Monday, October 20, 2008

30 Week Update

It's been a few weeks since I last wrote, so I suppose I should update you all.  Though, we're sort of in this "in-between" stage; where things aren't as emotionally overwhelming as they were following the initial diagnosis, nor as difficult as they will be as we come closer to the end of this journey.  

Right now, we're trying to find small moments to treasure.  To find the beauty in the ashes.  To see the blessings through the suffering.  Of course, everything about this trial is still difficult--I still have my crying moments and angry moments.  No, it's not easy to explain our pregnancy's diagnosis to questioning passerbys.  But, I think we've also come to this middle stage of peace and acceptance.  Where I'm undeniably pregnant and yet physically, I still feel great.  I'm not loathing the pregnancy part, as I feared I might.  With my two boys, I just wanted to move past the pregnancy part--I was huge, uncomfortable, tired, and did I say huge?  : )

Maybe it's because I know this may be all I have with Lily?  I find myself seeking out the joy in carrying her.  While I carry her, I know she's safe and growing and moving inside of me.  As a family, we enjoy the "guess which body part" game on my abdomen as she tosses, turns, and kicks.  Justin walks around our house spelling, "L-I-L-Y" (he's big into spelling and writing these days) and has drawn a few pictures for her.    

And so, in this middle stage, I am torn.  There's a part of me that just wants to stay pregnant, where she continues to be a part of our everyday life.  But, then there's another part of me that says, okay, if I can just make it to Feb, then I won't be this sad, sorrowful person any more.  A part of me that wants to move past all of this heartache.  Of course, the more I learn about the grieving process, the more I understand that I will never go back to being the same as I was before this awful diagnosis at 13 weeks.  I will be forever changed by this experience with Lily Grace.  All I can do is pray that the sharpness of this sword will dull over time, and I will see some of Lily's blessings in myself and in the lives of others.    

Anyways...we had our 30 week apt today.  Glucose testing results came back fine.  Blood pressure was a little high, but I'm also fighting a cold, which may have contributed to the slight elevation (that's what I'm hoping anyway).  I haven't gained any weight in the last 8 weeks (Yes, I'm eating well)...not sure what that might mean about Lily's growth.  I'm measuring right on target, so excess amniotic fluid doesn't seem to be a problem yet.  Lily's heart rate continues to be strong at 140 beats.  Since I met with the midwife in the practice today (it is so neat to be associated with a practice that includes such a lovable midwife), she wants me to come back next week to see Dr. Z before he goes on vacation, rather than wait until he gets back.  We'll talk about scheduling a c-section, possibly getting another ultrasound, and meeting with neonatologists to write up a birth plan.
Other updates...we officially enrolled in a Duke University study for Neural Tube Defects.  They have a specific research effort well-underway specific to Anencephaly.  It requires blood from both Craig and I, plus Lily's umbilical cord blood after she is born.  The research team runs extensive genetic and chromosomal tests against hundreds of other samples, looking for potential gene pattern similarities.  While we will probably not receive results directly related to Lily's diagnosis, they do publish annual newsletters with their latest research findings.  Their hope is to identify the causing genes or environmental issues, and to look for ways to reduce and prevent an anencephalic diagnosis.        

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