My baby has limbs!
by Karla ° Tuesday, June 27, 2006
I went for a Nuchal Translucency Screening test yesterday, which is basically a fancy word for an ultrasound that helps assess a baby’s risk for Down syndrome, chromosomal abnormalities and other major congenital heart problems.

I’ve had some very mixed feelings about genetic testing. With Ava, I had no tests. The results wouldn’t have changed my feelings about continuing with the pregnancy and I saw no reason to stress myself out over tests that could ultimately result in false positives anyways.

Today I feel differently. I want to be armed with as much knowledge as I can about what is going on with my baby. I’m craving the small steps of successes and milestones. At 12 weeks, I’m almost a third of the way through this pregnancy, which is something to celebrate, but I need more reassurance than a heartbeat now. I need information to cling to, to remain hopeful.

I liked the idea of going ahead with the Nuchal Translucency test because unlike an amniocentesis where they draw amniotic fluid from your uterus (with a 1 in 200 chance of miscarriage) or chorionic villus sampling (cvs), where a sample of your placenta is removed through your cervix (with a 1 in 100 chance of miscarriage), the NT test was non-invasive and posed no risks. Essentially, the skin folds of my baby’s neck was measured, I had some blood drawn, and although I don’t know the results of the bloodwork yet, the measurements of the neck rolls fell within the normal range.

Aside from the (expected) but good news, it was such a delight to see my little bubalubs flailing his/her arms and legs around and watching the rhythm of a little bulge that is a beating heart. Already sucking their thumb and displaying a prominent facial profile, I have fallen in love all over again, despite the fact that I have become a dietary black hole that sucks down all organic matter that isn’t nailed down.

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Juggernaut
by Karla ° Monday, June 19, 2006
I seriously can’t believe how much faster my commodious gestating holding tank of a body is progressing with this pregnancy.

I’ve heard time and time again that with subsequent pregnancies you grow faster because your uterus has already been stretched and your ab muscles have already been ripped apart...blah blah blah....


But this is freaking ridiculous.

Most of my clothes resemble something akin to a NASA equivalent space age hermitic air tight seal. My hypersensitive battered chest balloons resent being cooped up in bra (but social competence requires mammary confinement, which is where they remain), you could hang a raincoat off my big mamma nipples, my stomach looks like a rolling mountainous terrain with far too many peaks and valleys to pass as a pregnancy “bump” yet and my face is enthralled with an out of control pimply flare up that makes me look like something the cat dragged in before it was skinned and eaten.

My mood is crusty and sometimes I think my husband is secretly afraid my hormonal psychosis and sweet baby-turned bad tempered juggernaut will result in a throbbing crotch punch.

But I’m not complaining.

Sometimes it’s just easier to poke fun at my bursting boobs and festering face than put into words how incredibly grateful I am to be blessed with another chance to bring a tiny life into this world, even though my vanity sometimes makes me grumble and feel hideously unattractive, tired and blobby.

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Cynical
by Karla ° Thursday, June 15, 2006
I really miss blogging these days, but I’m struggling with trying to find an inner balance of a need for solitude and privacy as I try and quell the growing fear in my heart of something going wrong with this pregnancy, and a need to share my experiences with such a compelling and insightful group of bloggers who have nothing but words of support and encouragement to offer.

I’ve had a lot to say, but could never find the words to say it. When I miscarried, I was devastated and frightfully angry. To add salt to my wounds, my husband’s brother and his wife are expecting and we actually shared the same due date week. I suppose being pregnant again has eased some of the pain, but not entirely. I still have a hard time seeing a pregnant belly, and as selfish as it sounds, I know I won’t be attending her shower. I can already sense the disapproval I will meet with that decision. But, attending in duress while someone fusses over a pregnant belly when all I can think about is everything that can go wrong and how easy it is for a baby to die will not help matters. I’m very happy for them of course; I’m just cynical and sad that my own tragedy has cast such a giant shadow on everything, especially during their time of joy.

So sue me, I’m a jaded bitch.

I can’t even look at pregnancy books or magazine or watch a pregnancy TV show without reliving the day I gave birth to, and watched Ava die. Frou-frou articles about the beautiful baby I will soon be holding in my arms and dilemmas over what colour to paint the nursery seem so naïve, nonchalant and senselessly foolish.

I know my bitterness is not helping matters, but it’s hard to keep it in check when events like the one that happened last week transpire.

While visiting my Perinatologist they discovered, while listening to my heart, that it is irregular. I now have to go for my own echocardiogram to rule out an arrhythmia and the possibility that Ava’s (supposedly not genetic heart issue of prominent endocardial blood vessels in the region of the limbus of the foremen ovale) is in fact, not genetic.

I remember with my first pregnancy I complained to my first OB that my heart often felt like it fluttered or “skipped a beat”. When it happened, I would feel extremely anxious for the momentary flurry, and then all returned to normal. She brushed it off and I never thought about it until now. I know your heart works harder during pregnancy, and your blood volume increases dramatically, but has anyone else who has been pregnant experienced this heart fluttering? Is this really nothing to be concerned about?

It’s hard not to feel like a big fat failure right now. And it breaks my heart even more considering the possibility that I wasn’t able to give my baby girl and little bubs everything they needed to thrive.

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Butterfly Kisses
by Karla ° Monday, June 12, 2006

On Sunday I held a stunningly sleepy Monarch butterfly in my hands. I stood in a crowd of hundreds of people who understood what it is like to lose a baby. I stood with my husband in my arms, and we released two beautiful butterflies for the two tiny lives that we never had a chance to know.


I was expecting a large cloud of graceful fluttering when we released our butterflies, but instead, we were all charmed and amazed as our tiny little symbols of ephemeral physical existence danced and drifted merrily around us, some even bravely pausing on a shoulder or in the palm of our hands. As a creature that can be torn apart from a hard rain, their brief lingering felt like an acknowledgement of our loss and understanding of the fragility of life.

As I watched my little butterfly flutter off to destinations unknown, I couldn’t help but wonder if death is not something like the dormant cocoon that a caterpillar makes before emerging as something more beautiful and grand.

I like to think Ava’s spirit is lingering on in a place where we’ll meet again someday.

I like to think that my darling little butterfly is waiting patiently to share with me the joyous wonders and beauty of her transformation into an existence I just can’t even begin to understand.


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Sausage
by Karla ° Friday, June 2, 2006
This pregnancy has been far from typical so far. Part of me feels like a fly under a microscope with all of the tests that have been done, and downright mad at the world that this pregnancy will never be a time of patient and naïve anticipation, but mostly, I am relieved that my progress is being so closely monitored, if for nothing else, than my own peace of mind.

To date, I have had 18 vials of blood drawn, one vaginal ultrasound and two tummy ultrasounds. The blood work, aside from the standard prenatal stuff, has been to monitor my pregnancy hormone levels (HCG) to make sure they were doubling every 48 hours. If one didn’t know me, I might be mistaken for a sinister needle using burnt out space cadet. My arms are full or bruises, needle holes and residual band aid tape.

I heard a heartbeat on Tuesday though, and I know I said with Ava, that was one of the most magical sounds in the world, and my thoughts haven’t changed in the least. At only eight weeks old, my little bubs has a beating heart and a strong chance at life.

Back in January, I met with my OB to map out a plan for a future pregnancy and we decided that it was best to avoid going into labour at all costs. Although she didn’t discourage a vaginal birth, given the circumstances, I feel more comfortable with an elective c-section a few weeks before my due date. I’m not thrilled at the idea of being cut open again, but at least this time I won’t be put on life support in a frenzied haste to quickly knock me out to remove a distressed baby.

My views on labour and delivery have changed dramatically. I just can’t help but feel strongly that at the end of the day, all that really matters is a healthy baby, not the way they come into this world.

My views on getting fat however, have not changed, and I am mortified to admit that I have already gained three pounds. So help me god. My fabulous ass jeans have become sausage casings and I can’t stop eating dried cranberries, frosted mini-wheats and potatoes.

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