Christmas Craze — and just one wish…

With about two and a half weeks until Christmas, to say that I am stressed out would definitely be an understatement. Although I am not an accountant (but have the utmost respect for those friends and relatives who have chosen that particular career path), right now is my busy season. Not only am I faced with the holiday rush (as I know are all of you), but I have the end-of-the-semester push, twice a week IVIG treatments, the end of my second trimester and a very rambunctious two-year old to contend with. Under normal circumstances, I’d be nursing a nice glass of wine right about now. However, my caramel hot chocolate and short stack of chocolate chip cookies will just have to do. Ahh, bliss. :0)

So, what’s on the agenda for this week? Oh, yes. If you caught my Facebook status teaser yesterday, I’m sure you’re eager to find out the details surrounding my scheduled c-section date and my upcoming TV appearance. Well, here’s this week’s pregnancy update:

1. I saw my OB for my 25-week appointment (my god, 25 weeks already!) on Tuesday. All was well with Little Miss Henshall #2. She’s measuring perfectly (thank goodness!) and had a nice strong heartbeat. My goal for this appointment was to get the ball rolling regarding the scheduling of my c-section. For those of you who are unaware, Taylor and I have opted to take the baby via c-section at or around the 36-week mark. The last month of NAIT pregnancies are the worst regarding potential platelet depletion, so after careful consideration and weighing out all of our options (fetal blood sampling, which is a risky procedure itself, vs. c-section), we decided that the c-section was the way to go. I did have a spontaneous vaginal birth with Clara and was lucky that it was such an easy delivery, as any trauma may have caused a hemorrhage, brain damage or possibly even death. So, as much as I am dreading the c-section recovery, I know that this is the best way to ensure our unborn daughter’s safe arrival. Anyway, I asked my doctor when we could schedule the “c” and she said that it had already been done. I was very impressed with how easy it was to get the hospital’s permission and schedule the surgery. So, we will get to meet our new daughter on Friday, February 24th around 11:30 a.m.. It’s weird to know your child’s birthdate ahead of time, but I’m glad that I got the chance to experience a spontaneous birth already and am okay with having this one planned (thank you, Type A Personality).

2. I took my first in-person prenatal yoga class this week. I’ve been practicing yoga at home for quite some time, but have been itching to get into a class to see if I’m actually doing the poses right. :0) So, I signed up for a class at Eyes of the World Yoga in Providence and attended my first session on Tuesday night. I really enjoyed being able to sneak away from everything for 90 minutes and just focus on my breathing and stretches. Now, I’m not really sure what I should be thinking during this time of reflection, but for me, it was a great opportunity to make mental mini to-do lists of all of the things that I need to accomplish by the end of this month. The baby liked the class too, as she moved around quite a bit, which reassured me that she was fairing well during my downward dog, warrior and tree poses.

3. The elusive TV appearance — I’m sure that inquiring minds are wondering what this latest bit of news is all about. Well, a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that part of my motivation for getting pregnant with a NAIT pregnancy was to contribute to the body of NAIT research (which is why I’m participating in Dr. Bussel’s study) and to help other parents who are in a similar position to Taylor and I. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t conceive another child as a totally self-less act. Truth is, Taylor and I wanted to give Clara another sibling and after much research and consideration decided to move ahead with getting pregnant. If all went well, great, but if we weren’t able to give Clara a biological sibling, we would certainly adopt. I am only willing to give this one shot — and so far, so good. Well, if you also recall, I am part of a group of women that is seeking to spread NAIT awareness. I am serving on the board for www.naitbabies.org, but am temporarily on maternity leave, as with my job and treatments, can’t give the organization much of my attention right now. Although I’m not working with NAIT Babies in an official capacity at the moment, I still don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to tell our story in an attempt to get a little attention for NAIT. So, a few weeks ago, I decided to email Barbara Morse Silva, a health reporter for Channel 10 News. I pitched a NAIT story idea to her for her Health Check 10 segment and she was so interested in learning more about the condition that she offered to film me while I’m having a treatment. I am so thrilled by this opportunity to educate others on the good, the bad and the ugly of NAIT. So, on January 3rd, Ms. Morse Silva, with camera man in tow, will come to our home to interview me about my experience with NAIT and my IVIG treatments. Once I know when the story will air, I will definitely post more details. So exciting!

Ok, so here’s my final thought for the day — I’d like to share my Christmas wish will all of you. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have a short list of material things that I’d like to be surprised with this holiday season (who doesn’t??), but I wanted to take a moment to ask a favor of all of you. As you all know, Clara’s life was saved by the generosity of those who donated platelets to the Rhode Island Blood Center. She needed two platelet transfusions before my antibodies finally left her system and her body began making platelets on its own. So, as soon as I was able to, I started giving blood on a regular basis. I felt this overwhelming urge to give back — to somehow help others who needed to be saved. Before I got pregnant in June, I was able to donate a few times. Now, that I’m pregnant, I can’t donate. Nor, can I even attempt to donate again until March of 2013, as having been treated with IVIG — a blood product — will prevent me from donating for at least a year after the treatments end. I’ve also mentioned how it takes thousands and thousands of donors to make just one bag of IVIG, which is made out of blood plasma, and that during the course of this pregnancy, I will go through at least 32 bags. IVIG is a very expensive therapy — so expensive, in fact, that I honestly feel guilty about having these treatments twice a week just so that I can have another child. When one NAIT mother said that it cost about $1 million to have her daughter, she apparently wasn’t kidding. Knowing how expensive this therapy is and how blood is in such short supply, I would like to ask all of you to be my “pinch donators” for the next year or so. Since I can’t give back just yet, my wish is for my readers to go in my place. I’m thinking of trying to arrange a blood drive after the baby is born, but until then, please consider stopping by a local blood drive and taking just a few minutes to donate. And with the holiday season upon us, I can’t think of a better time to make your first donation (or a donation for that matter). I used to think that I didn’t have time to donate, but it’s because of others’ willingness to give back that I have a beautiful living daughter and one on the way. For those of you who are a bit skeptical, giving blood really is a painless process. Ok, there is one pinch at the beginning, but think of all of the good that it would do if your blood was used to save another family’s son’s or daughter’s life? Think of how good you’d feel knowing that you really did make a difference and didn’t have to go and spend money on a needless gift for someone because you felt obligated to buy for them. Or think of my sweet daughter, Clara, and how she may not have survived if it hadn’t been for the wonders of blood donation and modern medicine. Last night as Taylor and I lay in the darkened living room under the glow of our Christmas tree,  we watched Clara dance around the room to a Tom Petty song. While she giggled and bounced up and down to the melody, I looked at Taylor and smiled. I knew we were both thinking the same thing, “This little girl has made us happier than we have ever known. Thank goodness for the generosity and healing spirit of those who made her life possible.” It is my Christmas wish that someday, someone will think of you in the very same way…

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2 thoughts on “Christmas Craze — and just one wish…

  1. I think what you are doing here is amazing, writing this and sharing it for those to see.. You think about publishing this all in a book some day to share and create awareness… There are so many diseases or illnesses that are hidden away and unless you know someone, society really has no clue…
    good luck
    Mom2Heather
    (Heather Learnard’s Mom)

    • Hello, Mrs. Learnard,

      Happy New Year! Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful message. My goal is to turn this blog into some kind of book later on down the road. I completely agree that there are so many diseases and illnesses that do not get their proper time and attention and, unfortunately, awareness is spread only through word of mouth. We’ll just have to do something about that. :0)

      I also wanted to let you know that you have a wonderful daughter in Heather. She was so kind and thoughtful to offer up advice to me on IVIG treatments and their side effects. Also, she was a delight to have in class. I hope that she is able to get the time and attention she needs to heal from her ailment. I think about her often and wish her nothing but the best.

      Thanks for reading — I hope you have a great weekend!
      Jennifer

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