Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Out of the Closet/Baby, I'm A Star

We came out of the closet last weekend.

Last week I had the nuchal fold test, which is the test that gives you answers about your risks for having a baby with chromosomal problems like Down Syndrome and two things called Trisomy 18 and Trisomy 21. During an ultrasound, the fold on the back of the fetus's neck is measured, and along with my age and a blood test, the baby's risks are estimated.

My doc called on Thursday, a day before expected.

"Your risks of Down's are the same as a twenty-year old's," she said. "You just knocked off 16 years."

I was elated. While this doesn't guarantee a problem-free baby, the risks apparently drop from something like 1/260 to 1/3780 of having a baby with Down's. The Trisomy risks dropped even more.

On Friday, the Mister and I plotted about how to tell our families. The Mister's sister just had a baby of her own, and was still in the hospital. We went to visit her Friday night, and the Mister's parents and brother-in-law were all there.

At the ten-week ultrasound, the hospital had little cards that said "Baby's First Picture" that you can give to people. Since this kid has already had five ultrasounds (two at the fertility clinic, one for reassurance at nine weeks, the ten-weeker, and now the nuchal-fold test at 12 weeks, plus the photo of the embryo we transferred), it wasn't the most accurate, but Mr. L xeroxed several copies of the latest ultrasound photo and put one in each card.

My mother in law got it right away and wished me congratulations.

My father in law thought we were showing him a photo of my sister in law's new baby, even though Mr. L had written "Lyrehca and Mr. Lyrehca's" above the "First Baby Picture" part of the card (using our real names). Finally, he got it.

My sister in law also squinted at the card, then looked up from her hospital bed and said, "Are you pregnant?"

My brother in law, holding the new baby across from the room, didn't see the card at first, but said he'd suspected something a week ago when he saw me one weekend wearing a really large sweater of my brother's, who is taller than six feet. (Suffice it to say it was large on me).

Congratulations all around.

The Mister and I then went out for dinner to my favorite local restaurant, a French-Cambodian place that is clearly the best (and probably only) restaurant of its kind. Then we called my parents (who live nearby) and said we were coming to visit.

My mother has suspected my condition for weeks. Every time we spoke on the phone, she'd question something about how I was feeling, or if I had something "new" to tell her. "Is there something in there," she asked back in September. I pleaded fatness and asked her to leave me alone.

At my parents's house, after some idle chit-chat, I asked them both to sit together on the couch. They complied.

Then I handed them the envelope with the card.

My mother read it aloud and tried to figure it out.

"Congratulations!" my father boomed.

"Is that what I think it is?" my mother asked. Then she whooped for joy.

"Congratulations! I KNEW it!" she said. "And my friend K. asked about it, too."

Apparently, the same night my mother asked me in September if something was growing in my uterus, her friend K. was over for dinner and told my mother she thought I was pregnant.

"But she told me she wasn't," my mother said.

"Oh, I think so. Look at her from behind."

So apparently both my gut and my ass are spreading far and wide.


My mother immediately ordered me "not to do anything," which sounded pretty funny. "What do you want me to do?" I asked.

"I don't know. Just don't do anything."

My mother, to her credit, was with me when I was diagnosed with type 1 as a child and dealt with all the challenges of that back in the mid-1970s: urine testing, exchange diets, one shot a day, rigid snack times, and all that. I don't ever remember hearing that I shouldn't have a baby as a type 1, but maybe someone had said something to her about it. Regardless, she tends to be a nervous Jewish mother. (I'll probably be the same way.)

So we explained about the expected due date, which is the same day as my mother's deceased mother's birthday, and that the Mister and I had gotten married on her mother and father's wedding anniversary. She thought it was spooky, and asked if we'd be naming this baby after a deceased relative, a common Jewish custom. We said we would.

We talked about my blood sugars, my frequent doctor's visits, my recent eye zappage (keep reading), and both my parents wished us well.

I called my brother, who lives out of state, and told him that his beloved dog (and toddler son) would soon have a new cousin. My sister in law was fast asleep, but called the next day to send congratulations.

In the excitement of telling our parents on Friday (and ultimately, several friends over the weekend), I'd nearly forgotten about my second laser eye treatment early that morning.

I went alone this time, and planned to go to work afterwards without a problem. The Eye Doc was her usual kind self, and commented that she'd enjoyed the Mister's presence the last visit. "He's funny and reminds me of my own husband," she said.

"I figured I'd be a big girl this time and come myself," I said.

So once again, I had drops put in my right eye, a glaucoma check, and then the extreme unpleasantness of putting my head against a machine and having a contact lens hold my right eye open. This is probably one of the skeevier parts of the procedure: knowing you can't close your eye to protect it from the onslaught of light.

True to my coworker's suggestion, I started to count the zaps of bright white light and think "these are flashbulbs. I'm a celebrity leaving a club. Baby, I'm a star!"

But it was really hard to maintain.

"You're doing great," the Eye Doc told me. "Just keep your head steady."

I persevered. I gritted and bore it. I shut my left eye tight (which I didn't do the last time, shut my non-lasered eye. I wonder why not?).

Finally, it was over. While I'd thought I'd gotten maybe 120 or 150 zaps per eye, the eye doc said I'd gotten 560 in the right eye and close to 600 in the left. I have no idea what these numbers mean, but I think they're fairly average. Later that day, I noticed some tearing and a grittiness in my right eye that I hadn't noticed two weeks prior with the left eye, but after a panicked call to the eye clinic and some reassurance ("Try artificial tears," which I didn't do), the tearing and grit stopped about two hours after the procedure.

Leaving the clinic, I whipped on my sunglasses, made a follow-up appointment and walked outside to the busy street, where it was cold, grey and rainy. I stepped aside to call the Mister and let him know how it went, and as I did, I noticed a girl who was walking by looked at me strangely, as if to question why I'd be wearing dark sunglasses on a clearly not-sunny day.

I glared back at her.

Maybe I looked like a celebrity after all.


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Sandra Miller said...

Terrific post, Lyrehca.

Congrats on the phenomenal test results (you must post the U/S shot here!), the successful zappage, and on finally being able to come out of the closet!

Kevin said...

Hey L,

I'm very happy that you've shared your wonderful news with your family and that they can now share in your excitement.

I'm also happy that your second laser treatment went off well. For the record, my doc told me the number of zaps I got in each eye was about twice the number you got. I have no idea what an "average" treatment would be.

Hope you continue to have a super-star pregnancy!

Minnesota Nice said...

Good gracious - you are just sailing through all of this excitement/intensity like a pro.
May the waters ahead be smooth.

Allison said...



I know you've been pregnant for awhile and that we all knew it here on the O.C., but now that you made it officially official I just feel like I should congratulate you once more, especially since it looks like you'll have a very healthy baby ::knock on wood::

Scott K. Johnson said...

A celebrity in my book for sure!!

We're all just so happy for you guys!

The Town Criers said...

Isn't that the best--finally telling people? I'm so glad that everything is going well. Yeah!

By the way, our kids were born on my husband's grandfather's birthday and we named our son after him (we're also Jewish). I never really thought about the naming thing until I saw how much joy it brought his wife (my husband's grandmother). It makes her feel a connection to him still through our son. And our son displays so many traits that were part of her husband (can we say neat-freak?). A name can be a very powerful thing...

namaste said...

Congratulations on a wonderful ultrasound! That's got to be such a relief.
As must have been the happy response to the news that a new one is joining your family. Such a good week for you! :)

Penny said...

I'm so happy you can finally share your joy outside of the blogasphere. Very glad that things are going just as they should.

Jill said...

Congratulations on the great nuchal fold test and on getting to share the wonderful news!

serenity said...

SO glad to hear that you're out now with a capital O - and the results of the nuchal fold sound fantastic!

Great news all around. YES!

BetterCell said...

Congratulations to You and Mister Lyrecha!!


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