Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Genetic Testing Time

How time flies when you’re pregnant…well, at least for me it was.  I doubt my wife would agree.  We had quickly reached the 10 week mark which meant it was time, if we chose, to have the new non-invasive pre-nantal genetic testing done.   This is newer technology that is available for pregnant women who don’t want to have the invasive and often times dangerous amniocentesis, which can detect genetic abnormalities such as Trisomy 18.  There were a lot of new non-invasive tests that only required a blood sample and not only did they tell you about genetic abnormalities but they could also tell you the gender of your baby!  This allows you to know the gender way before you would be able to tell via ultrasound which usually cannot happen until week 18-20.  We knew right away we wanted this new testing done as we were both VERY eager to make sure there were no genetic abnormalities and to know the sex of the baby!  We had an initial meeting with a consultant who reps all of the different non-invasive test and she goes over the pros and cons of each one.  It was a little overwhelming but so fascinating to see how far science has come in being able to determine so many things so early on.  She went on to explain how during pregnancy, the mother's blood contains fragments of the developing baby’s DNA.  This test analyzes the DNA in a blood sample to predict the risk of Down syndrome (trisomy 21), as well as trisomies 18 and 13, in the pregnancy.  The test can also evaluate X and Y sex chromosomes which is how they can determine the gender of the baby…sometimes science can be so cool! 

After some thought, we decided to go with the Harmony test.  If you are curious to learn more about the one we chose, here is a link to their website,  My wife and I were lucky enough to have great insurance and got this test mostly covered.  It was $200 out of pocket for us which is an expense we were happy to incur.  The only downside to this was that it can take up to 7 days to get the results back and let me tell you, those were the longest 7 days of our lives thus far!  It actually only took 5 days after the blood work to get the results reported.  The other awesome thing I forgot to mention was that in your initial consultation, if you decide to have the gender tested for, they give you options as to how they tell you once the results are in.  They give you the option of having them send you paperwork so you can open it together or they ask for which person gets the first phone call, if you want them to leave it on a voicemail, etc…  SO many options catered to each couple, which we loved.  We decided we wanted a phone call and we did not want them to leave a voicemail because we wanted to be together when they gave us the news. 

Longest 5 days ever had passed after the bloodwork when the phone rang at 7:30am on a Tuesday morning.  My wife and I were both startled awake when the phone rang and I answered it quickly.  It was our representative that we had our consult with and she said she had great news for us (insert initial sigh of relief).  She went on to tell us that there were NO genetic abnormalities and that we were going to have a baby GIRL!  WOOOOHOOOOOOO!!!!   My wife and I were elated with this news and our next phone call was to our moms to share the good news. 

If you can afford this test or any of the similar ones, I highly recommend it.  Of course, talk to your doctor about your options and what’s right for you and your partner, but it was such a relief not only knowing that we were having a healthy baby but that we were having a healthy baby girl :) 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Our First Sonogram

The first sonogram is one of the most exciting and most bizarre experiences I had throughout the pregnancy.  It’s beyond exciting because you get to see the first picture of your child and most bizarre because that child literally looks like a dot on a screen.  What is also quite bizarre, at least for me, was the thought of an actual human being that is that tiny is not only existing in my wife’s body but will live there for the next 40 weeks and blossom into a baby.  Ok, so I just recapped what pregnancy is all about, but, if you have gone through it, you can probably relate.  It’s just the most surreal thing in the world.  To this day, I still have weird moments of awe and amazement about how something can be “sprouted” inside a body, live there comfortably for 9 months, and then enter from inside the body to the outside world.  Maybe I have had one to many joints in my day but let me tell you, the whole pregnancy thing is fucking weird and bizarre and awesome all at the same time. 

Seeing them put the jelly all over my wife’s belly and then seeing the picture on the ultrasound screen for the first time was nothing short of incredible.  Even though our baby looked as big as a poppy seed she was still our baby.  We had a long way to go until we were “in the clear” to start yelling from the roof tops about the pregnancy, but that is not in the fore front of your mind when you see that first ultrasound.  Being the dork and sentimental sally that I am, I asked the doctor for as many pictures of the sonogram as possible and she kindly and happily obliged.  I was taking those pictures of our little poppy seed and putting them right on the refrigerator so I could look at it every time I walked into the kitchen (which was quite often especially when tending to a newly pregnant wife).  I couldn’t stop thinking and wondering about what our little poppy seed was going to be…boy or a girl!  Oh the possibilities!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cereal and Ice Cream for Dinner???

My wife’s first trip to the grocery store was nothing short of entertaining, hilarious and disastrous.  I will never forget when I walked into our house after her first trip to the store.  I walked into our kitchen to find cocoa puffs, captain crunch, and a full spread of toppings for an ice cream sundae.  I looked puzzled at first since my wife is way more of a “salt” person as opposed to a “sweets” person, and then I looked at her and she just shrugged.  She went on to explain how she came home with what was on the counter. 

Upon her entrance into our local Stop and Shop, my wife was certainly not expecting her reaction to be what it was.  She had every intention of going in there to get us some of our usual groceries for the week.  We typically eat healthy during the week and splurge on the weekends, however, things were about to change instantly.  She described her entering into the produce section and it smelled like a combination of “stale buttery popcorn, sweaty feet, and vomit”.  She had to choke back the reflex to gag and vomit.  After the first few inhales of this stench, she made the conscious decision to grab the fastest things that appealed to her.  Those were as I mentioned before, sugar cereal and ice cream sundaes.  Upon putting these few things in her cart, she preceded to beeline it out of the store and into “fresh” air. 

For someone like me who has a crazy sweet tooth, her purchases at the store were welcomed happily.  I knew at that point I would be doing the grocery shopping for a little while unless I wanted to end up with diabetes or eating pickles, peanut butter and ice cream for dinner!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Saltines and Ginger Tea

Were you ever dared to try and fit 4 saltines into your mouth and swallow them all in under a minute?  I was, and let me tell you, it’s near impossible, dry and mostly disgusting.  While I am a big fan of saltines, I know having to eat them out of desperation because you can’t stomach the sight or smell of anything else is NOT fun.  Welcome to another one of the awesome symptoms in the first month of your pregnancy!  My wife was extremely lucky in the sense that she had the nausea but no vomiting.  I know several women that barfed basically non-stop and throughout most of their pregnancy.  I legit, cannot even imagine that.  So while my wife was not throwing her guts up, she was experiencing a lot of nausea and heartburn.  There are tons of old wives tales that say that bad heartburn is a sign of a hairy baby.  Really?  The fetus is the size of a peanut, how the heck is that possible?!  Another old wives tale is that excessive vomiting means you are more likely to have a girl (I would think only a boy would torture it’s mom to be like that, but that’s just my opinion…sorry guys).  My wife and I were constantly trying to interpret the old wives tales and figure out what our little cherub was going to be.  And then my wife would get a wave of nausea and we would have to focus on her not barfing.  She did say that as plain as saltines are, they were like a little slice of heaven when you are nauseas.  Her other saving grace that was recommended to us by her mom was ginger tea.  Pregnant moms to be, take note.  You have to be careful when buying herbal teas because a lot of the teas have things in them that you can’t drink, so check with your physician before doing so.  However, if you can find straight up pure ginger tea, my wife swore by it and said it helped a lot.  

Luckily for my wife, the morning nausea was only temporary but, the nausea she experience when going into a grocery store was a WHOLE other situation!  More on that next week!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Pure Exhaustion

After the entire emotional roller coaster you go on to try and conceive and the wanting it so badly, when it finally happens it’s obviously a blessing but with that blessing comes SO many changes and weird things with your hormones and body.  I obviously didn’t experience this personally; however, I lived through each moment and step with my wife, so I feel qualified to talk on the subjects. 

When my wife found out she was pregnant it was luckily over the summer while she was on vacation from school.  Being a teacher really does have its perks!  As a side job for some extra money, my wife had agreed to come into my office and do some work for my company over the summer.  I look back now and think how hilarious this idea was.  Maybe not all women feel as tired as my wife did but she needed naps on the hour every hour.  Usually my wife is energetic and ready to go and the hormones were already taking their toll on her!  Luckily, my office comes equipped with several couches and a private room so my wife could take naps frequently in between work.  Additionally, when you are pregnant, you are not allowed to consume much caffeine, if any.  This proved as another hurdle for my wife as she is an avid coffee drinker (who doesn’t love their pumpkin coffee in the fall?!).  My wife is also 100% Irish and she does enjoy her glass of wine after a hard day and hard days were certainly ahead of us.  I have to say, I give ALL the credit in the world to my wife.  She handled the tiredness and having to cut things (beverages) out of her diet like a champ.  She hardly ever complained and it was ALMOST like she wasn’t even preggers yet….almost.  That’s until the nausea and smell aversions started happening.  Doesn’t this sound fantastic so far???!  No complaints out of us though, we were elated that there was a little poppy seed growing inside my wife’s belly J