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Here is a story you won't find in the book:
So that was November of 2015, In December I went in for my 19-week ultrasound. We had already found out Molly was a girl during the whole twin debacle but we needed to get the anatomy ultrasound. During the ultrasound, I noticed Molly’s heart rate dipping for a while before coming back up. The tech noticed it too and left the room to get her supervisor. We were first-time parents and had no idea what was going on. When a second tech came in the room they told us her heart rate was dipping and that can be normal but it is something I needed to follow up on. So I went in for my 20-week appointment a few days later and they discussed it with me. They told me it could mean a whole host of things or it could be nothing. Since Tommy had had a heart condition they did not take it lightly. I had to come in every week for 4 weeks for a doppler heart check and they would listen to her heartbeat for 1-5 minutes. In a month we had to go to the hospital and get a fetal echocardiogram. We were shocked and anxious, It consumed every thought over the next days and weeks. We tried to get it out of our minds but we dreamed about what life would be like with a baby with a heart condition. One possibly needing open-heart surgery to have her heart repaired.
We wouldn’t be the first parents to go through something like that but it would be the first time for us. I learned when my dad had cancer that people do not understand what you’re going through unless they’ve walked through it themselves. And the worst thing someone has been through is the worst thing someone has been through. And what I mean by that is that one day I would be crying thinking about the fact that my dad was fighting for his life against a tumor growing in his brain and the next day I would hear friends complaining that they were still single. My teachers would complain about this and that in class and I would think “doesn’t anybody care? Your problems are NOTHING compared to mine!” What I eventually learned is that in that moment what they were going through was the worst thing they had going on. My pain did not and does not diminish anyone else’s trials. So when we thought about the possibility of having a child that had a heart condition I did not feel bad feeling nervous about it. It was potentially our trial and even though people all over the world have gone through harder things every day our journey mattered. It still matters.
We went in every week for doppler checks and Molly did great. Until the last check when the midwife was holding the doppler lost her heartbeat and then found it again. This happened a few times. She looked at us and she said “you need to go to the hospital and they will probably admit you” she left the room to call the hospital and tell the high risk doctor I was coming in. I started to sob. I did not know what this meant but I knew it was not good. She came back in an eternity later, and told us the doctor said since we were already coming in the next day for our fetal echo there was nothing they could do before then so it was fine to wait. That certainly took a left turn. We were scared out of our minds but there was nothing else we could do. We went home. We did not sleep that night. We sat up and worried and prayed.
The next morning we went to the hospital for our echo and I just remember sitting in the waiting room in silence. I tried to stay calm but I could not sit still. We got called back into our room and sat down, I could feel my anxiety growing. I get really chatty when I am nervous so I just talked her ear off about her life and how she had gotten into the profession. The tech had a really good poker face and took all the videos and pictures she needed. She was really nice, but stayed focused on what she was doing. I asked her if the doctor could come in before we left and read the scans. I did not want to have to go home and wait a few days to get the results. I did not want to leave not knowing if she was ok or not.
The doctor came in and looked at all of the pictures and all of the videos the tech had just taken. He asked to see some things again since I was still there and he watched Molly’s heart live on the monitor. He had a student with him and he pointed out various things and spouted on about different medical terms. My heart was beating out of my chest and I just could not wait for them to tell me what was going on. Finally, he spoke.
“She is fine.”
“Yeah, that is a textbook heart. If every heart I looked at looked like that, my job would be a lot easier.”
“...so what happened yesterday with the doppler?”
“I would say user error. The doppler is loud and the baby probably moved away from it because it was loud.”
“And the first ultrasound?”
“Variables like that are quite common in weeks 17-19 when the heart is still developing.”
Cool. So all of this stress could have been avoided. I was super annoyed that we had gone through all of that because people did not know what they were doing. But I was also extremely relieved! We called our parents while we were still in the ultrasound room and told them the good news about Molly’s healthy heart! I wish I could say that was the last scare we had with Molly but it was not.
Little jump ahead here - I asked to not see the midwife who read the doppler results wrong again because her bedside manner was so bad. She also made me jump through several hoops after Molly was born to get some testing done on something they saw in labor. When I asked to not see her again they told me I was not the only one who complained and she was getting fired soon.
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