Friday, July 30, 2010

Daughters and Toes

I hold my big toes up. I don't why, but frequently, my big toes are lifted up, higher than the others, pointing toward the sky. I never even realized that I do this until about 9 years ago when Ed noticed it, bent down and pushed a toe down. I do it so frequently that I once bust thru a pair of loafers.

My big toes are serious and should not be trifled with... but contrary to my husband's opinion, they are NOT indicative of having hobbit feet.

Anyway, when I delivered Chloe, they swept her away before I had a chance to see her. Our labor had been unconventional and lasted 39 hours from the time my membrane ruptured until she actually arrived. By the time she did make an appearance, they had assembled a small army of pediatric doctors in the corner of our room to stand by and make sure that she was ok. When they did all their tests and finally handed her to me, I saw that her big toe was held up, pointed toward the sky. I exclaimed, "Ed, her big toe is pointed up! She's my baby!"

Today, I discovered the most wonderful thing.

Amber has our toe.

The anatomy scan at 20 weeks is a really long ultrasound because they are measuring each tiny part of the baby and many parts of the mommy, too. So, I made it dry-eyed thru the four chambers of her heart beating, the umbilical cord connecting us, the kidneys, the fingers, the legs, the brain stem, the spine... and when we made it to this foot, that's when I started to cry.

We got our good news last week that everything is ok, but I didn't realize until today that in my secret heart, I didn't believe them.

When I saw that toe and paired it with the fact that she was swimming ALL OVER the place and kicking her feet and waving and when I saw this beautiful profile with the darling button nose:

I realized that my Amber is ok. She's my baby.

And I realized that my Aunt Joanne was right. When she heard my fears of "What if I don't love this baby as much as I love Chloe? What if Chloe and I have a special relationship that I don't feel for this baby?" she assured me that all mothers worry like that... and all mothers are delighted when they find out that their fears were groundless.

Years ago, there was a sitcom with Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser called "Mad About You" and they went thru an extensive process about how to name their new baby. They picked an awful name, let's be honest. I mean, it sucked. But the sentiment, I have discovered is true.


Mommies always bring extra love.

(Ok, cheesy. But, I have a million hormones running thru me and right now, it feels profound. Leave me alone.)

As for us, I called Ed after the ultrasound with the words, "AMBER HAS THE TOE" and he was understandably like, "whaa?"

"Amber has the toe - Chloe's and my toe. She has it! And she's so beautiful and she's fine. She's totally fine. She's our baby. She's perfect. She's beautiful. She's totally fine..." etc. to which he replied, "And so the reason that you are crying is that you are happy, right? And everything is ok? You're just really happy, right?"

I sure am.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Chloe Post: We Have SO Many Photos to Share

Wow! We are so busy - we have a back-log of photos to share.

Last week, I discovered the wonders of carbohydrates. Mommy and Daddy said this confirms I am their child. I heart pasta. Spoons are still challenging, though.

On Sunday, Mommy and I went to visit Aunt Diane and Uncle John at the beach. Don't I look pretty in the outfit Aunt Diane got me a few weeks ago? You can't see it in this photo, but I am showing you that this is where cats live. I tried to coax Midnight out for the picture, but he sometimes forgets that he and I are special good friends. I meow at him and bring him mouse toys to try to get him to remember, but he's not all that smart.

Here I am helping Aunt Diane put up the umbrella - it's a good thing that I had my shovel!

I played with these big girls on the beach. They shared their toys with me and I shared my water wheel with them. Mommy said that they are super smart to bring this baby pool, so next summer we are going to get a small baby pool for the beach! I love the watey, but it's a little scary all out there in the big ocean. I went in a couple of times, but this is a little more my speed... at least for now.

On Monday, I was a very good girl at the doctor. They don't make me wear a hospital gown, but they left the cabinet open (Mommy said it's their own fault) so I borrowed this one. We put it on the ground and did some yoga while we waited, but then I got bored. Mommy showed me how I could wear this like a queen. I walked up and down the hall, greeting other babies in my ceremonial robes. I am very polite that way.

Friday, July 23, 2010

On Exhaling

The week before the July 4th weekend, I was having a really rough week. I was feeling very stressed at work, it was so hot, I wasn't sleeping well. To top it off, I kept having really bad stress dreams. Things I don't want to type for fear it will set them into motion. So, I guess it's no surprise that in the middle of that week, I woke up from a sound sleep in the middle of a ridiculous panic attack, which sent us scrambling to the ER at 11.30 at night.

I've never experienced a panic attack before (and would love to avoid them in the future), but it wasn't the first thing that was different about this pregnancy. I've felt all the things you expect - the exhaustion, the overheating, the heartburn. But this time, I had more nausea, continue to have more food aversions and then this panic attack.

The next day, I planned to alternately work and sleep from home and just as I was about to lie down for a rest, my cell phone rang. Our genetic counselor was calling to say that on my second blood screening, our risk factor had changed for the worse for having a baby with Down's Syndrome (Trisomy 21). The odds were still on our side with a less than 1% chance of it happening, but if I did want to have an amnio, she had scheduled one for the next afternoon.

As Ed so rightly pointed out, we were still in the information gathering stage, but I fell apart anyway. Was this why this pregnancy felt different? What if my panic attack was caused for a good reason? And of course, that nagging thing that lives in the back of every mother's head and heart at all times: did I do something to hurt my baby?

I had never wanted an amnio. The process felt alien and wrong to me. And I planned to never get one... unless my genetic screening gave reason for alarm. Then, of course, you are confronted with all the thoughts surrounding your pro/con list, the biggest of which being: "What will I do with this information once i have it?"

Let's get two things straight right now:

1) I am pro-choice. Always have been, likely always will be.
2) I *hate* the idea of having an abortion.

I know that some people would abort after getting results that show any of the Trisomy conditions and I'm not in a position to judge them or say what's right. I can only speak to what would be right for me. And the "quickening" started with this baby around 16 weeks. I can feel the baby. The other night, I got a small kick and I tapped back and got another kick in response. It's my baby.

So, why find out at all? Why risk introducing infection and the chance (albeit slim) of a miscarriage? I think just so I could have a better chance at sleeping thru the night without anymore panic attacks. And so I could feel relief flood thru me when my incredibly favorable odds did in fact work in my favor... or so that I could rally my troops and set up all forms of support for our family if those odds worked against me.

I didn't really realize how long I'd been holding my breath or how possible it was to walk around and live your life while the odds are playing themselves out in a petri dish I don't get to see or examine.

And I know that I am incredibly lucky in my life. I have a husband who is incredibly wonderful at supporting a pregnant wife... those that know him might not realize how in tune he is to everything that is happening in my body or how well he knows how to support me when I'm guilt-ridden or crazy or crying or screaming. I think seeing him in the day-to-day, you don't get to see all the gentle, beautiful things that live and breathe inside him. And I do. And that makes me lucky.

Plus, we have good jobs, great benefits and a house we're working the kinks out of slowly but surely. In this day and age, so many people don't have any of those things. And that makes me lucky.

And of course, we have Chloe. I don't know if she is the most beautiful, smartest, silliest, sassiest, coolest 18 month old on the planet or if Ed and I just think she is... but we do think she is and we get to be her parents. And that makes me so lucky.

Did I really deserve to get lucky AGAIN? After finding my soul mate, marrying a little later in life and having a baby late in life who was completely healthy, do I really get to be that lucky for a second time? When so many others don't?

I don't know how or why it is possible that I should be... I just thank the good Lord that I am.

Amber Katherine has 46 chromosomes in every single cell and no sign of anything wrong with her at all. And that makes me lucky.

(P.S. I probably should have said that 46 chromosomes is the "normal" number for each cell - I forget that not everyone is reading about this stuff as obsessively as we are. LOL)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Chloe Post: "I Partied with Chuck E"

Mommy and Daddy have been sleeping downstairs on the pull out couch for weeks now. Daddy is fixing their bedroom and no one is allowed in until it's all finished. I've tried to get in there, but he's tricky. I have no idea what he's doing.

On Saturday morning, when I woke up, Mommy said that I was ready to set the world on fire! I was ready to G-O GO. Mommy thought I would watch Elmo quietly and let her go back to sleep with Daddy, but that didn't really work out as she hoped. Daddy was still sleeping and Mommy said it was too hot to play upstairs so I didn't know what she wanted to do.

She kept muttering, "Some place with air conditioner. Some place cheap... but definitely air conditioner..."

She looked on Daddy's computer for awhile and then said, "Ok, Chloe - let's go. Get in the car."

We drove for a little while and then we parked some place I have never been before. And we walked into some place I had never seen before. And when we got all the way inside, I said, "oh!" There were lots of lights and music and brightly colored things and Mommy said I could run around.

We got some money that Mommy said was not really money and then we plugged it into machines that did things. My favorite was Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift. Unfortunately, there is no photo of this because I had to sit on Mommy's lap while we played. She did the pedals and I steered. We crashed.
A lot.

Mommy said these types of things were made exactly for me. There were three cars like this, but I preferred this one because it was broken. I don't like it when they move. Also, this is Chuck E Cheese. I liked sitting with him. We took a break and Mommy took me into a room where another, much bigger Chuck E Cheese was singing songs on stage with his friends. It was so cool!

I did not like this ride AT ALL. I made Mommy get me off of it and then the ride yelled at her because we interrupted it mid-stream. I didn't care.

This photo illustrates Mommy being negligent and leaving me to my own devices whilst she won tickets playing Skee-Ball.

After we used all the fake-money, Mommy ordered me a little pizza for lunch. It was SO yummy! I ate a lot!! Then she bought me a balloon, which I clutched in my hand the whole ride home... even though I fell asleep. After my nap, Mommy set up my pool so I could play in the watey. What a great day!!!

P.S. from Mommy: At 9.30 in the morning, you have almost all of Chuck E Cheese to yourself. I paid $10 for 50 tokens which kept us busy for about 1.5 hours. I paid $7.75 for a small pizza and a drink which we shared for lunch. I paid $2.11 for a balloon.

$20 for 2 hours of air conditioned fun equaling a kid who was so tired that she slept the whole way home, slept thru me getting her out of the car, into the house, up the steps, out of her shoes, into her crib and stayed asleep for almost 2.5 hours.

I heart Chuck E Cheese.

Friday, July 16, 2010

BT2 and Mommy at 18 Weeks

Mel: "Hey, are you sure there aren't twins in there?"
Me: "Hey, are you sure I shouldn't kick you in the shins right now?"
Just teasing, Mel! Thanks for taking the photo!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Chloe Post: The Dentist

Today, Mommy took me to the dentist for the first time! It's very confusing at the dentist. Usually, Mommy and I brush my teeth in the morning, so I was confused as to why some lady in a mask needed to do the same thing! However, I got a very cool new toothbrush, so I was ok with it... the first time! Then, another lady came in and tried to do the same thing! How many times do teeth really need to get brushed in a one hour time span? The ladies also looked in my mouth with a mirror (which no one let me keep) and counted my teeth. They said my teeth looked really healthy and they said how pretty I am.

When you go to the dentist, you have to fill out a lot of forms. Mommy helped me with the writing. She said, "do you use any recreational drugs?" and everyone in the waiting room laughed.

Mommy and I sat in this big chair for the hygenist and the dentist to look at my teeth. I brought along Baby Bear for moral support. He can't really relate, though.

He has no teeth.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

BT2 at 16 Weeks

This shot of BT2 was taken on July 2nd, but I finally got it scanned in and uploaded. We should know soon (when we get the results from the amnio), but everyone agrees that it's looking like Chloe will have a little sister!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Chloe Post: Shopping with Miss Stella

On Monday, I got a really neat surprise - not only did I have an extra day with Mommy and Daddy, but when I woke up, Mommy announced that we were going to go shopping and have lunch with Miss Stella.

"Tella! Tella!"

I was so excited!!!

We had a really good time - I got a new outfit with a purple tutu and new pajamas and we went to Ruby Tuesday. Ladies lunching.

It was so fun and I was so happy to see Miss Stella!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fourth of July: Watey!

When I said to Chloe, "We're going to see Aunt Jo-Jo," she looked at me and said very seriously, "Watey." Yes, Aunt Jo-Jo is our key to the swim club, so we enjoyed the 4th of July with some refreshment, good company and yummy food.

*Special thanks to Kate, our special helper for the day. Mommy was in need of some assistance and Kate was awesome!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Chloe Post: Happy Independence Day!

Our nation's founding fathers were a bunch of beer-drinking wild eccentrics who dared to say ENOUGH to crazy, maniacal King George. In support of their daring rebelliousness, I present CRAZY HAIR - my own way of celebrating the 4th of July.

Bring on the 3 day weekend!!!

And find a brush, Mommy, for the love of John Hancock.