Tag Archives: pregnancy

Your Test Was Positive

I got a phone call from the doctor’s office. Someone on the other line said, “Hello, this is so and so from doctor so and so’s office. I’m calling to let you know your test was positive.”

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“It doesn’t mean anything. Not really. These tests are just a screen and they don’t tell us anything concrete. You wouldn’t believe how many people get a positive, but go on to have perfectly healthy babies.”

“Oh, the tests aren’t accurate?”

“Well, your age is probably skewing the results. At 40 you just get a higher number, but it doesn’t necessarily mean anything.”

“OK, but could you tell me what the positive test was for? Was it Down Syndrome? Is that what we are talking about?”

“Hold on,” she said shuffling papers around. “Yes, for Down Syndrome.” You’ll need to make an appointment to come in to see the doctor so he can explain what happens next. Don’t worry about it though because it’s not a big deal. Like I said the test results don’t mean anything.”

I went to the doctor the next day where he suggested I see a perinatal geneticist and have more tests done. He mentioned something about scores and statistics, but never really explained them so on my way out I asked the medical receptionist if I could get a copy of my test results.

Then I googled every single score trying to figure out what was wrong. Where were these positive results coming from?  All of my scores were normal. Every single one. The only problem was I was over 40. For a month I worried and obsessed about the health of our baby in between putting it completely out of my mind and trying to get on with things with a stiff upper lip.

Then I met with the team of specialists. I had an in-depth ultrasound done and all of the baby parts were accounted for and growing right on schedule. She was sucking her thumb and everything. Then the geneticist walked in with my previous test results and exclaimed, “They said you had an abnormal NT, but I can’t find a single thing wrong with yours.” (NT= Nuchal Translucency and you can read more about it here if you don’t know what it is) Then she said, “I guess they just wanted me to tell you that at 40 you have a 1 in 79 chance of having a baby with down syndrome.” Something I already knew because I am a mom and over 40. I mean, who doesn’t know your chances of having a baby with down syndrome increases with age? Did they really need to put me through a month of anxiety just to tell me that? The geneticist seemed to be thinking the same thing as she interrupted her counseling session several times to make comments on how cute our baby girl was, as the ultrasound tech finished up her measurements, and to recommend we name the baby after her…which we briefly considered because she was so upbeat and nice to us during such a stressful time.

Your Test Came Back Positive: Big fears during pregnancy and falling in love with your baby girl.

Then we discussed how all of the test scores for the screening were normal and how the baby looked pretty normal on the ultrasound. We also discussed amniocentesis and some other blood tests that could be done to determine if our baby was the 1 in 79 to have down syndrome.

We decided not to have any more tests. We’re just going to have this baby girl and be happy. No more stress. No more worrying. This baby will be perfect just the way she is.

 

Is This Your Last Baby?

I was at the doctor’s the other day getting my monthly pregnancy check up when my doctor asked me, “Is this your last baby?” My answer was a mixed up mess filled with probablys, I think so’s, and of course it is. I’m 40 years old after all. Jim is in his fifties. I mean, we’re old parents so two kids is probably all we’re going to successfully produce, but still, the idea that this is it for us feels so final. Like a big “THE END” on our family…even though two kids is probably all we really wanted to begin with. All we can afford. All we have room for in our home. Still, I can’t bring myself to embrace this ending.

After my discussion with the doctor he went on to explain how he could tie my tubes right after delivering our second bundle of joy. Or,  after he saw my face scrunch up as I processed the idea of labor, delivery, and surgery all at the same time, he explained that we could also wait and tie them up a few months later using a procedure that he could perform in less than 15 minutes. I suggested vasectomy as the only reasonable option and he laughed and laughed and wished me good luck with that one.

I was left thinking about how much can change in just a short five years. Minutes after Tiny-Small was born people were asking me when we were going to have a second one. After going through a fairly traumatic labor, and struggling with breastfeeding, I felt like a washed-up failure of a mother so my first thought was: NEVER. Still, people kept asking. Strangers, family members, and even the odd grocery store clerk took it upon themselves to inform me that I was ruining my daughters life by sentencing her to a lifetime of only-child status. At the time I seriously thought we were a one and done kind of family. After all, Tiny-Small was awesome and kind of wild so I simultaneously thought we’d never get so lucky again while bemoaning the fact that I probably couldn’t handle two of her at the same time anyway!

Fast forward five years later and strangers, family members, and even the odd store clerk are asking us a different question: You don’t want anymore do you? Apparently two kids is the perfect number. Especially when you are 40. I mean, the horror on their faces says it all as they watch me squirm under the question and answer them with sentences that begin with a long, drawn out, “Well….” It’s not that I don’t understand the risks of having more children or the fact that pregnant woman my age are jokingly referred to as “geriatric mothers” behind closed doors. I get it. I’m not the ideal age to be birthing a giant brood. I mean, one of the midwives at our clinic even asked me if this second baby was planned. I guess most babies born to the over 40 crowd are accidents.

It’s still kind of a shock that just a few years ago people were demanding I pop out more kids and now the idea of me having one more child leads them to admonish me in incredulous tones. It’s only been five years since Tiny-Small was born and I don’t really feel that much different. I still feel like I am 25 most of the time. It’s not super comfortable to have your doctor and the world constantly reminding you that you are getting closer and closer to deaths door. Nothing makes you feel quite like an old crone as being pregnant and over 40 at the OBGYN’s office.

The truth is I’m kind of assuming that after giving birth for the second time, and going through whatever fresh hell this one has in store for me, I’ll be begging my doctor to sterilize me immediately after birth. If he’d asked me a month or so ago when I spent my days vomiting into the porcelain god I probably would have asked him to sterilize me in that very moment. So, I am confident this urge to have just one more baby will pass right along with the placenta and then, maybe, return five years from now when I’ll be exceptionally decrepit as far as motherhood goes. So, in reality, this probably is our last baby. Which gives me pause.

Is this your last baby?

I have the usual feelings about slowing down and taking it all in. The whole stay in the moment more thing and “enjoy every precious fleeting second of childhood” and pregnancy and birth that I see plastered all over the internet on a daily basis. But I also have  another competing feeling squeaking it’s way through my consciousness and that is: HURRY UP! My life is going by quickly and there are so many things I haven’t accomplished yet. So many thing unfinished. All of this talk about my age has made me acutely aware of how much time I may or may not have left on this planet.

I’m over here singing “Whatever will be will be…” while frantically making bucket lists and business goals as I straddle the abyss and let my existential crisis consume me. All this over one simple question…is this your last baby?

Yes it is. Maybe. I’m not sure. Just stop asking because I am too busy staying in the moment and trying to check things off my to-do list to make a definite decision. Besides, I think nature might make that decision for us in the long run.

 

 

Not Painting Makes Me Squirrely

Not painting makes me squirrely. Like I probably have beady eyes and everything. I’m going through withdrawals over here. I’m twitchy and grumpy and my pants no longer fit. I miss yellow ochre and cadmium red. I miss pitt pens. I miss paper.

Pregnancy and not painting have both turned me into a degenerate. I don’t want to do anything including bending over to pick things up. I’m that lazy. Instead of obsessing about ink flow on paper I’m obsessed with things that don’t matter like celebrity gossip and Donald Trump. Basically I’m obsessed with anything I can do sitting or lying down that only requires my thumb to scroll and click. I’ve read way too many things I won’t remember or care about in 20 minutes. I’ve spent way too much time saving dessert recipes I will never make. I’ve gone to bed at 7:30 pm only to wake up at 3:00 am starving. I’ve bought makeup online and I don’t even wear makeup very often (I couldn’t resist the free gift of even more makeup I won’t wear). I let my daughter jump off the couch into my clean laundry pile. It’s sort of like jumping into leaves in the fall, but we don’t have leaves and I am too lazy to fold all of that underwear. It seemed sort of win-win at the time. My daughter even tries to put my shoes on for me because she thinks I do it too slowly all by myself. String cheese is keeping me sane, you guys.

I’m losing my mind. I’ve become someone else trapped inside my own body. My once industrious self has been replaced by a sloth. Wait, that might be insulting to the sloth. Although a nice slow stretch and a nap sounds good right now. I can totally relate to falling asleep in the middle of eating lunch.

That’s not even the worst part.

I don’t mean to be outrageous or anything, but pregnancy has put a real damper on my creative process. I used to spend every spare moment painting or drawing or thinking about painting and drawing while collaging, but lately I just watch marathons of Grey’s Anatomy and cry (that show is emotional with all of the this one is sleeping with that one and then the dying and breaking up and stuff) while feeding my face copious amounts of string cheese.

Anyway, the nausea is starting to be less urgent and the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge starts in September so I thought I’d better start training for it. I got out the paints. I got out the markers. I got out my stick-to-it-ness. I took a break from Grey’s Anatomy and I painted. I really did.

Not Painting Makes Me Squirrely
12×12 on birch wood “Jack Rabbit Baby.”

It felt pretty good too. My brain decluttered and descattered and my eyes got a little less beady, but I also got kind of tired. It turns out growing another person inside your person is a lot of work and maybe, right now anyway, that’s about as much creativity as my body can muster.

I’m off to take a nap and maybe I’ll find it in me to paint again tomorrow: Fingers crossed, Grey’s Anatomy on pause, string cheese in the cheese drawer…sloth-like nature conquered? Nah…where is my blanket?