Wednesday, June 27, 2012

29 weeks - Our trip to Missouri

29 weeks!
(May 20th)
Did you notice the venue change in the bump picture? That's because we were visiting Missouri this week!

We had such a great time visiting family in Missouri. It was so nice to have the whole week there. Usually it gets crazy running from one place to the next...going to see someone here then running straight to the next place to see someone else...then hanging out at my parent's house long enough to pack up our things and head back to the airport. Okay, so it's not really like that on our short trips but it can sometimes feel that way! The longer trips make it much more relaxing and we don't feel rushed to say hi and bye to everyone so quickly. The weather they were having while we were there was awesome! We pretty much spent most of our time outside doing something. I got to go on lots of walks on the trail behind the house with momma and my sisters, I think I went with someone (if not like 5 people) every day. Oh and I can't forget our constant trail companions Summer and Cali, my parents' couldn't go on the trail without them if you tried. It's probably one of my favorite things to do there. So nice to get out outside, breathe in some beautiful Missouri fresh air, and chat with my family. It makes me really really happy. :) Apparently I tire out a little easier when I'm carrying around an extra person....I laid down and/or took a short nap after all of our walks every day. It. Was. Glorious. :) Is it just me or is there something really special about napping on your parents' couch in the middle of the day? 

Momma also cooked lots of good food and we got to hit up some of the places I've been craving for a while. Remember my obsession with toasted raviolis and the trouble I was having finding them out here? Well I went straight to the source (the best source that is)....Tonanzio's. Oh mannnnn do they have yummy toasted raviolis! My parents just joined a country club so my dad and Chad golfed their balls off all week. (Their golf balls that is.) I think they went 3-4 different days and played at least 2 rounds every time. 

My awesome sister Amy did a fun maternity shoot with us one night. Coolest sisters in the world Tracy and Amy and my bf Melis threw me a baby shower. Seriously....this shower rocked. There were so many special little things about it!  (Maternity and shower pictures to come.) We fished. We went to a new winery that opened nearby. We drank sweet tea. Chad was spoiled by my mom making breakfast every day. (He's the breakfast maker in our house.) We sat in rocking chairs on the porch. Had a game night with friends. We went to Trops (virgin slushy for me!) and hung out on the patio. (Chad is borderline obsessed with the place.) Chad and I got our butts handed to us by Tracy and Amy and Mom and Dad while playing Pitch. (Card game.) Picked out some pretty flowers for my mom's porch at a greenhouse. Attempted to play with stray barn kitties at my grandparent's barn but couldn't get anywhere near them.....them cats was crazy!! Played fetch in the lake with Summer, Cali, and Girlfriend. Almost peed my pants laughing at the dogs getting everyone wet on the bridge every time they came out of the water. And probably my most favorite thing besides the super awesome baby shower.......I think just about everyone in my whole family got to "meet" the baby! I had a hand on my belly more often than not the entire trip out there. Which didn't bother me any, it was so fun for everyone to get a little "hello" from the baby. She was movin' and shakin' around all over the place and really showing off for her family. :) Of course everyone loved her immediately after the first kick/punch/nudge/roll so I can only imagine what she'll do to them when she's actually out here in this world to dazzle them. (In case you're wondering....yes, the baby is a girl today.)

Oh and I have to tell you about the quote my PaPa said the first time he saw me while we were there. He saw me and the belly in my shirt in all it's glory and laughed, looked at Chad and said "Boy, you sure did mess with her figure." It helps if you imagine this quote from a sweet man in cowboy boots, jeans, and a slow draw like every good ole midwestern boy should have. It was so much awesome I could barely stand it. He is the cutest man alive. Fact. 

I was horrible about taking pictures during our trip out there but I've included the ones I took below. I think I rely on Amy, our family photographer, for any and all pictures when I'm around her. As if it wasn't already assigned to you're welcome for giving you that title. :)

It was especially difficult and bittersweet leaving Missouri this trip. I was there during the last few weeks my doctor was comfortable with letting me fly and be so far away from home. It was the last time I would see most of my family before my entire world is changed. The last time they would see just Chad and Brooke and not Chad, Brooke, and ______. We will be a family of 3 next time we go back there. We will be parents to a real human. In just a short time I'll be bringing our 4 month old baby to the house and place I myself grew up. So very overwhelming and surreal to think about. Mix that up with all the hormones pumping through my body and the excitement I have to introduce my son/daughter to all of them some day.....and I cried. A lot. Cried when I said goodbye to each one of them. Crying again right now thinking about it. 

Whew...I gotta hold it together. I get to see my mom and Tracy today!! They're flying in to spend the week here and be here for the baby shower that my sister in law Donna is throwing for me and baby. :) I'm so excited! Our family from Chad's side (the ladies and our sweet niece and nephew) are coming up from Southern California so it will be so fun for everyone to be in one place at one time! Can't wait!!!

A few pictures from our trip...........

Probably took this from the porch with a glass of sweet tea in my hand.
This is Lucky, my mom's horse. She has quite a story. Lucky's mom died while giving birth to her. :( Colts and foals don't typically do well and rarely survive if they lose their mom. It was PaPa's friend's horse and when my mom found out he wasn't going to help the little foal and kind of let nature take it's course so to speak....she couldn't stand it. He gave her the horse, mom named her Lucky, and she bottle fed her back to health. It's a lot of work and you have to feed and give them medicine multiple times a day but mom was determined her Lucky Girl was gonna make it. And she did! Because of all the human interaction she got with my parents early on....Lucky is especially tame and gentle with people. She's so sweet.
Lucky's friends saying hello to us.
I forget this one's name but Chad liked her. I think it was because she's blonde.
We were attempting to feed the fish but it turned into playing fetch in the lake with the dogs. As you can see...there's not much room to move out of the way once the dogs come up to shake off. We all got wet in the process.
Summer and Cali packing in the ball together. Girlfriend (my aunt Betty's dog) looking on, waiting for one of them to lose a grip on it so she could be the one to bring it to us.
Not a bad place to watch a Missouri sunset, huh?
They were really showing off for everyone when we started cheering for them. It was hilarious.
This is actually where Chad and I were supposed to get married.....then it started dumping buckets of rain on June 12th, 2010 and ruined that idea....
So we got hitched in the barn. Which was perfect anyway.
Mom has 2 magnolia trees in the yard that put off the most amazing scent.....sooo pretty!
On a walk
Mom and her dogs on the trail

Friday, June 22, 2012

28 weeks - "It's not a tuma!" Well actually it is.

(May 13th)
28 Weeks! Look at us go!

In this post I will tell you about a few of my not so favorite things about being pregnant. Get excited. And for whatever reason they all decided to rear their pretty little heads around the same time.

As I mentioned, I'm backtracking on a few posts here so I'm looking back at my calendar to see what was going on during this time. Lots of fun stuff happened. I went to a Coldplay concert for free, went to a San Jose Giants game with friends, got the bed to myself again while Chad was away for a few nights, had friends visiting from SoCal stay with us, watched a couple of friends marry each other, worked on getting things done in baby's room, realized how close we are to the end of this whole pregnancy thing and got even more anxious and excited to meet this little person that's been kicking me for what seems like years now, almost barfed while getting my glucose screening test, was diagnosed as being mildly anemic, linea nigra showed up on my belly, developed a "pregnancy tumor" in my mouth, and paid $500 and got shots in my mouth to "help" said tumor that didn't actually help at all. Well I did say it was mostly fun stuff right? :)

Let's start with the not so good stuff and circle back to the more enjoyable things. I had my glucose test during that week which is something you get between your 26th-28th weeks. For this you just fast 12 hours before, drink a really sweet drink, and get blood drawn to test your glucose levels. This can tell you if you have (or are at risk for) gestational diabetes. Every woman I've spoke to about this told me it was a 1 hour test.....for whatever reason, my doctor's protocol just changed to a 2 hour test. There really wasn't much to it and I didn't mind the drink so much when it was going down. I've heard some women can't stand the taste of it. It tasted like a really sugary and flat orange soda to me. They did the initial draw before I drank it, I sat in the waiting room, drew more blood after an hour, and again an hour after that. Because I also did the SMA blood test at that time, when I left there I kind of looked like a drug addict that had shot up a lot recently. Between 30 minutes to an hour after the test I was not feelin so hot. My hands had the shakes, I had a pounding headache (the one that is literally pounding and you can feel your heart pulsing through your head), and felt really nauseous. The only thing really stopping me from barfing and getting it over with was the knowledge that if I did, I'd just have to come back another day and do it over again. So I took deep breaths and tried to keep my eyes closed. Not sure what it was but after the first hour I felt fine again. Pregnant or not, I don't really drink soda, caffeine, or much of anything besides water (unless I'm in Missouri where I can be found with an IV of my momma's sweet tea pumping into my veins). I'm thinking the jolt of all that sweet sugary stuff on an empty stomach is what did it for me. In fact now that I think about it, if I drink a whole can of soda I feel a little out of me a headache and I feel like I can't focus. So maybe that was it? For anyone doing it in the future, I definitely suggest making your appointment as early as you can in the morning (which I did) that way you can fast before going to bed at night and won't have to go throughout the day without eating. That made it much easier for me. Oh, and as an glucose levels came back normal so I'm good there. :)

Another thing they apparently tested for at the same time was anemia. My doctor told me at my next appointment that I was "mildly anemic" and needed to go on an iron supplement. Apparently this isn't a really big deal and they test this during your first trimester (which came back as normal levels) and again at the end of your second trimester (because it can change in between that time like mine did). It makes sense because there is more blood pumping the further along you get in the pregnancy. My first question was "does that mean the baby hasn't been getting what he/she needs in there?" And because I'm just mildly anemic the answer is basically means that baby is getting all of the supplements and nourishment he/she needs, it's just momma that suffers from the lack. Man, the feti (I love to call baby "the Feti") isn't even out in this world and already demands so much! :) So I've been taking iron pills daily since then and actually noticed a difference in my energy levels right away. I had been really dragging and tired during the couple weeks leading up to that and have felt much better since. Probably a good indication that it's helping. :) Several people told me that an iron supplement can make you constipated (something that's always freaked me out) but thank goodness I haven't had any situations in that department! I know, I'm glad you know that now too. :)

What the heck is linea nigra you ask? Well it's a "line" a few shades darker than your skin that can sometimes show up on your pregnant belly. For the women that get it, sometimes it just goes from their belly button down to the end of their uterus and a few lucky others get it below and above the belly button. I'm one of the lucky ones I suppose. :) Oddly enough, for me there's also a cute little circle that goes around my belly button too. Apparently this "line" doesn't have to be completely centered either because mine is just to the right side of my belly button. I think it bothers me more not because I have it, but because the damn thing isn't centered. It's so strange. Besides being a little annoying and not in the least bit attractive if you ask me....there aren't real side effects from having it and it's said to go away following the birth. There isn't a real reason you get it either, some women just do and some women just don't. I think I started noticing mine sometime around 17 weeks when I completely freaked out because I thought it was a huge stretch mark. I was just beginning to show signs of a belly at that time so the theory of it showing up because your skin is stretching is definitely not accurate. I did a little research, found that it actually had a name (linea nigra, although I'm still not sure how you pronounce that), and was happy to hear that it almost always goes away in the 1-12 months following giving birth. At that time it was just from my belly button down and Google searches told me an old wives tale says that's a sign of a baby girl. Fast forward a few weeks later (probably sometime around week 25 or something) I noticed a faint sign of my little line going from my belly button up as well. According to the old wives tale, I had at that time just sprouted a boy. 

Granuloma of pregnancy. Doesn't that sound pretty? It's actually just a dressed up name for a scary name, pregnancy tumor. And the scary name is not as bad as it sounds so that must be why someone insisted they give it a prettier name. I've read the pregnancy books and I know about all the crazy things and "side effects" you can get as a pregnant woman. Thank the high heavens I have actually been incredibly lucky with most things. Granuloma of pregnancy was one of those things the pregnancy books say you "could get but very few women do" and it takes up about a paragraph of space in one of the 593 pages of said books. Hooray for me not being in the majority, right? For lack of a better word, I noticed a little "bump" that I could feel on the right side of the roof of my mouth. Not sure what to think, I made a dentist appointment for a regular cleaning and to get things checked out. Here's where it gets a little sketchy because as Chad thinks, I "got upsold by the dentist." During my checkup I was told I had healthy teeth (no cavities, woohoo!) and gums and everything looked good..........BESIDES my little "situation" as I like to call it. The dentist freaked me out a little bit by saying it could be nothing at all, just a benign non-cancerous "tumor" and a side effect of pregnancy but there's also a small chance of it being cancerous and something that will need to be removed. If that wasn't enough she also said it could be some sort of infection that could spread to the rest of my mouth and make my entire mouth swollen and painful. She suggested they do a deep cleaning as soon as possible and if it was a sort of infection that should clear it up. Um, yes...please do that asap I said. Then I find out this lovely procedure will involve 2 appointments (one for each side of my mouth), I'll need local aesthetic (aka about 8 shots on each side), and will cost $250 each side WITH my insurance. I don't care I long as it takes care of this annoying situation in my mouth I say...

The first appointment was actually a cake walk. I didn't mind the shots in the least bit and was kind of giggling the whole time. What, you don't giggle when you're getting shot in the mouth with a needle? Oh, well I was giggling because I don't spend much time lying flat on my back (another thing the pregnancy books will tell you because it's not ideal for pumping plenty of blood to the baby) but I was lying fairly flat during the procedure. Baby was going nuts. NUTS. I think the little thing was so excited to have the kind of space I was giving him that he was just taking full advantage of the new position. I felt flips, rolls, turns, and everything in between. To feel a real human do a flip inside of you and know what it something pretty unexplainable. Anyway, after I was finished I asked if it was necessary to come back for the other side since she got the side with the "situation" on this visit. I was told they recommend getting both sides to "help protect the whole mouth." Alrighty I come back in 3 weeks with another $250 to give them and with the same small bump in my mouth. Not only did the first procedure not get rid of it, but in the middle of this appointment the dentist informs me that it looks like everything is fine and it's nothing to worry about and will disappear after giving birth. It'll just be something I have to deal with until then. (Later, a nurse told me "It's just one of those fun things you can get with pregnancy. I got varicose veins and got this.") I'm sorry....why couldn't you have told me that $500 and 16 shots ago? This appointment was not as much fun as the first. My belly was decidedly bigger this go around and no longer felt comfortable lying on my back. So they gave me a small pillow to prop under my belly and I positioned my lower half awkwardly to the side while my top half tried to remain straight. For whatever reason, this time the shots hurt going in and didn't really seem to numb everything like the first time. I was feeling a lot and finally spoke up and she gave me a few more shots to numb it up again. Well I didn't really feel like any of them kicked in until about 5 minutes before I was finished (it's about 45 minutes long) and then......I couldn't feel my face. The whole left side of my face felt completely paralyzed for like 5 hours after. Why couldn't that have happened during the hour I was sitting in the dentist chair? It did this weird thing to my nose where I felt like it was huge and swollen and didn't have holes in it to breathe through. I mostly panted like a dog the rest of the day. Which isn't all that different from being pregnant and short of breath anyway, so it was fine.

For the actual fun stuff that are a few picture recaps....

I seriously love Coldplay. Their music makes me so happy. They were really great live, the passion and energy they put into their music is so awesome to see. I thought for sure baby would be going crazy in my belly during all the loud music at her first concert...but shockingly enough she didn't really move a muscle the entire time. Does this mean she'll sleep through anything? Goodness I hope so. Chad and I are loud people. And she'll be an infant during football season this year. And if you've ever watched a game with Chad and his brother'll know why it's important that she sleep through the loudest noises you've ever heard.
Here's me and baby Kendall during the San Jose Giants game (minor league baseball). She wasn't a huge fan of the bright sun in her face...but look how sweet she is!
Maria and I walking into the game with big sis McKenna. :)
I mean really....McK is so "tute!"
You may be asking yourself...."What in the hell is going on here?" Well this is after the game at Mark and Maria's house when I was snuggling with sleeping Kendall (is there anything better than a sleeping baby on your chest??) and Baby J was going crazy in my belly. I'm actually surprised it wasn't waking Kendall up. Pretty funny to think about Kendall's future little buddy saying hi to her before he/she was even out in this world!  Anyway, Maria had yet to feel Baby J kick so she had to sneak her hand in an inconvenient place to feel. As you can tell, I don't think Kendall minded. And don't worry, baby has said hello to "Auntie Madia" lots of times since this picture! :)
I had Brittany take this picture of Kendall because I remembered a similar picture I took about 2.5 years ago with her big sister....
2.5 years earlier with (now big sis) McKenna. Laukat's make cute babies. Fact.
Umm Brit and Madia.....apparently we didn't take any pictures of the three of us.

Chad and BF Justin at Kurt and Kristin's wedding
Kristin the beautiful bride coming down the aisle
LOVED their yellow and black colors and all the pretty tulips everywhere
Kurt and Kristin Haygood :)
Me and my baby daddy
Super cute centerpieces. And they had custom golf balls and tees with their monogram as wedding favors.
Too bad half of Randi's face is blocked in this picture cuz it's real cute!
There may have been a little drinking during the reception... 
Perhaps you remember my obsession with getting Dave to kiss me on the mouth? I've blogged about it before, no big deal. Anyway, still no luck on that front but he'd had enough drinks for someone to convince him to kiss the "baby". 
Well sort of. He kind of just licked my belly. But it's basically the same thing. You can see I was excited.
I kinda love this man.
Chad and Asian lover.
Here we are at the photo booth. In case you can't read the sign I'm holding, it says "I am the only sober one." 100% fact. 
There's so much to love about this picture but perhaps my favorite aspects are...Randi's bonnet, Matt taking a short nap, and the MJ glove "holding" the baby.
The boys with the groom. These boys have known each other a LONG time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

27 weeks - SMA Carrier Test

(May 6th)
27 weeks! I have some serious catching up to do on these weekly updates so I'll be back tracking for a bit. But it's funny that when I uploaded the picture above I actually laughed out loud at how small my belly looked then (6 weeks ago) compared to what it looks/feels like now. And I'll probably be laughing again in another 6 weeks!

This week I was in the lab for some regular end of 2nd trimester screening. In addition to the regular glucose test and anemia check, I also chose to be tested for the Spinal Muscular Atrophy carrier gene. As I've spoke about a few times on here, SMA Type 1 is the genetic disease Avery was diagnosed with at 5 months old. Sweet baby girl lost her fight on April 30th, about a month after she was diagnosed. As I've learned, there are several types of SMA and unfortunately Avery had the meanest of them all. Avery continues to live on in a lot of hearts and minds, including my own, but her memory will also live on in the spreading of awareness of SMA. I must pass on the post Mike and Laura wrote after her celebration of life. Mike included the eulogy he delivered which was absolutely beautiful. Click here to read it. I was reading it at work and had to stop several times so I could wipe my tears and come back to it so I didn't look like a hot mess during working hours. My cousin Lacey who was in attendance said the whole day was one of the most powerful and moving things she's ever witnessed.

In honor of spreading Avery's message, I want to share my experience in talking with my doctor about SMA testing as well as getting the testing itself. When I went to my doctor for a regular yearly exam back in July or August-ish I mentioned to her that my husband and I would like to start trying to conceive (or not not-trying as we liked to call it.) After the appointment she sent me home with a small box of genetic testing if I wanted to do it. She explained to me that this was a voluntary test that I send in the mail after swabbing my mouth and Chad's mouth. Because it's not mandatory, she said it usually isn't covered by most insurance. After finding out from my insurance that it would be all out of pocket (between $800-$1,000 out of my pocket to be exact!), we decided not to do it. Around 4-5 months later, Chad and I were in her office for my first prenatal appointment. :) Again after the appointment and her confirmation of my pregnancy, she gave us the same little box. I told her my insurance didn't cover it and I didn't think we were going to do it. She reassured me I would be doing standard first trimester blood screening that "checks the most common things" and most people don't get the extended testing for the same reason we had decided not to.

After that first appointment, my doctor sent me with paperwork to a diagnostics lab for blood work in the "regular 1st trimester screening." I've never been great with giving blood....I'm fine with the needle and drawing of the blood as long as I don't look at it....but I always seem to get very lightheaded and come close to passing out once I'm finished. What's giving a small vile of blood? Well....turns out they actually needed a little more than one small vile...I counted 16. This probably wouldn't have been an issue, but I came straight from my doctor's office which was running about an hour behind schedule and hadn't had anything to eat in around 5 hours. I asked for a trash can to barf in around vile #10 (which I never actually used), started getting tunnel vision around #13, and according to Chad I turned 5 shades of yellow around #15. The guy drawing the blood was really nice and kept trying to talk to me but I just wanted to take "a little nap." After he was finished, him and Chad practically carried me into another room where I laid down on a cot and immediately felt better and finally got some blood pumping back to my face over the next ten minutes. It was in that moment that I panicked that I was "not going to be good at this whole pregnancy thing if this is how it's gonna start." haha. Lesson learned: Do not go hours without eating a snack. Period. But especially not if you are in your first trimester, feel nauseous most of the time anyway, and are getting an undisclosed amount of blood drawn.

Fast forward four months to hearing of Avery's condition and I'm in my 2nd trimester. Wanting to learn more about it from my doctor I asked her if that was one of the things tested during any of my screenings. Here's the condensed response I got from her: The SMA carrier gene is not something that is tested during regular screening, however it is one of the tests they run when you swab your mouth and send it in my mail. (Remember, the one that costs $800-1,000?) She says they test just about everything in that kit. She told me she's been in her practice for 15 years and when she first started out they did 1-2 different kinds of testing during the regular (ie: insurance covered) first trimester screening and now they're up to 13-16. She didn't explain exactly how a test becomes part of the regular covered screening but made it sound like once a specific condition is getting more and more publicity and people are asking for it more could be put on the list as well. Armed with that info and in honor of Miss Avery, Chad and I decided to get the blood test to find out if I'm a carrier. My doctor gave me paperwork to take to the lab the following week when I went in for my glucose tolerance test. (More on my glucose test in the next post.) It's only a tiny vile of blood they send off for a quick test to find out if I'm a carrier of the gene.....what's complicated about that? Let me tell you what's complicated about that....the cost of it is outrageous. I found out the tiny little vile of blood for testing costs $1,740. $1,740. Can you believe that? Fortunately my insurance covers 90% of anything I get during prenatal appointments (until I reach the out of pocket max then it's 100% but I haven't reached it yet), so the test ended up costing us $174. I still can't really wrap my mind around the fact that they can actually get away with charging that much. But I don't need to go into health care in America....this post is long enough. Had that result came back positive, Chad would then need to be tested to see if he is also a carrier (both parents have to be carriers for the gene to be passed) and since he's on a different insurance who knows how much that would have cost.

I'm happy to report the test came back negative and I'm not a carrier of the SMA gene. For those of you wondering what we would have done had we found out both Chad and myself are carriers, the answer is simple. Absolutely nothing. It would have just given us a heads up for when the baby arrives for signs to be aware of as well as being armed with that information in subsequent pregnancies/babies.

Thinking of you today baby Avery. Lots of love and snuggles from CA.