Monday, December 31, 2012

Sweet Boy's Kidneys

Well, as you can gather from 2012's post, the little mini man has a name.  He'll be...

Owen Thomas Michael

We debated this a bit, he would have either been Owen Michael or Owen Thomas Michael.  When we were explaining the dilemma to my dad, he said to go ahead and give the boy three names.  My dad is one of seven kids and the only one that didn't get a middle name, which is odd because he was the third in line and my grandmother said she just didn't think of one at the time.  Since my brother is the second, he doesn't have one either so Owen will make up for that by having two names.

Owen comes from actually meeting the list of about 9,000 requirements I had for first names.  Strong, common but not too common, easy to spell if he's talking to someone on the phone, short and easy to write as a small child, etc.

Thomas is Adam's middle name which comes from his dad's brother who passed away of cancer before Adam was born.  I know the name has importance to his dad so I felt like including it was important.  Michael is after my dad (and brother) so he has a family name from my side.  This was a total non-negotiable for me.

Originally I wasn't going to tell anyone the name until he arrived but after the ultrasound, we knew he was Owen and I knew that it was only a matter of time until I slipped and told someone (my fear would have been a random co-worker) and that would have sent me into complete sadness that I'd accidentally ruined the secret.  Plus, I think I kind of hate surprises and secrets so I convinced Adam that we should probably just go ahead and start telling people.

When we had our anatomy scan at 18.5 weeks, the tech was going over everything and when she came to his kidneys, she hit the printer button and I heard a picture print out.  She didn't say anything at the time other than the doctor would go over everything with us.  My regular appointment with the doctor was right after the ultrasound and looking at my chart while the nurse checked my vitals, I saw the picture of the kidneys.  Like an idiot, I googled kidneys and ultrasound while we waited to see the doctor but luckily most of what I found wasn't alarming or overwhelming.  Apparently, kidney things are relatively common in boys.  Our doctor came in and we chatted for awhile before she brought up what was going on.  At that time, I think it was his right kidney that was showing up bigger than the left, which is what they wanted to send us to have another ultrasound for.  She didn't seem worried and said we could do the ultrasound around the same time as my next regular appointment with her.  We went ahead an scheduled that and I didn't think too much of it until I looked at the card for the doctor that they gave me and it said "High Risk".  Oy.  Due to the holidays, we ended up scheduling the follow up ultrasound for two weeks later.

My doctor was so calm about the whole thing that we really managed not to worry too much about it during the wait time.  I know now that part of this was because I was extremely stressed about other things going on in life but either way, I wasn't really losing sleep about Owen's situation.  When we went for the high risk appointment, a tech came in and did another ultrasound.  Again, as soon as she hit the kidneys, the printer started going so I was a little disappointed.  The doctor came in and did another ultrasound herself and showed us that yes, the kidneys are full of fluid right now, which causes them to show in black on the ultrasound.  I felt like it took forever to just get to the point!  What exactly does all this mean?  I was really bummed because my regular doctor seemed hopeful that it might have been that he had to pee right when my first ultrasound was done and that they may not have found anything at the high risk doctor's office and here we were with the issue still happening.  All the information is kind of overwhelming so I can't remember if I'm totally right but I think at the second appointment, the left kidney was showing up bigger than the right this time.

There are some fancy disease words for what is going on but I made a concerted effort to not remember them so I won't even have the temptation to look to Dr. Google, which the HR doctor asked me not to do.  Lots of times, this does end up resolving itself before birth.  We'll continue to have ultrasounds to monitor it every four weeks with the HR doctor and if we still see the issue at 32 weeks, they will help us find a pediatric urologist that will help with Owen's care.  Ultimate worst case scenario is that he'll need a stint put in surgically sometime after he's born.  But that is an extremely unlikely option so we'll keep proceeding as we have been just with some extra sonograms and doctors appointments.  I'm a little bummed about that because I try to avoid doctor's offices at all cost.

The worst part of the entire appointment was when she brought up Downs syndrome.  The kidney issue is considered a soft marker for Downs.  It doesn't mean that he has a chromosomal issue by any means, but it could be related.  Adam and I had been really solid in our decision to not to any of the testing and we've been offered something at every single appointment we've had.  The HR doctor mentioned a relatively new test that they could do for us now that would come back in two weeks and looks at baby's DNA via my blood.  I don't know why but in the moment I blurted out that I'd like to go ahead and do the test.  The entire reason that we didn't want to do any testing in the first place is that it won't really make any difference to us, what's done is done and Owen is Owen whether or not he has Downs syndrome or not.  I've not been as big about my faith in recent years but I do honestly believe that whatever Owen is meant to be is whatever God has planned for us as difficult a road as it may be.  In the grand scheme of things, when you look at the approximately 10 bajillion things that have to go right for us to end up with a little baby human in our arms, this is relatively small.  Even if the test comes back positive and there is a chance he has Downs, it's still not that huge of a deal when you think of all the babies and fetuses that never make it.

It brings up SO many feelings in me that range from the sad fact that I throw around the word "retard" with relative frequency and what do you do when you have a baby with Downs syndrome?  Do you put their picture up on Facebook for people that I barely even know or remember to see and judge?  I wouldn't want anyone to feel sorry for Adam and me.  How do you deal with these things?  Did I really think about what it would mean if the test comes up positive?  Even if it does come back that way, it's still relatively low odds that he actually has it.  How will we proceed with the rest of the pregnancy not knowing?  Will the doctors push me to have amniocentesis done?  I promise, I don't worry about this as much as this post probably makes it seem like I do but it is ever present in the back of my mind and I have had dreams about the test results and what getting the call for that will be like.

Either way, this is a small bump in the road of life.  It's not going to be the last time in his lifetime that I have a worry about him, especially a medically related one.  He's in there kicking up a storm (Adam can even feel them now, which is so awesome) and I feel relief every morning when I wake up and he starts to move himself.  We just get to see him a lot more in utero than we thought we would so I'm looking at the bright side of having lots of extra ultrasounds.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


Inspired by Jennie, who got this from Sundry...

1. What did you do in 2012 that you'd never done before?
tried to get pregnant; actually got pregnant; threw up more than I ever imagined I could or would (I'm sure I've regergitated thousands of dollars worth of food); went to NYC and for the first time I didn't have any desire to live there, which I think is a product of being over 30; moved into a house for the first time ever that didn't include one or both of my parents which brought on a whole new level of domesticity for Adam and I; stopped drinking in July, save 4-5 beers in August before I got pregnant, which was significantly easier than I thought it would be
2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't think I even made a New Year's to-do list for 2012 but I definitely have one for 2013 and the first thing it includes is to finish a book because I don't think I actually read a single book cover to cover in 2012 and that is horrifying and embarrassing, really.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
my cousin, lots of friends but 2013 is going to be the year of the baby in my life, 2012 was the year of pregnancy announcements
4. Did anyone close to you die?
not in 2012, so I feel very fortunate.
5. What countries did you visit?
not a ton of traveling for Adam and I in 2012, we only visited New Mexico, Chicago (twice), and then a tour of the Northeast from Boston to DC
6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you didn't have in 2012?
Owen in my arms instead of in my belly!  We're definitely getting along better lately (less sick! horray!) but I am excited to have a tangible baby and eventually a super cool little kid.

7. What dates from 2012 will be etched upon your memory, and why?
August 24th, I woke up and took a pregnancy test that came up with the digital word "Pregnant" and even though it was 4:30, I got Adam up and it felt like the beginning of the rest of our lives.  December 5th and 21st will probably always be big in my mind.  We found out on the 5th (also my 31st birthday) that Owen is a little mini-man in there and that he's got something going on with his kidneys.  The 21st was our first appointment with the high risk doctor and we found out then that the problem hadn't corrected itself then and set ourselves up for monthly high risk appointments and ultrasounds.  I'll definitely write a full post on this later, if anyone reads this old thing :)
8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
I don't consider getting pregnant to be an achievement but for me, the achievement was in waking up one morning and deciding it was time to at least try and become a mother.
9. What was your biggest failure?
There were definitely some personal epic fails this year.  See question 36 for slightly more detail.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I continued my super healthy streak right up until the 5th week of pregnancy.  I then spent weeks 5-21 being best friends with the toilet.  When I think back to the first trimester, my gosh I never thought I'd get here to this point of feeling nearly human again!
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Frye boots, although technically Adam bought them for me for our anniversary.  I've been wanting a great pair of riding boots for ages and I'm happy to have a pair that should last me until the end of time.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Hands down, Adam for putting up with a sick and miserable wife for basically 5 months.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
This question sucks mostly because I have an answer I'd love to give but don't want to get into.
14. Where did most your money go?
Savings, bills, all the things I really want and know I won't be buying after baby gets here, our trip to the Northeast turned out to be rather expensive.  I forgot how much it costs to live up there!
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Finding out whether or not Baby Bernardi was a boy or girl.  It was such a fun mind game to play.  My first intuition was boy all the way but then I let everyone get in my head about the old wive's tale about being sick meaning a girl.  I was shocked when the ultrasound tech said boy but I imagine I would have been just as shocked had she said girl.
16. What song will always remind you of 2012?
There's too many to count but probably that Phillip Phillips or whatever his name is song that I like because they used it for the gymnastics team in the Olympics and I heard it approximately 10 billion times.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
a) probably about the same, my stress level is higher now but I'm overall happy with life
b) ha, ha, hahahahahahaha!  Definitely fatter but before baby?  Much thinner since I quit drinking for the big portion of the summer during baby trying time.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Made healthier choices even though I was constantly throwing everything up.  I used that as an excuse to eat basically crap for months on end, which Smug Pre-pregnancy Me said I'd never do.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Barf.  Cry.  Be anti-social for the entire fall season feeling crappy.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
Actual Christmas we spent most of driving back from San Antonio, which was and is kind of depressing.  But we had a really nice Christmas Eve and a very quiet Christmas night just the two of us and Higgins when we got back to Dallas.  Driving back and hitting pretty snow (like the kind that isn't on the streets and sidewalks) when we got back into town that night was such a nice way to end the day.  We had Christmas #2 with my in-laws on the day after, so overall, the three day package as a whole was lovely and perfect for us this year.  2013 will be the start of our new family traditions and I spent this year looking forward to that.
21. Did you fall in love in 2012?
I think so, although our relationship is contentious at times, I already feel so much for my baby and I just want him to be here and healthy.
22. What was your favorite TV program?
I've found myself drifting further and further from TV, other than House People (which is what I call all the home shows on HGTV).  In 2013, my goal is to capitalize on that and put my damn phone down in favor of books.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Not really, I'm not really down with the use of the word hate in reference to people.  I prefer it used in the context of "I hate raw onions."  But I also hated most of the moments when people got judgy or gave stupid pregnancy "advice".
24. What was the best book you read?
I can't answer this one and that kind of makes me want to cry.  I didn't even read books on vacation.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?I've been using a lot more Pandora this year and really loving having it on when I'm working in the kitchen or hanging in the yard.
26. What did you want and get?
Too many things to count.  I feel really spoiled this year.
27. What did you want and not get?
Not too much but one could always use more massages and mani/pedis, if I had to answer this question.
28. What was your favorite film of 2012?
I suck so hard at watching movies!  I don't think I went to the theaters one time.  So sad.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 31 and it was a great day.  Woke up, went and got a mani/pedi.  Had our big middle-of-pregnancy ultrasound and found out that Owen is Owen and not Tessa.  Got a haircut and because I was early to my appointment, I got a 10 minute scalp massage and treatment that was hands down one of the best things ever.  Went to a kick ass dinner at Hibiscus and the waiter made me a funny mocktail.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
probably more money, enough to have just bought out the condo and gotten rid of the 2 year ordeal that is the never ending short sale/foreclosure drama
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2012?
my $21.49 (with shipping!!!) Seven maternity full-panel jeans that I won on eBay.  I may never give them up, they are that glorious.
32. What kept you sane?
running, since it's one of the only things I've been able to do without feeling terrible about myself; Adam being the consistent rock that he always is; my friends who have been so supportive and non-judgmental about me being sick; my doctors for being accepting of me, seeing my primary care doctor at 14 weeks was a big turning point for me mentally
33. What political issue stirred you the most?
Seriously?  I have a list but most of it can be attributed to so-called "Christians" who use their "religion" to judge other people for their actions.
-Men who talk about abortion.  My thoughts are as such:  You have no uterus, you have no say.  I also don't understand why America constantly needs to argue an issue that is between a woman, her doctor, her beliefs and potentially her sexual partner.
-Anyone who is against gay marriage.  What harm does it cause to you?  Live and let live.
-Assault weapons.  I have yet to hear a good argument about why anyone needs one of these other than maybe our military.  Deer don't need to be shot with a semi-automatic rifle.
I need to be done now but basically anything that is a social/political issue usually ends up pissing me off because we have way bigger things to worry about as a nation than what everyone else does behind closed doors (except the guns thing, because why do we need war guns at all?). 34. Who did you miss?
Lots of people, I missed social interaction with most of my friends during the months where I was attached to the toilets in my house.
35. Who was the best new person you met?
I have two really great work friends, one that I technically met in 2011 but really got to know in 2012.  They were so supportive during everything this year.  There have been times when I've been completely stressed out and commiserating with them has been just what I needed.
36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.
I don't know if it's because we've only been married for 2 years now but I feel like every year, I learn a valuable lesson about how to build a successful marriage.  I learned a really hard lesson this year about communication with Adam and always putting him first, no matter what is happening.
37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

From the above mentioned Phillip Phillips song.  Even though it was a little teeny bopper-ish, it's a good one.