My Pregnancy Journey
Let’s rip off the bandaid. When it comes to private matters, it’s not so easy for me to share. I want to be vulnerable and share because it’s so humbling that most of you take the time to care about what’s going on in my life. I really appreciate the patience and support.
We’ve been really quiet about this scare, not just because something is/was very wrong but also because there have been many positives and there was so much we had to learn before letting this out in the open. Yet, there are still a lot of questions we don’t have the answers to. As I’m writing this with events still fresh in my mind, the first thing I want is for those who had a loss, who have been struggling, who are still going through a dark time, to know that they’re not alone. I know how helpful it is to hear similar stories within your community and how you can be supported. I hope to shine light on what to expect. I know everyone has different pregnancies and hardships they’re dealing with. I also know every pregnancy is a huge blessing.
I’ll never forget the night my husband came home early from coaching. “You’re home so quick!”, I said. The look on his face gave me a lump in my throat. Then I remembered I recently had blood drawn just a week ago for a genetic screening of the baby.
“We need to talk.”
We sat down on the corner of the couch. He had gotten the call from our nurse practitioner about my test results from week 16. They had come back positive, showing a high risk for birth defect. It meant my child had a possibility of spina bifida or anacephaly. I had never been more shocked, felt betrayed in so many ways, heartbroken, and so fearful for this life I’m creating.
During the next agonizing two weeks until our “high risk” sonogram appointment, we sobbed for many hours and had sleepless nights. While we still to stay positive that it could’ve just been a false positive or we had the due date wrong. If the baby is further along than thought it can throw the tests out of whack.
We clutched hands watching the sonogram. Memories of my anatomy class comes to mind. The skull looks like it’s a full skull, the spine looks really good, the baby had legs for days and a hand that waved hello to us.
September 4th was a day I’ll never forget.
We had the diagnosis we never expected to hear. Omphalocele. I had never heard of it. I couldn’t even pronounce it, let alone spell it properly at first. I listened to her diagnosis so carefully because I had remembered researching other possible birth defects and what their outcome was to be. Omphalocele was one I researched and I had the image of the defect planted in my head. It’s such a rare birth defect that happens 1 in 4,000 births. It was caused by errors in fetal development. The room caved in on me and got real dark. I sobbed hearing every possibility, the bad and the good. We had to weigh in on the bad first which means the baby had a higher probability of not surviving the first year if found to have certain chromosomal issues, along with other defects such as the heart. After many hard discussion and questions, I looked at my husband and asked the doctor to give us 5 minutes. We knew what I had to do for the sake of our family. As soon as she closed the door…I don’t think I’ve never seen my husband cry this hard, ever, in our entire 10 year relationship. My heart broke in a million pieces, not just for him but for our baby.
Right away, the room immediately flipped for an amniocentesis procedure and within five painful minutes which FELT LIKE HOURS, I had 4 large vials of goldish looking liquid carefully taken from the amniotic sac.
We were told to wait 72 hours for the preliminary results and 10-14 days for the rest of the chromosome results. We left feeling certainly uneasy. That very night, we contacted some of our close family members about the unexpected, the scary, the unknown, not having enough knowledge to leave their questions answered…
I took the whole day off from work for a 15 minute appointment that was at 8 am. Not knowing how I was going to be able to handle it mentally. As we went in that morning with tears in our eyes for our preliminary results, expecting the worst, not knowing what to do, we finally took a deep sigh of relief as the doctor read out the preliminary result. So far the test was showing negative, which is good. The worst was not over yet. We were still holding our breath for the rest of the chromosome tests to come back. With asked more questions. What did we do? What can we do? What can’t we do? The only restrictions I had was flying. That meant my poor dear mother couldn’t hold the baby shower of her dreams for her first grandchild and we couldn’t see our family for the holidays given the circumstances that could happen if I had gone into labor early.
September 17th, my birthday, I took an entire day off from work. Just as I was treating myself on a pedicure feeling great and super relaxed, I received a text from Justin to FaceTime him. Knowing what this was about, all the knots came back, tension was all time high again, I started to sweat but as soon as I saw his calm face. I had a feeling we were ok. The rest of the chromosome results came back. “It’s all clear, baby. Happy Birthday.” Tears of happiness streamed down my face as my toe nails were getting pretty and pink for date night. It was the best birthday present I’ve ever gotten.
There was just one more defect they wanted to rule out and that was the heart. Most babies with omphalocele also have pulmonary issues and heart defects. Our doctor didn’t suspect a lung issue but rather her heart because of the way the sac was pulling it down. Our baby needed an echo and better diagnosis by a cardiologist.
Our appointment was yet again not for another few weeks. We were told they only do two 4 hour appointments a day, not realizing if something was wrong with the heart, they may need to send us to another office, in another building for more tests.
Many beautiful heartbeats, sonogram pictures and videos were taken, after two hours, we learned that the heart is tilted horizontally with the right ventricle slightly enlarge than normal for the size. The cardiologist did not suspect anything serious. The heart beat, the blood flow was fine. Did I mention she won’t sit still for the doctors?
We were pleased to hear really good news and the only recommendation is an echo after birth.
Since then every sonogram and tests we’ve done to date has shown high hopes for the future outcome. We can continue to check off the nightmares. I don’t like to talk about the birth plan I have to have. This will be a scheduled cesarean delivery having the baby under the care of a team of 7 doctors. She will be in NICU 6-8 weeks minimum at a children’s hospital. She will indeed have multiple surgeries to repair the defect but should go on and live a healthy life given that everything goes well.
Looking back on this, it was such a difficult journey to navigate but everything seemed to happen for a reason. I will forever be an advocate for genetic/AFP screening. If your doctor is recommending it, it doesn’t hurt to get tested. Please know if you do get a positive result, it just may mean you need more tests. In fact, it made this pregnancy scary and that much more precious and wonderful at the same time.
Her due date falls on International Omphalocele Awareness Day. While we were in such a dark place for some time, I count my blessings in every way.
We are so excited to meet our little one in the new decade.
The Clear Mask | Vlog
September is Deaf Awareness Month. I wanted to share something unique on the Vlog. I work hard at my job as an RDH when it comes to lipreading and mask struggles. I’m excited to share this with you all and hope for many more inclusiveness in the near future. See The Clear Mask info below for more information.
Facebook: The Clear Mask
Last year I shared a list of wisdoms I’ve learned over the years on 32.
This year has been a crazy, wild ride. Between selling our beautiful home, moving during a blizzard, traveling a thousand miles to a new home in an unknown location, meeting new people, new jobs, new living situations, and growing a life.
I’m continuously grateful for how far I’ve come. I’ve shared some of my past wisdoms as well as new ones.
1- Make room in your heart for the unimaginable. Always believe in miracles.
2- Do what scares you. I say this all the time. I’ve longed to speak on a special needs platform and finally submitted a proposal on a whim. Stay tuned.
3- Don’t let the bad outweigh the good.
4- Change is good! Just look on the bright side of the future.
5- Life is really too short and precious. Never take anything for granted.
6- Take pictures. Always. Be notorious for random ones. They’re the best.
7- Never stress on the tiniest stuff. Let it go and see what kind of magic returns in its place.
8- It’s okay to have emotions and be vulnerable. Never bottle them up and always remember it’s okay to cry.
9- Stop comparing yourself to others. You are who you are and always have been. Just believe it.
10- Do take care of your mental health.
11- Date night in doesn’t have to be boring. Be creative. Order Hello Fresh in, cook it together and put on a movie while you eat.
12- Keep exploring and see what the world has to offer. While this might be on hold for a while, more research and saving for us!
13- Do check out the local restaurants. If you’re a fun foodie like me, I’m always checking out the new flavor in town! And no, fast food chains don’t count.
14- Technology is amazing. Keep in touch with your friends and family near and far. Always keep them close to your heart.
15- Do take social media breaks. In fact, take several.
16- Be passionate about something bigger than yourself. It inspires growth.
17- Know that there is always light out of the darkness. Whatever rock bottom you hit, the top is just waiting for you to shine. When the time is right.
18- I truly believe everything happens for a reason. It will always work out because it’s meant to be. When it doesn’t, know that there’s always something bigger for you, just need to close the door for the next one to open.
19- Always remind yourself how far you’ve come. Be proud of the fact that you’re taking the path that was paved for you.
20- Please floss. Daily.
21- Never let grief take over and always choose hope.
22- Let mean people be mean. Life has a way of bringing them into your life to challenge you and make you a better person out of it.
23- Always trust your dog when it doesn’t like a person. For real.
24- Kindness alway goes a long way. Treat others how you would want to be treated.
25- Don’t let your disability define who you are as a person – Even though it may seem like denying the power and overwhelming significance of the experiences in my life, you’re not insulting yourself, not weak, not asking for sympathy. You’re you. See the person first, disability second.
26- Aspire to inspire others. Whether it’s sharing your story or smiling for no reason.
27- Trust your gut.
28- Keep chasing that dream of yours and don’t be afraid to share it. Here’s mine. I always aspire to keep auditioning and one day model for Sports Illustrated. It will be on hold for quite some time. Until then, keep reaching for the stars.
29- Be picky about vibes and energy you surround yourself with. You owe yourself that much.
30- Sarcasm and cursing is always okay in my book. Keep being you.
31- Keep smiling. I mean it. It’s always a good day when you see others smile.
32- You are not required to house someone else’s feelings. Take it easy on yourself.
33- Always love and love hard.
Gender Reveal | Video
Tonight we did a little celebration at Clay Pigeon!
Click to see the full video on the gender reveal.
We are over the moon!
New House Video | That Deaf Girl
Ever since we secured a property, I have been documenting our journey ever since.
It is now complete! Here’s to our third home we’ve owned. And hopefully our last.
PS- You may noticed some rooms are empty and boxes are out. We are taking baby steps to complete every room.
And thanks to everyone for their love and support!
A Day In The Life with That Deaf Girl
Ask and you shall receive.
I’ve made a video for you guys. A short one that is. See you on the next video. ❤️
That Deaf Dental Hygienist | Texas
I first wrote That Deaf Dental Hygienist blog in Feb of 2018. And boy, what a long way I have come to in this career.
While I’ve faced numerous adversity on the job, I’ve relocated to another state where hygiene laws and salary are different.
It has been an adjustment to say the least.
I struggled with the inability to diagnose periodontal disease and administer local anesthesia/nitrous oxide to patients. I struggled with how low Dental Hygienists around here are being paid. Most of all, I struggled with how different people are here in Texas. Towards me as That Deaf Dental Hygienist…
This wasn’t my first encounter with rude patients but it happened very early into my new office I became employed at. I was asked if I had wires in my jaw. I thought I misheard him the first time so I asked him to repeat it again.
“I said do you have wires in your jaw?”
I heard the man correctly. As I was trying to think of right words while being taken aback by his odd question, I was thinking in my head….”Should I have taken out my Invisalign aligners? Did I not speak clearly enough? Did I say something wrong to him?” Then I realized this man was being such a rude jerk. I don’t care if it was 7 o’clock in the morning. I don’t care if you’re already having a bad day. This was not how you treat your provider. You know what I did? I told him who I am. That I was deaf.
“Oh that makes sense.”
I bit my tongue for as long as I could the whole cleaning. It’s an hour long. I literally had tears filling up my thousand dollar loupes, snot steeping through my level three filter mask, hands shaking with anger while I was being careful not to cut his papilla.
I’ve been asked many things but this was a first. I was heated. I was deeply hurt. I did not know how to respond. I don’t think I had enough coffee to even think this through clearly. I had all kinds of crazy thoughts in my head of what I could say to this man. I usually keep it together but I just could not. I wanted to be home in Virginia where I felt safer. Where I knew everyone. Where everyone understood me. But then what was I thinking? People were the same way back home!
I came to realized the more encounters I was having with ill-mannered people, not just here in Texas, but Virginia as well the more I noticed how it seemed to be a pride issue.
Whether you’re deaf like me, have a disability, or new to the field, and even if you don’t have some form of disability but people seem to be disrespectful in many ways…please know this. Write this down. Remember this.
They are simply insecure
Repeat that. Very insecure.
It’s. Not. You.
It may seem heartbreaking at the time to let things roll off your back. It was insanely impossible. I could not keep it together. Don’t let anyone tell you this BS of not letting anyone see you cry. I let that man see my welled up red tears in my eyes and know that he took it home with him with me in the back of his mind.
I didn’t run home to Virginia. I cried it out and pulled myself together for the next patient. I let my staff know he’s not to be on my book at his next recall. I snapped a picture of my welled up face and post it on Instagram. It was the real involvement I wanted the world to know it’s not all glamorous and easy out there for many of us. I take each audacious experience whether it’s been with a former or current coworker or a patient or something that’s happened at hygiene school, keep turning every experience slowly into a positive. It takes years. Let everything beat you down and you will come out stronger than you were.
I truly love my job as a hygienist. I’ve grown so much, have learned so much and become a better hygienist day by day. A deaf hygienist. It doesn’t even bother me nowadays the major adjustments I’ve had to deal with here in Texas. I not only know I’m educating my patients on oral health but also inclusiveness in a way. That there are highly deaf educated professionals out there. This. Should. Not. Shock. You.
So many people ask me to this day, how do you do it? Read that last sentence in the paragraph from the last. Take it from the day you came into this world. Take the beating.
Embracing VS Criticizing | Vlog
I came upon fellow deaf and hard of hearing people criticizing me for not using ASL. So I decided to put myself out there and say my thoughts.
Instead of putting others down for who they are, be okay with it. Embrace love, not hate.
Hey guys. I was invited by Hear / Be Heard to be featured in their interview panel. So I invited my husband to join me and I hope you enjoy it!
As always, I’m open to any questions you may have!
Love, That Deaf Girl