Tuesday, December 11, 2012

happy holidays

We are leaving tomorrow afternoon for a long awaited trip back to Denmark and Iceland for Christmas. Weeh! We are so excited to see everyone. Silja woke up with a fever today, so fingers crossed she is better tomorrow. In addition to all the for us usual Christmas traditions, we have spent the last week also celebrating and learning more about Hannukah through our sweet neighbors who invited us for latkes and lightening of the Hannukah Menorah, and Silja's daycare which threw a party and provided goodie bags with a dreidel and Hannukah chocolate-gelt. 
Now we are packing up our suitcases, stuffing them with Christmas presents and warm socks and are looking forward to catching up with dear ones, relaxing, eating æbleskiver in Denmark and Icelandic lamb in Northern Iceland. Lucky us.

Whatever you are celebrating, we wish you happy happy holidays!
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Thursday, December 6, 2012

troublemaking baby

I was unable to keep it a secret for anyone I knew over here, and quickly shared the exciting news of an addition to our family back in the hot days of summer to all the other moms I knew on the playgrounds. I was nauseous and dead tired, but it was a happy surprise that we would add another little one to this unit of ours.  Having had an easy first pregnancy I was confident all would go smooth with this second one, and just curious to experience how the whole process would be in America compared to my experience in Austria.
The second trimester started off with an ultrasound that showed abnormalities in the fetus, which resulted in what seemed like endless screenings, ultrasounds, blood tests, meetings with specialists and genetic counselors, and beyond all a lot of worry. Ugh!
We are by default connected to a Harvard affiliated hospital, and they have been amazing and extremely thorough in the whole process.  We have undergone a lot of genetic and other tests, some of which are still unavailable in Denmark, Iceland or Austria. This is both good and bad, because they have looked into so many details that could potentially be something (hello worry…!) but then turned out to be nothing. As the cardiologist, who saw us at Boston Children’s Hospital said, we end up having a healthy baby, but the two of us have lost our mind in this whole process from everything the doctors (with their best intentions) have put us through.
They have ruled out known genetics disorders (after initially standing with 50-30% risk for Downs etc.), they have detected a strange chromosome 2, which turned out to be inherited from me (and hence not dangerous), they were concerned about the kidneys, which later turned to out to be okay, and they found a bad heart defect at 20 weeks, which made us schedule a time for an abortion (which was just heartbreaking). The abortion was canceled one day before scheduled, because the heart to the cardiologist’s big surprise looked healthy and normal one week after the initial finding.
All in all it’s been such a rollercoaster ride between happy excitement and extreme worry, about either preparing for a baby, who was not entirely normal and healthy or having to decide if the outlooks were so bad that we were not going to continue.
But here we are now on the doorstep to the final trimester with a rapidly growing bump that has been examined to the extreme, and which valuable inside now looks like it should according to the doctors. We have been left alone for a month, and it’s been a month of searching for and finding trust in the fact that everything is indeed all right, and letting happiness and excitement out rule worry and anxiety. It's a gradual process, but we are getting there... 
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