These past 6 weeks have been quite a whirlwind for our family. We have had some very difficult and uncertain days, but we received some very good news this past weekend. It’s kind of a long story, but I want to share it here because I want our baby to one day know what a miracle he or she is.
Early July I went for my first ultrasound to determine how far along I was and when the due date would be. At that ultrasound, the nurse found that I was 10 weeks and everything looked good except for extra fluid along the spine at the base of the neck (called an increased nuchal translucency). This was new to me and I had no idea what it was, but she explained that sometimes it can be nothing, but that it is a marker for a chromosomal abnormality (either Trisomy 21, which is Downs, or Trisomy 18 or 13, which are fatal). Her words immediately brought back memories of another July twenty-two years ago. I had a baby brother, John Christopher, who was born when I was 6 years old with Trisomy 13. He lived for just 40 minutes after birth. I remember that time in my life very vividly, and so I was of course very scared. We were referred to have early screening and a special ultrasound done on July 19 where they would more accurately measure the nuchal fold. It was a long 2 week wait, which is why Luke sent me and the girls out to Oregon to visit my parents and grandparents! A much needed distraction!
So, fast forward to that ultrasound…they found that yes, there was definitely increased fluid there (3mm instead of the normal 1 -1.5mm) and after analyzing my bloodwork (very low hcg and Pappa-A proteins), they determined that I had a very high risk of the baby having Down syndrome. Normal risk is 1 in 1000 for a 28 year old mom. They get concerned when the risk comes back as 1 in 220. My risk was 1 in 5. Similarly my risk of having a fatal trisomy was 1 in 75 (normal is 1 in 2500). They suggested that I have further testing done and gave me some options (Amnio, CVS, or a brand new test called the Harmony Test). We knew that amnio and CVS have a risk of miscarriage, and we didn’t want to do those, but this new Harmony test is amazing! All they have to do is take blood from me, and then they send it away to some lab somewhere where they can actually separate the fetal blood cells out of my blood and can do a chromosomal analysis. So, we definitely went with that option. It took almost two weeks to get those results back (a very long two weeks), but they came back Friday and everything is normal!
To be quite honest, we really felt like God had been preparing us over the last 6 weeks to really face some difficult things but we knew that whatever it was, he would bring us through it. So truthfully we were very surprised when things came back normal. Honestly, while Downs would have been a difficult thing to learn how to handle (especially if the baby had more medical complications as a result), we really felt like we were becoming as prepared as possible for something like that. I was mostly scared to death that it would be either Trisomy 13 or 18. Obviously, for my sake, and Luke’s, but especially for Anna Kate. She had no idea that anything was ever wrong and I just don’t know how in the world we would have explained that to her (and Caroline too, but AK understands so much more).
So really, we probably will never know if there ever was something wrong that God miraculously healed, but either way, we are thanking him for a healthy baby and praying that this baby would continue to grow and develop normally! This baby is already our miracle baby, whether because of a miraculous healing, or because of how God has already used him or her to increase our faith and to grow us in our trust in and dependence on our all-powerful God.
Here is a picture of me and baby number 3 yesterday at 18 weeks, 2 days.
As for how I've been feeling....
I definitely have had the morning/all-day sickness just as bad this time (if not worse). I finally gave in and have been taking a prescription to help with it as needed. I am just starting to feel the sickness subside, though, for which I am very grateful!
Although I have never been much of a napper, I definitely have been needing a 20-30 minute nap in the afternoons. It's pretty hard to make it through the rest of the afternoon if I don't get that. Thankfully, Caroline gives me about a 3-hour break in the afternoon, and AK sleeps for 1.5 hours and then reads for another 30 minutes in her room. So I do get some downtime.
I feel like I started "showing" with this baby much earlier than I did with Anna Kate and Caroline. I felt like I looked pregnant at 9 or 10 weeks! Unfortunately, I've been terrible about taking pictures...
I first felt baby moving right at 16 weeks. Way earlier than my first two! I felt AK around 21 weeks and Caroline around 19 or 20. But this baby certainly lets me know that he or she is in there and active! I feel little flutters and kicks multiple times a day.
It has been so fun to see how excited and interested Anna Kate and Caroline are about the the baby. Anna Kate is so thoughtful and sweet and is constantly telling me things like, "I think you need to sit down and rest or else you and the baby are going to be too tired." She also brings me cups of water (completely unprompted) throughout the day, saying, "Here, you and the baby need some water." Caroline is also very excited and loves to give the baby hugs and "tisses".
Well, I think that's about it for now. Our next big appointment is on September 13 where we should be able to find out if we're having baby girl #3 or baby boy #1! The poll is now open for guesses!