Wednesday, August 31, 2011

MTHFR Mutation Concerns for Men and Women

My Treat Results Post received an interesting comment relevant to all those who carry the MTHFR mutation regardless of gender.  It is a reminder that there are more health concerns here than just pregnancy issues.  I thought I'd share it with you:

"(my daughter) found out that she had (an MTHFR mutation) from both sides of the family... I am in my 70's and feel for all of you as my ambition when young was to have a happy healthy family... Since finding out more about this condition I would like to help others to know that it also causes other problems among which are heart, stroke,and other blood related problems.  Looking back on mine and my husbands family history that certainly bears this out!  Everyone on my maternal side died of heart attack or stroke.  His side all heart disease.You got this mutation from someone older and being the caring people you certainly would like your parents to know the dangers.  Dr. rec. one baby asprin and 1 ml. folic acid taken at night (most h/a start early am).  I am so surprised at the number of doctors and others in the medical field who do not know anything about this easy to remedy mutation, which is so potentionally dangerous. I am wondering if this doesn't cause cleft pallette and other birth defects!  Couldn't some of you youngsters get this attention in the newspapers or on the TV news? You could possibly save many heataches and even little lives."

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Kaden Michael is Born

We came into the hospital Tuesday night.  We began patosin to induce labor on Wednesday morning but wouldn't dialate past 2 cm.  Thursday morning, the water broke but still only dialated to 2 cm.  The baby was now breach so the decision was made to have a c-section.  This morning at 7:17 AM, Kaden was born.  He weighted 7 pounds 8 ounces and is 19 1/2 inches long. 


Sunday, March 28, 2010

3 days and counting...

BJ's doctor instructed her to stop taking her blood thinners today (Sunday) in preparation for birth.  Tuesday evening, BJ will check into the hospital.  On Wednesday morning they will begin giving her induce labor.  Sometime on Wednesday or, God help us Thursday, our baby will be born. 

Below are some of the pictures from a photo shoot we did in a local park.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Just a quick update.

This is just a quick update to let everyone know that things are going fine.  We return to the doctor March 15th and may make a decision then about when we'll induce labor.  The baby is almost here and we have no idea what to name him...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Life is Moving Fast

This is my bitch session... if it stresses you out, quit reading.

Right now, I'm insanely busy. My wife is pregnant. The baby is due mid April but we may take him out a bit early. So at home we are getting the house ready. My home office has moved into the master bedroom. The 3 year old has moved into my office and we are trying to turn his old room into a nursury. My 3 bedroom, 2200 square foot house once seemed enormous to me but now seems way too small. I'm thinking of buying my parent's house in Cincinnati when they move into a new house that they are currently building. In the meantime, at work my 5 year information systems project is coming to a head with our first North American implementation going live next week at one manufacturing plant in Mexico and one in Indiana. My company originally asked me to be in Mexico the entire month of March, which I refused. I absolutely will not be out of the country during my wife's 3rd tri-mester. At the same time, we are preparing to role the new systems out in 6 more plants in July. So, I am on the road more than ever. After July, I don't have any idea what I'll be doing at work. My project will be done. They want me to either work in California or Canada both of which would suck as I'd only be home on the weekends. I'm sick of being on the road. Anybody know of any good paying ERP or logistics jobs in Cincinatti?

I'll be working from home next week and in Indiana the following week. When I return, they will make a decision on when to induce labor on my wife. And I am taking off a week whenever the baby is born.... plus it'll be hard for the company to get me out of my home office for a while.

But anway, the point I am trying to make is that my life is crazy busy right now. I've got more work on my plate than any normal person plus more than I can get done at home on the weekends.

And throughout all of this, I am dieting.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

May Induce Early

We went to the specialist doctor on Monday.  Everything is looking good.  We are to return on March 15th.  At that time they will check on the baby's development and potentially schedule a date to induce.  The plan is to take BJ off of the blood thinners a week before she gives birth and to induce so-as to have more control over timing. 

By the way, her 16 year old sister was checked for the MTHFR mutation and has it on both X chromosomes.  Needless to say, she is a bit worried.  But we are glad to know now so that if she ever decides to get pregnant later in life, that she will be able to treat the condition. 

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's Going to be a Boy!

I have been so busy lately that I've not taken time to post an update.  A couple of weeks ago, we had another ultrasound and found out that it's another boy.  Everything seems to be going well.  They say that all measurements are exactly as they should be right now.  BJ continues with the blood thinner shots, vitamins, and baby aspirin.  The "high risk pregnancy" doctor told us that he doesn't think we should induce birth early as we did with the last one.  This makes both of us a little uneasy as I want to be sure not to be traveling when the baby is born.  I have been on the road a great deal. 

Other than 2 weeks off at Christmas, I probably will be away, in Nashville, 3 nights a week until late summer or fall.  I have been asked to go to Mexico for February and March but have said "no".  I feel a bit guilty about being gone so much.  I guess this winter I'll start sending out resumes and looking for some work that doesn't require so much travel.  I love my work but the travel is starting to get to me again.  Plus our first son, Skylar, will likely be playing sports next summer and I don't want to miss my children growing up.

When I'm not traveling, I work out of my home.  I'm losing my home office to make another nursery.  It seems we are outgrowing our home.  If we don't move up then I'll have to actually drive across town to use my cubical in the Lexington plant.  I love working form home but can't do it without a private room in which I can hide.  On the bright side, my parents up in Cincinnati may be buying a new house soon.  My wife and I are thinking about buying their old house.  This would give me space to work from home as well as put me closer to family.  My brother's kids are almost old enough to babysit and it'd be really nice to be close to them. 

Monday, November 09, 2009

An Update

We're somewhere around the middle of the pregnancy.  The spotting for the most part went away.  She still spots occasionally which makes us uneasy.  Also, BJ reports that it is harder to give herself the shots than she recalled it being with our other baby.  The needle is harder to push into the flesh and it often burns.  You can feel some knots under the skin from where she has given herself shots.  Her belly is bruised badly from the blood thinners.  But the doctor's continue to report that everything appears to be going well.  

When we did the last ultrasound, we were unable to tell the gender.  But they said that the heart rate was fast and in the range for a girl.  At the last doctor's visit, they said that the heart rate was in the range for a boy.  On November 30th, we'll lay the gender question to rest.  On that day, we'll be getting a 3D ultrasound.  We're so excited! 

BJ's actually lost some weight.  When not pregnant, BJ suffered from severe migraine headaches the source of which we were never able to determine.  Once again, during pregnancy the headaches have almost all gone away.  She has them occasionally but not nearly as badly as before.  I'm still convinced that they are somehow related to the MTHFR mutation.  My theory is that there is something in the prenatal vitamins or folic acid itself that is preventing the headaches.  I wonder how many others with the MTHFR mutation have experienced migraines and whether or not they've gone away when taking vitamins.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Time Traveler's Wife, etc.

BJ & I recently went to see the movie The Time Travelers Wife.  I read the book long ago and had forgotten about the importance of miscarriages to the plot.  She cried through much of the movie.  Regardless, it was well worth seeing.

By the way, we're still pregnant!  We are just about to enter the 2nd trimester.  We go for another doctor's visit a week from Monday.  I'm taking off of work to go with her.  I'm hoping that this time we'll get to know the gender.  BJ thinks it's a girl because she says that she feels very different than she did the last time. 

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Still Spotting

Still spotting slightly off and on. But doctor doesn't seem too concerned. We didn't have this problem with our son Skylar. It's nerve racking and makes it very difficult to relax. BJ's continuing with the vitamins & blood thinners. We go for another doctor's visit this coming Friday.

Monday, August 31, 2009

First Pictures... A Sonogram

Friday, we had some minor spotting. Saturday it seemed to have cleared up. Sunday, it was back. Today, it seemed better but we still visited the doctor. We had a sonogram and were able to see the little baby's heart beating. Everything looks good. The doctor said that the spotting was coming from a blood clot "behind the placenta". I'm not exactly sure what is meant by "behind". But the doc said it was fairly common and that BJ might experience spotting for up to a week until her body absorbed it. We're a bit worried that there is any issue with clotting especially since she is on blood thinners. But for now, the baby appears to be doing well. It is due April 18.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Week 7 Update

We are somewhere into week 7 now. The baby could as much as a half inch and has a heart beat and a brain. Our three year old son knows that there is a baby in Mommy's belly. He keeps asking how it's going to get out. BJ has been telling him that the doctor will take it out. So far this answer seems to satisfy him.

We're a bit concerned about how to address the baby with our three year old. On the one hand we don't want to get his hopes up in case of a miscarriage. But at the same time, we want him to know and ready for what is coming. And, we want him to understand why he can't climb on his mother --both to protect the baby and to protect his Mom who easily bruises now that she's on blood thinners.

Both of our families now know that we are expecting. They are all a little worried about us. Also, I let my boss at work know so that they wouldn't anticipate me traveling out of the country during the 3rd trimester (when my project team will be most busy).

When I'm not traveling, I work from home. My office doubles as a guest bedroom. We only have a 3 bedroom house. So, now we are in a quandary over whether to make the kids share a room or if we'd be better off moving into a 4 bedroom house. I'm hoping to maybe change jobs next summer. If we wait I might be able to get an employer to pay for moving expenses. Where ever we wind up, we want to stay within a half day's drive of our families here in Kentucky.

Next weekend, we are going out of town to a large fantasy science fiction convention. Both of us are looking forward to it. I've not been in almost 10 years. My wife hasn't ever been but is looking forward to meeting several authors and part of the Twilight movie cast. For this, we will be gone at around the 8 week mark which is where we have sometimes had trouble in the past. I'm torn on whether or not to go. We think that the blood thinners and vitamins work and are hoping for the best. So we will go regardless.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Here we go again.

We're pregnant again.

On the day the when the home test showed positive, BJ started taking baby aspirin, prenatal vitamins and folic acid. She went to her first office visit on Sept. 18 and had it confirmed that she was indeed at 5 1/2 weeks. Several vials of blood were taken. The doctor prescribed daily lovenox injections. The next appointment is Sept 22. Soon after we will visit another doctor who specializes in high risk pregnancies. This other doctor has a 3D ultrasound which should be cool.

BJ told her family about her pregnancy last week. I haven't told my folks yet as I want to do so this weekend in person. Due to problems in the past, I am reluctant to announce it to the world but have let it slip out to a few people at work.

Week 8 is where we had trouble prior to being diagnosed with a single MTHFR mutation. So, in a few more weeks we can breath easy.

I'm still travelling a great deal. Mostly, I am staying in Nashville 3 nights a week. This is only a 3 1/2 hour drive from our home in Lexington. So, it's bearable. At work, I was told that I'm expected to be in Monterrey, Mexico for most of March. I told them "H" no because I don't want to be out of the country during the last trimester.

BJ seems very happy about being pregnant and not nearly as worried as when we had Skylar. We believe that the blood thinners and folic acid supplements work so am expecting everything to turn out all right.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Homocysteine and Migraines

Brandi has suffered from severe migraine headaches and nobody had ever been able to discover the cause. During her successful pregnancy, I noticed that she had very few severe headaches. So, I started to suspect that the lack of migraines might be related to either the prenatal vitamins or blood thinners. I recently happened upon this interesting article ( on the possible connection between the MTHFR mutation and migraine headaches.

Homocysteine and Migraines

Homocysteine, you may recall from previous communications, has a profound effect on blood vessels, hence its link to heart attacks and strokes. Dr H Kowa from the Institute of Neurological Sciences Faculty of Medicine at Japan’s Tottori University, wondered whether homocysteine might have anything to do with migraines.

He recruited 74 patients who had frequent migraine headaches and 261 normal, healthy controls. After testing them for the MTHFR gene mutation, which indicates a tendency to overproduce homocysteine, he found that, compared to controls, more than twice as many of the migraine sufferers had the mutation. And sufferers who experienced ‘aura’ symptoms before a migraine (blurred vision, bright spots in their field of vision, muddled or confused thinking, extreme exhaustion, anxiety, numbness or a tingling sensation in one side of the body) were four times more likely to have
the mutation and high levels of homocysteine.

This study suggests that the tendency to migraines might be inherited in many people, due to the MTHFR gene mutation, and that high homocysteine levels might also be involved. That has yet to be proven, but if so it would suggest that a homocysteine-lowering diet and supplement program, including B2, B6, B12 and folic acid, might prove enormously helpful for migraine sufferers. In one study, those taking high-dose vitamin B2 for four months had substantially less migraines.
My recommendation is to test your homocysteine level and supplement with homocysteine lowering nutrients daily, including B2 (100mg), B6 (100mg), B12 (150mcg), folic acid (2000mcg), and TMG (3000mg).

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Doctor Visit

My wife went to the OBGYN yesterday for a routine checkup. This is a new doctor for us. The doctor seems to agree with the treatment method that we followed before. She also warned that the risks associated with the MTHFR mutation increase with age. For this reason, she recommends that if we do have another child to do so before my wife reaches thirty. She is 27 now.

I haven't had a chance to really sit down and discuss this with my wife yet. I think that we both want another child. However, we are concerned about the chances of losing it, having to take daily shots, childbirth, etc. Also, there are the typical mundane worries regarding financial aspects such as daycare costs verses one of us not working. And, my job related travel is about to pick up. From January to June, I am likely to be spending a couple of weeks per month in Europe, half way around the world. I can hardly bare the thought of being gone if something should go wrong. If only we were the type who could just "leave it in God's hands" and shed the worry and responsibility...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Pregnancy Q & A

Note: The content of this post is not original and is therefore not available for purchase via Scoopt Words. "Pregnancy Q & A" is re-printed from the Healthy Low Carb Living Blog and probably originated from somewhere else.

Pregnancy Q & A

Q: Should I have a baby after 35?
A: No, 35 children is enough.

Q: I'm two months pregnant now. When will my baby move?
A: With any luck, right after he finishes college.

Q: What is the most reliable method to determine a baby's sex?
A: Childbirth.

Q: My wife is five months pregnant and so moody that sometimes she's borderline irrational.
A: So what's your question?

Q: My childbirth instructor says it's not pain I'll feel during labor, but pressure. Is she right?
A: Yes , in the same way that a tornado might be called an air current.

Q: When is the best time to get an epidural?
A: Right after you find out you're pregnant.

Q: Is there any reason I have to be in the delivery room while my wife is in labor?
A: Not unless the word "alimony" means anything to you.

Q: Is there anything I should avoid while recovering from childbirth?
A: Yes, pregnancy.

Q: Do I have to have a baby shower?
A: Not if you change the baby's diaper very quickly.

Q: Our baby was born last week. When will my wife begin to feel and act normal again?
A: When the kids are in college.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Skylar turns 1 Year Old!

Exactly one year ago, Skylar was born. It's so hard to believe that it has been a year already. We had a small celebration at home. We let Skylar dig into his own cake. Afterwards, we had a scare as it didn't seem that the blue frosting was washing off. I thought he was going to have a blue face and blue hands at the party tomorrow. It'd have been a good laugh but kind of sad at the same time. After some intensive scrubbing, Skylar finally came clean. Tomorrow will be the big birthday party.

Each time I tell someone about Skylar turning 1 year old this week, they ask when we're going to have another baby. We're not trying yet... but we are discussing the possibility.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Congratulations to Another Mother

You might be surprised by the power of a blog. The MTHFR treatment with blood thinners is quite controversial. Many doctors adamantly deny that it works even though there is a great deal of evidence to support it. My opinion is that if it won't hurt, why risk not trying it? Yesterday, we got an e-mail from someone who had the an MTHFR gene mutation resulting in miscarriages. She learned of the treatment from our blog and recently had a healthy baby. I am excited for her and her family. It makes me feel really good knowing that my blog may be making a huge difference in people's lives... possibly even saving lives.

I would like to encourage each of you to post comments on this blog and to share your own experiences with us and other readers. Your experiences can and will make a difference.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Our Doctor Moves

Yesterday, Dr. Hosier informed us that he is moving to Birmingham, Alabama. He did a good job of assisting us during the pregnancy. Without him, we may not have had Skylar. It would have been nice to have him here in Lexington if we choose to have another baby.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Gall Bladder Attacks

After giving birth, Brandi started having gall bladder attacks. They say that this is common for women who have just given birth. I'm not sure that anyone knows why. Friday, Brandi had surgery. She was in great pain over the weekend but seems to be doing much better now.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Blog Conclusion

Skylar is now three weeks old. Isn't he gorgeous?

I have not had to travel with work for about a month! And, I have been allowed to work out of my house during this entire time! While I usually lock myself in the guest bedroom to work, it is nice to see Skylar and my wife during breaks and at lunch. I feel very blessed by the entire arrangement. Due to changes at work, my future travel will probably be reduced to one or two weeks a month. I will be in Nashville for four days next week and possibly in France the first week of June.

Sabastian, our chocolate lab, is also doing great. He is already very protective of Skylar. Each time Skylar makes a noise, Sabastian runs over to check on him. He's being very gentle and only steeling an occasional puppy dog kiss.

I am now going to call this blog complete. My wife and I greatly appreciate all of your e-mails and comments. It was very comforting to know that we were not alone. Please feel free to post comments and continue to write e-mails. If my wife ever becomes pregnant, I will begin posting again. For updates on how Skylar is doing, please click on this link to his new blog:

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Skylar Joseph is born

Fantastic news! Our son, Skylar Joseph ___ was born this morning at 4:06 AM.

Weight: 7 lbs, 5 oz.
Length: 20 in.
Head: 33 cm
Chest: 32 cm

He is perfectly healthy. We get to take him home Saturday morning.

Brandi, my wife, is doing well also. We'll give more details in a future post.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Week 37 - Easter Photo

Looking at this picture, it is hard to tell which of us is pregnant.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

More Preparations...

Yesterday, we went to our doctor's appointment. Brandi is hardly dilated, so the doctor is telling us to prepare for a long induction. To help move things on more smoothly, he has recommended that she put hot compresses on her brests and to tweak her nippples. She is also told to rock in a chair as much as possible. And, we are to have lots of intercoarse. Apparently there is something in seamen that is supposed to help the cervix and labor process.

Today has been very busy. I went to Brandi's work to help pack up her things and carry them home. When we got home, I put in our car seat bases. Then, we washed the dog. And, now at 8:30 PM, we are just finishing cleaning the upstairs of our house. The bathrooms will have to wait. Tomorrow, we go to Florence, KY to see my family for Easter. I will be working from home on Monday and Tuesday. Brandi's mom will be coming up Tuesday. Wednesday morning, we have an appointment at 7:30 AM to begin the labor induction.

In all of our haste to get everything ready, we've forgotten something very important. We have not selected a pediatrician! Labor is to be induced on Wednesday. Yet, we completely forgot to ask our OBGYN for a recommendation. I guess we'll have to call him on Monday...

(some words in this post are intentionally misspelled to avoid adolt content blockers)

Friday, April 14, 2006

5 days to go...

Today is Good Friday. I am on holiday, doing laundry, and cleaning house. Brandi is at work. She is a middle school teacher and is about to begin summer break one month early. We have a doctor's appointment this afternoon. Labor will be induced in 5 days. We have come a long way and are about to become parents!

This afternoon, I picked up a glider that Brandi had picked out. It isn't a perfect match for the room, but it's a nice piece of furniture.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Nursery Room Almost Ready

Today, we worked on finishing up our nursery room. It is almost ready for our baby. Brandi's Dad had done most of the work putting up the ice board and painting the walls green. My father caulked and painted the trim. Brandi's mom scrubbed everything clean. My parents shampooed the carpets. My brother's family donated the crib. I equipped the crib with a night-vision video baby monitor! Brandi and I refurbished the dresser by re-painting an old one that we bought at Goodwill. It may be hard to see in the pictures, but we have a farm theme. The bedding, rug, lamp shade, hamper, and wall hangings all have matching farm animals.

Here is a picture of the room from the other side. As you can see, we still have plenty of space for Brandi's glider chair... that is if we ever pick one out. Most of these chairs have between a 6 and 18 week leadtime. And, we've still not ordered one!

These two wooden art items were in my own nursery when I was little. My aunt Vickie painted them in 1973. The lower one is designed to hold two baseballs, two bats, and has pegs for a baseball glove to hang on. I think it's really neat that they match the nursery color scheme so well. And, I really like that there is something of my own to be passed on at such an early age. It sort of makes the room span a couple generations.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Inducing Wed. April 19th, 2006

We went to the doctor today. They did various tests and another sonogram. The baby is no longer breech. His head is down and he is facing toward Brandi's back. They couldn't get any good pictures of his face, so they gave us a print of his foot instead. So, now we have a nice picture of our baby's foot. I can't wait to show it to my parents! We are told that everything looks great. The baby is perfect, exactly they way he should be at this stage. The doctor says that at 37 weeks, he will be just as ready to be on the outside as if he went to his due date. The doctor re-iterated that MTHFR is a fairly new type of diagnosis and that doctors don't really know or agree on how it should be treated. He suggests that we induce labor early, on April 19th. The reasoning is that he will be perfectly healthy and ready to live on the outside and that inside of her he is at some risk. We are to go off of the blood thinners 3 days prior to induction. This will help protect Brandi from excessive bleeding. He says that there is some risk that the baby's lungs might not yet be fully developed or that he could get jaundice. But, he says that the chances are low and that he can be given oxygen if needed. The doctor seems to think that this risk is lower than the risk of waiting for the birth to occur naturally. And, induction is safer for my wife because she won't go into labor while on the blood thinners.

The week of April 17th, I was scheduled to be in Nashville for a planning week. We were supposed to be working on developing project plans for the next phase of our projects. My boss was originally to be away that week because his wife was pregnant and due April 20th. But, his baby was born early. Therefore, my boss will take my place during the week of April 17th. It's not the ideal week to miss, but there's no way they'd be able to make me go. I'll probably take a week's vacation when the baby is born and then work from home one or two weeks thereafter.

After the doctor's appointment, Brandi, her mother, her sister, and myself went shopping. We bought several items from our registry that we'd not yet received as gifts. I think that we've got the necessities covered. It seems like no matter how much stuff we buy that there is always more stuff we supposedly need. We live in such a materialistic society. I keep thinking back to my cultural anthropology class in college. In that class, we studied many different culture's perspectives on childbirth and child rearing. I don't know if he's lucky to be born in our culture or if all of our materialistic stuff will simply weigh him down and spoil him rotten.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

More sick days...

I have been sick for a week. Even though I had a fever, I chose to leave town on business. I thought it'd be better to be away and sick than to infect my pregnant wife. Regardless, she became sick while I was gone. She doesn't seem to have it as bad as I did. But she has a cough, runny nose, and sore throat. Hopefully it will run its course quickly without a high fever. We're going to the doctor tomorrow for another visit. We'll have a sonogram done while we are there. We're getting so close! Only 4 weeks to go!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Question: Treatment Results

I have been getting many e-mails from viewers of this blog. Most are from people who are either pregnant or trying to get pregnant. I would like to hear from some people who have tried blood thinners and vitamins as treatments. What is the success rate?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Week 34 - Another Doctor's Visit

We are now on week 34! We have only about 6 weeks until the due date.

Friday, we went for another doctors visit. Our prescription was changed from one shot of Lovenox daily to two shots of Heparin daily. We are having trouble getting the prescription filled because it calls for pre-filled needles and nobody seems to stock it this way. So, we're continuing with the left-over Lovenox until Monday when we discuss the prescription with our doctor. The advantage of the Heparin is that it is supposed to be easily reversed if there is much bleeding during the birth.

We're still working on getting the nursery room ready. I'll post pictures when it is done.

In 2 weeks, we will go back and have another ultrasound done.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Shower

Saturday, we had our baby shower in Clay County, Kentucky, where my wife is from. Both of her parents are from huge families. I've included some pictures of the crowd, the presents, and the diaper cake. It was a very nice day. It's good to have so many people who care about us and our baby.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Baby Shower this Weekend

Today is Thursday. I got home from Nashville this evening. My wife and I went to dinner with her mother and sister (age 13). Tomorrow, we leave for Clay County (1 1/2 hours away). Her mother is throwing us a baby shower this weekend. You are all invited! J/K... My wife wants me to attend. It aught to be interesting. I'll post more this weekend.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Childbirth Class

Last week, my wife and I, attended an all day childbirth class. She was a bit upset with me when I actually fell asleep during the film that told how fathers should pamper their partners. In my defense, I was really, really tired to begin with. I am curious whether or not there is anything to the breathing exercises. All the guys at work say that the lessons go out the window when you are in the delivery room. They say that if you try to coach as instructed in these classes that you'll quickly get told to shut up. For those of you who have been through the childbirth experience, I'd love to hear your comments about whether or not the breathing helps. Also, I'd like your advise as to how to make the experience better for my wife. Any tips and advise will be appreciated.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Father Dreams

Last night, I had a dream. In this dream, my pregnant wife and I were in someone's mobile home. As we were leaving, we stepped out from the door onto a very small wooden deck. The deck had no rails. Brandi, unable to see her feet, stepped over the side of the deck. She completely missed the stairs and fell about five feet to the ground. I heard her scream as she fell but was unable to catch her. A vicious dog in the yard came running. I was going to have to make a split second decision. Do I fight back the dog to keep it away from my wife. Or, do I ignore the dog and see to my wife's injuries in hopes that the dog keeps its distance. At this point, I awoke.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

"At First Sight" by Nicholas Sparks

I just finished reading the book "At First Sight" by Nicholas Sparks. My wife read it about a month ago. This is the sequel to "True Believer". The book is about a pregnant couple who gets married. He is from New York and she is from a small town in South Carolina. They have quite a bit of problems toward the end of the pregnancy. The end was very shocking and sad. Brandi cried, and cried when she finished reading it. It's probably not the best type of book for the two of us to be reading right now. But, I highly recommend it.

Week 29 - Doctors Visit

We went to another doctor's appointment on Friday. We did a sonogram. They said that they could see that the baby had a full head of hair already. Our revised due date is May 5th. We are continuing to take blood thinners. Everything seems to be going great during this pregnancy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Valentines Day

This week has been insanely busy at my work. Monday morning, I had to fly to Chicago for a meeting. That evening, I flew from Chicago to Nashville. Thursday, I will be going back to Chicago. Friday night, I finally get to go home! Unfortunately, this itinerary means that I'm out of town for Valentines Day :-( This is the first time since I met Brandi that we have not been together for this holiday. When I left town, I set out candy and a card. And, I had flowers sent to her at work. But, it's just not the same as being together....

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Prescription Problems

In January, my wife's employer had changed who managed her health care. The other day, she went to renew her prescription for lovenox, a blood thinner used for treating the MTHFR clotting disorder during pregnancy. The pharmacist said that the insurance company would not let her renew the prescription because it was supposed to be filled via mail-order. We only had a couple days worth of medication left. We didn't have enough medication to cover until the prescription would arrive by mail. And, we had no luck arguing with the insurance company. Ultimately, we ended up getting a prescription for five days to cover us until the mail-order shipment would arrive. We had to pay for these five days ourselves and it cost over one hundred dollars... Because the insurance company had been paying before, I hadn't realized her drugs were this expensive. Anyways, we may be a little bit poorer, but the pregnancy is secure.

Friday, February 10, 2006

To work or not to work

We've not yet decided whether or not Brandi will be working after the baby is born. Originally, she intended to continue working with no thought of being a "stay at home mom". But as we come closer to the due date, she is beginning to question whether it is such a good idea. A baby under one year seems so helpless. We are reluctant to trust just anyone to give the proper care. And, between our two schedules, we've not been able to find time to tour any child care facilities. I did call and get us on the waiting list for one of Lexington's "best". The waiting list is already until mid September, one month after she'd be starting back to work.

My wife is in her first year of teaching. Even if she continues working, the birth will lead into summer. So, the first few months are not an issue.

Another factor is that she is not currently teaching the classes she wants. Her degree is for middle school English and history. However, she got stuck teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) in a rather rough neighborhood. At this school, 87% of the students qualify for free lunch and 13% qualify for discounted lunches (that's 100% qualifying for government assistance). Many of her students are simply waiting until they are old enough to drop out. Needless to say, this is a difficult job. If she gets offered a job teaching English or history, she'd probably take it.

Decisions, decisions....

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Baby Registry

We have registered at Babies R Us. Registration # 50333831.

Click here to go to the website for the registry:

Our due date is May 7th. Room colors are green, white, and blue. Some of you were asking about our bedding. The bedding, pictured at right, is called "Barn Yard". Brandi's parents bought this for us. We have already purchased most of the accessories.

Monday, January 30, 2006

I felt it kick!

My wife has felt the baby kicking since December 24th. Last night, by placing my hand on my wife's belly, I was able to feel it kick also!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Doctors and Births

Today, I am back in Lexington. We went for a doctors visit this afternoon. Everything looks good. February 24th we'll have another ultrasound.

My wife's cousin just had a baby tonight... 9 pounds, 7 ounces. It sounds like it was a rather difficult birth. But the baby is healthy.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Baby's Room

We are finally realizing that our May 7th due date is just around the corner and that our baby is coming whether we are ready or not. This weekend, we did some shopping for the baby. We bought a bassinet for our bedroom. My wife's parents bought us some bedding for the crib (a brightly colored farm theme). We bought some matching wall hangings, a lamp shade, and other accessories. My brother is giving us a white crib. It is not exactly the style my wife was hoping for, but it is free. The nursery was painted pink when we bought our house... not a good color for a boy. We also bought materials for redecorating. We're putting up wayne's coating on the wall and painting the upper half of the wall green. When we finish decorating, I'll post some before and after pictures. Buying things and getting his room ready makes it seem more real.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Non-Gender Specific Names

We were thinking about the name Skylar. Both of us like it. However, I am a bit concerned that it might be confusing. Please post comments to this message and tell me whether you think Skylar is a boy name or girl name.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Week 22 - Holiday Travel for Kicks

We have just returned from a week of travel. We flew to Kansas to visit my grandparents. We were a little concerned with being so far from home but knew that there were good hospitals should we need them. Everything went quite well. My wife started feeling the first kicking movements while we were gone.

I was driving down the road and she let out a little yell, "aw!". I swerved, thinking I was about to be hit by another driver. She then let out another yelp, "ew!".

I swerved again and asked, "What are you doing? Did I almost hit someone or something?"

She replied, "I think I felt it kick!".

The kicks have become a little more pronounced and more frequent. We hope to return to Kansas with a baby this summer. My grandmother is 95 years old and I'd love for her to see the baby.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Week 21 - It's a boy!

My wife had the idea that it'd be nice to wait until Christmas before telling our parents the sex of our child. She told her parents that we couldn't tell from the sonogram what it is. I told my parents that she had said they'd have to wait. Needless to say, my mother was a bit upset about not knowing. She didn't think it was fair to tease her like this. My wife's mother reads this blog and as a result realized that she had been lied to. So, for the last week, my wife's parents and sister as well as my parents have been hounding us. This morning, Christmas Eve, we gave a present to my wife's parents. It was a blue bib on which is written "Thank Heaven for Little Boys." This is how we let her parents know. We'll do the same with my parents tomorrow afternoon, Christmas day. Here is the telling picture of our baby boy.

I'm not sure if I'd recommend making everyone wait to find out unless you don't tell them that you are doing a sonogram in the first place.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Sonogram at 19 weeks and 5 days

Friday, we went for a doctor's visit. We had the sonogram done. Everything looks great. It is the appropriate size for its age. We'll be posting some more revealing sonogram pictures at Christmas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Amazing Gene Machine

Last Saturday night, we went to the Ripley's Museum in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. There, they have what is called a "gene machine". Each parent enters the photo booth to take their picture. Somehow it merges the photos and re-adjusts the facial structure a bit. The result is supposed to be what your children will look like. These are our future children. Cute, huh?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A friend loses their baby at 4 months...

A co-worker of my wife was pregnant and due at almost the same time as us. She started bleeding on Friday at an office Christmas party. On Monday, we learned that she lost her baby. She was 4 months pregnant. My wife was very upset by this. We'd thought we were past the roughest part of the pregnancy. I think that this may make her doubt whether or not everything will be okay. I'm not sure what caused the co-worker's loss. However, I'm trying my best to keep my wife optimistic. We do our ultrasound on Friday. This will hopefully put us at ease.
A few days later, our friend said, "Its hard to say goodbye when you've never met." They named the baby. A funeral plot was donated by a local cemetery.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

160 days to go

Tonight, I am in Nashville, while my wife is in Lexington. She has a cold, again. I have also caught her cold. In January, my work may cause me to travel to France. I am not sure if it'll be only one week or longer. With our pregnancy history, I hate to be so far away. But, I'm confident that the most risky period is behind us. She has stopped taking prometrium but is continuing with her blood thinner shots. The shots bruise her belly pretty bad. But it's a small price to pay for a healthy baby. I'd take the shots for her if I could. We are due in May. In some ways it seems so soon. In other ways, it seems so far away.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


I have received several e-mails in addition to blog comments from people reading this site. Your encouragement and prayers are appreciated. It is some what comforting to find so many other people sharing common MTHFR problems. And, its nice to know that our blog is providing comfort and hope to others in the same situation.
We are not alone! It is amazing how many miscarriages are now being associated with the MTHFR gene mutation(s). Apparently, it has only been a common diagnosis for a few years now. Many doctors do not agree on how to treat this condition. I've also read that as many as 1 in 10 people carry the mutation on at least one of their X chromosomes. If 1 in 6 pregnancies end in miscarriage, I wonder how many are really caused by the MTHFR gene mutation? Its also very hard to understand why it seems to affect some pregnancies and not others. With how common the condition is, you'd think that we'd know more about it.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

A visit to the doctor

Yesterday, we went to the doctor. We were able to hear the baby's heart beat. The doctor said it sounds healthy. Everything looks like it is going okay. We stop taking the prometrium when the Currant bottle is empty. However, we will continue to take the blood thinner shots each night. Our next appointment is in 5 weeks. At that time, we'll get to do a sonogram. We'll have the choice of finding out the baby's sex. Brandi, my wife, is thinking about having the doctor write it down in a sealed envelope to open at Christmas. But, I doubt that she'll be able to wait the extra 2 weeks. We forgot to ask the doctor about flying to Kansas. I'll have to call. We now have 177 days to go.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

184 days to go...

We are now on day 96 with 184 days to go. Last night, we went shopping for maternity clothes. This is the first time we've purchased any clothes made especially for pregnant women.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Preparing pets for the baby

Johann Sabastian Bark, our dog.

We have a 65 pound chocolate lab who lives indoors with us. If any of you have tips as to how to prepare him for the baby, we'd greatly appreciate your advise. Until now, he has been our baby. Sometimes, I'm not sure whether or not he even knows that he is a dog. We treat him pretty much as part of the family. When we bring our newest family member home, I'm not sure how he is going to react. Will he be jealous? Will he lick the baby too much. Will he play too rough with the baby? To complicate matters, we've always bought baby toys for the dog. The baby toys usually don't have hard plastic eyes and generally seem to last longer than dog toys. So, now we have the dilemma: How do we keep him from playing with the baby's toys? Any tips?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Friends Expecting

I got home last night about 6:30 PM. My wife and I then went to a baby shower for our friend Tanya. Tanya is due mid-November. Its nice to know that we'll have at least one couple as friends with whom we'll share the experience of parenthood.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

197 days to go...

We have 197 days to go, based on our due date. I'm a bit confused by the use of weeks to count how far along one is. The online calendar we were using looks says that we just begun with week 12. I think that this is wrong. My wife and I looked at a calendar and counted that we are starting on the 13th week since her last period started. We purchased a pregnancy journal which says that in a couple of days, we'll be on week 11 (based on conception) or LNMP week 13 (based on start of last cycle). Assuming that we are done with the first 12 weeks, that'd mean we are starting on our second tri-mester. However, our journal shows the second tri-mester starting at the beginning of week 13 or 15 (LNMP) with 181 days to go. So, today, I am not sure if we are beginning our 2nd trimester or not. Regardless, the baby will come when it is ready.

Friday, October 21, 2005

MTHFR and Migraines

Today, while surfing the web for MTHFR information, I noticed that there have been a few studies with regards to a potential connection between MTHFR mutations and headaches. Prior to pregnancy, my wife often had severe headaches. I am curious as to whether any of you with the MTHFR mutation might have suffered the same. I am assuming that if there is indeed a connection between one's homocystine levels and migraines that a folic acid supplement might actually treat the headaches better than aspirin or Tylonal. Any thoughts?

A call for Links to MTHFR web sites

If any of you know of good URL's for web sites that discuss the topic of the MTHFR gene, please e-mail them to and I'll post them on the link's section at the right side of this screen.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Don't call me Peanut

My mother-in-law has taken to calling the baby "Peanut". I hope the name doesn't stick!

Caught a cold...

Yesterday, she called the doctor because she'd caught a cold. For a few days now she has had a cough and sinus congestion. The doctor on duty recommended Tylenol Cold and Sinus plus Robotusson for the cough. She also asked the doctor about flying. They didn't think there'd be any problem with us flying to Kansas over Christmas break.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

11th Week

Today, we start week 11. The embryo is now officially a fetus. It is supposed to be 2.5 inches long now. The placenta, fetus, and everything is supposed to be about the size of a softball.
We did a gender test via the pendulum method. This form of divination has predicted that it will be a boy. However, the Chinese Lunar calendar (if we read the chart right) says that it will be a girl. I personally have more faith in the pendulum. But, we'll see.
Today, we went to Baby's R Us to buy a baby gift for a friend's shower. Its amazing how much stuff you supposedly need when you have a baby.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Today in the news...

This morning, on a Nashville local news program, they had two stories relating to pregnancy. The first was about a special pregnancy bed. Some women are apparently told that they shouldn't sleep on their back but that sleeping on their side causes back problems. The solution, sleep on your belly in a special bed with a giant hole cut out for her belly to hang through. It also has a hole for the head and face with breathing portals to allow fresh air. It looks sort of like a massage table. The price is only $50. The name was corny. I cannot remember exactly what it was called, but I think it was a "belly bed". I told my wife about it and she seemed to think I was crazy. Oh well, it looked like a good idea on TV. The other news show was about a lady with 16 children who is now pregnant with her 17th. It's absolutely amazing how some people struggle to have just one and somebody else seems to be unable to not bare children.

Doctors Visit #2

Her visit to the doctor went well today. They told her that her hormones are at good levels. She just peed in a cup. I'm not sure if they checked the homocystine levels or not. I'll have to follow up on this. But everything seems to be going well this time.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

10th Week

We are in our tenth week! My wife and I are still a little cautious about getting too excited. We are not discussing baby names yet. My parents gave us a baby seat to bring to the car dealership when we shop for our car. Seeing it sitting in the living room is a great reminder as to what is to come.
Her 2nd doctors visit is tomorrow. I'm still uncertain what this visit entails. I'm sad that I am unable to go with her.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Vacation days and Doctor Visits

Both my wife and I need to be careful not to use up all of our vacation/personal days at work. She has a doctors appointment on Thursday of next week. I'd like to attand, but am wondering if I should save my days for more important milestone doctor visits like the sonogram at a later stage... I'll discuss with her tonight and perhaps call the doctor to find out what is happening next week. I'd hate to waste a day if they are just taking blood pressure and blood and sending her home....

Friday, September 30, 2005

Something in the water?

It seems like everybody is getting pregnant. Several of my wife's co-workers are pregnant. Our friend Tonya is due in about a month. My boss's wife is about 10 weeks pregnant. Last week, I noticed that Lisa, at work, looked like she might be pregnant. Today, I found out that this is true. One of our consultants, Ben from France, just had a baby. David, also a co-worker, just now told me that his wife is about 8 weeks pregnant. He says that they are going to do their first sonogram today. When he told me, his eyes started watering a bit. When it comes to having babies, I don't think most guys are as "tough" as they pretend to be....
There must be something in the water...

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Farther than we've been before.

Over the telephone, my wife just informed me that we have made it farther along than we did in our previous pregnancies. Today, we are 8 days further along than we were during our first miscarriage and 7 days further along than our second.

I'll be home tomorrow evening and hope to celebrate. She wants to go to Double Stink Hog farm. Double stink is a pumpkin farm with a sort of carnival atmosphere. It'll be a nice change of pace from my hectic indoor office life. I can't wait to get home!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

All is well...

I haven't posted for a few days. So, I thought I'd give you an update.
The other day, she broke up a fight at the school where she teaches. I asked her to not break up any more fights, for fear that she might get hurt.
As soon as I came home last night and we hopped in the car to go out of town together. This time to see her parents in Clay County, Kentucky. Friday was her dad's birthday. She showed her parents the bruises on her belly. The bruising is caused by blood thinner shots that have to be injected into her stomach. Other than this minor inconvenience, we have no complaints.
Today, we went to the chicken festival in London, Kentucky. My wife was looking at baby clothes, but we didn't buy anything.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Today, she says that she's having cramps. I assume that this is natural as her insides are all re-arranging right now. Since there is no bleeding, I am not very worried.

Sharing Stories of Difficult Pregnancies

If any of you reading this have the same problem or know someone who does, please share your stories. I'd love to have some positive news to share with my wife.

I am hoping that, after we have a successful birth, that this blog will provide a bit of hope and comfort for others in the same situation. I can't wait to post pictures of our baby who is due in May, 2006.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Today, I am in Nashville

Today is the kickoff for the project team in Nashville. For the next 9 months, I will be commuting between here and Lexington. Monday through Thursday I will be out of town. In some ways I feel bad for being away. But, at the same time, I feel very good about being on this project team. It is the best and brightest of everyone in my company, world wide. It provides me with the expertise and contacts to insure a very successful career. And, it provides more income than we had previously. So, I am building a better future, or at least a more economically stable one.

I watched my wife give herself her shot last night. She still took forever to build up courage to do it. But it seems to be getting easier for her. I just spoke to her on the phone and forgot to ask how tonight's shot went.

I think that my wife's next doctor's appointment is October 13th. Our doctor is off on Fridays, my only weekday in Lexington. This means that it will be very difficult for me to attend her appointments. I think I'll try my best to arrange it so that I can attend this next appointment.

I love my wife and wish I could be there for her. When we discussed my taking this job, it was before we knew that she was pregnant.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


My wife waited until last night to take her first injection of blood thinners. Fortunately, she's had lots of practice giving allergy shots to our dog. Regardless, she was afraid to give the shot to herself. Knowing that I'd be gone most days, she wanted to do it herself. I stood there while she shivered and cried, afraid to poke herself in the stomach. Finally, she built up enough courage to do it. Then she said, "that didn't hurt." It'll be interesting to see if she has difficulty giving herself the short today.

The Sonogram - Our Baby's First Picture

Yesterday, when I got home from Pennsylvania, my wife showed me our baby's first picture...

She says that after having seen the picture, she can't help but get more excited. The heart beat was visible but not audible. I'm very sad that I had to miss seeing the heart beat... Next week, I'll be in Nashville for 5 days. When we make it through next week, we'll have gone farther than we did on the last two pregnancies. I'm very, very concerned about being gone next week. But it is the kick-off week for the project that my new job is all about. I have instructed my wife to call me if there is any spotting or bleeding. I can't help feeling guilty about being gone. But, if there is any trouble, home is only a three hour drive away...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A critical day missed

Today, I am in Pennsylvania. I had to miss my wife's first official doctor's visit. She is around 7 weeks now. The sonogram results say that she is closer to 6 weeks. They gave her a prescription for a blood thinner to be injected daily. The doctor says that he can not say for sure whether it will help. It seems there is a great deal of controversy on blood thinners to treat this. She tells me that she is afraid to poke herself with the needle.... I feel awful that I had to miss today. I can't wait to see the sonogram pictures....

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Oh, the places you will go...

Today, my boss asked me if I'd like to be on a Canadian project team. This new assignment would entail working in Toronto four days a week. I have a similar schedule now, but I will be commuting to Nashville for 9 months. Nashville is only a 3 hour drive.... Toronto would entail airplanes, passing through customs, etc... I need to be where I can get home quickly if there are any problems (or births) at home. Needless to say, I told him that I'd rather stick with the Nashville project team....

Monday, September 12, 2005

A Dream my Wife had

Yesterday, my wife told me about a dream....

She was going into labor early. We went to the hospital. They told her it would be okay, but she kept telling them that it was too early. The baby's head was coming out. They told her to go home. She tried to tell them that the baby's head was hanging out but they did not seem concerned.

One of the nurses handed her two small jars and said, "We're not supposed to do this." The jars contained the remains of Brendan and Emily, our previous miscarriages.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Genetics - Like Mother, Like Daughter

My wife's mother had a very difficult pregnancy with her second child. I am told that the placenta was tearing away and that she almost lost her baby. I have a theory that she might be the one who had the gene and that the MTHFR mutation might be what caused her difficulties. But one can only wonder why it'd have been a problem with the second child and not the first...

Dealing with a Risky Pregnancy

I have noticed that my wife and I are dealing with this pregnancy a bit differently than the first two. For example, we've not discussed names at all. During the first two pregnancies, we talked almost constantly about potential baby names. Another difference is that we have not been looking in the baby department while shopping. I think we are subconsciously trying not to get too emotionally involved in this pregnancy. I'm not sure how long it'll take before we are a bit more positive and excited about it.... I think my wife is a bit in denial about the whole situation. She seems to be trying not to think about being pregnant. I guesst his is just her way of coping with the situation. I'm guessing that things will change, probably after the first tri-mester has passed.

Can We Get a Two Door Car?

Now that my wife has a full time job, she wants to buy a new car. She has had her heart set on buying a Volkswagen new beetle. However, now she doesn't know if to get it. Everyone in our family keeps telling us that you can't easily get a baby into the safety seat in a two door vehicle. Have any of you had any experience with baby seats and two door vehicles?

Our New Hope, a Third Pregnancy

My wife's mother, father, and 12 year old sister came to celebrate my wife's 25th birthday. They came up a day early for the Sunday party. Her Mom discovered a home-pregnancy EPT test that we had just bought at the grocery store. The cat was somewhat out of the bag now. She knew that we thought that we might be pregnant. Sunday morning, took the test. Yes, we are pregnant again. Third time's a charm... I hope.
We let both of our families know on Sunday that we were expecting. Everyone congratulated us, but I could tell that they were all worried.
My wife had been taking baby aspirins for the last two weeks of every menstrual cycle, just in case she were pregnant. She'd also been taking prenatal vitamins w/ folate, etc. This was to prevent a miscarriage due to the MTHFR mutation.
This all took place on labor day weekend. So, first thing, Tuesday, she called the doctor. The appointment was not for almost two weeks! I then called the doctors office myself to remind them that she had the MTHFR mutation and that it was very important to run some tests and possibly start taking blood thinners. The nurses were to talk with the doctor and call me back. They decided that my wife should come in immediately for some blood work. They took about 5 tubes of blood from her. We are not positive yet as to what tests they are conducting. The next day, they called and asked for her to come back and give one more vile of blood. We did so. I'm not positive, but I think they were looking for her homocystine levels. They recommended sticking with just the aspirin and vitamins at this time. She is to go back for an office visit on Thursday September 15 (five days from today). I am unable to go with her as I already had a business trip planned that can not be re-scheduled. I wonder if I should feel bad about not going with her? I'm afraid of what I might not hear. How much will she remember clearly enough to tell me about later? I want to soak up every possible piece of information, as I believe that knowledge is power.
This pregnancy worries me to death. I am very scared that she might start bleeding or miscarry while I am out of town, on business. I know that if something should go wrong that she'll need me by her side, supporting her. But then again, I will usually only be a three hour car ride away... And what of her job? She will be due in May, one month before school is let out. Will this mean that they won't hire her back for a second year? I'm not sure what the policies are with first year teachers. This will take a bit of research.

New Careers Impacting Life Styles

In July, I accepted a new job. This new job was supposed to require my working in Paris, France two to three weeks every month. Most of the people on this project team were alternating weeks between Paris and the United States. Deciding on whether or not to take the job was very difficult. Doing so would mean that I'd only be home with my wife about 1/3 to 1/2 the time. And, if she were to get pregnant and have complications, I'd have a difficult time getting home quickly. However, it was also a dream-job, an opportunity that might not ever come happen again. After much deliberation, we decided that we'd give it a shot. I asked my wife to give it a year. After which, if it was stressing our relationship, I'd quit and find something else.
As fate would have it, I ended up not working in France after all. It was decided to move the North American project team's headquarters from Paris, France to Nashville, Tennessee, USA. I was to remain working in Kentucky until September 19th, 2005. Afterwards, I'd be spending 4 days a week in Nashville for the next nine months. The car trip takes about three hours. I am to be there by noon (EST) on Monday and get to leave mid-afternoon on Thursday. This means that I'll be home all weekends and able to get back to Lexington quickly if necessary. It is still a great deal of travel, but it beats spending every other Sunday and alternating Saturday at airports, flying half way around the world. It also means that I'll be spending four nights each week sleeping at home next to my lovely wife.

In August, my wife also got a new job. She would be teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) at a middle school in Lexington. This was not her ideal job. Her college degree was in middle grades English and History. ESL has many unique demands and requires tracking and planning for each student individually. There is a great deal more paperwork and less repetitiveness than teaching "normal" subjects. The new job is keeping her extremely busy. The high-demanding work and stress seems to be doing a wonderful job of keeping her mind off of the past miscarriages. She has been working there now, for over a month. I have noticed that she is no longer extremely depressed. She is more tired and more stressed out, but no longer as sad. She still has a ways to go though, before I'd consider her genuinely happy.

Our Second Pregnancy

This time, my wife and I decided to not tell anyone but close family that she was pregnant. Once we'd passed day # 28 of the cycle, the day on which Brendan was lost, I let my guard down. And, I let a few people at work know about the pregnancy. We were still frightened, but were optimistic about the outcome. But, during week number eight, things turned bad. It started out the same as the first time, with light spotting. The bleeding intensified.
I took off of work to be with my wife. We went into the doctor's office and did an ultrasound/sonogram, or whatever it is called. The placed the device up inside of her and showed us our baby on the screen. It had a hart beat. We were told that the heart beat showed that the baby was doing alright. They didn't think that there would be a miscarriage this time. She was given a prescription for progesterone. We then took our sonogram pictures and went home. Late that night (or early morning), I awoke to screaming. It was a bone chilling scream. One that will haunt me to the end of my days. My wife was losing the baby. A large blood clot went into the toilet. I fetched it out with a spaghetti strainer and placed it into a baggy. We went to the doctor's office first thing in the morning. A sonogram showed no heart beat and no baby this time. The flesh within my baggy was given to them to run more tests on.
We were told that we had an option to do a series of tests on the fetus and ourselves to determine the cause of the miscarriage. But, they also told us that they usually do not run any of these tests until after miscarriage number three. I understand that chance plays a role here, but I think it is absurd to risk yet another young. We did not want to go through a third attempt miscarriage if it could be avoided. So, I told them to run every test that the insurance would cover. We definitely didn't want to go through this again if it could be avoided.
A week later, we got our test results. We made an appointment to see the doctor. When we got there, he had a "medical emergency" happening and was on his way out to go to an emergency room. He told us he couldn't meet with us. But, then, he decided to see us briefly. We had about a 10 minute talk about the findings. It was very rushed, but I recall just about every word. My DNA was fine. But, my wife's showed a chromosome mutation on one of her MTHFR genes. This is a blood clotting disorder that he believed was causing blood clots to form in the placenta. He seemed to think that a baby aspirin a day could have saved our baby. He also said that they might prescribe Heperine (a stronger blood thinner) when we got pregnant again. I wish we had made another appointment to discuss in more detail, but we didn't. Instead, I spent many long hours reading about this clotting disorder on the internet.
Outside of the pregnancy issue, the disorder poses some other risks. It means my wife has a higher chance of developing cardiovascular disorders and strokes later in life. However, since she only had the mutation on one of her X chromosomes, rather than both, that the increased risk was not even as great as that of a tobacco smoker.
Upon hearing this news, my wife became seriously depressed. The depression lasted about six months. I think she felt inferior and considered herself "defective". She took a defeatist attitude, thinking that she could never have a healthy baby. She kept telling me that she was a failure. She said that not only could she not bare children, but that she couldn't find a job. I'm not sure if she understood that I too was mourning, just not in the same way. I constantly tried to remind her that knowing the cause meant that we could treat it the next time around. We finally had the information that would allow us to protect the baby. Something as simple as an aspirin a day could save the next one. I felt that we could beat this thing. I saw a light at the end of the tunnel. But, she seemed to only see darkness. I worried that she might become suicidal. She wasn't working and didn't seem to have a desire to do much of anything. I tried my best to help. But, all I could really do is tell her that I'd be here for her. Her depression was making it difficult for me to stay positive. I felt like we were both going down further and further.
In July, I got a promotion at work. This boosted my mood a little bit. In August, my wife got a job teaching at a middle school. It wasn't exactly the job she wanted, but it was a job none-the-less. The work kept her so busy that she didn't have time to brood over negative things. While the work was stressful, I think it was exactly what she needed to take her out of the rut she'd been wallering in.
With regards to this miscarriage, we thought that we should give the child a name. The name we chose came from a dream of mine that I had while my wife was pregnant. The following is a document that I wrote to honor her and the name we chose:
Emily Elizabeth _____
Conceived March 17th, 2005
Lost April 26, 2005
Expected Birth December 9th, 2005.
Emily - Ambitious. From the Roman family name Aemilius, which was derived from Latin aemulus meaning "rival".
Elizabeth - From Elisabet, the Greek form of the Hebrew name Elisheba meaning "my God is an oath" or perhaps "my God is abundance". In the New Testament this is the name of the mother of John the Baptist.
Shortly before her conception, her father... had a dream. In this dream, he held a beautiful, curly haired, baby girl. Her name was “Emily Elizabeth”. The dream seemed very real and was thought to be a possible premonition. It was a name that he and (his wife) had not previously discussed. Lovingly, (he) began referring to the baby in (her) belly as “Emily Elizabeth”. (She), at first, thought it a bit strange, as “Emily Elizabeth” is the name of the little girl from the serious of books called Clifford The Big Red Dog. But, deep down, we both loved the name.
We were ambitious in our attempt to conceive Emily. And, through this attempt, we learned about the single MTHFR gene and how it had caused blood clots in the placenta. Through EmilyÂ’s sacrifice, her siblings may live. We are grateful for her contribution.
We never met you, but we will miss you.

Our First Pregnancy - Honoring the Dead

While at the hospital, we grudgingly gave up the discharged flesh for testing. If it were the fetus, then my wife would not have to be scraped out and we could let things take their natural course. Both of us wanted to keep it, bury it, honor it. But, we didn't. We let the doctors take it. And, we are not sure what ever became of it.
As stated in the last post, my wife suggested that we give the baby a name. We named it "Brendan Jacob...". The following is a copy of a document that I wrote to remember him and his name.
Brendan Jacob ____
Conceived around August 27th, 2004.
Lost October 6th, 2004.
Expected Birth May 22nd, 2005.
Brendan - Irish in origin and means "Little Raven". Due to their dark color and the traditional association of death and blackness, many cultures viewed ravens as intermediaries between us and the afterlife. Others associated them with sorrow and dying. In Australia, the raven is a bird of sorrows. He takes the sadness from humanity and flies away with it. The raven's mournful call reflects the burden he carries.
Jacob - Old Testament son of Isaac; father of the twelve patriarchs of Israel. Jacob's ladder can be interpreted as the connection between heaven and earth, man and god. It is also sometimes depicted as a stairway to heaven. See Genesis 28: 11-14:
"And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder [scalam] set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven, and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it."
We never knew you, but we will miss you.
Losing Brendan was hard. We were told that 1 in 6 pregnancies end in a miscarriage. This was somewhat comforting to me. I hoped that this was just a fluke, a stroke of bad luck. We decided that some day, we'd try again.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Our First Pregnancy

My wife first became pregnant about a year ago. We took a home pregnancy test and were not sure if it was positive or negative. There was a very pale line on the test stick. So, we went to the doctor to have a blood test done. Sure enough, she was pregnant. We were both very excited. Without delay, we told friends, family, and co-workers the good news. Some family members gave us small gifts (baby clothing, etc.). I had bought a pregnancy journal for my wife to record her thoughts. Every time we were in the car together, we'd discuss baby names. Often, we'd jokingly pick the worst name imaginable just to see what reaction we'd get from each other.

There is a superstition that a pendulum can be used to divine the sex of the fetus. Regardless of whether this works, the pendulum told us that it was a boy.

She had just graduated from college. I had good insurance. Life was good. Until... 8 weeks after her last menstrual cycle things turned ugly. My wife had gone to the bathroom and had discovered light blood spotting on the toilet paper. We were very worried and called the doctor. They told us that this was normal and nothing to be alarmed of but to call back if it got worse. And, it did get worse. We were up most of the night. She was bleeding quite badly. We had the doctor paged. Her doctor was not in but there was another doctor on call.

The doctor on call told us that there was nothing that they could do and that if it was a miscarriage that it'd run its course regardless. We were told that we could go to the emergency room but that it'd probably be better to just wait until morning and go into his office. We couldn't stand waiting, not knowing if something could be done, so we opted to go to the emergency room anyway. It was a long, surreal night. To my surprise, the doctor on call had made a special trip to the emergency room to meet with us. There, we had a sonogram and other tests run. We had taken a sample of her discharged flesh in a baggy and gave it to the nurses to run tests on. I'm glad that we did because it meant my wife didn't need to be "scraped out". The night was excruciating. The hardest part was not knowing what was happening or why. Needless to say, we lost the baby. And, the experience hurt tremendously.

We were told that 1 in 6 pregnancies ends in miscarriage. They said that up until recently, most women would not have even known that they were pregnant. They'd have thought that their period was late and unusually heavy. We were told that they usually do not recommend testing for causes until after the third miscarriage. The reason for miscarriages, they said, was usually a chromosomal problem and that it was the body's natural way of eliminating fetuses that would be born with defects. I suppose this was supposed to make us feel better? It is somewhat like saying "your lucky your baby died because it might have been handicapped." Regardless, the doctor was actually very helpful and seemed to care a great deal about us and our situation.

Both she and I suffered as if we had lost a close family member... Which is exactly what had happened. A few days later, we decided that our baby needed a name. We named it Brendon Jacob. The gifts we had been given were boxed up along with my wife's pregnancy journal.

More to come....