Want to leave a comment, but don't have a Blogger account? No problem. Click on the comment section for the post that you would like to comment on, and select 'Anonymous.' (Just make sure to leave your name so we know who you are!!)

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Jeff and I will be walking with other members of Team Graciebelle on April 24th to raise money for the March of Dimes in memory of Gracie. We have set a realistic goal of raising $300 for this very worthy cause. If each of my Facebook friends, each of my blog friends and each of Jeff's Facebook friends donate just $2.00, we could collect a total donation of more than $800 (in addition to donations from friends and family who are not FB and blog addicts.) To make a donation, click on the widget in the top left corner of the page. :-)

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I had a voice mail from one of the physicians in my OB practice yesterday afternoon requesting that I call him 'to discuss some stuff'. I knew what this meant, even before I returned the call. I knew what it meant the minute I saw the number on the call history on my cell phone. It meant that there had been some kind of 'hit' on the first trimester screen that we had done last Monday.

We are essentially right back to where we started with Gracie...the screening showed the odds of Jellybean having Down Syndrome to be 1 in 39. Again, it is just a screening, but this screening is becoming to be more and more accurate...to the point of being about 90% accurate in detecting DS. My OB had me talk with the Maternal Fetal Medicine group from Harrisburg that sees patients in our OB office twice a month; ultimately, I ended up talking with a genetic counselor for quite some time yesterday evening and this morning.

Our concern at this point is not really whether or not Jellybean has Down Syndrome, but getting to the bottom of the underlying issues (assuming that Jellybean does have DS...and assuming that the 99% certainty that Gracie had DS is correct). Once you have a DS baby, the odds of having another rise to 1%. Many second cases are simply flukes, but many are actually genetically predisposed. (I know that this may seem kind of obvious, but for further explanation of what I'm trying to say please check out Translocation Down Syndrome.) The genetic counselor's main concern at this point is helping us determine if one of us is carrying a chromosomal translocation that potentially predisposes our children to Down Syndrome.

The first step in her 'plan' is determining whether or not Jellybean has DS. In order to do this, she initially wanted us to have chorionic villus sampling done to determine the presence of DS. For several reasons, this would have to be done tomorrow or Monday, and we would have to travel to Harrisburg to have it done at their main office. We can get the same information from an amniocentesis, the risk for lost pregnancy is less with amniocentesis, and we could have an amnio done in Lewisburg instead of Harrisburg. So...CVS was immediately ruled out. We are still on the fence about the amnio. I really don't want to do it, but I honestly don't think I can wait until September or October to have answers to all of this. The plan at this point is to schedule the amnio now, simply because it won't happen for another 2-3 weeks anyway. That gives us time to talk to more people and gather more information. If we get information that seems positive and encouraging, we can always cancel the amnio.

I posted some questions on a couple Down Syndrome forums today, and one of the mothers suggested that Jeff and I have chromosomal analysis done without doing the amnio. If one of us tests positive as a carrier for a translocated chromosome, we can pretty much just assume that Jellybean does have DS. I like this option MUCH better, but I am already in the middle of a power struggle with my insurance and I suspect that the genetic testing may not be covered without the supporting affirmative diagnosis of Down Syndrome via CVS or amnio. But it is certainly worth investigating, especially if there is a chance that I can prevent a big, fat needle from being stuck into my belly.

So that is where we are...for now. Not really where we want to be, but there are certainly worse positions to be in. Updates to follow as we have them...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

12.5 WEEKS

We had the appointment for our Nuchal Translucency ultrasound on Monday morning.  The ultrasound tech said that we had apparently ‘brought a jumping bean’ with us, as Jellybean was moving and grooving all over the place.  It took a few minutes for the ultrasound tech to get Bean still enough to measure the nuchal fold - it was kind of funny, and somewhat comforting.

Everything looked good on the ultrasound, so we are just waiting to see what the bloodwork says regarding the probability of Jellybean having Down Syndrome.  It took just over a week for them to call me with Gracie’s 'concerning' results, so I anticipate hearing by the end of the week if there are any ‘problems’ indicated for Jellybean.  If we don’t hear anything by the end of the week, I will assume that things look okay, and then just about it during our next midwife appointment on April 5th

I knew that this pregnancy, in many ways, would be the same as my pregnancy with Gracie – but I also know that it would be much different.  So far the similarities are all there.  Physically, things have more or less been the same so far.  I am anxious to feel Jellybean move the way I was anxious to feel Gracie move.  I am anxious to be able to hear Jellybean's heartbeat with my stethoscope the way I listened to Gracie's.  I am anxious to find out if Jellybean is a boy or a girl the same was I was anxious with Gracie.  I am anxious for my husband to sit down and seriously discuss names with me.  And last, but not least, I want everything that I cannot and/or should not have...a big fat margarita, hot dogs - I only crave hot dogs when I am pregnant, and bacon...lots and lots of bacon.  (During college one of my roommates and I at quite a bit of Domino's pizza with ham and bacon - I haven't had it since college because the closest Domino's doesn't deliver here and I am too lazy to go and get it.  A new Domino's opened a few weeks ago that will deliver to where I live, and now I can't have the bacon...it's killing me.)  

That is where most of the similarities end.  Most days I am fearful of losing this pregnancy - for no reason other than the obvious.  Death, in general, has me a little spooked...again, for no specific reason.  And people....it’s amazing how different people are reacting to this pregnancy.  I am not allowed to lift a finger at the firehouse.  Yesterday I got 'yelled at' for carrying a regular household propane tank (the kind for a gas grill) about 40'.  Everyone there basically has me on a 10 pound lifting restriction.  And, as always, I am amazed by the stupid things that people manage to say.  Within the last couple of weeks, I have heard the following…

  • ‘You’ll be able to move on a little bit once this baby comes.’  
  • ‘Now you know that this baby won’t be able to replace your other baby, right?  Just like you can’t replace a dead dog with a new dog, you can’t replace that other baby.’  

    And my personal favorite… 
  • ‘Just think – if you have two babies in there, you’ll be all caught up.’ 
I totally get that most of the time these people really are just trying to say something nice, but I just wish they wouldn’t try.  I wish they would think about the way things sound once they are out and perhaps rethink what it is that they really want to say.  I think that I am aware, more than anyone else (with the exception of my husband) how much this baby will not be Gracie or replace Gracie.  I know that this baby will both fill a void and bring some added emotional pain, especially in the first few weeks and months.

Overall, things are uneventful and well.  We have two more weeks until our next midwife appointment, so unless something overly exciting happens, Jellybean's blog will likely be quiet.  Thanks for checking in! 

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Yesterday was my physical appointment.  Not necessarily an appointment that anyone looks forward to, but it turned out to be a really good appointment.   We were able to hear Jellybean's heart beat with the doppler yesterday, which was a pleasant surprise.  Heart rate was a nice, strong 160 beats per minute. 

We had only met with this particular doctor for about 5 minutes during our pregnancy with Gracie, so I wasn't sure what to expect.  I had really good conversation with her yesterday about Gracie, as well as this pregnancy.  During our first appointment a few weeks ago that I would be seen every two weeks until 30 weeks.  The doc that I saw yesterday gave me the option of every two weeks or every four weeks.  She said that most times, appointments are set every two weeks more for peace of mind of the expectant parents than anything else.  Because my schedule is so crazy between now and the first week of June, and because this isn't the period of time that we really need extra peace of mind, I elected to schedule the next two appointments four weeks apart.  That leaves our appointment line up looking like this ... Monday, March 15th - Ultrasound as part of the 1st trimester screen; Monday, April 5th - midwife appointment; Wednesday, May 5th - 20 week ultrasound and midwife appointment.

During our pregnancy with Gracie we attended Bradley classes to prepare for a natural birthing process.  After our completely out of control, medicated birthing process with Gracie, I started thinking about future pregnancies, and how prepared I was/wasn't feeling with just the Bradley class under our belt.  After reading about some other approaches, I started feeling like Bradly had prepared us to know what to expect from my body during labor, but compared to what was offered by some other approaches, I felt that it actually offers a lot less in terms of working through and managing pain.  So, after much reading and thought, I have ordered the home study course from Hypnobabies.  I can't wait to get it and start working through it!  I have also ordered a few of the books that I wanted to read previously and never got to.  Aside from all of this, things are pretty uneventful at this point.  I certainly hope that it stays this way for the next 29 weeks!!!