Saturday, August 8, 2009

Blessed Beyond Measure

Seeing your baby on an ultrasound is amazing! There is nothing like it, other than holding that baby in your arms. Here's how yesterday went. We have to travel about 45 miles to get to the University of MN Hospital where I'm being seen by Maternal Fetal Medicine. Whenever we head to the cities, I usually try to get several things done while were there and yesterday was no different. Thankfully we headed down early because at about 10:45 (my appt. wasn't until 1:30), I got a phone call from the genetic counselor we were going to be meeting with.

She apologized for calling so last minute, but was wondering if we could come in by 12pm instead. They were hoping to test Paul's blood to see if his chromosomes carried 2 little c antigens or one little c and one big C (confusing, I know). Anyway, if they could determine that he has two little c antigens then we would know for sure that baby #5 has the antigen and the amniocentesis wouldn't be necessary. If though, he had one big C and one little c then the baby would have a 50% chance of having the little c antigen and we would still need to do the amnio.

Not having an amnio certainly appealed to me as I was (and am) very concerned about the risk of miscarriage, though it's a very small risk (less than 1%). But not having the amnio would also mean that this baby is at great risk for developing Hemolytic Disease of the Fetus or Newborn (HDFN) because of having the antigen. So Paul left work and picked me up and we rushed down to the hospital.

They took Paul's blood and then we met with Cherie, the genetic counselor. We had to go over about 4 generations of family members to determine any risks that this baby might face. (With the way our government and health care are going, it felt a little like genetic profiling.) After that was done and Cherie shared more details with us, we rushed off to grab a quick bite to eat.

When we returned the results for Paul's blood work were back. He has one little c antigen and one big C which means the baby and every baby in the future has a 50% of getting the little c antigen. Then we waited a long time to get in for the ultrasound. They do an u/s before (and during) an amnio to determine good pockets of fluid and to see how baby is doing. It was the most detailed u/s I've ever had with a pregnancy. And like I said earlier, it was amazing to see our baby!

After the ultrasound, the perinatologist came in to do "the procedure." They no longer do a local anesthetic, which was little frightening. The doctor told me I'd feel "a pinch and then cramping." I'd say that was a fairly accurate description of the way it felt, though the cramping was pretty intense. Not to mention I was tipped back so my feet were higher than my head, so my legs got all numb. The whole thing lasted (in my estimation) about 60-90 seconds. Afterwards they checked the baby's heart rate again on the u/s. Then I had to go down to the lab for a blood draw so they can confirm that the cells in the amniotic fluid are the baby's, not mine.

We opted to do the chromosomal study as well as the antigen test. That way if anything is detected in a later u/s during the pregnancy, they will have the chromosomal study to compare it to, rather than having to go through another amnio later on. The doctor did see something in the u/s that was slightly concerning and that was the measurement of the baby's arm and leg bones. She said that were a little shorter than normal and that could be an indication for Downs Syndrome.

It was a little scary hearing that. We would love a child who has Down's Syndrome like any other baby that God gives us, but our concern is how a baby who has Down's would be able to handle HDFN if he/she has the antigen. We will find out the results of the chromosomal study in 8-10 days. We will have to wait 2-3 weeks for the results of the antigen test. If baby has the antigen I will have to go down to the University Hospital every week starting at 18 weeks for weekly ultrasounds.

After 4 hours, we were finally done. It was a long afternoon, but Praise God it went well. I'm feeling pretty good today, some cramping but no spotting. They told me to take it easy for 24 hours.

Oh, and did I mention we found out whether baby #5 is a boy or girl? We did!

This is our son, Caleb! We are so blessed! Caleb was the name we had picked out for Felicity, had she been a boy. At first I wasn't so sure about using that name for this baby, but this baby most likely wouldn't be here if Felicity had lived, so they definitely have a connection to each other. The name Caleb means "faithful" or "brave." Both these adjectives are fitting for our son and our God!

Thank you so much for your prayers! You are a blessing to us and to Caleb!



Anonymous said...

Unbelievably beautiful! Thank you for sharing. I will be praying for you and your precious Caleb!


Molly Koop said...

When I saw that picture of Caleb I literally gasped! He is gorgeous! It's so amazing to see his little form. He almost looks like he's reaching out for you. I'll admit (I know I can do that here) to feeling a little twinge of sadness, too, knowing that Jude would have been developing this same way along with your sweet Caleb. I hope you're able to get the rest you need today. It's supposed to be awfully hot and humid anyway, so at least there's no temptation to putz in the garden or something. :) Continued prayers, Molly

Missy said...

Oh Rachel,
How exciting - a boy!! And I am right there with you. What an honor to Felicity and our heavenly Father to name him Caleb. beautiful. I hope you get the rest you need. You and the family will be in our continued prayers. Remember to give it ALL to God and He gives us nothing we cannot handle, no matter what the outcome. It sounds like you have awesome doctors and a wonderful heart. I hope everything turns out perfect for you, whatever perfect is. I have really come to admire you and your faith and strength through it all. And Caleb is a cutie! God bless Rachel, and keep us posted.

Sharleen said...

How adorable is Caleb! Congrats, I love his name. Glad everything seemd to go well yesterday. I will continue to be praying for a healthy baby and continued peace for you and Paul.

April Z said...

Congratulations on your precious little boy! I'll be praying that all continues to go well.

Rachel said...

FYI - the top u/s pic is Caleb as well.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rachel,

Congratulations, great pictures. Just wanted to let you know that with Alex we went to Children's in St. Paul and had a level II ultrasound and they had spotted something that could be indicative of a down's baby also. I suppose they tell you the possibilities.

You're in my prayers as you await the results...Congrats again! Amanda

His Mom said...

With Claudia's pregnancy we had a marker for Downs too, we opted agains the amnio at that point (not having the issues you have) she was born without Downs. It was a stressful time, we would have been thrilled to bring ANY baby home, but knew we would need extra resources had she had DS.

Anyway, I am babbling. Thinking about you and your beautiful son. Love the name Caleb!

melissa said...

Hooray for meeting CALEB!! His ultrasound pictures are incredibly cute. My brother's name is Caleb and I really love it - I'm glad you decided to use the name you had picked out for Felicity. I think that's really special.

I'm sure the next days and weeks will be tough, waiting for results. I will pray for peace and against anxiety.


Jennifer Ross said...

I have tears and goosebumps right now. I am so excited for you and your family! That little Caleb sure is a handsome little guy:)

Much Love,

Sara said...

I am just choked up looking at your precious boy. I have a Caleb too. Rachel I am so happy for you, he looks so great in that bottom photo I have never seen one so head on before... it kind of looks like he wants to give you a hug... absolutely love it.

Thank you so much for sharing. Rachel, you are in my prayers. I am just so happy for you. Wow, could this sweet precious boy be a part of the healing God has in store for you all. What a blessing.

Praying for you! So glad I can call you my friend.

Heidi said...

Congrats on your boy! Caleb is a great my totally unbiased opinion!

We will keep praying for good test results all around!

Kara said...

What a busy day - such exciting news! Caleb is a great name. I'll continue praying for all of you in the coming months!

Tonya said...

Dear Rachel,
Thank you for sharing about your day. I thought about you and prayed for you and couldn't wait to hear an update. Caleb is beautiful! Hoping and praying you get great news from your amnio. I'm sure the next couple of weeks of waiting will be very trying and difficult. Praying for you...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing. Glad your appointment went well and you got to meet Caleb. Hope you get good news from the chromosonal study.

Ebe said...

A boy!!!! AH!!! I'm so so so happy for you. I love the name Caleb. One of mine and Tonya's friends has a little boy named Caleb...I just love that name.

He is beautiful!

I know you must be having a hard time waiting and wondering- know that we pray for you every night before we go to sleep. We think about you and your little Caleb so much.


Bethany said...

Hi, Rachel!
I've been out of the blogging world for awhile this summer and am just starting to get back into it again. I went back and read all your posts, and most importantly saw the beautiful pictures of your sweet son, Caleb. I am praying fervently for him and your family.

In response to your question on my blog last May/June (sorry it's been so long), I'm going to the U of MN, Twin Cities Campus and am studying nursing.

This summer, I've just been nannying, working at a teen camp, going to a cabin and getting ready for school again. Hope that's helpful!
Your Sister In Christ,