Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My experience with CVS (chorionic villus sampling)

Damn, my sexy blog has been overtaken by unsexy things lately, but since this is the most honest and heartfelt thing in my life right now, that's how it has to be.  I promise I'll bring the sexy back when I can. 

This morning I went in for an early appointment first thing after work and had chorionic villus sampling performed.  Some sort of genetic testing is pretty standard in my family, but I am the first that I know of to choose CVS.  Before me, everyone else had amniocentesis.  I'm a rebel, choosing CVS.  There are probably several reasons for this.  CVS has a slightly higher incidence of miscarriage and a small window in which it can be performed.  Luckily, I was referred to the genetic counselor early on and all testing options were available for me.  I chose CVS mostly because I wanted the results as early as possible for making decisions regarding the pregnancy.  If my anomaly exists in it's unbalanced state, it's not compatible with life in any example that I'm aware of.  Therefore, I've always known that I would terminate rather than risk giving birth to a stillborn baby or a live child with here before unknown birth defects.  With termination on the table, early results are important.  All of that said, more than likely everything is fine or I never would have made it this far into the pregnancy.

This is how my CVS procedure went down.  I was greeted by the same super nice ultrasound tech that I had seen exactly a week before.  She did a quick ultrasound to make sure everything was still looking good and to see where everything was.  At first Sketch was still, but after a little probing with the transducer, it started wiggling.  It put a hand out and waved at me!  She got a really good pic of just it's little frog legs and pot belly.  It's pretty strange looking.

Oh and in case I had any vague hopes of staring really hard to determine sex organs from this crotch shot...  I give you the following graphic from this site: 

Then she went over the procedure and had me sign the consent form.  The consent form had funny statements on it such as "I understand that the results of this procedure do not guarantee the birth of a normal child." but it was also reassuring in that the risks were all stated but you were reminded how rare the complications are.  This was good as the possible complications had become a bit built up in my mind.  Seeing the actual statistics in front of me was grounding.  She brought up blood type, which my doctor forgot to fax over.  I confessed to being A negative knowing that this would buy me a Rhogam injection.  Since there is a small risk of me coming into contact with the fetus's blood type during the procedure (normally this is separate and protected until delivery) there is a chance that I could develop antibodies that would attack the fetus if it has Rh positive blood.  Rhogam keeps my body from developing those antibodies and wanting to destroy what it's creating.  (What say you, believers in Intelligent Design?)  Knowing that Rhogam was in my very near future was anxiety producing as I vaguely remember them talking about how painful it is when I was in nursing school.  Ugh.

Moving on.  I got to strip from the waist down and cover with a sheet while the ultrasound tech talked to the doc.  He came in and asked if I had any questions.  I can't say he was warm, but he was very professional, which I appreciate.  He also didn't show his annoyance when I waited too long to mention my latex allergy.  Oops, probably should have mentioned that before you got yer sterile field started.  Sorry!  So the tech left to scrounge up some non-itch-inducing gloves and that was the biggest hold up.  The speculum was big and it was cold (you can't warm up a speculum on a sterile field so I forgive them).  He swabbed my cervix and then inserted the catheter and I could see it on the ultrasound.  As it crept up through me at times I felt nothing, at other times I felt some pressure.  The doc explained everything as it went.  He told me when he was going to attempt to obtain the sample.  They do this with suction, not a needle.  I felt no different during this part, but I could see the bits of placenta going through the catheter on the ultrasound.  It was cool.  At this point, the doc has to walk away and check the sample under the microscope to see if it's a quality sample.  Did I mention that you have to keep a full bladder during the procedure so they can see better?  The whole time this was going on I was looking forward to the best pee ever.  Talk about awkward.  I'm naked from the waist down with a light shining on my lady parts which are stretched open with a cold metal speculum.  I have to pee like you couldn't believe and I've got to chill while doc looks at the placenta bits under a microscope and makes sure they are the placenta bits he was looking for.  This was also the best part.  The tech was watching the fetus to make sure it was okay after the procedure.  She rechecked the heart rate and then we just watched it for a while.  It was a  nice distraction from all the very undignified things that were going on below my belly button.  I just watched it floating and wiggling while I waited. 

The doc came back and announced that the sample was good.  Hooray!  They will try up to three times for a good sample, but luckily they got it with one pass.  He reminded me that it takes 10-14 days for results because they are looking at my specific chromosomes and not just counting them to see if they are all there.  I wonder just how much they get back on the report.  I intend to ask my OB/GYN for a copy of it.

The Rhogam injection sucked.  It's a rather big IM injection.  It stings.  It's the only time I had to reach for my husbands hand.  I stick people with needles all the time.  I have tattoos.  I used to have my tongue pierced.  I still get nervous when the needles are pointed my way.  
That was it.  She went over where to send my results and confirmed that it was okay to leave a message with the results.

Compared to the hysterosalpingogram it wasn't much different.  The basic premise was the same.  Speculum, catheter through the cervix... one was shooting stuff in and one was sucking stuff out.  But in practice and feeling, they were not that different.  The after care instructions aren't that difficult.  Nothing inserted into the vagina for 5 days.  (They didn't say no orgasms!  I have my ways!) No tub baths or swimming.  This is to allow the mucous plug to close up again and to prevent infection in the meantime.  No straining or heavy lifting for 48 hours.  Call my doctor if I get a fever or flu like symptoms.  Some spotting and light bleeding is normal and about 40% of women have some after the procedure.  I've had some very light spotting as of tonight.  Overall, it was much less scary than I had built it up to in my mind.  Still, I'm glad that hubby was able to make arrangements for work and to be there with me.  It made a big difference.

So that's it.  CVS wasn't that big of a deal and now that I've done it, it sounds less scary than an amniocentesis.  I mean, a needle through my abdomen through the muscular uterus sounds way worse than going through an already existing hole (os, if you are med-term savvy) with a soft catheter and sucking up some tissue that has no nerve endings.  Hopefully, I will have no need to compare the two.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

How I Turned My Pregnant Outburst Into A Healthy Sexual Activity (And Made My Husband More Likely to Continue to Tolerate Me)

So this morning I scheduled my genetic testing appointment.  (If you hang on through the following description, I promise you a sexy story!)  Tomorrow morning, they are going to stick a needle up through my vag, past my cervix, into my uterus and insert it into my placenta.  From there, they will collect a small amount of cells that should determine the genotype of this little human I'm incubating.  I chose this method, CVS or chorionic villus sampling over the alternative, amniocentesis, because it can be done sooner.  This is important in my case because I know that if the fetus is carrying the unbalanced translocated chromosomes that it's more than likely not compatible with life and therefore I will terminate the pregnancy.  When termination is on the table, it is better to do this earlier rather than later.  Since it takes two weeks to get results from either method, it puts you much further into the pregnancy before you get the information to base your decision on.  The earliest an amnio can be performed is at 16 weeks.  That would put me at 18 weeks at the earliest before I could make the decision and follow through to terminate.  This would also put me smack dab in the middle of the Christmas season to kill my broken fetus, if it were to come to that.  It is also important to me that a decision be made before I start to feel the thing moving.  I don't want to feel the fetus wriggling around knowing it was on death row.  I'm a strong person and I've always known that termination was a possibility for me, but lets make it as easy as possible, shall we?  In addition, the sooner the procedure is performed, the less overall risks there are to my health.

This is heavy stuff.  I'm a bit anxious about this.  Because of the timing of the appointment, I'll be going alone.  I expect that the procedure itself won't be much different in practice compared to the hysterosalpingogram I had in January, so I'm not too worried about that.  I am however, nervous about the 1 in 200 risk of miscarriage and facing that after working 12 hours and getting little sleep.

When my husband approached me in the way that says, "I expect sex now." I kind of freaked out.  My anxiety and tiredness and pregnancy hormones sent me into a tirade which ended with me in the shower after yelling that I would be sure to fuck him.  While in the shower I unpacked and aired my anxiety and what it is really related to and came up with a good solution.  Since it seems a poor idea to have sex this morning, less than 24 hours from the CVS, I offered to suck his cock instead.

He was skeptical.  I told him to watch porn while I did so.  He reluctantly agreed.  I knelt in front of him at his computer and he watched a vanilla amateurish porn of man and a big-titted blonde woman.  This was not a very long blow job.  I found myself relaxing and getting turned on as I did my thing.   The subservient and submissive aspect of it turned me on.

It's a simple thing, but it was new to us and it was fun.  It also helped me make up for being a raging irrational misdirecting bitch a few minutes before.  And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why sex is important for marriages.

Whatever happens with the pregnancy, I will blog about it here.  If termination becomes something we face, this blog is the only outlet I have to discuss it publicly.  In my profession, I would be judged harshly and I draw the line at what I will put myself through.  However, I will always be open and honest in this forum.

Friday, October 5, 2012

This blog is becoming decidedly unsexier with another post about being pregnant.

I have to rant about this where I can be free to say whatever I want because I have been stifling my words for long enough.  So, quick back story...  I'm a nurse.  I work in the float pool.  This means they send me where they need extra staff throughout the hospital.  I work on a variety of floors and I love it.  I love moving around.  I love getting to know everyone.  I love it when everyone calls me when they bring food for special occasions.  (Float staff always knows where the food is!)  I've been doing this for 10 months and it's fantastic.  However, a while back, I asked them not to send me to OB/Postpartum because I was too emotional about not being able to get pregnant.  Now, I'm pregnant and I still don't want to go there because I don't want to see the new babies yet.  I get too scared about mine and what is going to happen. 

Last night I arrived and found I was scheduled there for the first 4 hours of my shift.  Initially, they had sent another nurse, but she freaked out and said she couldn't do it.  She went back to the nursing office and said "Send Bunny.  She's pregnant.  She needs to be over there."  And so they did that.  Thanks for volunteering me.  As if I don't have enough people telling me what I need to be doing right now!  I try to make the best of it.  I don't spend too long holding any babies or even looking at them.  (I don't assess them cause I'm not comfortable assessing a baby.)  The other staff is nice, for the most part and I made jokes about being hormonal and not wanting to be around the babies.  No one understood why I might possibly feel that way.  Still, I kept it together and followed my best friend's advice, delivered via text, "No crying!" I ended up staying there for the full 12 hours. I almost made it.

I talked a little about being pregnant with one of the nurses there. 

"I'm really early, only 10 weeks." I said.

"Oh, don't lift anything heavy!" She responded and I ignored it.  Later, I was talking about how I was going to have genetic testing done.  This dumbfounded them even more.  I explained why it was important that I find out if my weird chromosome abnormality was passed on. 

"You know there's risks to that!" This obnoxious nurse told me. 

"I understand that.  But I'd rather know if I'm carrying a child with this abnormality so I know what I'm up against.  It's not compatible with life." That's close enough to how I responded.  How I wanted to respond was like this... 

"REALLY!  THERE ARE RISKS!  That's funny, because the genetic counselor we talked to completely failed to mention the risks when going over my options for genetic testing.  Isn't that weird!  I'm so glad you were here to tell me this information!  Now that I know there are risks, I won't have it done!  I mean, why take the chance, right?  And while I'm at it, I'll stop driving to work, because I might get into an accident on the way there and lose the baby.  I should also probably stop eating food, because I might choke and die and lose the baby."

Later on, they were prepping a baby for a circumcision.  I stated that I wished to be out of there before it started so I didn't have to hear the baby crying.  A day shift nurse turned to me.

"Well, what are you having?"

"I don't know yet.  I'm only 10 weeks, but if it's a boy, I'm not having that done."

She got quiet and looked at me for a moment as though she was sad for me.  She placed her hand on my arm.  "I'm going to tell you...  I couldn't marry a man who wasn't circumcised.  I guess as mother's we project that onto our children.  My sister didn't have it done with her boy and I feel sorry for him.  I'm sorry for giving you my opinion like that."  I said nothing.  I wanted to say that my baby wasn't going to want to marry her.  I wanted to say was that I've been with guys who are and who are not and that they are both just fine.  That would have been enough to make me look like a huge slut.  Imagine if I had told the truth.  My boyfriend is intact and my husband is not and I'm fucking them both!  Up yours!  All of you with your stupid advice and condescending detached way of delivering it!  And stop asking me if I'm feeling okay!  Do I look like I'm not feeling okay?  I'm pregnant.  Not broken. 

I was still keeping it together at this point.  I had one more nurse to give report to and I would have been outta there before the damn broke.  They stole that nurse away to help with the circumcision and I was left to my own devices in the break room.  Alone.  Annoyed that I couldn't go home on time and annoyed at all the stupid, judgmental bullshit that I've put up with all night.  I thought about the babies.  Then I lost it. 

What if there's something wrong?  What if I lose it?  What if I never get to hold my baby like the moms here?  I want this so badly!  All of it.  I want the exhausted but accomplished look of having given birth.  I want the challenge of breast feeding.  What if I never get it....  

I lost myself to uncontrollable sobs.  The last thing I wanted was for someone to notice and ask me what was wrong.  I texted my BFF who sent me encouraging words.  I splashed some water and my face and dried my tears.  I got out there and gave report and then I went right to the nursing office where I broke down again.  I told them I can't do it.  I can't go to OB right now.  I can't do it.  All I could think about was losing my baby.  The supervisor hugged me and consoled me and reassured me that she knew exactly how I felt and that she would pass it along to the others.  She hugged me.  I probably got snot in her hair.

I stopped on the way home and got a glazed donut with chocolate icing.  I ate it with a large glass of milk.  It was awesome.  Now I'm going to have a shower and have sex with my husband, does that count as lifting something heavy?  Does it?  Ah, fuck it.  That's exactly what I intend to do. 

Update: It was a loooong hot shower and some hard and fast sex. Bite me bitches!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I'll Believe It When I See It. Or Not.

Most of the time, I don't really believe that I'm pregnant.  We tried for so long and I really started to imagine my life without a family.  This would have been okay, really.  I can picture it.  I had walled off the part of me that wanted it so badly, knowing that it may never happen.  Now I have to reconnect with that part of myself and start imagining myself as a mother. 

I had another ultrasound today.  This one changed my due date, moving it forward by about a week.  When I laid down on the table for the ultrasound, I half expected there to be nothing there. 

"Haha!  Got you!  You're not really pregnant, it's all in your head." I would climb down off the table and say "Good one, guys, you thought you had be going, but I never really believed it."  I wouldn't even cry.  To think that there is nothing growing in me right now is more believable than what is really happening.

It's surreal feeling that there is a living thing inside of me, sucking away my life and changing my whole body around to suit it's needs.  As soon as the probe hit my belly, I could see the outline of the fetus.  It was immediate.  BAM! Baby!  It was larger than last time and it clearly has arms and legs.  It was moving.  This this is moving around inside of me and I can't even feel it.  Intellectually, I knew that my baby was already moving and kicking, but to see it in front of me on an ultrasound was something else entirely. 

Not even two weeks ago it was a peanut-shaped blob with a fluttery heartbeat center.  Now it is starting to look human.  I keep thinking about this ultrasound like what I saw is in the past, but this thing is inside of me all the time.  Right now, as I look at the pictures, it is in there, kicking. 

I can't think about this too much or I will cry.  I almost started crying going through a box of maternity clothes that a friend loaned me, just because it was so nice of her to do so!  I want to call my mother and tell her that I love her. (This is highly uncharacteristic.  I am not close to my mother.) I want to listen to Christmas music.  I want to talk to my dead Grandma like she can hear me.  I want to talk to my baby like it can hear me.  I'm losing hold of my firm grasp on reality and logical nature.  I do not, however, have an urge to pray so I know I'm not completely losing it. 

How I feel right now is much how I felt when my grandma died.  I couldn't feel it at first because it was too big.  I have to adjust myself to take it in and it has to get smaller, less risky.  It's weird that a grievous event and a supremely happy one are so similar.  I never thought I'd have these emotions and now I don't know how to feel them.  When I think about the future and actually holding our baby, my mind drifts around and can't settle on it.  If I do start to form the picture, I am instantly overwhelmed and unable to allow it to focus. 

This is what is going to happen.  We are going to have this baby and we are going to feel the happy emotions I thought I'd never feel.  The thing kicking around inside of me is the proof.  I just don't fully believe that it's there.    

In other news, Hubby and I settled on a nickname for our unborn wiggly nugget.  "Sketch"  It's just a Sketch right now, it's not finished.  I voted for Space Invader, but he thought that was too long.  Peanut is too common.  And so, I have a Sketch inside of me.  Getting closer and closer to completion.  I guess at some point I'll give birth to an oil painting.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Three Words

Since this blog is no longer totally anonymous, it is the nature of the beast that some things must be blogged about after the fact instead of using it to work out my feelings.

For quite some time now, three words have been be-bopping around in my head when I've been around NMB.  You know the three words I'm talking about.  Three words that I apply liberally to friends.  I love my best friend.  I even love some of my coworkers.  For some reason, applying them to a second romantic relationship was much harder.  I'm not sure why that is.

I had been putting it off.  I knew that I would have to say it first and I wanted Hubby to be in a place where he wouldn't be hurt by it.  I was also comfortable.  NMB made me feel an important part of his life without it.  The shared calendar, the warmness I received from his wife, communicating about important things, just being happy for me when I told him I was pregnant...  these are things that made me feel happy and content the way things were.  I knew that sooner or later the words would be said, but I saw no reason to rush them out of my big mouth.  The relationship progressed slowly and naturally and it was easy, despite my early insecurities.  I felt loved before I was told.

However, I was starting to feel like it was time.  Pregnancy hormones may have contributed.  Hubby has also been in a better place.  Despite it being just a decent human being thing to do, the ongoing to commitment to me through a pregnancy and new parenthood was really touching.  The words were going to come out.  They were waiting behind my lips during sex, they would still be there after when cuddling.  It was going to happen.

I talked things over with Hubby and I gave him some time to digest.  I didn't say the next time I saw NMB.  I waited.  However, the other night, I wanted to make it happen.  He was here, at our place.  We had long finished our typical amorous activities.  We were cuddling and talking, post coitus, in the new bed in our apartment.

I hid my face and hinted at what I was going to say.  It was quite obvious where I was heading, but he didn't help me out.  When I finally got the words out and looked him in the eye, there was a pause before he responded with

"I love... pie."      
 "I love you too"
"It was on 'How I Met Your Mother'"
"Oh, you owe me for this one"
"A little bit, maybe"

So, that's how I told my boyfriend that I loved him, how I arduously forced the words out after much anxiety only to have him respond with a quote from "How I Met Your Mother."  Awesomesauce.  Actually, what is so strikingly weird about this is how similar it is to something my husband would have done.  He often makes cheesy jokes and puns when I try to be serious and show affection.  Sigh.  This is what I attract, I suppose.  Well, I would rather have someone(s) who makes light of life, even the serious moments, than someone(s) who had no sense of humor.