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.