Friday, April 8, 2011

The reason for my absence

I didn't mean for this blog to go silent. I'm still here. It's just that... well... life has happened in the last few months.

This is my fun blog. The one where I don't post pictures of my family or keep any kind of important family record, but just a place where I can write if and when I feel like it about whatever I want to, or share things I find amusing or otherwise worth passing along. This blog isn't amazingly popular, but I have some blog friends out there!

I feel like I have to write about this before I can carry on with the fun stuff. I don't want to dwell on it on this blog, and updates are happening on my family blog, but it's a big enough deal that I feel like I can't just ignore it here.

After a couple years of trying for baby #2 with one early miscarriage last summer, we are finally expecting a baby. In fact, I'm 32 weeks along. This has been a more difficult pregnancy than my first, from the start. But as far as we knew, everything was fine -- until our big ultrasound when I was 19 weeks along.

I could tell our sonographer was concerned the entire time she was doing our ultrasound, but my untrained eye couldn't see anything wrong, except that I could see that he had a prominent forehead. At the end of the ultrasound, she put everything down and said to us, "I've got to be honest. I have some concerns." She told us that his long bones were not as long as they should be, and that she was concerned with the shape of his head. She told us it could be dwarfism.

We were surprised, but not too worried yet. My nurse got us an appointment with a maternal-fetal specialist and a genetic counselor the very next day. It was at that appointment that we learned that our baby's condition was more concerning. His chest was small, and he appeared to have a "cloverleaf" skull. I learned later that that skull shape really only goes along with a lethal condition.

They didn't say for sure that our baby wasn't going to make it. Just that they would keep an eye on him and that we might consider genetic testing.

We weren't ready to do the genetic testing yet. At that point, I didn't know how I could go through the rest of my pregnancy if the suspicion (thanatophoric dysplasia) was confirmed at that point.

So we decided to wait it out and to have faith that everything was going to be okay. Our family and friends came to our aid. At least one, sometimes both, of my parents started coming to be with us on weekends and help us carry on. Our friends have been sensitive and supportive.

Since that time, I have had several more ultrasounds, and I just had an amniocentesis last week. We don't have the results back on that. We have still never been told that our baby is going to die, but they are preparing us for it. At our last ultrasound, his heart was taking up about 70 percent of his chest (30 percent is normal), up from 50 percent the time before and about 35 percent the time before that. And his heart isn't large, it's just that his little ribs don't grow fast enough. Which likely means that his lungs aren't developing because there's so little room in his chest.

Of course there's always the possibility of a miracle. I know that we are on temple prayer rolls all over the world and that we have many, many people praying for us. I know those prayers have buoyed us up. This is something I would have thought I could never do and come out OK on the other side. Of course it's hard. Some days are harder than other days. But I'm also amazed at us. Can I say that? We are doing okay, and I am amazed by that. I know that there are some hard times ahead, even if our little guy survives. But I have already learned that I can be strong. That this is hard, but that I can do it. We can do it, and we are going to be a stronger family because of it.

My faith has been tested and strengthened, and I know that we are not alone in this. I know that we are children of God, and that this little boy will be ours forever and that we will get to be with him again someday. We have had some special experiences, and others have shared their experiences with us. Those experiences have helped us to know that we really aren't alone and that our loved ones are not really gone when they die.

Our baby boy is due at the end of May or beginning of June (depending on who you talk to), but will probably come sometime before that. We really don't know yet, but we should know better after our next big appointment.

I know this is a lot heavier than what I usually post here, but now that it's out there, maybe I can come back here more often with the other things on my mind, however trivial.

See you soon, if I feel like it. :)