Prenatal Screening: the Nuchal Translucency Scan (NT scan) (and my 13 week ultrasound!)

Since I’m 36 years old, I am considered a “high-risk pregnancy.” As a result, there are a lot of genetic tests that I’m “encouraged” to take, tests that screen for Down Syndrome, chromosomal abnormalities, and other genetic defects. This extra level of scrutiny that comes with being a “high risk” pregnancy has positives and negatives attached to it.

The positives: The extra genetic tests can only be a good thing in terms of catching anything that might be wrong with the baby. And nowadays the tests generally only consist of a blood test and ultrasound, which is safer for the baby (compared to an amniocentesis, for example).

The negatives: I am hyper aware of all the things that can go wrong and think about it wayyy more often than I otherwise would. Not to mention, way to make a bitch feel old!

So at my first doctor appointment, the doctor asked me if I was interested in genetic testing and specifically if I wanted to take this one test, MaternT21. He said these tests are done very early in the pregnancy in case the results would affect whether you would continue with the pregnancy, and also that my insurance would probably cover it since I’m “high risk.” I told him I’d look into it.

I went home and did research, and was not sure if I wanted the test. The problem is that none of these tests are 100% accurate. How can I make a decision based on that? If the test tells you everything is fine and it isn’t, then what was the point? Or, vice versa, it tells you something may be wrong and you get an abortion based on that wrong info, or you keep the baby and spend the rest of your pregnancy worried and stressed and everything ends up fine! It’s messed up.

My biggest fear, obviously, was getting a negative result. I finally decided that I WOULD take the test, but I would take ANY results with a grain of salt. Plus, this particular test says it can determine the baby’s sex at 10 weeks! That was enticement enough.

In the end, I didn’t take the test. Not because of any misgivings, but because I would have had to meet my deductable before my insurance kicked in, and in total I would have had to pay about $800. No thanks! I was not paying $800 for a test I wasn’t even sure I wanted.

When I went back to the doctor at 12 weeks, the nurse practitioner asked me if I wanted to do this other test, the NT Scan. This one also tests for down syndrome and other stuff, but while the MaternT21 test is (supposedly) 99% accurate, this one is only 85% accurate. However, this test was 100% COVERED by my insurance. So I decided to do it. After all, another ultrasound means another chance to see my baby!

A week later I found myself back at the doctor’s office getting an ultrasound. Dave had to work, so I brought my friend with me instead. I was a little nervous in case they gave me bad news, so I definitely needed some support! And it was so nice to have a female there squealing alongside me whenever the baby moved!

The ultrasound was amaaaaazing. It took about 15 minutes and was sooooo much better than my first ultrasound. The technician would press my belly hard with the ultrasound and you’d see the baby put it’s hands up like “Stop!” And I got to see all sorts of different angles – at one point it was an overhead view and I could actually see the outline of the brain. THE BRAIN! WTH! It was just so crazy. I posted a snippet to my instagram, if you care to watch (link is in the right panel).

No news on the gender front. I had hoped she would be able to see something, but she was quite emphatic that 13 weeks they don’t even attempt to determine the sex, and she barely even looked between the legs (although there were several between the legs shots and I didn’t see anything). However, she did say “he” and “him” a few times when referring to the baby, which I didn’t even notice until I watched the video later that day. Hopefully she was just speaking generically!

baby-13 weeks3blog

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My First Ultrasound

baby-9 weekslab

I had my first ultrasound on August 12, when I was 9 weeks pregnant. I have to say, it was one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced. Like I said before, it took me quite awhile to actually believe that I was really pregnant. And even when the doctor confirmed it and I logically knew it was true, I still had trouble believing it. It just didn’t seem real.

But then the nurse put that gel on my stomach and started rubbing it with the ultrasound machine, and all of the sudden there was an image of a baby on the overhead monitor. MY baby. It was moving around a lot, waving it’s little arms and legs, and I was just like “Holy shit, there’s a BABY in my belly!”

Dave was there with me, and at some point he scooted his chair closer to me and took my hand. I had been so focused on the monitor and processing the fact that the baby on the monitor was INSIDE ME, that I had forgotten he was there. For that first minute or so it was just me and my baby, nothing else. Then he took my hand and squeezed it, and instead of just me and the baby it was me, him and the baby, and that was a beautiful moment as well.

The ultrasound was amazing…but the pictures I got from it were meh. (In case you didn’t know, the ultrasound is the procedure and the sonogram is the picture it produces. I had to google that.) I had to label them before I sent them to people just so they would know what was what! But I started sending them out right away – first to my mom, then Dave’s mom. Then I sent it to my dad, along with the text “Hi Grandpa!” I hadn’t told him anything up to that point, so as soon as he saw it he called me up so excited!

So yeah, that was a really nice day. :-)

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Anddddd I’m Pregnant

Surprised?? I sure was! I did NOT expect to get pregnant so soon after the wedding. I didn’t even want to start trying until September, because delivering in June would be much more convenient work-wise. Dave and I stopped “being careful” once we got engaged, so I guess the possibility was always there, but I just was not expecting it to happen so quickly. I sure as hell didn’t think it would happen the night before the wedding!

About a week after the wedding, I started feeling…not right. I wouldn’t call it nauseous, but something was up with my stomach, because all of the sudden I had NO desire to have a cigarette. I had been smoking 7-10 cigarettes a day; now, I would light one up, take a few puffs, and throw it away. I chalked it up to the fact that my period was right around the corner – even though that had never happened before. (Yes, the thought “Rory, you might be pregnant” did pass through my mind, but I dismissed it as absurd.)

The following week I was feeling normal again, although, notably, my period didn’t come when it was supposed to. I resumed smoking (not as many though) and I went out one or two nights and had a few drinks. By the end of the week, my period was 8 days late, and I decided it was time to take a home pregnancy test.

The first test didn’t work – probably because I peed all over the stick while trying to get it under my “urine stream.” Whoops! Even though it came up “pregnant,” there’s supposed to be a solid line in that little window, and even though I could kinda, sorta, maybe see a faint blue line if I squinted, it definitely wasn’t conclusive enough for me (although I did immediately stop smoking).


Two days later I took a second test, and this time I peed in a cup and then dipped the stick in the pee. It came up positive within 30 seconds.


Even though it said positive, I still didn’t believe it. Since I’m older, I really thought it would be harder for me to get pregnant. When I had been baby planning, I would say things like “We’ll start trying in September and hopefully I’ll be pregnant by January.” So to get pregnant without even thinking about it? I just didn’t think it would happen.

Even though I really wanted to believe I was pregnant, I wouldn’t allow myself to get excited. Despite all the proof (the home pregnancy tests, daily nausea, tender boobs, and a complete lack of desire for a cigarette), I was very careful with how I worded things. “IF I am pregnant,” “IF this isn’t early menopause,” were things I said quite a bit. “I’m just nauseous in the morning…that doesn’t mean it’s morning sickness!” I just didn’t want to get my hopes up and then be disappointed. I wouldn’t officially believe it until I went to the doctor.

Making my first doctor’s appointment turned out to be quite the hassle. First I had to wait to be put on Dave’s insurance. We put in the paperwork about a week after we got married, and it took about two weeks to be processed, which was just around the time I took my second home pregnancy test. I was so excited to finally have insurance!

But lo and behold, they f*cked up my name, spelling it Rori instead of Rory. So Dave had to go back to his plan administrator and submit a change form, and it ended up taking another week. In the meantime I took a third home pregnancy test – this time the fancy digital kind that tells you how far along you are (although I had already figured out that IF I was pregnant, it had happened the night before the wedding).


Eventually, FINALLY, I was able to make an appointment, and fortunately they had a cancellation and were able to see me the next day! That was August 6. They confirmed I was pregnant and gave me a due date of March 16. They also scheduled me for a sonogram the following week, which I will write about next.

So there you have it! I’ve been writing this post since the beginning of August and have been waiting over three weeks to post it! First I had to tell close friends and family, and then I had to wait to get out of my first trimester. Which I finally did, today! :-)

Posted in Blog, Life, Marriage, Personal, Pregnancy, Pregnant, Uncategorized, Wedding | Tagged | 6 Comments

Andddd I’m Married

What a crazy and wonderful wedding week I had! Some of my friends and family came from NY, and on our wedding day we were surrounded by some of the most important people in our lives! Some, but not all…in retrospect it might have been better to wait to get married, so people would have had more time to prepare and been able to come. Oh well…

We even had perfect weather! It was hot as hell, but that was a given considering it was the end of June in New Orleans. But that day it rained like crazy, just about everywhere except for where we were having our ceremony! Which was extremely lucky, because we had our ceremony at Audobon Park, and if it had rained the ground would have gotten all muddy and my dress would have gotten dirty!

The ceremony was beautiful. Short and sweet. We had our friend Brandon, who was with us when we met, perform the ceremony. He was a bit nervous, but he did a great job!


Dave’s son also did a great job as ringbearer! And by great job, I mean he didn’t cry during the ceremony and was cute as hell as he walked down the aisle with Dave’s sister waving, and when he brought the rings up to Dave.


After the ceremony the photographer took pictures and then we headed over to Muriel’s for our reception. (OMG. If you are ever in New Orleans, go to Muriel’s and get the Crawfish and Goat Cheese Stuffed Crepes. I had a food orgasm every time I took a bite. Soooooooo good.) The rest of the night was fun. We ate dinner, cut a cake (forgot our cake topper at home but who cares!), and even had a first dance.


After the reception, I changed into a shorter dress and we went with some friends to this dive bar that turns into a great dancing spot at night. It was so much fun. And they even had a photo booth!

photobooth all

Overall it was an amazing night. And now it’s over, and everyone has gone home, and things are back to normal – except that I’m married to a wonderful man! As of today we’re already one month in…it’s amazing how time flies. All in all, life is pretty good right now. Stay tuned…

wedding post1

Shout out to my wedding photographer, Hyuna Franklin, for giving me some of my wedding pics early so I could include them in this post! I should have the rest of them in a few weeks, so I’ll post more then. :-)

Posted in Blog, Life, Marriage, Personal, Photography, Uncategorized, Wedding | Tagged | 3 Comments

Healthy and Easy Mexican-style Chicken

cooked mexican chicken

You know what gives Mexican food that Mexican-y flavor? Cumin.

Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know that; I didn’t either, until one recent day when I finally watched Dave make steak nachos. There are a few other spices that are typical “Mexican spices,” such as garlic, oregano, and chili powder, but I’ve used those spices when cooking, and the food never tastes like Mexican food. So from what I can see (or taste), it’s the cumin that gives it that Mexican taste.

(Actually, I must correct myself at this point – chili powder does make my food taste like Mexican food, but since I hate spicy food, I rarely use it, and the few times I have, it’s never been more than a pinch. So I guess if you want non-spicy Mexican food, cumin is the must-have ingredient.)

Last night was the first night of my wedding diet. I made chicken with onions and peppers, and decided to Mexican it up by adding cumin and salsa. It was a REAL test of my willpower not to add sour cream. I freaking love sour cream…but I figured if I really want to lose 5 pounds in the next 12 days, I need to be strict with myself. And since it’s not humanly possible for me to add “just a little” sour cream, I forced myself to skip it altogether.

My dinner turned out pretty amazing. And I put it into my calorie counter and the whole thing was only 258 calories! So that’s good. :-)

Mexican-style Chicken

Ingredients (one serving):

  • 5 oz. piece of chicken
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 pepper
  • 1/4 cup of salsa
  • Cumin
  • garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper


1. Add a bit of olive oil to separate pans and put the flames on low-medium.

2. Chop up your onion and pepper and add them to one pan, saute for a few minutes.

3. While that’s happening, sprinkle your chicken with cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper (I just sprinkled a little of each).

4. Add the chicken to the other pan.

chicken and veg5. Cook until the chicken is done (I’m the worst with cooking times! I usually cook chicken for 10-15 minutes on a low-medium flame. My veggies were done before the chicken was, so I just turned the flame off and let them sit there until the chicken was done.).

6. You’re finished!

cooked mexican chicken2

Add your salsa (and sour cream, if you dare!) and mix it all around and voilà! You have Mexican-style chicken.

cooked mexican chicken with salsa

Posted in Blog, Cooking, DIet, Dieting, Food, HCG, Health, Recipes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Wedding Diet Starts Today

Diet wise, I haven’t been doing too bad lately. I’m only half a pound heavier than I was 42 days ago. (I know this because today was the first time I’ve opened my MyFitnessPal app in 42 days.) Considering I spent a week in New York and over a week in Florida, that’s actually not too bad. Even though I haven’t lost weight (which is always my goal), I’ve managed to maintain the 7-pound loss I had before I lost all motivation.

Seeing as how there are only TWELVE DAYS between now and the wedding, there’s definitely no way I’ll be able to reach my long-term goal weight, which is about 20 pounds lighter than I am now. Oh well. I’m not too upset about it, because I still look f*cking great in my dress. And that’s all that really matters, right? (I kid, I kid. Many other things matter.)

That said, I plan to be on a strict diet for the next 12 days. Except for dinner, I’m going to eat the same thing every day, to make it easy. Here it is:

  • 10 am – grapefruit
  • 12 pm – hard boiled egg
  • 3 pm – salad with turkey
  • 5 pm – string cheese
  • 7 pm – meat and vegetables

Today was the first day, and I managed to stick to it – sort of. My timing and order was a bit off. I had my egg at 1:30 before heading to the gym, I had the string cheese at 4 while I was at the supermarket, and at 6 I just ate two slices of turkey instead of a whole salad – which was good, because I didn’t add any salad dressing. So I might just do turkey slices and a vegetable instead of a full salad.

My goal is to stay under 1,000 calories per day until the wedding. Definitely doable. So far I’ve only eaten 332 calories today. And I’m not even hungry right now. The trick to sticking to a low calorie diet? Coffee. But I’m going to start cooking my dinner soon, because even though I’m not hungry NOW, I don’t want to wait until I’m starving and then stuff myself.

So yeah, that’s the plan. I’d like to drop 5 pounds in the next 12 days. I think I can do it, but we’ll see what happens.

Posted in Blog, DIet, Dieting, Exercise, Fitness, Food, HCG, Health, Life, Personal, Uncategorized, Wedding | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Wedding Planning

A lot has happened in the nearly two months (!) since I’ve posted. I came out of my funk, went to NY to visit my mom for mother’s day, spent 9 days in Florida visiting Dave’s cousin (ahhh, the perks of being able to work wherever I have an internet connection), and, saving the best for last…I got engaged!


It wasn’t unexpected, of course – Dave and I have been talking about getting married since before I moved to New Orleans. And there was very little surprise when it came to the proposal – after all, I knew when he was on his way to pick the ring up, and I knew he had it when he came back home. But he was down on one knee when I walked into the bedroom, and he did ask me to marry him in the traditional sense. It was pretty cute.

So yeah, now I’m engaged and am planning a wedding…that is taking place in 2 weeks!! We’re getting married on June 27th. No, I’m not pregnant (several people have asked haha), but I would like to start trying soon. And June 27 is our two-year anniversary, so we like that date anyway.

At first we were planning to keep it fairly simple – a quick ceremony in the park followed by a dinner for very close friends and family, and then a bigger party in October when the weather is better down here (giving my people in NY more time to plan). We were figuring 15 guests for the wedding dinner, max.

But then Dave’s parents and my mom both said they would contribute to the cost of the wedding. Well. That changed things quite a bit. The guest list grew, as did our budget for everything else. After all, if we’re not paying for food and drink, what’s the harm in spending a little more on my dress?

(Which is what I did. I’m not the type to spend a lot of money on things, but this dress makes me look amazing, and the day that I was stressing over whether it was too expensive is the day we found out our parents would be chipping in. So I bought it. It’s still relatively cheap compared to other dresses out there – between the dress, alterations, the veil, accessories and shoes I’m still under $1,000. But part of me still feels guilty for spending that money for a dress I’ll wear ONCE.)

So now we’re at 28 guests. Which is still a nice small number, relatively speaking. We’re still going to have the party in October, but now our actually wedding day is shaping up to be something much nicer than we originally anticipated.

We’ve managed to get a lot done in the week and a half that we’ve actually been planning this. I’ve got my dress and accessories, he’s picked out a suit and shoes, we booked a place for the reception, we got our marriage license and wedding bands, and we got our friend ordained to perform the ceremony. The only big things left to do are hire a photographer and get a cake. Oh and flowers. And decorations for the ceremony. And rent chairs. And figure out music.

Well, we’ve got the important stuff done. The rest will hopefully just fall into place. And if not, oh well!

Posted in Blog, Life, Marriage, Personal, Uncategorized, Wedding | Tagged , , | 3 Comments