The Road from Cautiously Expecting to Cautiously Optimistic

We are now in week 32, DTT readers. Twelve weeks ago when I started this blog, it seemed like an eternity lay between the middle of my pregnancy and its now fast-approaching end. Twelve weeks ago, I was cautiously expecting – heck, I’ve been cautiously expecting since that second pink line showed up on the morning of July 10th. Every woman who has lost a pregnancy (or two as in my case) cautiously expects. But, today I am proud to say that I’ve graduated to a whole new level — one of cautious optimism. It’s definitely a step in the right direction. So, how did I find myself here? Well, I think it had to do with a little bit of luck and a bunch of traffic signals.

This week has been a busy one. As the weeks quickly dwindle away, my appointment book is coincidentally filling up. Week 32 was marked by the following: Prednisone (30mg/day) was added into my daily routine, two IVIG treatments are under my belt already (treatment #2 was today instead of my usual Friday due to a scheduling change), one OB appointment, a canceled c-section class (don’t you just hate it when teachers/professors don’t show up??), and today’s Level II ultrasound. It will all commence tomorrow with my NICU consult.  Whew. From said appointments, I learned that the baby is measuring right on track (even though I haven’t gained

Profile at 32 weeks and counting...

any weight in the last two weeks) and is weighing in at a lovely 4 pounds, 3 ounces. Today’s scan showed a very happy and active baby with no signs of intracranial hemorrhaging. As we get closer to the end, the chances for intracranial hemorrhaging are increasing, so it’s reassuring to know that: a). Baby girl is growing and developing as she should and b). She is not experiencing any internal bleeding. Thank you, IVIG, for holding up your end of the bargain.

I was especially cheerful after today’s ultrasound because of my encounter with the on-call doctor who reviewed baby girl’s scans. Just a little background: I’ve been going to the Prenatal Diagnosis Center (PDC)  in Providence for Level II ultrasounds since Taylor and I first were made aware that there was a problem with our late son’s brain. It was there that we met Dr. Carr, the doctor who had the unfortunate job of reviewing his scans and informing us that the baby had a non-malignant, but deadly, brain tumor. Ever since that horrible experience, I’ve had a bit of trouble going to the PDC for my Level II’s, but have stayed strong through this pregnancy and Clara’s pregnancy. I hadn’t seen Dr. Carr since that life-altering day back in July of 2008, so I was thrilled to learn that he’d be the one reviewing today’s

She's looking more and more like her big sister. :0)

ultrasound images. I remember how comforting and consoling his bed side manner was over three years ago and was thrilled to introduce him to Clara and my daughter-to-be.  He came into the room with nothing but good news and smiles (as the tech scans you, the images are sent to the on-call doctor to review in another room). Dr. Carr reassured me that the baby was developing perfectly and then proceeded to show me her brain, which was a much different image than the one he had showed me over three years before. When he was done, I asked him if he remembered our case. He looked at me with his warm eyes, nodded and reassuringly touched my hand. I could tell from his facial expressions that he was feeling a plethora of emotions including happiness for the birth of our living miracle, Clara, but sadness and sympathy for the new obstacle — NAIT — that was making it a bit more challenging for Taylor and I to add to our family. Before we left the PDC, Dr. Carr wished us good luck and told us to drive carefully, took another look at Clara and said, “Now I understand why women keep having babies.” I was glad that it was he who got the opportunity to share in our family’s good news today.

Now, as you can imagine, I have spent a significant amount of time this week shuttling Clara from one appointment to the next. And I’ve noticed a funny little phenomenon:  As my pregnancy news keeps getting better and better, the yellow traffic lights keep getting more and more frequent. This was especially apparent yesterday as I drove down Route 44 (just had to make a quick detour to Yankee Candle for a sniff at the new spring scents, of course) from North Providence to my OB’s office in Smithfield. I don’t ever remember hitting every yellow light along the familiar drive, but yesterday I did. Even today, as I drove to Providence for my ultrasound, I hit another few yellows. Suddenly it occurred to me that either all of the traffic lights in the state are now in sync (highly doubtful), or perhaps this is a sign that with all of the positive news as of late, it’s now time to move from a state of cautiously expecting to one of cautious optimism.

Now I’m not a sign-seeker by nature, but when I begin to notice certain patterns in my environment, I pay attention. It’s kind of like when you buy a new {insert favorite/dream car here}and suddenly you’re spotting {favorite/dream car} all over the road. You just can’t help but wonder: “Hmm…were there always this many {dream/favorite cars} before, or is my selective attention now zeroing in on them?” Same holds true for my new yellow traffic light theory. As I encountered yellow light after yellow light, I slowed down at some, but found myself zipping under others just in the nick of time. Much like the milestones that I’ve encountered during the last almost eight months of this pregnancy, at times I’ve found myself whizzing through things such as  prenatal checkups, vials of lab work and my now routine IVIG treatments, but it has taken me a bit more time to get through ultrasound upon ultrasound, my first IVIG infusion and certain crucial prenatal tests.

After today’s successful ultrasound, I’m feeling a bit more optimistic about the possibility of actually bringing this baby home. So much so, in fact, that I’ve actually started washing all of Clara’s old blankets and clothes and have begun the process of preparing this house for a newborn. It’s funny how one yellow light too many and a chance encounter with a person who gave me life-changing news once upon a time helped to solidify these feelings for me. Sometimes when we’re not looking for the answers, they still manage to find us. Here’s hoping that the rest of the answers I seek come from a place that is tinted more green than yellow.

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