Friday, October 19, 2012

Dreams, Wishes and Unicorns

Last weekend I had a pregnancy dream where I was further along than I ever was with either of my babies. In my dream I could feel the baby giving me some good hard kicks. This was interesting, since when pregnant with both Aidan and Kaia I never really felt anything that could be described as a 'kick'. Rolls, taps, pushes and nudges for sure, but nothing that would be painful or hard enough to make me stop what I was doing (if I had been doing anything at all, as let's face it, I was on bed rest). Funny that I could experience in my dream what I've felt in real life.  Even dream me was thinking "this is so cool!" 

Perhaps I ate too much at my birthday dinner the night before, no?


I'm reading a good book.  It's fictional but it has some really moving passages.  One of the characters says this about dreams which I thought was very appropriate given the above.

"A dream is the place where a wish and a fear meet. When the wish and the fear are exactly the same, we call the dream a nightmare."


I troll the internet every few months using the search word "Breus mole".  I feel a bit like someone routinely checking up on the convicted murderer who killed their family member. Just checking in on you Breus Mole. Just want to make sure some researcher somewhere is still keeping tabs.  Finding out exactly what makes you tick.  Don't think you can get away with it forever...

It was during one of these searches that I came across an abstract for a presentation by a doctor from the hospital where I received care during both of my pregnancies.  The title of his presentation was "Prenatal Diagnosis and Clinical Outcomes in Pregnancies Complicated by Breus’ Mole". The presentation was 15 minutes long and given during the annual research day on May 4th of 2012.

Since that was just this past year, they were talking about me.

Not only me, of course, but that someone out there was using my experience for research got me all fired up.  My immediate reaction was "Why was I not invited to this presentation??!!  I want to know exactly what's going on??!!" So I wrote an e-mail to Dr. K., the placental specialist who saw me during my pregnancies and diagnosed the Breus mole in both cases.  The guy is a research nut and I knew he would be happy to share his team's findings.

He wrote me back (in blue).  My (mental) responses are in bold.

(Our hospital) has the largest experience now of Breus’ mole (16 cases)   

16 cases is the LARGEST experience of any high risk pregnancy centre???..and this is counting me TWICE!!!  What a way to make a girl feel special.

  1. Only one (you) person has a recurrence – that we are aware of.  Obviously it is because I am awesome and rare like a unicorn.
  2. We have followed 5 subsequent pregnancies (approx, I don’t have data in front of me) and most are fine and we can decide this accurately at 20 weeks. Would this include my subsequent pregnancy?  Cuz if so, it totally was NOT fine at 20 weeks. 
  3. There is no genetic test yet for the condition, but deleting one specific gene in mice (Wnt2) gives a picture like Breus’ mole.  Cool, but unhelpful unless you can check me, Brian and any of our offspring for this particular genetic mutation (and I'd totally be willing to let you).
  4. Survival of the baby is possible in about 35-45%, as in your situation.  Um...not exactly what one wants to hear about the survival rate of their baby. But, I suppose it's better than the 0% chance that Dr. S. gave for Kaia's likely survival when my water broke at 17 weeks.

After reading his e-mail 3 or 4 times, I can safely say that no where did Dr. K. promise that any subsequent pregnancy we try for now would TOTALLY end up okay and healthy and happy and full of rainbows and butterflies.  I'm also sorry to say that he did not add that NO WAY could I have a 3rd Breus NO WAY. I'm self-aware enough to realize my dead baby broken heart would really like a guarantee of normal, healthy pregnancy, so I wouldn't feel so guilty, selfish and anxiety filled (Russian roulette anyone?) if we decide to try for another child. I'm also rational enough to realize I'm not going to get it, and that we will have to make our decision based only the information we have now (which is basically a *shrug* and is not helpful at all).

I am not a person who likes to gamble.  I never buy lottery tickets and I would consider it a waste of time and money to go to Vegas (except for the reportedly awesome shows!!!)  I am also not a person who just settles when told something *might* be out of reach, especially if it's something I really want. To do so seems sad and wasteful.  You never know until you try, right?

I feel like we got a pass from the universe with Kaia...might it be too much to ask for another one?


For Halloween Kaia is going to be a unicorn.  My special, adorable rare little unicorn.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A (Birthday) Wrap

As of today, I'm 30. 

Or 29 again, as I like to say.


I haven't done a Kaia update in awhile, so here goes:

We had her 15 month appointment with the pediatrician today.  Kaia's doctor kept saying how great she looks, which is always nice to hear.  Kaia is above the 50th% in both the weight and height categories for her corrected age of 13 months which means she's just below the 50th% for her actual age.  She seems to be catching up to her 'July 2011' peers. 

Kaia's also catching up in terms of her gross motor skills.  She stands steadily while holding on to a support and can bend down to pick something up as long as she doesn't let go.  She cruises around our furniture and will walk fairly quickly and purposefully when holding on to someone's hands.  She is also able to get into a crawling position and sort of pull herself forward with her arms while her knees slide along the hardwood floors. The crawling position has been the hardest as it requires her to bear weight on her knees with her legs close together, which is basically the opposite of the cast position.It seemed like it took awhile to build up to, but then suddenly overnight she was doing some of the smaller, but no less important gross motor skills too, including going from laying down to sitting up and going from kneeling to standing.  Those transitional movements seemed to be made harder due to the residual stiffness from the cast.  

I'm very happy with her progress.  I figure if you take her actual age of 15 months, minus the 2 months for her prematurity, then minus the 3 months she was in a cast, you get 10 months and she's at least at that level, if not a bit ahead.  It makes me very glad her surgeons decided to do the Spica cast when they did.  I couldn't imagine having to keep her immobile now.

Kaia continues to have good fine motor skills.  She can stack 4 blocks on top of one another, which never fails to impress me.  She might only get all those blocks stacked up 1 try out of 20, but man is it ever amazing to watch her try over and over and over in order to get it right.  You can tell she is so pleased with herself when she gets it too.  She will turn to us, with a big grin and clap, urging us to clap for her too.  She loves to wave 'Hi' and 'Bye', although she's starting to show signs of shyness.  My uncle dropped by last weekend to give me a birthday present and Kaia seemed kind of wary of him. She wouldn't wave or clap in his presence.  Then as soon as the front door closed behind him, she immediately started to wave.  It was pretty cute.

We took her to the zoo last weekend for a walk on a lovely fall day.  Since our first time at the zoo back at the end of April, you can tell Kaia's much more interested in the animals.  She was pointing at the hippos, the meerkats and all the brightly coloured fish. It's interesting to watch her become more aware of these other living creatures. She even seemed a little afraid of the young gorilla who was right up at the glass looking at us and studying Brian's iphone. I love taking Kaia to the zoo and I'm really glad we got a seasons pass.  We'll definitely be renewing our membership next year.

I stopped pumping at the beginning of September.  It was time.  I don't miss being hooked up to that machine every day, although I do miss being able to provide milk for Kaia (and I really miss her not getting every single illness within a 1 kilometre radius, but that could just be a coincidence. I don't know if my boob juice was THAT powerful a germ buster). We easily switched her over to Homo milk and she gets that now at nap and bed time in a bottle.  My friend who exclusively breastfed avoided bottles entirely and switched her daughter over to sippy cups at a year. Kaia drinks water from a sippy cup the rest of the day, but I'll admit I'm loathe to give up the bottle before sleeping time.  She likes it and it calms her so much and I don't know if a sippy cup would have quite the same effect.  For right now, I'm okay with her getting a bottle twice a day.  We'll reevaluate in a couple of months.

Kaia has begun to have a few more feeding likes and dislikes. She WILL NOT let you feed her anything with a spoon.  She turns her face and pushes away the spoon.  However, she also won't feed herself with a spoon or fork (even though I KNOW she could do it).  This is frustrating, as now EVERY single meal has to be something she can pick up with her fingers.  She also does not like anything mushy.  She takes each piece of food her in hand and squishes it and turns her nose up and avoids anything with a 'mush' factor.  This means her formerly favourite snack of yogurt has turned into an 'unedible'. It also vetos soups, pasta sauces, chilli, stew, mashed potatoes, mushy banana, etc. etc.  She does love cheese though.  And bread.  Ummm...cheese and bread.  Can't say I blame her.

Her language skills are just so-so.  You can tell she understands a lot, but doesn't really talk much.  She says Ma-ma and Da-da although not necessarily in relation to us (she says Mama for just about everything).  She says 'up' but it sounds like 'puh-puh' and she CAN do 'ump' for 'jump' and 'ooot' for 'out', but these are hit or miss.  She also says our cat's name "-inx" (Lynx) on occasion.  I wish she could say a few more words, as it would likely help with some of her frustration at times, but I'm sure the words will come soon enough and then if she's like me, she likely won't shut up.

She is honestly the cutest, sweetest, happiest kid.  No, really...I got stopped in the hall at one of her doctors appointments with someone saying "that's the happiest baby I've ever seen!" She smiles a lot.  She's great out in crowds.  I can only think of one time in her whole life where she's really gone nuts in public for no reason (immunization and uncomfortable medical appointments don't count).  She doesn't cry when being left with her grandparents or at the babysitters. She's good at occupying herself for relatively lengthy periods of time (20+ minutes or more).  She will play with her blocks, her xylophone, her books, or her activity tray and never seem to get bored no matter how many times she comes back to them.  She giggles like a crazy person whenever we 'animate' her stuffed monkey Molly.

She is so pleased with herself whenever she learns something new and loves to make us happy with these new skills. She's learned to wave hi and bye and will turn her wave inwards towards her nose when you say "Pee-yew". She throw her arms up in the air holding her xylophone sticks when we say "rock and roll!!!" just like a real drummer, and will hold on to the couch while standing and rock back and forth when we say "Ultimate Warrior" (don't ask, it's some wrestling thing from Brian's youth).  She will also point to her belly and giggle when we say "Kaia...who's the baby?".  She does the same thing for "Kaia, where's your belly?" and will lift up her shirt if she's not wearing a onesie to show you her bellybutton. She has a thing for light switches and loves pointing to and looking at the photos on the wall, including those we have up of Aidan.  One day when I pointed to the picture of Aidan and us, I said "Mommy, Daddy and Aidan" and I swear she said "A-dan", which just about broke my heart and made me smile all in one go.  I'm looking forward to sharing him with her.

I often can't believe how lucky we got with Kaia.  How amazing she has done given her 'odds'.  It seems unreal that she was Acorn, the baby we were so worried about for so long, so afraid she would die.  She's so healthy, so normal, so ALIVE.  We are lucky beyond measure.

As always, my birthday falls right near (Canadian) Thanksgiving.  It's easy to say what I'm thankful for.


And of course, I must include what people really read these types of posts for: pictures!

Last cottage day for 2012

Why yes Mommy, I do know that this is the EXACT same motion you would like me to do with a spoon...

Grass is not mushy, therefore it is tasty

Why yes, all that crap in the background is my toys.  No, I do not feel the need to pick them up.

Clap, clap!

Rock and roll!!!!
Fell asleep during dinner after refusing to nap at the babysitters.

Help, I'm trapped!!!!

Cutest face ever.

 And that's a (birthday) wrap.