Another Two-Week Wait
This is one long rambling post – please forgive me. But here’s my latest saga for those keeping track at home:
On Tuesday I had my 20-week anatomy scan. The one that everyone says is so much fun because you spend tons of time looking at each little part of your bean – the spine, the heart, the brain, the kidneys, the bladder, stomach, each finger and toe, all get their close-ups. The original plan was for D to accompany me to the appointment, so that he could (in my mind, anyway) actually see the little alien growing inside. I was hoping that the ultrasound pics this far along would help him connect some to the pregnancy.
Alas, work became frantic for him and on Monday D told me he couldn’t go with me. This is the trade-off we make by having him work for big-city-law firm. So, to ease my anxiety I called my Mom in Boston and asked her if she’d come along. I thought it would be a great treat for them (if my Dad came too) to actually see their grandchild in the womb. And, g-d bless them, both my parents drove down from Boston Monday night to be with me at the ultrasound.
And the ultrasound was pretty cool, like everyone says. My sonographer was quite nice and would explain what body part she was looking at, and frequently used the words “perfect” and “beautiful.” Eventually my Dad figured out what was the head and what was an arm. The photo shoot took about 20 –25 minutes, and then the doctor came in. Can you hear the scary music playing now?
First he asked if I was going to have an amnio and I said no. Then, he told us that the scan shows “calcification in the heart” which is a marker for Down’s Syndrome. It doesn’t indicate a strong correlation, but that combined with the fact that I’ll be 35 when I deliver ups the odds of chromosomal abnormalities. In short, I should think about having genetic counseling and the amniocentisis.
This was not what I wanted to hear. But, at that moment, I took the news okay. I had a regular check-up appointment with my OB that afternoon, so I could discuss this with her then. My folks and I went to lunch, then to my regular doctor appointment. And here’s what she said:
- Because I’ll be 35, the odds of a child with Down Syndrome are increased; but, she’d be more concerned if the marker of the heart was combined with some other soft marker – ie. A cyst on the brain – or a bad NT measurement.
- Normal odds for a mother my age of having a kid with Down’s is 1 in 270. My quad screen blood work came back as 1 in 310. Not a hell of a lot better – but still considered negative by medical standards.
- In this country one can only terminate a pregnancy before 24 weeks. It takes 2 weeks to get the results back from the amnio.
- The amnio tells us with 100% accuracy whether or not there are chromosomal abnormalities in the baby.
So, I was left with the decision – have the amnio, with its slight risk of miscarriage and learn for sure one way or another whether or not this baby has Down Syndrome, or just wait until (s)he’s born.
Sure, my mind was racing with a million scenarios, but I felt fine in the doctor’s office. I felt fine as my parents drove me home. But when we parked the car so they could drop me off and we said goodbye as they left for home, I lost it. I cried and blubbered and didn’t know how to console myself. D got home from work around 11pm only to find me crying in bed.
I felt stupid for not having the amnio weeks ago.
Why did there have to be this stupid marker?
If I’d gotten pregnant when I wanted to I wouldn’t be giving birth at 35 and this would be a non-issue.
If I was this upset now, there was no way I could deal with the worry and the not-knowing for another 20 weeks. I decided to have the amnio.
On Wednesday morning I called to schedule it and was told that the next opening was 9/21 – my 35th Birthday. But there was no way I could wait another week for this test. As I started explaining that to the lady on the phone, I started crying. Again. And that’s pretty much how it went all day. She took pity on me I think and said she had someone else in my position and would work to squeeze me in. Later that afternoon I got an appointment for Thursday morning.
I made it to work on Wednesday, and when my assistant and then later my boss both asked me how the doctor’s appointment went, I started crying again. Crying at work in front of others is the worst.
On the other hand, everyone was quite nice to me – and when they learned that I had scheduled the amnio for Thursday morning and that, once again, D couldn’t come with me everyone offered to go along with me. I took my friend up on the offer and Thursday morning we met at the hospital. She came with me as I met with the genetics counselor and relayed my and D’s family history. And she came with me while the amnio was done.
I have to say, the meeting with the genetic counselor really put me at ease. I wish I had met with her (or someone) back in the beginning. If you’re going to be over 35 when you deliver, I highly recommend it. She came right out and said that if I were 34 we wouldn’t be having the conversation; that the marker may or may not increase the odds of Down Syndrome; that the odds of miscarriage from the amnio are miniscule – particularly at the hospital where I was having it done. And then it was time for the procedure.
For an IVF veteran, having an amnio is no big deal. I firmly believe that once you’ve had a needle puncture you’re vaginal wall to extract eggs from your ovaries – you can handle any physical pain. The amnio needle seemed to be like a plain ole sub-q shot. The doctor swiftly injected it about 2” below my navel – and you can see it all on screen via ultrasound. It looked for a second like the needle was way close to the baby, but really that was only because I couldn’t visualize the depth – I’m sure the needle was way on top and the baby many inches below. I think he filled about 3 vials (I was surprised that they needed so much) and then he withdrew the needle. It feels like I’ve got a nice bruise there now – just like what happens from Repronex – but otherwise I’m fine. IM shots are WAY worse.
So now I wait for results. Everyone yesterday gave a different time frame – something between 8 – 14 days. I find myself, however, assuming that all will be fine. Results will show that my little one has 23 perfectly paired chromosomes. 46 total – no more, no less. And I’ll be able to relax for the rest of this pregnancy.