I am, after all, a pregnancy pro now.) This post is for significant others of those who's lady has a bun in the oven and things you can do to make the baking process as easy for her as humanly possible. She deserves it. After all, she's carrying your precious little parasite around in her stomach. 

  • From the moment she takes the test her whole life changes. Yours does, too. But not in the same way that hers does. To a pregnant woman, the world becomes more dangerous than a tiger on a unicycle. Seemingly innocent foods like pineapple suddenly become cervix-softening poison. Anyone with a cough looks like they're incubating Pertussis. She will lose sleep over whether or not the cheese she had earlier was possibly unpasteurized. So while it looks like she's developing an anxiety disorder, try your best to assure her that everything is going to be okay. Don't, however, make her feel crazy for worrying about cheese. 

Keep an open door policy for venting. Pregnancy, especially for first time moms, can be a little scary. Women wonder if the baby is doing okay, what labor will be like, whether they’ll have to have a c-section, and whether they’ll be good at being a mom. Be willing to let her vent or cry whenever she needs to, even if it’s in the middle of the night. If there’s something specific that’s worrying her, do some research so you can confidently tell her, “Those pains you’re experiencing are normal and do not mean you will give birth to a two-headed hydra baby.” 
  • You may notice that her boobs have gotten bigger. Like, excruciatingly bigger. Trust me, she has noticed too. It is more than likely the first thing about her body that changed. (In addition, it is the reason for her back pain and why she can no longer wear low cut shirts without looking like a prostitute.) So you don't have to point it out every time she changes in front of you. Maybe this one is just me, but I personally didn't feel like Kate Upton the moment I got pregnant. It was more like this.

Boobs. Boobs everywhere.

Because Ethan is amazing, he took me to Destination Maternity where they were having a sale on Motherhood Maternity bras. They were buy three get one free. I got three sleep bras and two bras to wear out. The sleep bras are the most amazing thing in the whole world. They're so comfortable and if you plan on breastfeeding, go ahead and purchase nursing sleep bras. I thought the transition would be hard for me because I usually don't wear a bra to bed, but they were so comfortable that I didn't mind. When I became pregnant, I went up two cup sizes. I began to worry about whether or not I would get stretch marks because my bras were no longer supportive enough and sleeping in a bra became something I was more than willing to do to prevent stretch marks. I feel like it's going to be hard wearing regular bras again after i'm no longer nursing just because of how amazingly comfortable these ones are.

Tell her she’s beautiful and that you love her. She will be undergoing some serious body transformations during pregnancy. Reassure her that you think she’s beautiful and that you love her immensely. Affirm your unwavering dedication to her each and every day.

  • Help her get some ZZZs. Sleeping will become more and more uncomfortable as she gets further along in her pregnancy. When she sleeps on her back the baby's weight puts pressure on her spine, back muscles, intestines, and major blood vessels. All of this can lead to pain, decreased circulation, and consequently trouble falling asleep. During a trip to Babies 'R' Us, Ethan made the genius suggestion that we purchase something called a Snoogle. I said no because I couldn't justify spending $80 on a pillow when there were so many other things that I knew we had to get. I am so happy that he insisted. It has been one of the things I truly could not have made it through this pregnancy without. I even took it to the hospital with me when I was admitted a few weeks ago for a lung infection. All of the nurses were envious. You can purchase one here. You may also want to look into getting a slipcover to prevent from getting the Snoogle dirty. 
  • If she's craving something, get it for her. (If it's safe.) Sure I have to admit, I've abused this a little...but I have every right to cheesy fiesta potatoes if I want cheesy fiesta potatoes after everything I've been though in the past few months. If she wants a banana cream pie, do not come home with bananas and say ''I couldn't find any banana cream pies so I brought home bananas.'' (Unless you intend on searching for banana cream pie recipes on Pinterest and using said bananas to make them yourself.) I don't care if you have to go to a Little Debbie manufacturing location itself and demand banana cream pies, you get those banana cream pies. 
Now, if your partner is weird like me and craving something that is not supposed to be consumed you should probably suggest that her doctors do a blood test to see if she has any deficiencies such as calcium, iron, etc.

PICA IS A REAL THING. It is the persistent eating of that have no nutritional value. For me, this substance was chalk. I was watching a show on Netflix one night with Ethan when one of the characters began drawing on a chalk board with a piece of white chalk. I was suddenly OVERWHELMED with this urge to reach through the television, grab the chalk out of the characters hand, and EAT IT. I paused the show, turned to Ethan and said ''I'm craving chalk.'' and he's a pretty smart fella so he knew that probably meant that I had some sort of deficiency. We later learned that my magnesium levels were low but I am unsure if that would cause me to want to munch on chalk. I obviously knew it was strange so I was trying super hard to ignore the urge. We tried tums thinking that the chalkiness of them would soothe the urge. It didn't. We thought about candy cigarettes but couldn't find any. After researching it for weeks, Ethan finally went and got me some just to shut me up. I tried it and it was terrible. I didn't swallow it, I spit it out...but the actual texture cured the craving. But before, it actually made me feel depressed that he wouldn't go out and buy me a pack of chalk.

So be cautious of things with no nutritional value but if she wants a burger, you get her a burger. 

  • Do not ever tell her to ''Hurry up'' when you two are trying to get somewhere while walking. Pregnant women tend to waddle (you would too if you had a human growing inside of you), so you’re probably not going to get a super warm reaction if you chide her for not being Speedy Gonzalez.

  • Act like you’re pregnant. No, I don’t mean you need to put on one of those ridiculous bodysuits that let men know what it feels like to be pregnant. Nor am I encouraging wild mood swings and consuming ice cream sprinkled with nacho cheese. What I’m talking about here is adding or dropping the same habits she has to add or drop because she’s pregnant. It’s a way to show moral support and to help her follow doctor’s orders as closely as she can. So when she has to give up alcohol and coffee, become a teetotaler too (or at least don’t imbibe in front of her.) 

  • Exercise is incredibly beneficial to mom and baby to be, so help her get in the habit by offering to go for a walk or to the gym together. But keep the exercising light...and don't push her too hard if she doesn't feel up to it. 

Just because you saw an article on that bodybuilding forum you go on every day about some pregnant woman who exercised a whole bunch and didn't even show that she was pregnant until her 8th month, doesn't mean everyone is capable of dropping it like a squat while pregnant. If I tried to do a squat right now, I would not be able to get back up. In fact, I need help getting out of bed at this point. Everyone is different. 

  • Moms-to-be often experience the nesting instinct, and will feel a lot better if they feel things are in place. You’re going to have to get things ready eventually, so you might as well do it now, especially if it puts your partner at ease. If she wants to clean out the spare bedroom, let her. (Of course, not if she's going to be lifting heavy things. In this case, offer to help her.) If she's working too hard, make her rest. It's totally normal to be obsessed with cleaning and getting things ready for your little one's arrival. 

However, it is also totally normal to be exhausted and not feel like doing a single thing. Like I said, everyone is different.

That's about all I can think of for now. If you have any suggestions for dads-to-be on how to help their significant other while pregnant, feel free to leave a comment. :) 

Monday, January 26, 2015

The best news I have ever received in my entire life.

After having an amniocentesis done, I was told it would take 10-14 days to get the results back. A week after having it done, I received a phone call saying ''Hey, we need baby daddy to come in and give us his blood (again) because Willow's blood has to be compared to it in order to know whether or not she has Cystic Fibrosis.'' And all I could think was ''Why couldn't you have told me this a week ago!?'' So poor Ethan had to go give blood yet again and we had to wait even longer. Okay, not much longer...but when you're waiting for news like that, every day that passes with no news feels like a year. I would work myself into a crying frenzy thinking about how I would feel upon receiving the news if it were bad news...but I didn't even truly think about how I would feel receiving the news if it were good...and it was.

It was Friday. January 23rd at 12:30pm. Ethan had a three day weekend that started on that day so he was home with me watching the Tudors when my phone rang. I jumped up to get it any my heart started to pound when I saw the number that was calling was the number to my geneticist. 

I answered. She said ''Heather! Guess what!? Baby DOES NOT have Cystic Fibrosis!'' and she started to ramble on about other things but I couldn't hear anything after that. My heart was singing too loudly. The phone call lasted only a few seconds and I just burst into tears and laughter at the same time and Ethan just knew. He scooped me up in his arms and I was laughing hysterically. And WAILING. I think I may have been in shock and he was just laughing with me. It wasn't the most glamorous moment, especially when you consider that Ethan went to give me a little kiss on the lips and shouted ''EW! THERE'S SNOT IN MY MOUTH.'' as he jumped up and ran to the bathroom. I'll never forget how it felt to receive the best news I have ever received in my entire life. All I could think was ''You better get used to snotty kisses.'' 

Growing up with Cystic Fibrosis for me wasn't easy. I had a feeding tube placed in my stomach when I was two because I only weighed 14 pounds. I was going through something called failure to thrive and if they didn't do something to put some weight on my bones pronto tonto, I wasn't going to have a very long life. Aside from being pancreatic insufficient, my lungs weren't the best. I had two sisters and a brother and if I said I was able to keep up with them and do everything they did growing up, I'd be lying. 

I've always been the girl with Cystic Fibrosis and I didn't want that for Willow. I didn't want someone to not chase her in a game of tag because of her ''disadvantage''. I didn't want her teachers to have to stop in the middle of a lesson to check on her because she is having a coughing fit that's so harsh she can't even catch her breath. I didn't want her to change her clothes in gym class only to be stared at by a child who has never seen a feeding tube before or even worse, picked on for it. For being sick. For something she couldn't control. I didn't want her to have the childhood that I had because of this disease. I wanted her to have a normal life. Realizing that she was going to be healthy hit me harder than the possibility that she wasn't. I had been hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. I had already told myself in my head that she was going to have CF, just incase she did. Finding out that she was CF free is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Finding out that despite everything I have been through with this disease, I can still give life to someone who it will never physically amazing.

Even if Willow had Cystic Fibrosis...if she were anything like me, she would be absolutely fine because Willows bend but they don't break.

I can't believe how lucky we are...that I will have a mini me visiting me in the hospital and making art work for me to hang on the walls there to give the place some color. I can't believe that Ethan and I created this perfect little human, and I can't believe how in love with her we are already. CF or no CF, she's the best news I have ever received in my entire life.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

25 weeks and an amniocentesis! (Ouch.)

After getting over the initial shock of finding out I was pregnant, I had the chary cogitation that it were possible for our child to have Cystic Fibrosis. This apprehension grew even stronger upon learning from the results of Ethan's genetic blood test that he is a carrier of Cystic Fibrosis. He has the DF508 gene, which is the most common one. Honestly, I don't know much about it besides the fact that it is the most common CF gene.

What I do know though is that there is a 50% chance that Willow will get this gene...and to save myself from worrying for the rest of this pregnancy, I had an amniocentesis done on January 06, 2015 just to be certain. I knew within a 24 hour period after finding out Ethan is a carrier that this was something I felt strongly about doing. I knew the results would not make a difference. If she has it she has it. We just needed to know so we could mentally prepare ourselves for the roller coaster that IS Cystic Fibrosis. 

When I went to see the geneticist I thought he would just be sitting down and going over the chances and making yet another appointment if I wanted to go through with the amnio. I already knew these chances were 50/50. But what came as a shock to me was when the genetic counselor said ''Do you want to do the amnio today?'' I had not prepared for that question but without hesitation, I said yes. 

After I spoke with the genetic counselor (who was extremely nice) she took me to a room and let me know that a sonogram technician would be in shortly. The sonogram technician started off doing an anomaly scan, which is just a scan to make sure that the baby is developing like she should be. I hadn't seen a sonogram of Willow since my sisters and I went in on an elective sonogram to find out if Willow was a boy or a I was on the edge of my seat during the sonogram just waiting for the sonogram technician to say ''Congratulations! It's a boy!'' I would have died. She confirmed that Willow was a girl, counted all of her fingers, measured her arms and legs, looked at her heart, she looked at everything. It was neat getting to see how she was developing, and relieving to find that she was doing well. My favorite part of the anomaly scan was when she was counting Willow's fingers and she threw up the Vulcan Salute from Startrek. A friend of mine made a joke that it means she will ''Live long and prosper'' and the thought made me feel warm inside. 

After the anomaly scan was finished, the sonogram technician let me clean all of the petroleum jelly off of my stomach and then we had to get down to the nitty gritty of an amniocentesis. I had to sign a disclaimer saying I understand the risks and I was explained the process very thoroughly. I knew everything about it, though. From the moment I found out Ethan was a carrier, Google had been my best friend and I was looking up everything there is to know about amnios. His mom always tells me to stay off of Google but it's impossible. 

Of course, amnios are a scary thing. It's not just them putting a needle in your stomach, it's them putting a needle in your uterus...the same small area that your baby occupies. So it always raises a few eyebrows.

They started off by prepping my stomach by sanitizing it. I don't know about you but I think the worst part about a shot is the part where they're rubbing alcohol on the part they're about to stick and you get all nervous because...well, shots. I was told that it was going to feel like a bee sting. I've been stung by a bee before. (On my lip. I looked like Angelina Jolie for an entire week.) The needle was very long and very thin. It was so thin that they didn't even need to put a band-aid on my stomach afterwards because there was no blood. 

The sonogram technician guided the doctor and told her where to put the needle. It was supposed to be something that lasted just a few seconds...and it would have only lasted a few seconds if my little womb-mate hadn't decided to have a funkadelic dance party in my stomach AS SOON AS THEY PUT THE NEEDLE IN. They were right, it felt like a bee sting. But then the doctor informed me that she had not even put the needle into my uterus yet, and I just knew it was going to hurt.

They had to hang out there for a few seconds with this needle just hanging out of my stomach and wait for Willow to stop shaking what here mama gave her. She finally calmed down and they were very careful but it was still scary because I could look on the screen and see that the needle was so close to her head. Too close for comfort. I was tensed up the entire time because I was so scared something was going to go wrong and my perfect baby was going to get stuck with a needle. Thankfully I'm just super paranoid and that didn't happen. But when they pushed the needle into my uterus, a frenzy of cramps ensued. That was the worst part.

All I could think was ''THIS IS NOT WHAT A BEE STING FEELS LIKE.'' I'm not sure if it's because I had tensed up the way you would when getting any shot, or if it was just because they had to go through the abs of steel that are hiding under all of this baby fat, but it was not a painless experience like Google said it would be.

I'd like to take a second to rant about Google real quick. Anytime I google something that is going on with my body, I find out that I probably have some sort of cancer and that I shouldn't even be walking the earth because that's how close to death I will be if I don't seek medical attention within the next 30 seconds. Google has always freaked me out and told me ''Hey, this is gonna suck'' BUT IT LET ME DOWN THIS TIME. It said all of these things about an amniocentesis that made it seem like a walk in the park. Noooo sir. 

I walked out of there feeling like a complete baby because the cramps were so strong that I could not even keep my eyes open during the procedure. All I was aware of was that the moment the needle entered my uterus right next to Willow's head, my sister who was sitting in a chair next to the bed exclaimed ''Oh my god!'' and I was just ready for it to be over. They only took three viles of amniotic fluid. I am a wimp. 

They took me to a room and sat me in a chair just to monitor Willow's heart rate and make sure I wasn't having any contractions. I had to sit in the chair while they monitored us for about 20 minutes. It wasn't too bad. I was exhausted after the amnio anyways. I felt relieved because I could feel Willow kicking and although it hurt because my stomach was sore, it felt good to know she was alright.  

After it was over I was given instruction to go home and rest for 24 hours so of course I went to Chili's with my family and celebrated the fact that Willow has the cutest nose in the entire world instead. I just had a few cramps afterwards and they were mild. Today I feel a little sore where they put the needle but I think that's only because I tensed up. 

See? I wasn't lying. Cutest nose in the entire world!

So there it is! My (probably a tad over-dramatic) experience with an amniocentesis. 

I would like to point out once more that this was not something I would have done if I found out Ethan was not a carrier of CF. I'm not sure why anyone would get an amnio done unless they had something in their medical history that they felt would affect the baby. 

Now we're just playing the waiting game to find out the results. They should be in within 10-14 days. We're hoping that when the results come back, they will be in our favor. In the amazing words of Ethan, ''If she has CF, she will be taken care of. If she does not have CF, she will be taken care of.'' 

Waiting for the amnio to begin.
The room where I went to be monitored afterwards
Completely exhausted.
After the amnio Willow's heart rate was 141.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The fifth month is coming to an end!


Excuse the horrible camera-phone quality of the photo I used for this post! Unfortunately my amazing photog-sister can't follow me around everywhere snapping shots that look like they could be on the cover of a Nicholas Sparks book. Oh well! LOVE ME ANYWAYS.

The fifth month (Approximately 18 to 22 weeks) is coming to an end and I just wanted to shed some light on what's been going on with little Rosie this past month! Or at least what the baby book I've been fawning over says.

Week 18: 
At 51/2 inches long and about 4 ounces in weight (as much as a chicken breast, only way cuter) she is mastering hiccuping and yawning. I haven't felt any hiccups yet but according to What to Expect When You're Expecting, I should be expecting them soon! The neatest thing I read about her development in week 18 is that she now has her very own unique fingerprints on her little fingers and toes! How exciting!

Week 19:
She's hitting the growth charts at 6 inches long and a full half pound in weight. About the size of a large mango! I learned about Vernix caseosa. It's a protective substance that apparently looks cheesy. It's what covers her sensitive skin to protect her from the amniotic fluid she's floating around in. This way she won't have super wrinkly skin at birth. When I get closer to delivering, the coating sheds! But I read that sometimes babies that are born early are still covered with the substance when they are delivered. Kind of creepy to think about a newborn baby that looks like it's covered in cheese! As much as I love cheese, pregnancy is weird. Hold the cheese, please!

Week 20:
My belly is melon-sized now...but baby Willow is the size of a small cantaloupe! So about 10 ounces and 61/2 inches. Babies really DO grow super fast! At least time feels like it's flying by for me. Her uterus is fully formed now and her ovaries hold about 7 million primitive eggs. At birth, the number of eggs will be closer to 2 million. Her vaginal canal is starting to develop. If I had it my way, she wouldn't develop that until she's at least 30. *Pouts a little* Week 20 is when I started noticing movement extremely regularly. I can feel her twisting, turning, kicking, punching, and even what feels like she's doing cartwheels. She's quite the acrobat. Sometimes (usually after my stomach is full of food) I can see her moving through my clothes. Not a lot but enough for me to be able to look down and notice!

Week 21:
Baby Willow is 7 inches in lenth! (Think bananas.) And 11 ounces! To celebrate, I spent this week singing her the Banana Song from Despicable Me 2. *Ba na na, ba na na na* in the tune of the Beach Boy's classic ''Barbara Ann''. Although I should have spent the week eating tons of bananas because I learned that my amniotic fluid differs from day to day depending on what I've eaten. For me this means that she will most likely come out of the womb crying for coffee, not milk. She's also probably going to have the taste buds of a Mexican because spicy food is all I've been craving. She's also probably going to be a huge fan of Ethan's chili because let's be honest, it's the best. And my taste buds appreciated it at least 4 times this week because I made him buy double the ingredients and we had leftovers for days. Now that I know she is practicing swallowing and digesting my amniotic fluid, I should probably eat a little healthier. I don't think it's a good idea to have a baby that's cracked out on coffee. Oops! Her arms and legs are finally in proportion, so maybe at my next ultrasound she will look less like a teddy graham and more like a little human. Her neurons are now connected between the brain and muscles, and cartilage throughout her body is turning to bone. That explains why it feels like I'm being kicked by an extreme cyclist.

Week 22:
WE'RE NO LONGER TALKING OUNCES. She is a whopping weight of 1 pound and a length of nearly 8 inches. That means if she were a burger, she'd be THIS burger.
(Waiting for Fudruckers to contact me and thank me for featuring one of their burgers on my blog. I'll take payment in the form of sweat pants, please.)

Anyways, she has senses that are developing like crazy! So that means she can tough, see, hear, and taste. There's nothing for her to grab on to except for my umbilical cord, so that will have to do until she's clutching my fingers and pulling on my hair. (Woo, can't wait!) It's dark in the uterine cocoon and even though her eyelids are fused right now, she can perceive light and dark. If I shine a flashlight over my belly, she may react. I haven't tested this theory out yet but I'm going to at the end of the week. She can hear EVERYTHING, now. That includes mine and daddy's voice, my heartbeat, the whoosh-whoosh of my blood circulating through my body, gastric gurgles produced by my stomach and intestines, the dogs barking when we visit Ethan's parents, sirens, loud TV's, EVERYTHING! And as we mentioned in week 21, she can taste everything I'm tasting. (So no more salads for me!) 

We're super excited about little baby Willow Rose, who's getting less and less little every single day. (And so am I!) Thank you to everyone who is following us on this journey! 

Monday, December 15, 2014

I'm going to a CF center for the first time in over a year!

I had been so distracted lately by this pregnancy that I forgot about the fact that I still have a life threatening disease. I didn't start feeling real worry until I found myself getting out of breath doing simple tasks like picking things up off the floor or walking to other rooms in our apartment. My body isn't just my body right now, I'm sharing it with Willow. I expressed my concern to other CF moms and learned that I may have to be on oxygen during the pregnancy but I'm hoping that isn't the case.

I lost my health insurance a little over a year ago and just got it back because I am pregnant. I applied for it twice over the year and a half that I went without it and got declined twice for reasons that weren't made clear. I wouldn't have lost it in the first place, but my mother was angry with me so when something from my health insurance came in the mail that simply needed to be signed and sent off, she led me to believe that she would sign it but failed to do so. I now have health insurance and can see all kiiiiiinds of doctors if I'd like. My medicaid chose one for me by location closest to where I live so the other day, I went. I was shocked to find out that he had absolutely no idea what Cystic Fibrosis even is. CF is the most common genetic disease in Caucasians and he had no idea what it is. Several times during my appointment with him he made it a point to let me know that I ''look'' fine. Thanks, Doc. Great thing to tell someone who is fighting an invisible disease. I left his office frustrated that I had just wasted an hour for him to basically tell me he doesn't know what to tell me because he is not a pulmonary doctor. I understand that his job is to treat things as simple as the common cold, but I at least expected for him to be able to refer me to an adult Cystic Fibrosis center. I was just shocked. He said ''See you next time'' as I was walking out and I turned to my sister when we got outside and said ''Uh, there won't be a next time.'' This is my health we are talking about. I don't have time to be seen by a doctor who got all of his CF facts off of Google.

Because I did not have health insurance for over a year, that means that I have not been seen by any type of doctor. (Minus two trips I had to take to the E.R for coughing up blood) Cystic Fibrosis doctors, included. Which is very, very bad. There could be all kinds of things growing inside of my lungs that I don't even know about, but that's all about to change!

Today I called my old Cystic Fibrosis clinic and they were very pleased to hear from me. I explained my situation and they expressed deep concern and in a matter of just ten minutes, I had an appointment set up at my local adult CF center.

I'm a little sad that I will be attending a new clinic for adults as opposed to being treated at the children's clinic I was treated at ever since I was diagnosed at age 2, but being treated at a new clinic is way better than not being treated at one at all. I can't express the relief and excitement I feel that I will have a team of doctors by my side again making sure that every step is taken to ensure that I am healthy. I should have never lost that. But what is important is that I got it back. February 3rd is my first appointment and I am seriously counting down the days! The best part is that my same CF doctor will also be my primary care doctor so I won't have to worry about explaining my disease to multiple people and then hoping that the correct measures are taken, I will be in the best of hands.

I am so appreciative of my doctors at my old clinic who helped me so quickly and I'm looking forward to meeting my new ones and growing a relationship with each of them!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Taking the test: An entirely different test.

A few weeks ago my doctor offered to set Ethan up to get genetic testing done to see if he was a carrier of Cystic Fibrosis. Because I have CF, she will automatically be carrier. I knew that. But it all depended on Ethan. I wouldn't have been so worried about Ethan being a carrier, but there was the fact that his sister (who is also pregnant right now) was a carrier. I got to thinking and I began to worry that Ethan could be a carrier too so I thought hey, there's nothing wrong with knowing. So he did the genetic testing and then we played the waiting game for about a week and a half.

I was on the phone with my sister when Dr. Brody called. I didn't think anything of him calling because I have an appointment coming up and thought his office was just calling to confirm it. He let me know that Ethan's test came back positive and that he is a carrier. I think I may have went into shock.

Our little baby girl will either have CF.........or she won't.
Those are the only two ways to slice it, now. 50/50.

They explained that I need to make an appointment with a geneticist as soon as I can so we have a consult on January 6th where they will talk to us about everything and all of our options will be discussed. One of those options will most likely be amniocentesis. I told myself from the beginning that the only way I would get an amnio is if Ethan turned out to be a carrier.

Amniocentesis is a prenatal test that allows your doctor to gather information about your baby's health from a sample of your amniotic fluid. This is the fluid that surrounds your baby in the uterus. They take a sample of the amniotic fluid by inserting a needle into your stomach. This raises a few eyebrows because it is so invasive and creates a chance of there being a miscarriage.

Baby Center said this: The risk of miscarriage due to amniocentesis is low. Because a certain percentage of women will end up miscarrying in the second trimester anyway, there's no way of knowing for sure whether a miscarriage following an amnio was actually caused by the procedure.
Estimates vary, but according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the loss rate from the procedure is as low as 1 in 300 to 500 — and perhaps even lower if the doctor or center has a lot of experience performing amnios.

I realize a risk is a risk regardless of how big or how small it is. With that being said, I can't sit here and stress for the rest of this pregnancy about whether or not she is going to have CF. I want to enjoy being pregnant. Especially since we know now that there is a 50% chance every time and that's too much of a gamble. This may be my only pregnancy and I want to enjoy it and remember it as an amazing part of my life. It won't change a single thing if it turns out that she does have CF, but at least if I know before she is born then I will have a few weeks to find her a good CF specialist and a set of doctors that I know she'll be in good hands with. And if she doesn't have CF, I will be able to rest easy and fully enjoy those first newborn weeks with her as opposed to stressing after she's born about test results. 

She is ours no matter what and she will be perfect regardless. I just want to know before she is born so that Ethan and I have time to prepare ourselves mentally because I know from experience that if she has Cystic Fibrosis, she will have such a long road ahead of her. I feel happy knowing she already has so many people that love her and would do anything for her. Even in these hard times, we truly are blessed.

A special thank you to my family and Ethan's family. They have both been so encouraging when we need it the absolute most. We love you guys and without you, we would be completely lost. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Taking the test.

Honestly, there was nothing glamorous about how I found out I was going to be a mother. I didn't rush to the nearest store after missing my period and buy 10 pregnancy tests in hopes to see plus signs on all of them. Actually, I had been so busy that I didn't even realize I hadn't gotten my period for 7 weeks. Ethan didn't get some well thought out ''I'm pregnant!'' announcement. I remember waking up from a night of drinking wine on the beach and thinking ''WHY do I feel like Hell? I didn't even drink that much.'' and when my ''hangover'' went well into the next day, I knew. I kept thinking ''There's no way. I have Cystic Fibrosis.'' My doctors told me if I ever wanted to have children, I would have to see a fertility specialist. I can't be a mom right now. Well apparently Ethan has monster sperm that just break through uterine mucous because sure enough, the test I took at 11pm in the bathroom of Walmart (embarrassing) was positive.

My best friend Kat was visiting from Germany and since I was trying to show her a good ole' American time, there were copious amounts of alcohol and late nights with wonderful friends. I couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that I was actually pregnant. I thought my body was just stressed out because of the lack of rest and because I had been getting rowdy like a college student.

I confided in her first and foremost about the possibility of being pregnant and she didn't think it was possible, either. However, she was incredibly supportive that I wanted to take the test anyways. As was my big sister, who actually put away the glass of wine she had just poured and went with me to buy it and pretty much told me I was pregnant because I was reading the test all wonky. She has two children so she knows a thing or two about reading pregnancy test results. I also couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that she was excited. ''Don't you understand the possibilities and risks?'' She didn't care. There's this thing that happens when you become a mother and new life becomes a beautiful thing that is not to be feared.

I kept it together until we got to the car and my sister said ''Are you okay?'' I broke down. No I wasn't okay! All I could think was ''What if it has Cystic Fibrosis? What if my body isn't strong enough to have it? What if Ethan leaves me? Now when I think back to that last question I can't help but to feel a little guilty for not putting more faith into him. I texted him and made him aware of what was going on and told him I needed to see him and talk to him. When he showed up at my house and I got into his car, we didn't do a lot of talking. I didn't know what to say. I just knew that his arms felt safe and I wanted to be in them for a very, very long time. 

A few days later I went to a women's health clinic that just so happened to be against abortion. I thought I was going somewhere where I could take a test, vent a little, and then have all of my options told to me. Instead, I did all of that and got to see a sonogram of a 7 week blueberry sized thing inside of me. I got to hear it's little heartbeat that sounded like a train. I don't understand how people go through with abortions after seeing and hearing something like that. I can't say seeing it made me feel any less uneasy. I was still very afraid of everything that was happening and all of the changes I knew I would have to accept.

I have to be honest...abortion has always been something I have been against. Growing up, my biggest fear was finding out I couldn't have children someday. I was afraid I would fall in love with a wonderful person and want to create life with them, only to let them down upon the realization that I couldn't. But when I found out that I was pregnant, me, myself, all of the judgement I had ever passed down on someone who had an abortion became nonexistent. If it weren't for my sister, I probably would have opted for one. In the beginning, something I didn't want was growing inside of me and I wanted it gone. I'm so very glad that I kept it, because now I am at 19 weeks and on April 21st I will give birth to a beautiful baby girl and I will call her Willow Rose. In just a short amount of time, we have grown to love the little person that is growing inside of me. I've always been a maternal person, but I never realized the extent of it until I made being a mother my only option. I find myself singing to my tummy in the shower and I can't sing. I find myself staring at pie in the bakery of Publix, rubbing my hardly-pregnant-looking stomach and saying ''Apple or Pumpkin?'' and sometimes I tell her good morning and talk to her about all of the strange dreams she's making me have...and she isn't even here yet. I love someone SO MUCH who isn't even here.

I could never have an abortion.

I don't know what is going to happen, I don't know how healthy she is going to be or how healthy I am going to be, but we are hoping for the absolute best and oddly optimistic. Ethan is exuberant about being a parent. He rubs my stomach and says how excited he is and I know he's not just saying it. He takes amazing care of me and goes a distance that I know no one else would go just to make me happy. He's going to be an amazing father. That speaks volumes to me.

We're excited for this journey and prepared for anything that the universe throws at us.