Bad news

This month has been hectic. It started with a lovely get-away (without kids!) for my husband and I. It was lovely. We were away for a week and were able to sleep 10-12 hours per day, finish both our conversations and our meals, lounge leisurely by the pool (under an umbrella, of course), walk along the beach, read, and simply be.

As always, I returned home with a desire to incorporate some of that into my daily life: taking a few minutes per day to just be together, reading more for fun, enjoying leisurely meals, exercising. Except we came home to a 1 year old and a 3 year old and two full-time jobs so none of the above happened.

It’s also a busy time. I’ve been taking advantage of my second-trimester energy to complete a few projects, including submitting plans for a minor home renovation. I’ve also had a pesky cough since our time away and though it would go away but it didn’t, and the coughing would often rob me of my energy and cause me to feel even more tired than usual. To top things off, my oldest came down with hand foot mouth disease (HFMD) and was home the entire week prior to a flight I was taking solo with both kids. He was in pain and cranky the entire week (apologies to all of the moms I counseled on HFMD by saying it was merely viral and would blow over) and, the worst part of all was that he wouldn’t sleep through the night! So the first few nights my husband and I stayed up with him. And then my youngest got a fever (but fortunately did not erupt into HFMD) and then HE wouldn’t sleep through the night.

So I set off with both kids in recovery ALONE on a 6 hour flight and it was by far the worst flight we’ve ever had. My kids have traveled a lot because even though we don’t live close to family, I think it’s so important for them to spend time with them. They are usually shockingly well-behaved. I come prepared, keep them entertained, and they generally keep their crying and tantrums to a minimum. But last week was a different story. Both kids were on the mend, I felt like crap from a combination of not sleeping as well as fighting off this cough (oh and being pregnant), and they wouldn’t nap! So we kept things pretty together until the last 30-45 minutes. And then when the plane landed, all hell broke loose. Both kids wanted to be carried but I only had two hands and had to carry the carry-on bags (we only had travel backpacks with us but it was a lot to juggle!). Then my oldest started throwing a tantrum about everything – he didn’t want to let me into the aisle to organize our bags, he didn’t want his brother to sit by the window, and on and on and on. Meanwhile, I’m frantically trying to organize everything while his little monkey of a brother is climbing over the seats. My oldest won’t move from his spot so I tell him “I’m going to pick you up and sit you down here so that I can grab everything” and do just that. He loses his **** and starts yelling “Mommy you HURT ME!”. Meanwhile, I’m dying.¬† As calmly as possible, I tell him it’s time to get off of the plane. A very nice lady helps with one of our bags, I carry my youngest off the plane, and my oldest begrudgingly drags his bag and follows behind, complaining all the way.

At the gate, I have to find and unfold our stroller, which was a waste of effort because neither kid will sit in it (but at least I can pile some bags on it). The oldest is crying and blocking people as they walk off of the plane while the youngest just wants to be held. I hightail it out of there with the oldest hitting me on my backpack and throwing the world’s greatest tantrum. We are the last people off the plane and the pilots are begrudgingly walking behind us because (I learned on another trip) they can’t leave anyone behind when they leave the plane. Awesome. And then, to top it all off, I have to walk approximately 20 minutes with one kid in my arms and one kid whining the whole way because we have landed at a huge airport, at possibly the furthest airline!

It was a total disaster. I saw my parents at the exit, handed the kids off to them, and then walked off to baggage claim to burst into tears. I could tell the security guard knew I was going to lose it because he let my parents follow me to the baggage claim to help out with the bags.

Until yesterday, I thought that was the worst thing that had happened. Then, my ob called me. Before I left, I had a few third trimester labs drawn. Apparently, one of those labs was toxoplasmosis. I had already had this checked in January (at 7 weeks) and both IgM and IgG were negative. For some reason, my ob rechecked it. She admitted that this was controversial – that many people don’t recommend rechecking due to low likelihood of infection in our area and false positives. But then she told me that I had a new positive (IgM, with IgG still negative). She wasn’t sure what to make of it. She had spoken to the high-risk obstetrics group at my hospital and they would follow up with me and likely have me return for an ultrasound, as well as labs, maybe an antibiotic, etc. She told me not to freak out so I promptly did just that – freaked out.

Toxoplasmosis!? That’s one of the terrible infections we learn about in medical school that can cause a slew of problems in newborns. WTF!? But I don’t own any cats…and I’m a vegetarian! I couldn’t believe it. I did what I always tell my patients not to do – turned to Dr. Google, and PubMed, and every person I know who is an obstetrician or infectious disease expert. I received a slew of responses: it’s probably nothing/a false positive, you definitely should not ignore this, you need serial ultrasound monitoring, they need to test the baby, there’s nothing you can do anyway because you’re 24 weeks along.

I’m also a bit annoyed at my ob. Why did she check it if it’s controversial? Her exact words were “I’ll probably change my practice after this”. And I am not entirely sure she knows exactly what to do at this time. She referred me to the high-risk ob, and that person called me, but I’m traveling and can’t be seen tomorrow, and she’s going to be out of town next week. The ID expert I spoke with told me to get labs ASAP, but the ob told me it wasn’t time-sensitive. Her exactly words were “I’m going to be blunt with you because you’re a doctor: if this is a true infection, there’s not much you can do at 24 weeks”. But shouldn’t it matter if it’s a true infection?

So I’m just waiting here, anticipating the worst. And it’s made me realize that I’m done having kids. I always thought I wanted a fourth, but pregnancy is too tenuous and stressful. I think about the experiences I’ve had with my kids – my pre-eclampsia scare with my first and him being in the NICU after birth (the briefest NICU stay ever, but seemed like the longest to me), my positive first-trimester screen with my second and having to see genetics for additional screening to rule out a chromosomal abnormality, and now this with my third. I pray that he will be healthy. That this is either a huge misunderstanding (false positive) or that he does not catch this infection. I’ll have an ultrasound in one week and hopefully will have some additional information at that time – and hopefully it’s all good news.

What people are saying

I am finding that the reaction you receive when you tell someone you are expecting your third baby is quite different than the reaction you receive when you tell someone you are expecting your first baby.

When people found out I was pregnant with baby #1, they were ecstatic. There were congratulations all around, experienced moms waxing nostalgic about those early days, huge baby showers to be had, and overall excitement. Everyone was thrilled.

When we were pregnant with #2, people were also excited, but perhaps a bit worried. They seemed pleased that our son would have a brother, but did sometimes comment that the less than two year difference in age was a bit aggressive. Overall, however, there was excitement.

With this baby, baby #3, we have definitely received a number of congratulatory comments. But we have also heard quite a bit of:

  • “Was it an accident?
  • “Was it planned?”
  • “What?”
  • “OMG, why!?”
  • “Let me guess – you’re pregnant” (in response to: “I have something to tell you”)

So, it’s been a bit different. But we ourselves are very excited for this third baby, for whom we did plan!

 

 

 

12 or 13 weeks

So I just wrapped up the first trimester. I can’t believe it’s already almost March! I went in for my nuchal translucency ultrasound (part of the first-trimester screen) last week and it is always so amazing to me how much babies change between the 7 week scan and the 12/13 week scan. At 7 weeks, you see a small fluttering heart, but otherwise nothing that looks like a baby. By 12-13 weeks, the baby is skeletal but all there – head, arms, fingers, legs, toes, etc. It’s amazing! I always feel a bit out of the woods once baby is still there at 12-13 weeks, but there is still a long way to go.

Another thing that happened during the scan: they’re pretty sure it’s a boy (for reference: I have 2 boys)! It is still so early in the game, but I know that if all goes well with this pregnancy, the 3 boys will have a blast. It will be chaotic, messy, and definitely a strain on our grocery budget – but they will have a great time together. Since I will be 35 when this baby is born, I also opted for noninvasive prenatal testing, so the boy/girl question should be confirmed later this week.

Since finding out the gender, I have had a few friends ask me if I’m disappointed I’m not having a girl. I honestly have to say that I am not. My main wish for this baby is that it be healthy. And after that, a very selfish wish (two actually) is that it be easy-going and a great sleeper. As a mom of two boys, I know boy. I have everything ready to do the boy thing over again. They can room together for longer than I imagine siblings of mixed gender would be able to, and my job will be much easier when they’re older and can do activities with their dad. Also, I was really nasty to my mom (who is a saint and whom I love dearly) when I was an adolescent, so I am not excited about the possibility of being on the receiving end of that treatment (as much as I do deserve it). I imagine teenage boys are not a walk in the park, but they must be easier than teenage girls! So my greatest concern in this department is: what are we going to name him!? So tough to think of a third boy name.

As for me, I’m feeling a bit better. I’m still pretty tired, and sometimes still feel nauseous. My belly definitely popped this weekend so I look more pregnant and I officially pulled out some of my maternity gear. Now comes the awkward (for me) process of letting people know about my pregnancy. I actually told a few people at work very early on (7 weeks!) because of some changes to the maternity leave policy and updated schedule requests for fall of 2018. This is very unlike what I have done in the past – previously waiting until 14 and 20 weeks respectively. I told a few close girlfriends from high school/college very early on and just this weekend told a few close local girlfriends. And slowly other people will learn about it and then my patients will start asking me about it (some have stuck it out with me through 2 pregnancies already!) and all of the necessary planning will unfold.

I have to be honest with you, after going through infertility with my first, every moment of every pregnancy feels like a dream and a great blessing. Sometimes I feel like pinching myself. There was a time when I seriously doubted that we would ever have one child, and here we are, parents to two healthy children with a third on the way.