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Gratitude


Ultrasound of Baby Boy

My goal today was to talk more about my BlogHer 13 Room of Your Own experience and to announce that I plan on sharing more of what was discussed in the coming months. That was the plan, but this week has been a little crazy and I’m feeling so very thankful for my life and the little one growing inside me I thought I’d rather talk about that.

This Monday I went in for my first Doctor’s appointment. I never did tell the whole story of how I ended up pregnant because, did I? Remember when I talked about Trigeminal Neuralgia? Sometime after that I was diagnosed with a chronic case of it and had to start taking an anticonvulsant to control the pain. The neurologist suggested I see my gyno because the pain fluctuated with my cycle. I was also instructed that, while on the medication, no matter what DO NOT get pregnant.

So, I went to see my regular Dr. and we decided to go on a low-estrogen birth control pill to first try to get my hormones back on track (they’ve been off for a few years now) and secondly as a form of well, birth control. After a few months things did get back to normal and I felt much better, that should’ve been my first sign something was up! The medication cancels out the effectiveness of birth control. So once my hormones leveled off I was a sitting duck.

When I first peed on the stick I have to admit panic set in, I mean I was ON the pill and I was not supposed to get pregnant. After pacing around the house for a few hours I finally called my Dr. and they scheduled me to come in the next day. The little spot was in my uterus, like it should be and I was told to stop taking everything, immediately. A few weeks later I had another ultrasound and got to see a heartbeat. Everything looked good but we wouldn’t know anything until more time had passed and another ultrasound could be done.

Flash forward 11 weeks to yesterday. Okay wait, don’t go too forward yet, in my infinite wisdom I looked up the neural tube defects that could be caused by the medication. This was a horribly bad idea. Though I felt everything was fine and I told myself to be positive there was still this voice in the back of my head saying what if it doesn’t have a brain, what if it’s missing a spine, and other terrible thoughts.

Back to yesterday, I had the ultrasound. I saw, with my own eyes, a correctly shaped head, a beautiful, complete spine and a penis! Some things seem to stand out on those hard to read images! The Dr. also explained that because of when I stopped the meds the baby hadn’t officially developed a placenta (i.e. attached to my blood stream) so we were at no greater risk than any other ‘over 35’ set of parents. 

With all the worry that had been accumulating in my head it was such a relief to see that perfect, squirming, little boy. In a state of gratitude I felt even more humble watching the news and reading updates on Facebook concerning the flash flood that consumed our neighboring town of Waynesville. It took the life of a four year old boy (and more than likely that of his mother and other family members who’ve yet to be found) and has impacted so many of my former co-workers, family, and friends.

With more rain in the forecast, I’m reminded that the hardest day to smile and say thank you is the same day it matters the most. The direction of your life directly correlates with where you choose to put your attention and energy. Be mindful of the gifts you were given and don’t stop expressing that gratitude through your positive thoughts and actions. It can change lives and make even the most unbearable moments bearable. Besides, having a bad attitude never makes anything easier, smile instead.
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Erin Sipes
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