. . . chromosomally typical, thumb-sucking, peekaboo-playing baby.
And it’s either a boy or a girl. We’re certain that it’s definitely one of those.
But we made it through the ultrasound three months ago (THREE MONTHS AGO!!??) without discovering which.
And since then we’ve made it through three months worth of doctor appointments without anyone telling us.
And now I’m annoying you three months later with a post title suggesting I’m going to reveal an answer to a question for which I haven’t been given the answer.
Sorry about that. Take what comfort you can in knowing that I annoy myself, too. And that I am now waddling.
My gift to you is the knowledge that I am waddling. And that sneezing is fraught with danger. So in those respects, you are way better off than I am right now.
But on the other hand, I haven’t had to shave my legs but maybe 4 times since early March because in the most bizarre of pregnancy side effects, the ol’ leg hair up and quit growing. Bizarre. Gloriously, fantastically bizarre. And I’m just going to leave it at that before I annoy you to the point of calling our whole thing here off, for good and for ever.
The more-important-than-sex-of-the-baby information we’ve obtained in recent months was from a relatively new (year-old?) blood test called MaterniT21 that is offered in limited circumstances as a noninvasive alternative to amniocentesis.
I opted out of the first trimester NT ultrasound and blood screenings that are available. That set of screenings yields results in percentages/probabilities of potential chromosomal a/typicalities, such as 1:50 chance that baby has a trisomy such as Down Syndrome. Or 1:4,500 chance. Or anywhere outside, inside, or alongside those numbers.
I’m familiar with the numbers game that is beta hCG testing. I knew that whatever the results of an NT screening, I would worry. I’m already in the small percentage of women who have repeated pregnancy losses. We’ve had a trisomal loss. I don’t like pregnancy-related odds. If it was a 1:32 chance of chromosomal atypicality, I would worry. If it was a 1:6,000 chance, I would worry. Best not to even obtain that kind of information.
But then my OB offered up that because I would be over 35 at delivery and because I have had a prior chromosomal loss, I meet two of the criteria to qualify for the MaterniT21 (which yields results in a yes/no manner, not probabilities). I’m a winner! Because I’m a loser! Wahoo! Wait . . . not wahoo. Just . . . hoooooo.
I had the labwork for the test drawn on February 7th; the results came back on February 19th. That was a long twelve days that ended, as have so many of the waiting periods of this pregnancy, with me sliding down the kitchen cabinets to sit in a heap of relief and thankful tears on my kitchen floor.
I pace the kitchen floor during results phone calls. It’s a good reception area for my cell phone. And a good pacing area, what with the island that creates both a natural track and a resting point when I become too nervous to pace. And a good slide-down-cabinets-in-relief area.
The MaterniT21 results were negative for Trisomy 13, 18, and 21, and concluded that the baby is chromosomally typical. Typical!
“Typical” is not a word that could be extended to any of the pregnancies between Sophie Belle and now.
“Typical” was cause for much relief.
Not that I didn’t still hold my breath during the anatomy ultrasound that followed a few days later. There were several times during that exam that I had to remind myself to breathe, to relax the grip my hands had on the dress scrunched up above my belly.
Chambers! Count the chambers of the heart! Say there are four! my mind pleaded.
The brain! Check the brain! Does it look normal? ran the loop in my head.
Fingers and toes and liver and kidneys and bladder and lungs and spine and arms and legs and placental placement and umbilical cord veins and cervical length and WHAT AM I FORGETTING?!!? went the monologue.
All looked perfectly normal, we were told.
And then I exhaled.
* * * * *
I haven’t written much about this pregnancy. I haven’t written much in months past, period.
I suppose it’s because of that lingering fear that the bottom could drop out at any moment. It has taken me some time to become comfortable with results and indications that everything is okay.
Kind of ridiculous. Kind of not.
I take in the information, let it settle in my subconscious, but don’t want to be so arrogant as to assume that indications of okayness are the same as okayness.
Seriously, James did a real number on me with the whole:
Nope. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, James. I definitely don’t.
All I know for sure is that for the third time today I can feel the hiccups of a little life growing within.
Other than that, I am just a mist.
* * * * *
As the months have worn on, the fears and anxieties have receded.
We have turned one room into a nursery (photos soon).
We have unpacked the boxes and boxes and boxes of baby gear saved from Way Back When We Didn’t Know Babies Don’t Need This Much Stuff. Holy consumerism overload. And everything still works. Amazing.
Some friends loaned me even more boxes and boxes and boxes of maternity clothes and hallelujah I am now optimistic that I’ll make it to July without an acute case of wardrobe misery. Well, except for any occasion requiring maternity swimwear — that will still invoke the misery. But swimwear has almost always invoked a certain degree of misery for me, so . . . yeah, this year isn’t THAT different. Except that my OB warned me to be careful as pregnant women often sunburn more easily. Which I think, given my pre-pregnancy paleness, means that I’ll need to SPF-infinity myself before I even roll out of bed in the darkness of morning. So that makes this year a *little* bit different. (And it’s definitely a ‘roll’ out of bed in the morning situation at this point.)
Another precious friend brought me her hardly-even-barely-used, awesomely-neutral-colored infant car seat. And *POOF* was gone my unjumpable hurdle of purchasing an infant seat I was so afraid would end up a pristine, empty, unreturnable reminder of what wasn’t to be. She’d bought that car seat after her youngest son was born . . . the loss of the son before him and then wading through an abyss of pregnancy scariness had left her unable to jump that purchase hurdle during her last pregnancy. So after her youngest was born, when he was ready to leave the hospital, then she bought the seat. I don’t know how to articulate what it is about the car seat that seems so presumptuous. All I can tell you is that it is one of my life’s greatest blessings to have friends whose complete understanding is independent of my (in)articulateness.
In the last few weeks, I’ve even found a plain, simple, unspeakably soft, white newborn gown. So, baby will have something to wear home. And won’t have to be embarrassed about being incorrectly pinked or blued or excessively ducked. (Oh, by the way: ‘gender-neutral newborn clothing’ is apparently commercially interpreted as All Things Yellow Ducky. I have developed a theory that this yellowfication is Big Baby Fashion’s subversive attempt to push me into getting the boy/girl info earlier so that I can join the ranks of the overspenders in the mostly-pink or largely-blue departments. Pretty clever of them, applying the pressure through friendly-looking yellow duckies. Not as clever as would have been using something that gives me the heebie-jeebs, like designing all ‘neutral’ clothing with little flour bugs on it (I’d have called the doctor’s office from the clothing department), but a good effort. You’re not going to break me with the ducks though, Big Baby Fashion!)
Which leaves us with all of about 10 or 12 things we will ‘need’ before July. Which is awesome.
Which has freed me up for focusing on the dwindling time we have left to enjoy Hi Five! in all her soloness.
Which free time has been filled with things like movies and naps and mani/pedis and naps and Sea World and random adventures with The MotherSuch. And naps.
And finding one of last month’s bluebonnet patches.
And telling her “you know, I kinda think this baby might be a boy . . . “
Before telling her “. . . or a baby girl.”
She appears to have a preference.
Or so we have concluded after months of her adamantly telling us (and anyone else who asks her thoughts on the matter) that this is her baby SISTER we’re expecting. And that her baby SISTER should be named Bluebonnet, because that is a “most beautiful name.”
Maybe she’s right. (About the sister thing, not about the name. I might have told her it was illegal to name a baby after the state flower. But that it is not illegal to pick the bluebonnets. And, after consulting with the Texas DPS website, I have confirmed that one of those things is true. I’m good with 50% accuracy on this one.)
But maybe she’s right.
We’ll know in a little less than
. . . eight weeks.