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.