It's the moment you've been waiting for. Maybe you've taken so many of these tests you've lost count (and spent the better part of a paycheck on them) or maybe this is only the first or second time you've taken one. That's right, I'm talking about the good old at home pregnancy test. We celebrate so many of life's big moments by getting dressed up and inviting our family and friends in to share in the occasion. This big moment (not unlike SO much of what will happen over the next 9+ months) is not so glamorous. You've just peed on a stick and are counting down the minutes until you see the positive or negative sign. And while some women are choosing to be much more public with this moment nowadays, if you're like me, it's just you in the bathroom, anxiously waiting.
When I first saw the positive sign, I could hardly believe it. I was so excited that I was scared I was seeing things! It couldn't actually be what I thought I saw. The lines were fairly light and I just wanted it so badly to be positive. So, I took a deep breath and went to grab my husband to see if he would confirm what I thought I saw. I remember standing at the top of the stairs to our basement and calling for him to come upstairs. Our three older daughters were at home and we weren't planning on telling them about any possible new siblings until we were into the second trimester, so I tried my best to calm the excitement in my voice and act nonchalant about my request for him to follow me. When I showed him the test, he, too, saw the very faint positive sign. That was it. Our lives changed in that very moment - we were expecting!
My next step was to call Grant Regional Community Clinic and schedule a confirmation pregnancy test and my first appointment with my doctor, Dr. Sheirlie LaMantia. The scheduling nurse congratulated me and was extremely helpful. She asked a few questions so that she could tell me my due date and explained that my appointment with Dr. LaMantia wouldn't be until toward the end of the first trimester or the beginning of the second. She said I could come in at my earliest convenience to take the confirmation pregnancy test. If you have a busy schedule like I do, you'll know how helpful it was not to have to schedule an appointment for that test.
I wish I could say that the next few weeks and months went by uneventfully until my little one arrived, but unfortunately, I met a few bumps in the road of growing a bump of my own.
The first bump presented itself one day as I was picking our older daughters up from school. My oldest daughter's teacher stopped me and told me that my daughter had gone to the nurse during the school day. Her teacher suggested that I go touch base with the nurse. The school nurse explained that my daughter had a rash and most likely that it was caused by something called Fifth Disease. Having three children in elementary school, I'd heard of this before. It was nothing serious, just a virus that is common in young kids that can cause a rash, mild fever, flushed look of the cheeks (almost like you'd been slapped), and sometimes joint pain. Kids are most contagious before they even show any signs so it tends to spread quickly through the school. I shook my head yes, yes, yes as the school nurse went over all of this knowing that my daughter would be fine and most likely the rash would be gone soon. We left the school and I thought nothing more of it until later that night at dinner.
Family dinner is one of my family's favorite events of the day. Every night that we're all together, we sit down at our gigantic dining room table and have a yummy home cooked dinner. We talk about our favorite parts of our day, what was a challenge that day, and who we helped during the day. Well, as we were sitting there talking about all of the fun things and not so fun things we experienced, I noticed that my cheeks started to feel hot. And just like that it clicked. I had forgotten one other detail about Fifth Disease – it is dangerous for a pregnant woman to contract. My face dropped. My husband immediately noticed, but I told him I was fine. I couldn't talk about it in front of the kids! Not only did they not know about their future sibling but I did not want my daughter to blame herself if I had caught what she had. We made it through dinner and I filled my husband in later. I knew that my first call the very next morning would be to Grant Regional Community Clinic.
In the morning I called and got an appointment to go in and see Dr. LaMantia the same day. What a relief it was to be able to get in and see her so quickly! She was very compassionate, as she always is, as she explained how Fifth Disease can affect a fetus. She offered a blood test to see if in fact I did contract it (which we later found out, I had) and she talked to me in detail about what we'd do if I did. She went over all of my questions and concerns very thoroughly. And while I can't say I felt 100% better when I left her office, I did feel more informed and 100% confident in my choice of providers.
In the end, my dear sweet little one was unaffected by Fifth Disease. While I had caught the virus, my baby seemingly did not. What seemed like a huge deal when it happened turned out to be nothing but a small hiccup. And through it all I had the wonderful support of my doctor and the rest of the staff at MY Grant Regional.
Karin Burr, Lancaster