Friday, November 30, 2012

Parker - We Love You

A little over a year ago, I had gone to the doctor because of light spotting. The nurse reassured me that 95% of the time it was nothing, and I should come in because it is better to be safe than sorry.  I had an ultrasound and then routinely went back to my doctor’s office. He told me that my cervix was beginning to shorten, and that I should call my family and immediately head upstairs to the high risk maternity ward (his practice is in the hospital). I was terrified, my husband was out of town, and I was alone. We do not really have any close family that live nearby, so I called my mother who immediately got in a car and drove down to Texas along with my sister.   I didn’t know what to do.  I was scared. I was 22 weeks along and although I knew nothing about NICUs or premature births at the time, I knew it was too early for our Parker.  The doctors decided I should stay in the hospital for the remainder of the pregnancy. The bed rest seemed to be working for the first two weeks, I had ultrasounds every other day and my condition seemed to be stabilized. The doctors even started talking about the possibility of releasing me in 10 weeks. But on Saturday night of Thanksgiving weekend, all hell broke loose as quickly as lightning striking. My water broke spontaneously at 10:30 PM and there was a pool of blood.  I was convinced I could still remain pregnant.  My husband, who had just left the hospital, rushed back. Once he arrived, he grabbed my hand and reassured me that I had to let the doctors deliver him. I cried the entire time our son was being born.
Parker was born at 11:49 PM on Saturday, November 26th. We knew his chances were not good being only 24 weeks + 5 days, but wanted to give him every shot. And he did really well for the first 24 hours, but on Day 2 it was discovered that he had significant internal bleeding in the brain and his other organs were failing his sweet little body. It did not appear that he would survive and if by some miracle he did, his outlook for a quality life was  non-existent. At that point we decided to let him go with God. It is not an easy decision to come to grips with. I dropped to my knees in the waiting room of the hospital begging God to show me a sign, begging Him to let me know if we were doing the right thing. I haven’t always been the most religious person, I’ve even denied His existence, and I didn’t deserve the grace He showed me that day. But as I got up and brushed myself off,  I took a deep breath before heading back into my son's unit. A NICU nurse stopped me -  not my son's nurse, but another nurse in the department.  She grabbed my hand, expressed that the nurses were talking about us, and went on to offer a great deal of support for our decision. I took her as the sign I needed, and I thanked God because I wasn’t sure if I would have the courage.

Parker who was beautiful, tiny and perfect in every way passed peacefully in my arms exactly one year ago today at 3:32 PM on Tuesday, November 29th.  He spent the last 5 hours of his life outside of the NICU box  and in our arms. There is no question in our mind that we made the right decision, as those were the only hours of his life that he was given any peace. He left this world knowing that he was loved.
That time was truly precious. I never thought the best day of your life and worst day of your life could be the same day. Holding my son, even for that brief time, was without a doubt the most incredible experience of my life.  I love both Parker and our little one growing and getting stronger in India so much... I wish I had the words to adequetly express it.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Our Little Jelly Bean

I woke up to a very fabulous Thanksgiving Day treat - our SCI update. Everything looks great and we certainly have a lot to be thankful for this Turkey Day. Little one is measuring 18mm or 0.7 inches - about the size of a jelly bean. Tummy Mummy is doing well, and everything is progressing as should be.  The heartbeat is strong and measuring 166.  According to “Your Pregnancy - Week by Week” – “Eyelid folds are forming on the face and nerve cells in the retina are beginning to develop. The tip of the nose is present. Ears are forming internally and externally.  Elbows are present, and the arms and legs extend forward. “ Aaah, little jelly bean has elbows now.
 Thank you to my new SCI family, my dear friends, and, of course, my family.  I am grateful for you all. Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

To tell or not to tell....

In all seriousness, the “to tell or not to tell” decision is not something to take  lightly, and in the past I would not have told this early so I understand if your questioning the thought. But this year has been a rather difficult one. Not just for me, but for our entire family. My husband and I did lose our son, but the rest of our family lost  a loved one as well. I admit sometimes in this past year I have been selfish with my own grief and have forgoton others must be grieving as well. This baby in no way will ever replace the son we lost. But this pregnancy does represent happier times ahead, and I don’t feel that I can protect myself from pain by not embracing this joy . I want my friends and family to be able to celebrate as well.   Besides it is really hard to keep news this exciting to oneself.

We were fortunate that my father-in-law was visiting last weekend.  So we had the opportunity to tell him in person.   At dinner, my husband and I both raised our glasses for a celebratory toast - after we already had a few glasses of wine that is - and announced we are expecting. (I admit I adore the expression on peoples’ faces before we begin the “Gestational Carrier” talk).  He cautiously raised his glass in absolute  horror. I am sure he must have been thinking “I should be happy, but have they seriously lost their minds????”  Once we explained I wasn’t pregnant, we all laughed and he was immensely relieved that I wasn’t taking an “everything is better with alcohol” approach to pregnancy.  I am probably having more fun with the drinking to announce our baby than I should. But when and where else does a girl get to celebrate pregnancy with cocktails?  Why not have a little fun with it?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

WEEK 6: (embryonic period)


A baby at this stage is between 0.08 to 0.16 inches long, or 2 to 4mm. Our little one is 3mm and falls perfectly into this normal category. This is measured “Crown to Rump”, and you may have wondered what in the world does that mean??? Because I did.  Basically, they measure from the top of the baby’s head to its tiny booty.  They will use this measurement throughout the pregnancy because little ones are rarely stretched out to give its total height. This is the week the clinic determined fetal pole and heartbeat. Fetal pole is the first visible sign that there is a little embryo growing. My heart just leaped out of my chest when I saw our baby yesterday. I blew up the photo - I think he/she kind of looks like an egg snuggled in a nest.  The heartbeat is measuring 126 and is cause for celebration, not so much for the measurement itself (which by the way is perfect) but for the fact that we have one is the all important milestone in any pregnancy. A milestone that drastically cuts your risk of miscarriage, and even more so if the heartbeat measures more than 100bpm. We are very fortunate and I feel so blessed.

SCI informs me that the tummy mummy is doing well, and everything is progressing as should be.  This week she might begin experiencing morning sickness, heartburn, and could begin gaining weight. The first trimester is a tough one and my heart goes out to her. If there was any way I could experience these awful side effects instead, I would.  Our next scan will be in two weeks (8 week mark) J


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Oh Beta Madness

We received an email today from the clinic.  Does anyone else feel like it’s Christmas when you have news from SCI? Our surrogate mother and baby are doing well, and with one PHEW we are having a single baby (one gestational sac). I love the idea of having two babies, but better yet I love the security of our little one having one cozy uterus for him or herself…as well as the safety of a singleton pregnancy for our lovely surrogate.  

JJJJJJBut we are having a babyJJJJJJ

The ultrasound is scheduled for next week to confirm its little heartbeat.

But I was concerned about the high beta number and having a single gestational sac.  My research shows that a high beta number could mean:

  • Multiple pregnancy (scratch that)
  • Down Syndrome (Scary)
  • Molar pregnancy (Scary)
  • Multiple embryos tried but failed to implant
  • Healthy pregnancy with lower risk of miscarriage

Ooh, I like the last one - that’s the one I’ll take please….

A study was done in Australia (another reason to add to the “why Australia is awesome” list) by G. Homan, S. Brown, J. Moran, S. Homan, and J. Kerin of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Adelaide. You can read the study abstract at if you’re interested.

Anyways, they concluded that Beta rates higher than 500 in a single pregnancy at 16 days post ovulation (or 16 days after egg retrieval) have a 95% chance of an ongoing pregnancy.

Well that is enough for me to celebrate! ** Cheers**