Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Most Adorable Child You’ve Ever Seen!

It’s official, I’m old.  At least when it comes to baby making.  And due to my age (which seems to be a recurring them here), the doctors don’t hesitate to point out the increased risks that come with pregnancy.  My hairstylist pointed out she hated it when the doctors referred to it as “advanced maternal age.”  I knew this going in, but although a little nerve-wracking at times, I was willing to take these risks.  One of the best known risks is the increased chance for down syndrome or chromosomal disorders.  Because of the increased risk, extra testing is offered, but not required, to those of us over the precious age of 35. 
Part of me was hesitant to do these tests, but really the odds of me having a child with a genetic disorder are still under one percent and my doctor encouraged it saying it usually just gives people peace of mind.  There are three main tests you can do.  I’m not the expert on these, but CVS (generally done between week 9 and 11) takes fluid out of the placenta and gives a pretty good indicator.  Amniocentisis (done at 16 weeks and then takes 3 weeks to get results) is similar but a big needle goes through the belly for this one.  Both are good tests, but both increase the risk of miscarriage (it’s a small increase, but why chance it).  The third test is nuchal translucency (done between 11 and 13 weeks).  The NT test uses ultrasound to measure the clear (translucent) space in the tissue at the back of your developing baby's neck. Babies with abnormalities tend to accumulate more fluid at the back of their neck during the first trimester, causing this clear space to be larger than average.  Combined with a blood test, the NT is a pretty good indicator.  So I chose this one.  
At exactly my 12 week point, Jeff and I headed to the hospital.  A specialist does this test, so we were actually at the same place where we will deliver.  I was pretty nervous.  I just wanted to see that everything was ok.  This hasn’t been an easy process, so please don’t make us have more concerns!  Jeff wasn’t too terribly nervous… yet.
The first thing they had us do was to meet with a genetics counselor, which was a surprise to both of us.  She explained why disorders occur and what our odds are.  This is when Jeff got nervous.  I know 1 in 175 is less than one percent, but somebody has to be that one.  She then went through our family trees, which fortunately are both pretty healthy.  She then asked us if there is any chance we are blood related.  We laughed at this, but she said it is more common than you would expect.  Really? Yikes!
So now that we are both pretty anxious and ready to get this over with, we get typical doctor’s office treatment and sit in a waiting room for about ½ an hour to wait for the ultrasound.  A very very long ½ hour!  When we finally got into the room, I got the gel on my belly and stare at the screen waiting to see our little guy or girl.
But not just yet.  I see a lot of blobs and the nurse (I guess she takes the pics and the doc confirms the results) asks if I was told at prior ultrasounds that I had uterine cysts (or something like that).  No!  I had not and that does not sound good.  Then she goes on to say she wants to look more as it might just be gas in my bowels.  Well, sure enough, I’m gassy!  Really, nurse lady, you couldn’t check for that before you scare the shit out of me? 
Now that the minor scare is over, up pops the baby.  We had an ultrasound at eight weeks, but at that time, he/she didn’t really look like a baby.  Now I actually have a little human inside of me.  And, if I do say so myself, a quite adorable one!

At one point, Jeff noted it looked like the baby only had one arm and one leg, so she took a different angle and got us this picture of his/her feet.  Yes, I promise, those are feet (and maybe legs, too, I’m really not sure). 

Now time to get the pictures for the test.  To get these, the baby has to be in the exact right position – pretty much laying straight with his/her chin up.  I was surprised at how much the baby actually moved, but he/she was pretty comfortable resting in the curve of my uterus with that little chin tucked in.  After me coughing (which I now know I have a very weak cough), turning on my side, and the nurse jabbing the machine into my gut numerous times, she was finally able to get three good pictures.  She said they want the fluid to measure under three millimeters and the highest measurement we got was 1.9.  All is well in my world.  The doctor came in for about 30 seconds, confirmed all was well and we were ready to head out. 
Before we left, our lovely nurse pointed out to me where the bathroom was because she could see I had a full bladder.  Really?  Gassy and now a full bladder?  What can’t you see about me?  And thank you for keeping that in mind when you were pushing on my stomach with the machine for 20 minutes straight!

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