When I woke up this morning, my first thought was, "We're going to have a daughter and she has a four-chambered heart."  Now, maybe that sounds like an odd first thought, but let me explain.  When we had our normal 20 week ultrasounds with the boys, that 4-chambered heart was missing.  The heart was beating, but not with a great pattern or rhythm.  It would beat normally for a few seconds, then stop for almost 2 seconds, beat rapidly as if trying to catch up, and then start all over again.  It was very scary hearing that erratic beat.  It was even more scary when the tech started taking pictures, asked us to wait on the table, and called the OB in.  Sure enough, the heart was clearly lacking in both cases.  Both times, we were referred immediately to Big Medical Center With Fancy-Shmancy Equipment for 3D/4D high sensitivity ultrasound that would show maternal/fetal blood flow, arterial blood flow, etc.  After careful inspection and nearly passing out on the table (from simple arterial compression, nothing major), they diagnosed a mitral valve defect, similar to mitral valve prolapse in adults.  Rather than being too large, the valve just was not working properly, and thus, was causing the irregular beats.  Also, the 3rd and 4th chambers of their hearts were insufficiently developing to handle their blood flow properly…  We were terrified.  We had several scares following those 20 week appointments in which fetal heartbeats could not be detected at all, and we were somewhat common sights at Big Medical Center With Fancy-Shmancy Equipment.  The entire time, our insurance was flirting with not covering the "extra" visits to BMCWFSE, and while it stressed us out, I don't think either of us cared very much.  We had family members who promised to help us pay, and in the end, our insurance did pony up the dough, but it took months of paperwork and "proof" that it was indeed a necessary thing…  

After all that, I think very few people will ever understand how truly relieved I was to hear that Kili has all 4 chambers, and that they are functioning as expected for 19 weeks.  While I was ecstatic about having a girl, after hearing about her heart, I know I would have been just as happy to hear that our son had a fully functional heart, as well.  I have prayed, in my own way, to have a pregnancy completely unlike my first two.  I can handle having to break down my will and ask for Zofran after 16 weeks of constant acid reflux and vomiting and losing weight.  I can handle the pain in my back from muscular soreness and kidney infections.  I can handle the 100+ ounces of water and intimate relationship with my bathroom to keep my kidneys from pulling a Chernobyl and shutting down on me.  I can handle the fatigue and seemingly paradoxical insomnia that accompanies it.  I can handle the pinched nerve in the back of my pelvis and sends radiating pain up my back and down my right leg.  I can handle the breast tenderness and destroyed complexion.  I can even handle the resulting (and yes, for me, psychologicall damaging stretch marks) stretch marks…  What I couldn't handle with the boys was not knowing if they would make it.  I can't tell you how many times I woke during my previous pregnancies, and just lay still as could be in my bed, waiting for them to move and let me know they were okay.  I can't tell you how many times I woke up wondering if today would be the day I lost our baby…  That part, I couldn't handle.  So while this has not quite been a fairy tale pregnancy, either, it has been 100 times better, and for that, I will always be grateful.  For that, I'd have twin boys.  For that, I will always wonder what I finally did right.        

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