Google+ Bree Bronson's Babies: May 2013

Monday, May 27, 2013

Then the phone finally rang

For the past two weeks I've been able to do little less than bite my nails. Sleeping hasn't really been an option and I've filled my days with all imaginable non-important tasks just to keep myself busy. Still there's only been one single thought in my head: I can't make it if he's sick.

The worst case scenario has included two equally terrible options. Having an extra demanding baby when we already have two wee ones in the house would probably be too much. I don't think I could make it. I've seen how much attention and special care the sick boy my cousin has needs. I also know a family who chose to keep a sick baby, it was their third child. The girl is about 15 years old today and lives in a nursing home. The mother has suffered from difficult mental problems since the girl was a couple of years old and the parents have divorced. I can somehow see us on the same road and I don't think any of that would be fair to the kids. Son and Daughter would lose big time.

Abortion then? I don't think doing abortion is ever easy, especially if the baby is expected and desired. And in my case it wouldn't be a "regular" abortion which can be done until week 12. In Finland abortion is permitted up to week 24 with special permission. The permission can be granted only if the baby is seriously ill or the pregnancy is threatening the mother's health. I already have 22 weeks behind me so abortion would basically mean giving birth to a dead baby. And killing the fetus first. I would blame myself for the rest of my life although I think there are no right or wrong solutions in these kinds of situations. Despite of all this we chose abortion. I needed to be prepared, just in case.

Last Thursday I finally got the phone call. Of all the places in the world I was, of course, in the grocery store. Alone. I don't know when I've cried in front of the candy shelf last time. The test result was normal. I'm not a carrier. Nor can the baby be, or Son, or Daughter. It was one of the best phone calls I've ever received.

I'm writing about this first now because my hands haven't stopped shaking until yesterday evening. Last night I had the first proper sleep for a long time. Some time ago I decided that I'll buy a nice maternity dress if the news are good. I'll probably pick it up tomorrow. It's quite nice, isn't it?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The genetic roulette

My cousin had a son about a year ago. (We're actually second cousins, our grandmothers are sisters.) As the boy started to grow the doctors soon noticed that everything wasn't like it should. The boy's muscles were extremely weak. Now, as he's about to turn one, he can't still even hold his head up. After some tests they found out that the little guy suffers from a difficult form of Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease (PMD). PMD is a genetic disease that causes muscle weakness in various levels and mental retardness as well. My cousin's son is not likely to learn to walk, although his prognose is unclear as his version of the gene mutation is unknown to science from before. Further tests showed that the disease has made its way to the boy in the X-chromosomes of his mom and grandmother. (Girls will not get ill although they may be carriers as their healthy X-chromosome backs up for the damaged one). So what does this have to do with anything here? Well, remember: I'm pregnant.

Mother didn't have her happy face on when we stopped by with the kids. She had called me and asked if we could come over to say hello to her cousin who had popped in. After hugging my godparents I already knew what I was about to hear: it's positive. It's not only the sick boy and my second cousin who carry the mutated gene, Mother's cousin has it too. So her mother may have it, her grandmother may have had it. That means that my grandmother may have it, Mother may have it, I may have it, the baby may have it. Even Daughter may have it. Son is clean as he would be ill if his X would be damaged. The regards to me from the gene lab weren't too cheerful: contact the hospital immediately. You need to be tested before you're 24 weeks pregnant. My count now is 20.

I started to calculate the odds. We're actually rather well off although we still know quite little. The gene mutation may have started from Mother's cousin or her mother. In that case we would be safe. Husband counted (an engineer, what can you do...) that in case my great grandmother carried the mutated gene our baby has a 6 % chance of being a carrier. I counted that in case I'm a carrier both Son, my uncle and my granduncle have won a jackpot in this roulette. They've had a 50-50 chance of getting ill, all of them are fine. So far there's only this one little boy who's become ill. The odds of being a carrier are always 50-50 if the mother is a carrier. And girls will not get ill. I'm suddenly hoping for a girl really badly.

Next morning I phoned the hospital right away in the morning. They weren't exactly helpful. After some persuasion they agreed though to consider my case on a meeting on Monday afternoon - if my second cousin would let them to inspect her son's papers (since he's the only one who's ill so far). Of course she did, she's the sweetest lady on earth. Now I need to phone the hospital again on Tuesday, after one more week has passed, to find out if they will inspect me. And if they don't? I have no clue. The worst case scenario I'm thinking of now is that I will need to decide whether to continue the pregnancy without any further information. I would probably take my chances. At the same time I'm too afraid of thinking of having an ill baby as our third child. I couldn't make it. I know today that if I'll be told that our baby is ill I will get an abortion. Although it will be my toughest decision ever.

On Monday we will also have a routine ultrasound check. What a coincidence. We will probably find out if we're expecting a boy or a girl. Happy Mothers' Day to everyone - I'm trying to say this without sarcasm because it isn't helping.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The fat girl can run

A bit to go
Shit, I've been so nervous for the whole past week. Yeah, about the Helsinki City Run half-marathon. I actually had no reason to be nervous at all. My training went really well and I decided that I'll run in total comfort mode, nice and really slow. I'll walk if I feel like it, I'll interrupt if I start feeling uncomfortable. And the midwife said it's ok to run as long as I feel fine with it.

But still. Am I doing damage to the baby just by training or going for the run itself? I'm halfway in my pregnancy anyway. How about my hips and knees? I can't do it, my friends will be there in vain cheering up for me! And so on. And then, on Saturday, I just did it.

I slowly jogged my way through the route and didn't even walk. I was feeling great and had a blast. The only emergency I had was that after the 10 kilometer sign I started to need to pee really bad (nice practical joke, dear baby). I didn't - there was queue to every toilet along the route. I saved that fun to the finish as well. My friends were there to cheer up for me. I was slow, sure enough, it took me a bit over 2,5 hours to make it across the finish line. But now I feel like queen of fucking everything. It was possible! The baby didn't seem to mind at all either, the wee one is kicking just like before. At the end of the day I'm really happy I did this. It was a great experience.

After all this praise there's a thought I'd like to share just to keep our feet on the ground. This was my third half-marathon, last year I did a full marathon at the end of the summer. I've been also running through the whole winter so I have some running routine. And as this is my third pregnancy I know a bit how it should and shouldn't feel like. Couple of years ago in Helsinki City Run (the same competition I participated in now) a middle-aged man collapsed in the very last hill before getting to the stadium. He got a heart attack and died. This year I saw a young girl (probably in her mid-20's) on the route who had collapsed a bit after 15 kilometers. She was lying on the ground and judging from the first aid the paramedics were giving her her heart had stopped. I've been checking the news but I don't know what happened to her. I'd like to, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she didn't suffer the same faith as the guy did some years ago.

I have a certain respect for the longer runs. I never take it for granted that I will even make it to the start. I wish everyone else adopts the same mindset. Happy running to everyone and enjoy the summer training season - I'll skip the marathon this year.