"Oh, we're halfway there
Whoa oh, livin' on a prayer
Take my hand, we'll make it I swear
Whoa oh, livin' on a prayer"
Our past 2 weeks...
Once you tell everyone your pregnancy news, the next question, "Are you hoping for a boy or girl?". Secretly many of us envision life with one or the other and ultimately we are all really hoping for a healthy baby. I couldn't help but picture Easton with a little brother that could play in the dirt with him. And I also could help but envision our family with a little girl. Later once you find out the gender the rest of your life is planned (it's just the way a woman, or my, mind works). The great debates and promises that you make to yourself are a bit ridiculous. I would say, "Either way this baby will sleep", after the struggles we've had with Easton. Or should I use Easton's crib? Do we want the nursery modern or vintage? Do I want a natural childbirth? And then reality slapped us in the face.
I started wishing all I had thought of was "healthy baby, healthy baby". We received a phone call from the OB after completing the "recommended" first and second trimester prenatal screens. Obviously, negative news. The Dr. read, "Your numbers indicate the baby is at risk for neural tube defects, your AFP is elevated". The tears start rolling. This precious chubby faced little baby that I am envisioning might not even get to enjoy her nursery, or ever play with her brother, she might never even get the breath of life. The hardcore praying began. The regret of even thinking about how this baby would sleep torn my heart apart. I started begging for precious life for this baby, that she was healthy, I apologized and pleaded to God and said I could handle a bad sleeper, I don't care what kind of birth I have, I will not even think of moving Easton to a toddler bed...those things don't matter anymore.
I went into work 2 hours after receiving the news. I'm at a new job and don't have a support system to even openly share that I am pregnant. The next morning I walked to the high risk office just to see if I could sneak in an early morning appointment, they weren't open. I called and left a message. I called hours later and finally spoke to someone. They tell me, "In order to get further testing you must meet with a genetic counselor provided by the state because this is part of a State run test. Our next availability is in almost 2 weeks away." Ha, and I thought I could walk over and sneak in an early morning appointment, who do I think I am?
Tears, prayer, research and the support of my husband and family made me at some sort of peace. I was only prepared for good news. Every bit of research reassured me that these results mean I am "at risk" it's not a diagnosis. I had glimpses of quitting my job, being forced to sell our home, having to neglect my first-born in order to provide 24 hour care to my second-born. I had to debate in my mind whether life is better going straight to heaven after birth or having immediate surgery, followed by more surgery and a short life of struggles and sickness. As if these are topics I am in control of. I kept reminding myself, God is in control, not me and it doesn't matter what answers I come up with.
After the long wait we walked into the office and waited for the genetic counselor. Our options were provided. We chose the high level ultrasound with having the option to change our mind and get the amniocentesis if anything alerted the perinatologist. Anything above 2.5 is elevated, I resulted 2.52. Statistically babies with spina bifida or anencephaly are in the 7-9 range (per Dr. Gooogle).
The perinataolgist completed the ultrasound. Every body part was examined and reexamined and she would reassure us this is a completely normal spine or brain or stomach etc. This baby was cleared. Normal ventricles, completely normal brain, normal GI tract, kidneys are there. Blood is flowing through the heart and umbilical cord the way they should be. She is perfectly healthy, no abnormalities. No amniocentesis recommended.
The best news. Our sweet baby girl is okay. Reality checked in with me. Life can and will go on. I can't imagine any other news, I can't believe that some people do get that news. Obviously God gives them the power and strength to live and handle that and I am so thankful and feel oh so blessed that he did not need to give me that strength too.
I may have a natural birth, or not. She may be a good sleeper, or not. She may be a rockstar breastfeeder, or not. I may not get the double stroller I think I need. As long as she is healthy and I am healthy throughout this process I will let everything else take its course and deal with it then.