Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Intelli- What?

Did you know there's a product on the market that can predict the gender of a baby at as early as 10 weeks? It's called IntelliGender, and you can find it in most major stores near the pregnancy tests. The company's website states that it is "a fun pre-birth experience for moms who can't wait to know!" That would be me. Though I think they should change it to "a confusing pre-birth experience for moms who are neurotic". The test works like this: 1. Collect first morning urine in the cup provided (easy enough). 2. Use the plastic syringe to collect 20ml of urine (kind of gross). 3. Insert into exposed hole on top of test vessel (this contains the "magic" sand-like substance that reacts with the urine). 4. Replace sticky cover over top of vessel and swirl test rapidly for 10 seconds. DO NOT SHAKE! (this is where I got confused and just sort of sloshed it around for a few seconds). After 10 minutes, the test is ready to read. The color of the urine determines the sex. A murky, greenish color indicates a boy, while an orange color means girl. There's a boy and girl label on both sides that allows you to match the results. Before I reveal my results, let me just say that from the moment I discovered I was pregnant, I have felt that it is a girl. So I figured that this test could confirm that for me much earlier than the ultrasound. Here's the results of my test:




Clearly mine would indicate that it is a boy. Now of course I will be excited no matter what we're having, but I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed when I first saw the results. However, I still feel in my heart that it is a girl. So I'm chalking this up to human error and the fact that this test is probably a sham. Now I'm out $30 and a little ticked off. But I suppose only time will tell if IntelliGender was indeed mistaken, or if my maternal instinct is faulty. Lesson learned? Better to wait it out and leave it to the professionals ;).

Love,
Ashley

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Results Are In

Yesterday I received a call from the perinatologist’s office with the results of our screening. Before I explain the final results, I should preface with a little bit more information about how they calculate it. Prior to the ultrasound, we spoke with a genetic counselor who reviewed the history of our last pregnancy and discussed our general risk of a chromosomal abnormality occurring again. There are baseline risk numbers for all women, which increase with maternal age. An average 26 year old woman generally has a 0.22% risk of having a child with a chromosomal abnormality. As a ratio, this is 1/455 (meaning out of 455 women, only 1 would have a child with a chromosomal abnormality). We were told that if a woman is under 30 and has a child with a chromosomal abnormality, her baseline risk is 8 times higher. Hence, for me this means my baseline risk would be 1.6% (this is before any testing). That is still very low and means I’d have a 98.4% chance of having a child with normal chromosomes. However, when you state it as a ratio, it’s roughly 1/60. That’s a little scarier to me.

The nurse told me that after the receiving the results of my blood draw, our result is negative, or low risk. I asked her if she could give me the exact ratios that were calculated. After factoring in my baseline risk, the ultrasound and blood results, my risks are as follows: 1/10,000 for Down’s Syndrome and 1/2,700 for Trisomy 13 & 18. We are very pleased with these, as they are significantly lower than my original risk without testing. Like I said before, this screening does not give a definite confirmation either way; it merely estimates the risk. But because over 90% of these conditions are typically detected, we’re feeling optimistic about our results.

So that’s where we are right now. Of course I will keep everyone updated as we go along, and I want to say thank you for the kind emails and messages that have been sent our way.

Love,
Ashley

Monday, March 14, 2011

Guess What??




We’re expecting again!!!! I am happy to announce that I am 13 weeks pregnant, due September 17th. Keith and I found out on January 10th, which means we’ve been sitting on the news for quite some time now. Before this weekend, I’d only told my 2 close friends (one of whom called me out at dinner when I didn’t order a drink, so I had to spill it to her!) and my cousin. We had originally debated waiting until Easter to tell our families so that we could do it in person. However, I will be 19 weeks by then and we thought that might be a little too long to keep it to ourselves. Plus, by that point I wouldn’t even have to say anything…my belly would be obvious enough! Since I couldn’t do it in person, I decided to surprise them on Saturday with an email with our ultrasound photos and the prego pics we’ve taken so far. Needless to say, they are pretty gung-ho!

Right now I’m feeling really good. Physically, I’ve felt my energy levels returning in the past 2 weeks, and the nauseous, “blech” feeling I had for about 5 weeks is gone. I should probably enjoy this honeymoon period of not really feeling pregnant or uncomfortable. Emotionally, I’ve felt a wave of sentiments, as one can imagine. There have been moments of fear and trepidation. I don’t think I’ll ever have the fortune of being na├»ve or blissfully unaware of the possibility of complications from now on. But overall I’ve felt really positive. This past week Keith and I went back to Independence to do the first trimester screening. Because we just moved to Springfield, my new doctor’s office didn’t think they could get me in on time for this (it has to be done between 11 weeks 1 day and 13 weeks 6 days). The screening consists of a perinatal ultrasound and a blood test. The ultrasound measures the nuchal fold, a pocket of fluid behind the baby’s neck. Anything over a certain measurement could indicate an abnormality. Our measurements, we were told, were in a healthy range, and everything else looked good (praise the Lord!). We won’t have the results of the blood test until the end of this week, or possibly next week. Once they have both results, they are combined to give us our risk (high or low) of having a baby with Down’s Syndrome, Trisomy 13 or Trisomy 18. Though this screening does not give a guaranteed yes or no diagnosis, it is said to detect 91% of Down’s Syndrome cases and 95% of Trisomy 13 and Trisomy 18 cases. Therefore, we’re hopeful that if our blood results are negative there’s a good chance that everything is just fine. Until I get that phone call all we can do is pray, pray, PRAY!

So that’s our big news. Whew, it feels good to finally let it out publicly! I’ll end with the pics that I sent our family. The first ultrasound is from our first appointment back in January. The other two are from Friday. The first of those is a profile shot, and the other one shows the baby looking at us. Enjoy!






Love,
Ashley

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bye Bye, Bethenny

Today is Ash Wednesday, the offical kick-off to the Lenten season. In preparation for this day, I have been pondering about I might give up. Candy? Pop? Those are things in the past I have done. However, I rarely imbibe on those anymore, at least not enough to make it a sacrifice. So I've decided to go different route this year. It pains me to type this, but I have made the decision to forgo all reality tv shows on Bravo. This includes (but is not limited to): Real Housewives of Orange County, Real Housewives of Miami, and Bethenny Ever After. This is going to be HARD for me, particularly because these shows just started their new seasons a week ago. Which means I am going to miss out on a lot of drama. However, I do have my DVR set to record each of these series, and I plan on having a marathon viewing come April 25th. Keith claims this would be cheating, but I argue that it is no different than giving up pizza and then eating it the day after Easter. Right?? I'd like to believe that the act of delaying my entertainment until then is indeed a legitimate sacrifice. And who knows? Maybe by then I won't even feel the need to watch the episodes I've recorded (not likely, but we'll see).

But on a more serious note, I realize that Lent isn't just about what you give up. It's also about what you do, particularly for others. I've done volunteer work in the past and have been looking for an opportunity here in Springfield. My goal is to find an organization to donate my time and talents to during Lent and beyond. I'm hoping to make a decision on that very soon.

That's all for the moment. I'm looking forward to this Lenten season, and to Easter. Hopefully it will actually feel like spring by then since it's so late this year! Until then I say farewell, dear housewives. See you in 47 days.

Love,
Ashley

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Settling In

What a week! We are officially residing in Springfield! Last Wednesday our movers came to pack and load us, and delivered our stuff here on Thursday. We've managed (well mostly Keith's managed) to get almost everything put away or hung up on walls. It actually looks like a home now! The doggies have adjusted well, though they were pretty out of it when we got here Wednesday night and the place was empty. Now that our things are here, they recognize their scent and feel right at home again. The only thing that concerns me right now is the wood flooring that encompasses the living room, hallway, and one of the bedrooms. It sounded like a great feature before we moved here, as it limits the chance that the dogs will have an accident (they prefer to potty on nice, fluffy carpeting over bare floors). Now I'm a little paranoid. We had Wendell's nails clipped before we moved here, but he tends to run when he gets excited and I'm freaked out that he's going to make scratches. Not only will we be getting some rugs to limit the amount of exposed flooring, but I've also contemplated buying dog booties and making him wear them anytime he's in the house. Ridiculous? Probably. But it's cheaper than losing our deposit, so it's worth it. Ah, the joys of pet ownership. I think a visit to Petsmart is in our near future...

In other news, I'm still working on the whole job thing. As I've said before, the first week or so of unemployment is enjoyable, but beyond that it's pretty lame. Each time I’m between jobs I find that my desire to buy sweatpants increases, and that’s never a good thing. I’m still not quite sure if I’ll pursue teaching next year or not. Keith seems to be fairly confident that we’ll only be here for a year, and that means that I potentially would have to leave in the middle of the school year. I’ve already done that once and it’s really not fun, or fair for the kids. Speaking of that, I received my Missouri teaching license in the mail today, whoohoo! So if I do decide to pursue it now or in the future, I’ve got that covered. In the meantime I’ve been scouring the web for other job opportunities. Hopefully I’ll find something decent soon enough.

That’s it for now. Hope you’re having a great week!

Love,
Ashley