Monday, February 17, 2014

Adding the ‘L’ in Gawel

Surprise (not really) the Gawels are expecting Baby #3, aka 3G, in June. Most girls, like myself, can sense when there is a newly pregnant friend in the universe and had already picked up on the growing belly in a few Facebook pictures. Makes sense given I was showing at 9 weeks. Fun fact: my mom noticed my belly getting bigger before we announced I was pregnant – yep 3G was not waiting make his/herself known.

Of course having a third child brings out questions people want to ask you but never actually do. They probably talk about it with others but not directly to you J I figured I would answer some of those questions to help facilitate the conversation. Plus, let’s me honest . . . after JD there are usually a few additional questions.

Planned or surprise?
Interesting question. Nate and I had decided on having a third child . . .however, 3G decided (s)he wanted to join the family a bit earlier than we planned. It seems as though my children do not follow my very scheduled and organized life. Connor was two weeks late, JD was 4.5 weeks early, and now 3G will arrive in the spring versus later in the year per our plans. Guess we know who will run the show come June.

Will we find out the gender?
This causes some controversy amongst our besties. No, we will not find out the gender, we will be surprised in the delivery room like we were with Connor and we would have been with JD had we not learned about his entire genetic make-up.  I love hearing what others are having before the babies are born but for me I love a good surprise. And we will not share names either . . . although the Olympics sure do give us some more options to think about. 

What are we hoping for? Boy or Girl?
It would be nice to add a princess to the family. Nate, Connor, and I all think it is a girl. When we asked Connor if he wanted a baby brother or a baby sister he said with a shrug of his shoulders “I already have a brother so now I need a sister.” He calls her Pinkberry and has already picked out paint colors for her room and bathroom. Hope he realizes he will have the pleasure of sharing that bathroom with her and JD for many, many, many years to come. I am sure there will never be fights over time spent in the bathroom.

All that said, we would also be happy with a new little prince. Remaining the only princess in the family has its perks for me.

At this point, we feel it is a girl and she will be a pistol. This pregnancy has given me the gifts of nausea for 18+ weeks, high school boy worthy acne, and more colds and headaches than the first 30-some-odd years of my life. The wonderful glow I once had as a first time pregnant mommy has not been seen in years. Wah wah

Don’t get me wrong; I am one of those chicks that loves being pregnant. I love the first signs of the belly even though I just look fat. I love the first movements knowing there is a little person dancing around. And I LOVE hearing the heartbeat at each of our doctor’s visits. Yet . . . I am not quite as bouncy this time around. Am I old or is it just what happens when you are on kid number 3?!?!

Will you be getting a Mini-van?
No! Next question please.

Now, for the big question that some people ask directly but most ask me with their eyes . . .

Are you nervous about having a “healthy” baby after .  . . you know, JD?
Very easy . . . NO! No we are not nervous. No we are not concerned about having a “healthy” baby.

Within the special needs community there are many different takes on the “as long as the baby is healthy” saying. Some families find it offensive. They hear “as long as my baby is not like yours.” My heart tells me people are not trying to be cruel  . . . but in reality most people do not wish for a child with special needs.  A year before we received JD’s diagnosis a group of friends sat around having lunch discussing life. During this discussion it became clear that half the group would do anything NOT to have a child with special needs. I did not agree with this mindset but I also was not raising my hand to volunteer. That conversation stuck with me as I hit send on JD’s introduction email in January 2012. But two year later we feel  blessed to have such a sweet, playful boy as a part of our family.

Once you have a child with special needs it seems people think you are kinda broken even though JD was a de novo (spontaneous) deletion. It could happen to anyone. Fun fact: identical twins are also a spontaneous event with just a different outcome. Reproduction is very unpredictable for everyone. A lot of things have to go right to have a “healthy” baby. So when people ask us about a “healthy” baby I know what they are really asking.

Yet for us “as long as the baby is healthy” has nothing to do with special needs. For us our goal is to have a child that does not end up in the NICU. Connor was escorted to the NICU for 48 hours of observation due to a fever I spiked during labor (a hospital policy which changed shortly after his birth). I was wheeled down to the NICU every 3 hours to feed Connor. It was brutal. And we know about JD’s extended stay at Children’s/Lurie’s. To us, the saying “as long as the baby is healthy” means “as long as we don’t have to visit the NICU.”

From the beginning of my pregnancy with JD I sensed something was different. From the beginning of this pregnancy I have sensed a “healthy” baby that will…um let’s say be strong willed. No matter what we are excited to expand the Gawel family.

Are you considered a high-risk pregnancy?
No. Once again, JD was a spontaneous deletion. Both Nate and I were genetically tested when I was still pregnant with JD. The results showed no abnormalities or balanced translocations. That being said, all future pregnancies post JD will be considered on track until proven otherwise.  And by all future pregnancies I mean this one because 3 kiddos is our limit.

How was the 20-week ultrasound?
Uneventful . . . which is what you want when you have had a previous eventful 20-week ultrasound. 3G is measuring exactly to the day with all other measurements looking wonderful. As the ultrasound tech measured each checkpoint she would say “looks good” or “measuring normal” but when she got to the femur she said “looks good . . . oh the femur is long the baby will be tall.” Welcome to having a Gawel baby. Connor (3 years old) is taller than many 4 –year-olds, JD is longer than most of his peer group and our 16-year-old nephew is 6’6” . . . and still growing. Olympic volleyball player maybe? Already working on my pushy mom skills.

Just to make sure the baby stays in control (s)he showed us his/her stubborn side. When trying to get pictures of the heart and profile (s)he would not show the goods. The heart scan is a very important part of the 20-week for all babies but with our history they wanted to be extra careful. Due to this snag we had the pleasure of returning two days later for a Level II ultrasound of the heart.

If you remember the Level II ultrasound is not performed at our doctor’s office but at offsite location with a “specialized” doctor reading the tech’s report. This “specialized” doctor is the same person who walked into the room after JD’s Level II ultrasound and said, “I guess I am the barer of bad news.” And continued to shrug his shoulders when I asked questions (check out the amazingly heartless conversation here). Needless to say Nate and I were pumped to meet up with this man again.

Long story short .  . .  everything looks great. Heart is pumping strong with a high heart rate in the 160s with a cute little nose in the profile pictures. 

Cute button nose

However, the excitement continued when Dr. Great Bedside Manner came in to talk to us.

Doctor (as soon as he walks into the room): “Last time baby had problems, this time baby has no problems.”
Nate and I look at each other and smile
Doctor: “How old is the baby now? How is the baby doing . . . you know (then he waves his hand over his head) mentally.”
Me: “Ummm, he 22-months and he is doing really well and growing stronger everyday and continuing to develop.
Doctor: -------Crickets
Me: Okay, thanks. All is good.

As soon as the doctor left Nate and I burst into laughter. Who asks a question like that? Not “how is he developing cognitively or socially” nope he waves his hand over his head and asks how he is doing “mentally”?!?!? Nate and I are pretty laid back people and do not offend easily which is why we could not control our laughter . . . however, most other people would have been very upset with this conversation and rightly so.

Whatever. Nate and I are very pleased with JD’s new milestones and his development so silly questions from rude people don’t bother us. It just adds a new joke to our super hilarious conversations.

Growing up as an only child I have always wanted a large family. While having 3 kids under the age of 4-years-old sounds insane (and probably is insane) all I can see is the future. Big events with tables that barely fit our family, a fireplace filled with Christmas stockings, vacations with pictures full of smiles, family sporting events with the largest cheering section coming from the Gawels, and three siblings who work together, play together, and support each other throughout all of life’s adventures.  The Gawel Adventure List continues to grow with exciting and new quests in our future.


  1. So exciting!! Congrats! I hope you have an uneventful pregnancy and avoid the NICU at all costs! You look beautiful mama!

  2. Congratulations!!! Happy Happy Happy News!! I am so very excited for you all.

  3. can't wait to see the newest Gawel!

  4. it just occurred to me that Nate is from a family of 3 boys. will history repeat?
    let me get out those knitting needles!