Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Alright, now that I've gotten through those last two posts and been comforted, called, chastised and lambasted we can move on to better, brighter things I hope.

What better place to start than that last Ultrasound I mentioned in my last post?

16 weeks profile

As always, first, a little background.....

So the overwhelming American tradition is for the first child's sex to be a surprise. People love a surprise, am I right? I love a good surprise, and my Dad is the King of Surprises. I mean if the man gets an idea in his head, nothing makes the idea better than an elaborate scheme in which to reveal it. His favorite technique is the good, old fashioned Scavenger hunt. Used on multiple holidays and birthdays over the years, he took time to write sly, twisted little riddles that led the surprise recipient from clue to clue.

For our family's first computer, my brother and I were trudging all over the family farm for about an hour before the last clue finally led us back to the living room where the family, save for my dad who had been watching us from a distance I'm sure, had all gotten a second cup of coffee awaiting our return. We had entered the '90's with our glorious 133 Mhz Pentium ONE, 1.6 GB hard drive, 16 MB RAM Packard Bell computer. Oh it was glorious, and I recall my Uncle who is our family's technology guru saying, "Guys, this hard drive is huge, you will never be able to fill up 1.6 GB." Ha ha.

Back on topic.

It wasn't a very appealing idea to either of us that one might know the sex of the child while the other did not. The scans are so dynamic and live action that it would be very hard for me to look away for the 1.5 seconds that the perfect perspective was in view and keep myself in the dark about the sex. On the other hand, if I did see it and Jaynah did not want to know, I know myself well enough to say that I would probably rub it in that I knew something she didn't (mainly because it would be one of the few times I'd have the upper hand on her).

So it was settled, we'd find out the sex of the child, avoid suffering through a gender neutral nursery and clothing and commit to either pink or blue. What about the family you ask? The grandparents? Tradition? We knew this decision would be going against the grain and so we decided that we would keep the name of the child secret so that on the birthday, there would be some element of surprise for everyone as we introduced the little one to the world by his/her newly given name. We'll discuss this more later.

The last scan with the specialist was at 16 weeks, kind of the start of the window for sexing the baby. As mentioned previously, everything looked great with this scan, measuring well for dates, moving well, strong heartbeat.

The child didn't really want to give up the goods easily though early in the scan there was a flash when the appropriate view was there. The tech said she wasn't sure, but would come back to it later once the baby had moved around a bit. After obtaining those million views of everything else, Jaynah needed a break and excused herself to the ladies room. I told the tech what I thought it was, she agreed and as I was explaining my career plans and such, Jaynah came back in and immediately knew we'd been scheming. We laughed an evil MWAA HA HA HA and took another look.

It took just a second before the appropriate view was there again:

(Notice the "XX")

Another view:

So we are going with a Girl, for now. This is just one scan, and these things are notorious for being deceiving because they are so dependent on the position of the baby, stage of development, and the technologist scanning. It looks pretty clear, but we aren't gonna paint any rooms just yet, we should have one more scan before the baby is born.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Smooth Finish

First, briefly, let me start out by saying it was not intended for the last post to "leave you hanging" or be suspenseful. I am right in the middle of residency interview season and I have had 4 interviews and driven 2000 miles in the last 7 days. The last post was written one of those nights in a roach motel when I couldn't sleep and just got to the point where it was getting too long to hold people's interest but not long enough to finish the story so I just stopped at a logical transition point.


The longest five days of our lives. Yes they were. Have you ever thought to yourself, "You know, this is one of those things where I can't honestly say I know how I would react until I was faced with the situation.,"? Well if you are like me, there are a several ethical/moral conundrums that you know how you'd like to react, but in all honesty you are human and being human........you know where I'm going with this.

A little more background, what was seen on the Ultrasound was a cystic looking structure on the back of the baby's neck. This could mean a lot of things, but the short skinny is that things that look like this, depending on how far along the baby is can be indicators of Down syndrome, Turner's syndrome, or other associated problems elsewhere in the baby's body. So, yes, we were worried and we reacted like we normally would by being upset initially but then diving into my textbooks, searching online medical databases for info, anything to get us through those five days.

It was, again, one of those situations where I hoped I would feel one way, but then when faced with the situation I couldn't deny that I wanted a healthy wife and a perfect healthy little baby. Through a lot of reflection, prayer, and discussion with my lovely wife who was going through these same things, we finally arrived at a great place......We loved this child, we loved this child, we loved this child. It is one of those weird, primal, parenting things that I guess is hard to describe. Despite the possibility of physical and/or mental problems with our growing child, it was OUR child and we knew we were meant to have it, just as it was, perfect in God's eyes, and really in our eyes too. It gave us a real comfort, a peace, a strength to know that moving forward, we had been prepared for this challenge by our ten year relationship, our issues becoming pregnant, and by our Faith to know that we could handle whatever lay in front of us.

With this perspective, I got through my days working in the ICU, Jaynah got through her long commutes of solitude every day, waiting for the day where we would learn more about what was ahead. That day finally came. We went to the specialist, filled out a million checklists of paper work, made a literal family tree with a genetic counselor and finally after what seemed like days in that office got to the money spot, shirt up, warm gel, probe....GO. Uterus, check, intrauterine pregnancy, check, ovaries, check, check, cervix, closed, placenta, check, amniotic fluid, plenty, developing embryo appropriate size for dates, check, heartbeat, 176 bpm.

This time baby had arms, had legs, and was starting to really take shape and then, the sweetest confirmation a parent can hear, "Yeah, so where was this 'cyst' they were seeing?" She didn't finish her last word when I blurted out....."It's not there." Jaynah's heartbeat dropped by 100, blood pressure by half, I got feeling back in my hand, and she actually started the, In......Out.......In.......Out breathing thing again. The technologist took a bunch of pictures, a bunch of angles and then went to get the doctor to come review the pictures. Much to our relief, they were very thourough looking up, down, around, behind, sideways and any other way you can think of to make sure there wasn't anything evident around the baby's head and neck. We were so thankful and relieved that at least at this point things were looking up. The specialist was very nice and was sure to explain everything and to let us know that she wanted to see us back a few more times to follow up blood work, and do follow up scans though at this point she considered it precautionary.

As I am writing this, we are one week past our final visit with the specialist and so far, everything is still on the up and up. As Yoda would say, "A purpose in everything there is." Again, Jaynah and I had the opportunity to come closer as a couple, to learn a great deal about ourselves and each other, things at the core of who we are. We are thankful for that, thankful for good news, and hopeful that health and happiness will continue.

8 Weeks:

9 weeks:

12 weeks:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bumpy Start

So we'd found out we were pregnant, both glowed with excitement for a few days, but had decided to keep this thing under wraps until we had some solid evidence things were progressing well. It was a tough two weeks before our first doctor's appointment. We went and I got to meett the doc Jaynah had been seeing and I think we hit it off well. He did his thing, answered our questions and said everything was looking great. He ordered some routine bloodwork and decided to schedule a scout ultrasound for a few weeks later, about 8 weeks gestation to make sure everything was progressing and see how many babies were actually in there.

That check up was all we needed. We were planning on going to a wedding near home during a very brief 30 hour off period I had during my ICU rotation, and we decided we'd spend the night and tell the folks we were pregnant as well as all of our friends at the wedding (quietly, I might add so as not to shift attention from the special occasion). Everyone was excited, but no one more so than our parents who were literally acting like crazy people over the news of the first grandchild on the way. My parents, to illustrate how ready they were, brought down from the attic a beautiful Amish hand-crafted oak high-chair that they had bought on their travels over a year before. It was a great weekend, the secret was out, things were peachy.

The time finally rolled around for our first Ultrasound. Jaynah was understandably nervous after trying so long to get pregnant and got herself up to a blood pressure that made the doctor tell me to keep checking it nightly to make sure it was just her nerves. The ultrasound tech was very nice, and quickly put Jaynah at ease. Shirt up, cold gel, probe in right hand, boom, gestational sac, check, only one, check, heartbeat, check, measuring correct for dates, check. She saved some pictures and burned them onto a CD for us. We then went into a regular patient room to wait for our Doc to see us. When he came in he got right to it:

"Well, I want to be really up front with you, we saw something on the ultrasound that might be a problem....."

The worst feeling was, I had seen it too.

For those that don't know, I'm planning on being a radiologist, and this past summer, I did a month long rotation at Vanderbilt doing only Ultrasounds. I'm by no means an expert, but I had seen the issue, agonized over it, but smiled for Jaynah, and calmly asked the technician if there would be an actual radiologist reading the ultrasounds. She, as if sensing where I was going said that no, whenever there was an issue, patients were referred for more scans with a specialist. I tried to shake it off, convince myself I was over-reacting. I mean it was pretty subtle and the embryo was literally not much bigger than a pencil eraser at this point. So when I heard the Doctor say those words, my heart literally dropped to the floor. My anxiety from the scan that I was sure was just an over-reaction by a parent who knows enough about medicine to get worked up about nothing was now realized as my worst nightmare. My poor wife was caught completely off-guard and I felt guilty for not giving her any heads up at all, but I thought I was doing the right thing by not getting her worked up before it was time.

Our doctor was fantastic, he explained everything completely, was very positive and upbeat that it could be nothing, but he had rather be safe than sorry. He knew us too well. Also using that insight into how we operate, he didn't come in the room until he had a plan for us. We were to see a specialist, he had already arranged an appointment.

It was set to be the longest 5 days of our lives......

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

See you there


We haven't met yet, but we will. Complete strangers, yet we will become the best of friends I'm sure. It will be a friendship in evolution, day by day, year by year, but it will progress nonetheless. It will be very one sided at first, yet I know you aren't the selfish type. You won't speak to me for almost two years from now, but I know it isn't because you are cross with me. And don't worry about me becoming cross with you, I'll do my best to try and get you to speak from the second we meet and I'll be diligent until I get just one word. Believe me, when you finally consider me worthy of hearing a word from you, you might has well have written a Pulitzer prize winning piece, because the excitement will be on par with very few things I've experienced.

You will be an instant celebrity, so prepare yourself. People will be screaming over a glimpse of you, or the chance to touch you. Cameras will be constantly thrust in your face, with video rolling and flash bulbs cracking. Your legions of fans will post your picture on their blogs, show you to their envious friends and plaster their walls at home with your likeness. And I, your new best friend, will be a helpless fan doing all of the above, I hope you'll forgive me.

We'll do lots of fun things together, I have all sorts of plans:

1) Scuba dive
2) See the pyramids
3) Learn to sail
4) See a World Cup
5) Drive cross country with no itinerary
6) Ski in the Rockies
7) New York, New year's eve, at least once
8) Go into Space (Who knows)

There are certain things you must work on to prepare:

1) Breathing on one's own (this is essential for all future adventures)
2) Sleep, wake, sleep, wake, work towards at least 8 hours between transitions
3) Master finger foods
4) One foot down, shift weight, lift other foot, swing, other foot down, repeat
5) Learn to appreciate a good camera
6) Learn to appreciate anything with cinnamon
7) Lawnmower = friend
8) Work hard, then play hard (The Morgan Mantra)

This should get you started.

There is so much I want to ask you, tell you, teach you, hear your thoughts on. Don't be overwhelmed, we have plenty of time. I'll explain every step as we go, and keep you headed in the general right direction. For now, just rest, grow. Think to yourself over and over, "Two arms, two legs, ten fingers, ten toes, two eyes, two ears, one mouth, one nose", focus youngling. There's plenty of time for the rest, just focus on the basics for now.

Let's see.....I'm going to pencil you in for, say....the next 60 years? My schedule is clear, you just let me know when and where, and I'll see you there.