Friday, October 31, 2008
Level II ultrasound today
Today was the big day. The one I stressed about since I found out I was pregnant. The one that I asked for your prayers for. It was the doctor's first look for indicators of chromosomal abnormalities. They're looking for indicators of Trisomy 13, 18 and 21. Because I'm advanced maternal age I'm at increased risk for all of them. Thankfully I have no family history for problems and neither does M, so we had that going for us.

We did a genetic consult prior to the ultrasound, something we hadn't done last time. They take your family medical history and draw a lot of circles and squares for your family tree. Then we went into the room for the ultrasound. The technician was nice, she kept making comments about how cute this or that was. I told her she could really make my day by finding a nasal bone. (Lack of nasal bone is an indicator of potential Trisomy 21 (Down's). She went looking and thought maybe she saw something, but then said, "I'm not convinced, I'll have to have the doctor look at it." I felt like a ton of bricks had fallen on me. Then I saw her doing the nuchal measurements, but I wasn't exactly sure what range we wanted to be in. From what I thought I knew they looked OK, but I wasn't sure. M asked her about the sex once she was done, because she never mentioned it. She said it was a bit early to tell but she had a guess. Did we want to hear it? We said of course! She told us her guess and then left the room.

I was pretty miserable because she hadn't found the nasal bone. Then the doctor comes in an proceeds to redo the test himself. I thought, Oh shit. He had another man with him, and he was explaining the procedures to him, showing him places that techs often go wrong. The doctor's nuchal measurement was even smaller than the tech's, his comment was, "Small is good." Then he went on for a while, just pointing out this and that...the little feet, the arms and fingers, the heart, the brain with two sides. He indicated that the presence of a "normal" brain ruled out Trisomy 13 and 18. It was a relief to hear that. Then I asked about the nasal bone. He proceeded to find it in short order. It took me a long time afterward to process the fact that he had, indeed, found it. That the test results were, in fact, good and not what the tech had left me feeling they were. I took me nearly three hours after the whole appointment for it to sink in.

We pushed the Dr. on the sex too and he said that the physical differentiation really starts at 12 weeks and we were 12 weeks five days so there wouldn't be much difference to see yet. We couldn't even get him to guess. I know he's right, and we had what we came for, the reassurance that we're growing an apparently healthy baby. We certainly feel we can wait until the 20 week appointment to find out the sex. We went ahead and scheduled that particular appointment for January 8th, 2009.

After the ultrasound was over we went in to finish the genetic consultation. They gave us our revised stats based on the test results. Our odds of bad things happening went down exponentially in all three chromosomal categories. They said that we have an 85% assurance that everything is normal along those lines. With a blood test they can find out to 95%. I let them draw the blood in the office. I should have those results Tuesday or Wednesday.

So, the short version is everything looks good. Now don't you wish you'd skipped to the end? :)

P. S. Thank you for your prayers. Keep them coming, we still have a long way to go.
Trick or Treat
Tonight went much better. We trick or treated around town and so many people fussed over Emma she was thrilled. She got a ton of candy. It seems so many people these days give out bags of candy or handfuls at a time. Not like back in my day...hrumph.

We went to one particular house that went all out. I know the owner of the bed and breakfast and she had been telling me they were going to decorate the house like a pirate ship. She wasn't kidding. Check out this place...

They hoisted the sails...

Put out a spread on the front porch. There were probably ten other places on the property where kids could pick up candy, snacks or small toys.

Here was the shark in the "water." He had the cookies.

They had this long maze leaving their porch with about four or five different buckets of candy in it.

Here's the hostess and her mother-in-law. Awesome production!

Emma leaving a more mundane porch.

The booty.

Thursday, October 30, 2008
Halloween Carnival
Tonight was the Halloween Carnival in the elementary school. Emma was so excited. We tried to remind her that she had been there last year by describing the fishing game she had done. She was so happy to put on her costume and go...

(Daddy is in the picture to hold the wings on her back, that part didn't work so well, which was OK because Emma didn't want to wear the wings anyway)

They didn't have the fishing game this year. Emma was so disappointed. The only games she could play were this "pumpkin toss" and ring toss and the cake walk. The halls were crowded. Her "boyfriend" showed up so totally scary looking and unrecognizable; she wouldn't talk to him. It was a zoo. We finally left with her in tears. The whole thing was just too much.

The cake walk. No cakes for us this year.

On the dejected walk to the car we tried to inspire her about tomorrow night. Straight up trick or treating in town, that should be better. I hope it's better.
Since I often call her pumpkin-pants anyway...
Emma's Halloween duds from Noni. She was pretty proud.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I cannot believe I'm having this conversation...
...with my four year-old. Yeah, we had one of those this morning. As usual, it began quite innocently.

It was below freezing this morning so for the first time this year I pulled out our winter coats. Emma has a cute new one I got for her at JCPenney. She'd seen it before, tried it on, seemed to like it just fine.

We hadn't been on the road 30 seconds before she started complaining about her coat. I think the crux of the problem was the hood and the collar were poking her in the face. She wanted to take it off. I told her she needed the coat because it was cold and I wasn't going to stop the car to take it off. She commenced the whining and pleading. Then it began to get surreal (to me). "I don't want anybody to see me in this coat." What? It's a great coat! Why don't you want anyone to see you? "Please, don't let anyone see me in this coat." Emma, we'll walk inside the double doors and I'll take off the coat before you get to your classroom. "I don't want anyone to see me!" Emma, I don't understand. It's a great coat. What's your problem with it? "It's just not cool."

Whaaaa? OK, here's where I should have probed her for her definition of cool. I think she meant it more in the sense of "this is not cool" meaning "this is not good," rather than it wasn't "hip" enough for her peers. But still, where in the hell did this come from? She had never objected to anything we've put on her in terms of style. Is this where we are heading already?


At any rate she was so upset by the time we got to school that she was crying and needing tissues to mop up. We'd get her cleaned up and then she'd start again. It took me forever to coax her into her classroom. I paused along the way to show her a coat almost exactly like hers hanging on the pegs outside the classroom. I have no idea if it helped. All I do know is that I was three minutes late to work because of my daughters hysterical reaction to a perfectly nice new coat. Hrumph.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Funny and kinda sad...
We have no neighbor kids. This is why preschool was so important to us. Otherwise her best friends are:

Rocky - the pure white rock.
Spoony - plastic spoon.
Snaily - an empty green snail shell.
Pumpkiny - you get the idea...

Woe be it to you if you don't know where they are. Actually, she doesn't get too attached to any of them, but when she runs across them again later she definitely remembers their names ;)
Sunday, October 26, 2008
We have returned...
M, Emma and I have been in Williamsburg since Wednesday. We were squeezing a mini-vacation around some work obligations of mine. We did all those things that make the trip worth while...walked down Duke of Gloucester Street, shopped at Merchant's Square, visited the Williamsburg Pottery (where I found RITTERSPORT PFEFFERMINZ, my first sighting ever in the U.S.!), ate Sal's Pizza, visited the William & Mary bookstore, and the Prime Outlets. We visited Yorktown for the first time since our honeymoon. We drove out to Super-Walmart (junk food run), took M for his first ever trip to Chik-Fil-A, and discovered the wonders of Petco (who knew they sold real animals??? It's like having a free zoo in town!)

Anyway, we had a lovely time.
On our honeymoon I took M down to Yorktown to show him the area. Even though it was run-down and derelict I always loved to be down by the river next to the bridge. The drive down the Colonial Parkway to Yorktown was always soothing and thrilling to me at the same time. It was just unfathomable to me that such a historic town was allowed to deteriorate so badly. It was that bad.

Fourteen years later we went back. I knew the area had be "revitalized." By revitalized they mean recreated from whole cloth. It's an amazing transformation. Their reward seems to be an influx of tourists. Unfortunately for us when we went it was overcast and bitterly cold for that area. We still enjoyed our visit. We even took a free trolley tour and picked up a few factoids about Yorktown. It was well worth the visit. Too bad for them we didn't spend a dime there ;)