Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Deep thoughts, Celebrations, & Aggression

I completed the bloodwork for the Isolated Mild Ventricolmegaly this week and was given a clean bill of health. I am infection-free, so that possibility is now off the table. I have scheduled my next ultrasound for next month and am hoping, but not really anticipating that the issue will have resolved itself by then.

I spent a lot of time last week thinking about the issue, deep down in my mind. I guess it really got to me. It was hard for me to continue enjoying the pregnancy as I once had been doing. But day by day, the baby's kicking has steadily become stronger and more frequent that it's hard for me to imagine that he may have any issues at all.

My sister's birthday also passed, and she had a big birthday bash at the Cigar Bar and Grill in San Francisco. At the party I talked with a lot of her friends that were either pregnant or had recently had children. They gave it to me straight, and I liked that. I haven't really talked to many other mom's about the "joys" of having children.

My "uncle" and "aunt" were also in town this week and Javier coordinated not one, but two lunches with them before they left back to Indio - near Palm Springs, CA. During the first lunch my husband was having a blast with my "cousin's" children. I know that he loves children, because he becomes one himself when he's around them. By the end of the lunch, the eldest child called Javier his "buddy".

The second lunch was at a very expensive Peruvian restaurant in San Francisco called La Mar. I had always wanted to go, but Javier had previously stated no intent to "make them richer". I always joke that he is a hater, and shouldn't be hating on his own people. In the end, I finally got to dine there. It was pretty good, but too expensive. I may never go back, so I enjoyed it while I was there.
He's been very busy with the birth of his new construction company. These past few weeks have been consumed with painting his van, creating business cards, receiving his official license, etc. I am very proud of him, but I still wonder when we'll have time for the baby.

Instead my sister and I have been focusing on the baby shower. We spent our Halloween shopping for clothes and baby shower decorations. To remind you, she is making it an Asian-themed celebration. Clothes shopping was a disappointment - everything makes me look fat. We also went to a Japanese store called Daiso, and bought fans and little zen temples that will adorn as the centerpieces. Since my sister is into baking cupcakes, we also spent the night creating little origami paper cranes made of fondant that will top the cupcakes. It's all coming together, and it's hard to believe that the shower will be less than 2 weeks away.

Although this Halloween week was marred because the bay bridge had been shut down for an emergency repair, we still went and visited my aunt and grandmother with my parents over the weekend. I did not think it was a good idea to bring my Qori to my aunt's house, but Javier insisted.

I spent most of my time trying to mediate between Qori and my aunt's dachshund, Max. By the end of the night, I had failed. Max was nipping at Qori one too many times, and Qori decided to unleash his wrath upon him. I was there, 6 months pregnant, trying to stop a dog fight between a 90 lb dog and one that was barely a pound (I'm not really sure). As Max was yelping, I tried my best to pull Qori by the collar, but couldn't find it in the madness. Instead I decided to grab ahold of his neck skin, and pull him away with raw force. It worked, but later I found that 1/4 of my nail had ripped off in the process. I freaked out when I saw blood, thinking something had happened to the dogs. It turned out that the only one bleeding was me. My aunt, bless her heart, was so positive about the whole thing. She told me that my nail would grow back. Maybe she thought I was upset about my nail, but I didn't care. She told me that Max deserved it and that she knows how he is, so not to feel bad. She also told me that he was not bleeding and was in the other room with his tail wagging wanting to come out. Still, at that moment, I was just upset at the whole situation and hated the fact that I'm the one with a bully dog - a Golden Retriever of all things! As I examined my nail, I noticed that my whole body and hands were shaking uncontrollably. My mom tried to get me to drink sugar water, but I refused like a brat - I was just too upset. My aunt mentioned that the dogs would spend plenty of time together in future get togethers like when we go camping. In my mind, I had written off any future family campings and even the trip to the Lake Tahoe snow this winter that I wanted to plan, because of what had just happened.

I was so emotional and upset. I took my frustration out on Javier for forcing Qori to come when we knew how he gets. It's been on my mind for 2 days now. But after thinking about it some more and talking with my sister, I realize that I can't just hide Qori from social interactions either. She reminded me that I had once bought him a muzzle, and so the new rule is that he will always wear a muzzle in the presence of canine company. This rule will also pass on when the baby is born and begins to crawl, just as a precautionary measure. I would hate if Qori did something to the baby, though I doubt it. And I would hate to find out that my dad et. all were right for voicing there concerns OVER & OVER again about my aggressive golden retriever.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Isolated Mild Ventriculomegaly

I went in for my fourth ultrasound yesterday at 22 weeks (5 1/2 months). The good news is the "air bubbles" seem to have resolved themselves and are no longer there, which is good news, I thought. But then the doctor came up with something new, and even more ambiguous than the air bubbles: Isolated Mild Ventriculomegaly. To keep things relatively simple, which I need, they measured a space of liquid in the brain and found that my baby is a 1.18 or a 1.2. Scientists consider 1.0 and below to be normal, but 1.5 and above is reason to worry. My baby, of course, had to land somewhere in the middle.
We were told that this will most likely be a normal pregnancy, but there are still risks of chromosomal abnormalities or abnormal brain development. We were given a bunch of options, none of them would be conclusive other than the Amnio, and that would only help me determine if I wanted to terminate the pregnancy. But of course, amnio carries a small chance of miscarriage that Javier and I are not willing to risk.

Our options are:
  1. Do nothing and trust that our baby is fine, because he is boy it is more normal to have a larger space of liquid, and there is about an 80% chance that everything will turn out fine.
  2. Get some more bloodwork done to see if I had an infection. (Even if I did, there would be nothing I could do about it at this point)
  3. Get a fetal MRI to see the baby's brain in more detail (but these are relatively new for fetuses -about 5 years- and results are all over the place. There is no standard set yet so I would be part of a study where I could help other couples with this issue, not necessarily help myself because the data could come back even more confusing. Again, whatever the data results are there would be nothing that could be done to "fix" the issue)
  4. Get an amnio to check for chromosomal abnormalities and decide if I want to terminate the pregnancy.
This is all just so mentally stressful, especially the fact that doctors can't clearly tell me if I'm at risk or not. Then I wonder, what does it matter? Javier and I will go through the pregnancy no matter what. The results of these tests will either help me know ahead of time or cause more confusion and stress during the pregnancy. We don't want to over-complicate this pregnancy, so as of right now, we are leaning more towards just doing the blood work and checking for an infection. I'm patient enough to find out the rest later, and have faith that everything is OK due to both our family's health, and my generally healthy lifestyle (minus my love of fast food). Still, I'd give a lot to be able to peer into future of these blog postings and be able to see how things actually turned out...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

30 years old & Pregnant

I woke up last week 30 years old and 5 months pregnant. Although I never really imagined what my 30th birthday would be like, I hardly ever envisioned I'd be pregnant for it. Weeks ago, my sister and I were having a discussion where she stated that her 30th birthday would be crazy with a lot of drinking and a lot of partying.

Seeing she was unaware of my impending age, I reminded her by saying, "You know... I am turning 30 this year."

In her typical upfront matter, her only response was, "Wow, you really fucked that one up didn't you?" and we just laughed hysterically.

But honestly, I don't think I "F"-ed anything up. I'm not much of a partyer - I got over those things back in my first year of college. I also don't like celebrating things that revolve around me very much either. I hate having birthday parties for myself, and was actually rather relieved that Javier and I didn't have an official wedding ceremony when we got married. I don't really know what my problem is. It's not that I'm anti-social because I do like to talk and hang out with people. It's just that I like to stay home nice and cozy more than that. But I realize how bad I actually am when I see how much my sister goes out with her friends and boyfriend. And I've especially noticed how out of touch I am now that my sister is planning my baby shower and after I went to a baptism/child's birthday party the same weekend as my birthday.

My sister has been taking this baby shower very seriously. She's already picked a theme (Japanese Asian fusion), bought decorations, picked a venue, and ordered invitations. She gave me one major homework item: to come up with the invitation list. I grudgingly went along with it, but honestly feared that I would not be able to come up with more than 5 names on the list. After a lot of thinking and talking with Javier about which of his friends would come (it's co-ed) I was surprised to find that the list had grown to about 50 people, and we're guestimating that at least 25-30 will actually attend. At one point I walked over to my sister on her laptop and asked what the invitations looked like. She said I wasn't supposed to see them or know anything. I had peeked and seen she was looking at chocolate covered fortune cookies on her screen - appetizers perhaps? But that's how out of the loop I am... I don't even know all the customary nuances to planning a baby shower. I'm actually glad that I got pregnant before she did because I would really be messing her shower up if the shoe were on the other foot.

I also decided to go to a baptism/child's birthday party with my mother. Neither of us wanted to go for the actual baptism, so we opted to go to the after party. We got there when the party was in full swing. As we walked through the front door, we saw a bunch of children on the living room floor, quiet and paying attention to something. I looked forward and noticed a huge puppet stage had been built in the living room, and we were walking in on the show. We walked toward the kitchen, and from the kitchen window we saw one of those big blow-up bouncy things that kids could jump around in setup in the backyard. Again, I was glad to have seen this before my baby's birthday. I guess cake and hats just aren't enough these days. I started to wonder what cool things I could do for him... ponies were the first thing that came to my mind for some reason.

My 30th birthday was spent wine tasting sniffing in Napa with my family. I stuffed my body into a green empire-waist dress that I could barely fit into the week before my birthday.

What I really wanted to do was sit outside in the vineyard and have a nice picnic with cold pesto pasta and cheese and crackers. Unfortunately, we didn't go to the usual vineyard, Viyansa, and I soon found out that not many vineyards in the area served both food and wine. It was usually just wine, so we (excluding me) did a lot of drinking prior to going in search of food. We didn't really drink that much, but here's my father joking that he's drunk:
And walking "the line":

After all the sniffing and drinking, we ended up in downtown Napa searching for an Italian restaurant because that's my favorite food right now.
It ended up being a very nice birthday. On the way home unfortunately, a topic came up that I have had enough of: my Golden Retriever, Qori. My dog has been known to "snap" at other dogs over food and sometimes over me. It is not just a warning growl and a snap of the jaws, but a full-blown "I'm gonna git you sucka!" attack. Though Qori has never shown this type of aggression towards humans, my family is worried that he may act out on the baby. I have tried to be rational and listen to their concerns the LAST 5o TIMES when they've expressed them to me. Unfortunately, after hearing it over and over again, they really start to paint a picture of Qori like he is some kind of monster, and that does not go over well with me. I swear on the car ride home, my blood was literally boiling as I listened to them discuss my "dangerous" dog over and over again. I sat back in my chair and couldn't help but think back a few months ago before we found out I was pregnant. It was on the way home from Japan, we were in China catching our connecting flight to the U.S. We were in the security line, when my dad mentioned he'd heard a news story about a dog that missed his owners so much during their trip to Japan, that he ended up in Japan roaming the streets looking for them.

Being very gullible to my dad's super-serious face, I said, "How'd he get on the plane?" That's when he handed me a Japanese credit card application, and I knew it was all a joke. He was just talking about my Qori.

The past few weeks have been very busy for Javier, so busy that we've barely had time to think of a name for the baby, although he's been passing hints joking around that he'd like to name the baby Vladimir (After Vladimir Putin, the Russian Prime minister). We've been working on getting his contractor's license, which is a long time due. After filling out all the application information, he was finally approved and had his law and trade exam was scheduled after my birthday. He was also having problems with his van, and unfortunately had to have his transmission rebuilt, which set him back over $3000, so he'd been borrowing my car for the week. At the same time, he was going to Sacramento (a 2 hr drive) on the weekends to go to his class to study for the law & trade exams. One of the days after he had picked up his car from the transmission repair, he was driving back from Sacramento and his van began smoking on the Bay Bridge and almost came to a complete stall. He forced it off the bridge, but had to have it towed back to the transmission place. He was very upset about everything that's been going on lately. Lucky for him, the transmission work was under warranty, and the entire transmission was replaced for free.

The only recent good news it seems for him has been the sex of the baby, and that he PASSED HIS EXAMS! He was so happy the last week, gloating floating on air and making plans for his business card and painting his van. Unfortunately, his happiness only lasted the week because on Friday, he got into a heated argument with his brother (who works for him) and fired him. He didn't really mean to fire him, he just has a problem controlling his anger sometimes and has been under a lot of stress lately. He spent the weekend sullen and left several messages to his brother apologizing for his actions. He realized that his brother was his right-hand man, and how much he depended on him. But his brother has not returned any of his calls and did not show up to work on Monday. He said that things will be harder if his brother does not return, and he will have to pick up even more slack than he's been since he found out we were pregnant.
Through all of this turbulence in his life lately, I have been standing by lending a helping hand where I can. It seems like every week there is a new drama that takes precedent over everything else, and I'm left to wonder when we will have time to enjoy the pregnancy.
Today, I returned from my recent prenatal appointment. At 5 months, 1 week (21 weeks) they weighed me in at 139lbs, which means I've gained 11 lbs. in total. I'm thinking this is pretty good since I'm more than halfway through the pregnancy. For the most part, my body has remained normal except for my protruding belly. One of my friends showed me a picture of her pregnant sister in-law, who is almost due. She was putting henna on her belly. I stared at the big belly and saw that that her belly button did not pop out. I'm afraid mine might, and that will be gross! It already looks like it's starting to fold outward at the top.

While waiting at the Dr.'s office two black women were chatting with each other. They were both almost due, but while one had gained weight all around, the other had just in her belly. The bigger one started talking about vaginal reconstruction and if tightening was included in the insurance. I shuddered at the thought, and unintentionally found out that it is, in fact, covered by insurance.

The Dr. listened to the baby's heartbeat in the room. We heard him kicking and swishing around a lot. She said, "You have a very active baby!" I've been hearing that a lot lately, and joke that he's probably going to be like his father. That worries me a little. Javier is sometimes too much for me, and sometimes I encourage him to go out with friends to expend all that energy.
A few nights ago, while our energetic baby was kicking around, I lifted my shirt to see if I could actually see the movements and told Javier to look. He kicked and my stomach bounced on it's own. That was the first time that Javier had seen it.

A couple weeks ago when the fetal movements were just starting up, Javier fell asleep on the couch with his head on my stomach. With all the stress of school and work, he fell into a deep sleep and started snoring pretty loud, which is not unusual. That's when a funny thing happened. The baby started kicking like crazy! I imagined him in the womb, kicking and punching to make the noise stop. It was too funny.