Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dancing the Night Away

Last weekend we went to Kansas for a wedding.  Most of Darren's extended family is there, and we hadn't been back since I was very pregnant with Claire.  This was finally Claire's chance to meet the aunts, uncles, cousins and Darren's Grandma.

She was a trooper through the drive (I think the new car seat really helped!), and did well with all the unfamiliar faces.  She warmed up to the aunts pretty quickly, but the uncles were another story.  I don't think any of them got more than a high 5 all weekend.

The highlight of the weekend for Claire?  The reception.  Missy has always loved music.  It's doesn't matter whether its a catchy commercial or the song from Monday Night Football.  Her arms come out and the dancing wiggle starts.  That night she danced to everything from Elvis to Lady Gaga. Clairey just wanted to be moving, so we danced!

The day after the wedding we stopped by Grandma's farm to check the cows and get a 4 generation picture before heading home.

We had a great time, and it was nice to get away from home for a little while!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Prenatal Testing After Down Syndrome

When I was pregnant with Claire we debated on having any prenatal screening.  In our area first trimester screening isn't offered, so the first time any testing was mentioned was the second trimester blood work.  My doctor mentioned that at my next appointment they would take blood.  I informed her that I was undecided if we were going to do the testing.  She said she preferred to have it done because it can give an indication of problems like preeclampsia and IUGR, in addition to screening for Down syndrome.

I went home and we talked about it for the next four weeks.

In the end, I had the blood work done, and it came back with elevated risk (1/80) for Down syndrome.  This test led to extra ultrasounds, NSTs, and eventually prenatally diagnosing Claire's heart defect.

It also led to a stressful and worrisome pregnancy.  My doctor, more so than the high risk doctors, seemed to be looking for problems.  And if you look hard enough, you can likely find something wrong.

For us, there were both good and bad outcomes of the screening.

I am very thankful that Claire's heart defect was diagnosed prenatally.  We were able to change delivery plans, and she was born at a hospital with a NICU.  If she'd been born in our small, rural hospital there is a good chance that she would have been transported to a larger hospital.  And I, recovering from a c-section, would have been left behind.  That would not have been good on this mama's heart.

I am also thankful that the increased risk of Down syndrome (increased to 50/50 chance after her heart defect was diagnosed) gave us a chance to educate ourselves, family and friends.  I wanted the birth of my first child to be a joyful occasion, and it was.  For the most part, we didn't have the uncomfortable silences, the stares.  People, us included, weren't shocked by Down syndrome.  And while I sure there were whispers and comments, we didn't hear them.

My biggest problem with the screening, as I mentioned above, was that my doctor seemed to be looking for problems.  I know she was being cautious for the sake of our baby, but this did not make for a relaxing pregnancy.  We were always having ultrasounds (these I loved!) and tests, and new problems were always cropping up.  I would finally get used to a new "problem", then it was time for another doctor appointment, and some new issue had to be dealt with.  As much as I loved being pregnant, I hated this cloud of doom hanging over us.

So, here we are again, deciding on the second trimester blood work.  And I think I'm even more undecided this time around.

On one hand, we are already classified as high risk.  We will see the same doctors as last time for a detailed level II ultrasound and fetal echo around 20 weeks.

But then again, Claire's heart defect wasn't found until we'd had many ultrasounds, at 29 weeks.

The screening tests aren't always accurate, but even if they are, I don't think I want the "what if" hanging over my head.  I'm not scared of Down syndrome, but Claire has opened my eyes to many other disabilities.  And there are many things I don't think I'm cut out for.  Enter the worry I don't want in my pregnancy.

Hopefully that doesn't sound hypocritical.  I didn't think I was cut out to be a parent of child with Down syndrome either, but we are good.  I know I will be able to take on whatever challenges may come our way, but that doesn't mean I want to worry about that for the next five months.

So, with writing all of this out I am leaning towards no second trimester blood work. My next doctors appointment isn't for ten days though, and I'm sure I will change my mind a hundred times before then.

Because I'm curious, what did you (or would you) do for any subsequent pregnancies?


And just because I hate posting with no pictures, one of Claire before the weather turned COLD.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Blog Maintenance

I moving my blog roll to a link under the header.  I think this makes it a little more visible to those who want to look for other bloggers, and it will also cut down on the clutter in my sidebar.

While I am going to the work of moving everybody, I decided to group the blogs by state.  I LOVE being able to meet other bloggers in person, and being able to easily see which state people are in could help bring people together.

This isn't going to be a quick process, and I will be adding new blogs as well as deleting some that are no longer updated.

If you like to be added, just leave a comment.  I know where a lot of my bloggy friends are, but if you could leave your state too that would really speed things up on my end.  Thanks!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Playdoh Fail

This weekend I was feeling inspired.  I had big plans of all of the new things Claire and I were going to try.  We were going to make a light table (got all the parts, just never got around to it), draw masterpieces (which we did.  And did you know that if you stick a marker up your nose you will have colorful boogers the next day?), and were going to have a fabulous playdoh playtime.

I used the recipe from Pudge and Biggs.  It was easy and quick.

Now don't get me wrong, I wasn't expecting Claire to really get cutting out the shapes or rolling snakes, but I thought she might enjoy sticking her hands or other toys into it.


She was only interested in eating it.

Okay, I'll give her a bit more credit than that.  Looking through the pictures she really did play with it some, but her priority was shoving as much into her mouth as fast as she could.

After that last blocked bite, our playtime ended with a spectacular meltdown. 


Thank you for all of your congratulations and questions about how I'm feeling.  I was blessed not to have morning sickness with Claire, and have been just as lucky this time around.  That's not to say I didn't have days where I feel blah, but those seem to be pretty much over.  My fatigue is better too, but there are days I'm still taking advantage of Claire's naps and grabbing a little shut eye too. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Claire's Big, Exciting News!!

Since Claire is so thrilled, I'll let her tell you all herself....

Once we got inside, we got a smile and a hammy face, but I think she is a bit unsure about what's going to change in her world...Or else she just didn't like being outside.  Could have been either one!


Yesterday was my second drs appt.  It was the usual, weight, blood pressure, pee in a cup.  Then it was time to hear the heartbeat.  The time I couldn't wait for, and that I was also dreading.

The dr got the doppler, and looked....and looked....and looked....and looked.

She left to get another doppler, and I stared at the ceiling and tried not to freak out.

Came back with the second doppler and looked...and looked.

Went back to the first one as the second one wasn't picking up many sounds at all.

And finally, that reassuring thrum of a heartbeat filled the room and I relaxed.


And for those who are going to ask.  No, we are not finding out the sex of the baby ahead of time.  You'll know when we do, sometime in March!

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Claire is in LOVE with bubbles.  The bottle is on top of our refrigerator, and every time we walk in to the kitchen, she asks for bubbles.  With a sign and the word!  I just can't refuse, so we head outside. 

We blow a few bubbles, but as much as she loves them, Claire has no attention span.  And about two minutes later, she's off.

Across the yard

Stopping at the flower bed (to play with rocks.  The flowers are not interesting at all)

And down the driveway (That first picture reminds me of Mowgli in the Jungle Book!)

She tires of the driveway quickly, and crawls to the front door to go back in. 

And ten minutes later is asking for bubbles again!