Monday, October 25, 2010

Get out the walker, we have a grandma in here!

I'm feeling very posty today, so you'll be hearing from me a lot. It was one of those weekends.

I just got back from my ob/gyn, and I'm all full of emotion, so I figured, hey? Why not take advantage for some lively posts.

I know this shouldn't have caught me off guard, but it totally did. I'm 35. Right, already know this. I'll be barely 36 when I deliver Baby CL. In my mind, this is no big deal. I understand that my risks of delivering a baby with Down's Syndrome or Spina Bifada have increased with my age. This does not disturb me in the least. Do I want this to happen? No, of course not. But if it does, I'm confident that somehow we'll be able to deal with it, with God's help. And frankly, I don't feel any more worried about this than I did when I was pregnant with Hank, when I was 30 years old. This can happen to anybody at any time. Thus, I don't appreciate being treated like a pregnant ticking time bomb.

I love my obstetrics practice, I really do. They're all very kind, very warm, and very competent. Today I saw one of the nurse practitioners, who is super, SUPER nice, and she ran through the regular first appointment hoops with me. Everything was great, although it was too early to try and find the baby's hearbeat with the Doppler. Next time. Then came the bomb.

Because I'm now 35, I'm now required (within this practice, at least) to visit their associated perinatologist, in other words, the high-risk ob. This entails a late first trimester nuchal fold scan (an ultrasound), a second trimester ultrasound, and possibly an amniocentesis, via this other office. Right away, this got my hackles up.

I firmly do not want an amniocentesis. I don't think there is anything morally wrong with them for couples that would like the information they provide, I just don't feel that in my particular case, the small risk of miscarriage that accompanies this test is worth any reassurance I could get from it. She told me that I don't have to have the amnio, but by law, they have to offer it to me. Fine, I GUESS.

I reluctantly took the referral for the perinatologist, because I didn't feel like I had a choice. She told me to call right away for the nuchal fold scan, since they do that at 11-14 weeks, and I'm already 10 weeks. Since that's totally non-invasive, I don't object to it per se, I just don't think that I particularly need it.

I'm also supposed to have my 18 week ultrasound with this perinatologist, which I'd rather not do since they don't allow you to bring your younger children with you, and I really wanted to share that with Hank. She also advised scheduling the amniocentesis even if I'm not sure that I want it, so that it'll be there if I change my mind. Not so crazy about that piece of advice.

All in all, I left feeling kind of overwhelmed and caught off-guard. I know that this isn't the underlying intent, but I can't help but feel that these new technologies give pregnancy (especially at older maternal ages) a feeling of FEAR. Like I should be afraid. I'm not afraid, and why should I have to feel so?

I'm just a little emotional right now; I know that I'll get over it. My nuchal fold scan is scheduled for two weeks from now, and I guess I'll just hang tight until then and see how this perinatologist thing pans out. I'll reserve my cranky feelings until then, because that's only fair.

But for the time being, I'm cranky. Guess that fits pretty well into the old lady thing, huh?

1 comment:

  1. No, I understand you completely. With HB, I got the blood test for Downs and it came back with a higher than normal chance. So they sent us to genetic counseling because they couldn't explain what the test meant (what do they train obs for anyway?). Then the geneticist when through the whole thing.

    What really got my feathers ruffled was she said when talking about getting the amnio "if it comes up that he does have Downs, you have options." I told her that if she was talking about an abortion, then that wasn't an option. After that she deflected and totally moved on, but that's ultimately why they wanted us to get the amnio.

    I talked to the pedi later. She said even if we did get the amnio all it would do was tell her sooner. There wouldn't be anything to do for her him at the birth anyway. They don't start with special needs intervention until a little later. (That's because babies with Downs have poor muscle tone.)

    So the amnio for Downs is stupid. I've already decided that for the next baby, I'm not even bothering with the blood test. The other genetic tests, okay, sure. Doctors need to know if a baby needs to go in the nicu, but downs, nope.

    I didn't get the amnio. Same reason you don't want it.

    Don't let the doctors push you around because of your age. They will try to do that because of risks to them. It's not really about you and the baby (well it is if there is an actual problem). But it's all about the risks to them.

    Oh, and he doesn't have Downs. He's fine.


Thank you for commenting! I read and appreciate every single one, and I will respond to each one personally!