Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pregnancy Update

Before I begin my long ranting diatribe, here are some pictures of Addison. Isn't she looking like such a big girl?

I've wanted to post this for a while, but have been afraid how it would come across. Today, I find myself needing to write, post and get this latest worry out of my system.

I have my big half way pregnancy ultrasound Thursday morning. I am excited, don't get me wrong. I have felt this little baby doing backflips, kicks and who knows what else for weeks now-being twice as active as Addison ever was. I also felt this baby's movements a lot sooner. With Addison, I really didn't feel her move until I was mid 20 something week.

Boy or girl? Yes, we are going to find out if possible and yes, we are going to share. I am not one for surprises...and I have a hard time keeping awesome secrets like that.

So, yes, I am excited and overjoyed. But I am also very scared and nervous about this appointment. It's not that I'm upset or anxious about the possibility of another special needs child- it's just that I've only had one half way appointment before...with Addison. And it was at that appointment that we discovered that something was wrong.

The words "Congratulations, it's a girl" were quickly followed by a doctor quickly ending the exam, signing us up at the high risk pregnancy center to finish the ultrasound and a little speech about the concerns presented by all of the cysts that were on the back of our baby's neck. I love Addison so much, but when I think back to that appointment, I still feel just as wretchedly upset as I did in the moment. That appointment holds a lot of horrible memories. It was a time where dreams were crushed and expectations became unrealistic. It was time of many tears and questioning the goodness of God. It was a time that made me prefer a miscarriage to continuing the pregnancy.

Since that point, I have come a long way. Of course I love my daughter more than life itself. I wouldn't trade her for anything. But when I think about going in for another appointment when that's all that I know, my heart starts to race and I feel a little dizzy.

It doesn't help that my doctor scheduled 20 week appointment directly at the high risk center instead of meeting at her office first.

When I expressed some fear at my last appointment, my doctor looked me calmly in the eye and said

"You have nothing to worry about. Lightning doesn't strike twice."

I wasn't sure how to respond to that. I don't like having Addison being compared to being struck with lightning because that puts such a negative connotation on her life. But in the same breath it was comforting to hear her attempt to assure me in that way.

I'm not afraid of having another child with special needs. I will love this baby no matter what. But, it has crossed my mind on more than one occasion how wonderful it would be to have a perfectly, normal, typical baby to challenge Addison's competitive spirit-to be another advocate for Addison-to just have an "easier" parenting path with one baby that doesn't include constant therapy and so many health problems-to be Addison's best friend and help bring awareness to his/her typical peers.

A lot of my Ds mom friends deal with the Down syndrome just like I do- but then they also have all of the normal mom stuff that I don't get to experience.

I feel like I'm really selfish to even think these thoughts, and you can see why I hesitated to write this post, but also why I need to.

Also, I hate, hate, hate when I see people go in for this type of appointment and boldly state that "the most important thing is that this baby is healthy" which is code for "a normal baby". To say that is the most important thing is to label Addison's life as a failure. I would like to think I have grown enough through my experiences with Addison to be able to say that it doesn't matter- and I honestly don't think it does. But I still hold some fear about this appointment. See why I'm confused?

I have a struggle going on within myself. A struggle to trust the almighty God who blessed us with Addison to know exactly what we need the second time around. A struggle to enjoy our 20 week appointment and be excited about the girl/boy revelation news without having constant flashbacks to the last appointment. And- the struggle of feeling as connected to this baby as I do Addison.

Addison and I have been through so much together. So, so much. It's hard to then think of having a typical baby who wouldn't have heart surgery, a g tube and an oxygen tank and be afraid that I'll be able to love that baby as much because we weren't put through the emotional ringer together. Addison takes up my whole heart. Am I supposed to grow a second heart for the second baby?
19 weeks
Sorry for the rambling, ranting post, but I feel better even after just having written this. I'll let you know how our appointment on Thursday goes. Oh, and yes, no more contractions. I think my body was just yelling at me to slow down and get some sleep. I finally listened. (-:


  1. Look at that cute big girl and that cute baby belly! I love the yellow and grey, such a great combination!!!

    I think your fears and hopes are very normal and I'm pretty sure if we decide to have another baby (which most likely isn't going to happen) I will feel the same way at the time of delivery. My ultrasound with Sutter didn't show any markers and so there was never even the slightest indication that something "might" be wrong. There is NOTHING wrong with wanting a healthy, typical baby....like you said you won't love it any more or any less it will just come with fewer challenges and struggles...or different ones anyways.

    I can't wait to hear if you'll be sticking with all those cute pink outfits or switching to blue!!!!

  2. i wish i had some wonderful words of wisdom for you. I can only share what I have experienced. When the doctors told us that there was the possibility of our little guy having down's, they were very kind. They tried to encourage us to have the amniocentesis, but we refused. I have one advantage over you on that, I have already had three healthy-normal children. So i can not begin to imagine how you felt. I can however understand the thoughts you have as you are heading for this ultrasound. A healthy baby, yes we all want that. My little guy was born healthy, just had the extra chromosome. He never had to be on any monitors, never had to have heart surgery, and never had to have a g-tube. Deanna my prayer is that God gives you the exact baby he wants you to have. And you get to experience those motherly things that you were talking about in this blog today! Our love goes out to you,aaron, addison, and the new baby to be!

  3. Just a thought from a mom who has never had a bad ultrasound... but when other mom's say they just hope their baby is healthy, I don't think it always means they are referring to down syndrome. For some, sure. But when I have said or thought that, I mean that I truly hope that my baby is healthy enough to live. By 20 weeks pregnancy, that little baby is already wrapped around my finger and I can't imagine life without him/her. And when I want them to be healthy, I want them to not have any health complications that would affect their ability to survive. I don't think that is something I shouldn't hope and pray for. Does that make sense? Maybe that perspective will make you feel better the next time you hear someone say they "just hope their baby is healthy." :)

  4. You're absolutely right, Jenni. I think I am just a little soured toward that expression because I have heard it used so often in reference to having a child with special needs- most recently from a friend who kind of did it with a snide glance in my direction. But you are right. Someone can say that with the best of intentions and it mean nothing wrong. It is still just such a sensitive subject with me. Someday I hope to be able to view that phrase normally again. It's just hard when it comes a bit as a slap in the face with close friends using that expression to mean that they don't want a baby like mine.

  5. I think it's great that you're honest enough to share this. I hope so much for you. I don't think you really ever get over worrying about your baby- everything was 'normal' with my pregnancy, and I was still scared through the entire thing. I knew I would feel so much relief once I held her in my arms, and I was right. I think the worry is there, because as soon as they are conceived, they have your heart in their hands.

  6. I was wondering how you were feeling about this upcoming ultrasound. It is completly understandable how you feel your heart race a little with this one and its probably going to be a very emotional day for you. I will be thinking of you and saying a little pray for you that morning! I cannot wait to hear boy or girl!
    And your feelings of wanting to experience the typical baby thing, is so normal and NOT selfish at all! I was reading back in your blog a couple nights ago to some of your first posts...What you went through with Addison was very difficult, heartbreaking and scary, for any Mom, let alone a first time Mom! You deserve a nice smooth uneventful pregnancy and birth...And its OK to want that for yourself.
    I often think this journey has been easier for me than others because I do have other kids, sons and daughters, and with Russell coming last its been easier to deal with I think than a first time Mom. I have a tremendous amount of respect for you and the strength you have.
    And Deanna, I remember when I was pregnant with my second, I wondered if I could even love her as much as I did my first...The second your baby is placed into your arms it doesnt matter if its your first, second or fifth...Your heart grows, and that new baby takes its place :)
    Good luck on Thurs!

  7. Well, I will say that not knowing if you'll love and how you'll be able to love the second one just like the first is totally normal. I felt this same way. Our first was born early and was very sick, we could have easily lost her and I just didn't see how I could have enough love to go around for another child. But you do. And then when Bennett came it was a whole different level of love. I love all my children the same but differently if that makes since.

    I had the awful 18 week appt. that you're nervous about, blood work came back as 1 in 10 for DS and for the next few days it went down hill from there as far as my emotional state was concerned. It was scary, awful, hard as hell but it's because it was unknown territory. I know you just want to have a typical child because so many others do, why not you? You want to experience "normal" milestones, "normal" baby stuff. I get that. And I really hope you do and I really think you will. Try to give all these fears to God. We understand why you're afraid and we know you love Addison just the way she is. None of what you're feeling is abnormal.

    Please let us know!! We're all here for you!

  8. Oh my word, you always dress Addison so cute!! She's looking so big!
    I'll be praying that God will calm your heart as Thursday approaches. I can't imagine all the emotions you're going through.
    I cannot wait to hear what the baby's gender is!!! :) And you look absolutely beautiful btw! :)

  9. I think that everything you said needed to be said and that all you are feeling is to be expected. I am praying for you, g

  10. She is so beautiful.
    I cried a little when I read that. I have many of the same fears and often I wonder if that's holding me back from getting prego again. Not bc I would not adore another deisgner gene kiddo but bc I wonder what that will mean for my "typical" child (Emma) later in life.
    I think part of having a child like ours is that we never get to have a "normal" pregnancy again. Also a wonder of the what ifs, feeling guilty if a little relieved the baby is "typical". And yet we do it because the chance of the reward is too great!
    You have a cute baby bump. Thanks for keeping everyone updated!

  11. I'm playing catch up, so by now you've already had your Thurs morning appt. And I'll read about it in a minute... :)

    I think there is always anxiety about the unknown. Whether that unknown is a typical baby or not. :) While I'm super excited for another baby, I'm oh so nervous for one too. I know (kind of) how to do Ds, but what if I don't know how to do typical!

    And I always hated the comments about 'at least they're healthy'. We got that a lot since we didn't know the sex. But at that point we also knew about heart defect and probably Ds. It always made me feel like Claire was being dismissed for being healthy before she even got here...

  12. And Addison is looking so grown up! :)


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