Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I'm all screened...

for now at least. I'll just write out my whole experience sparing no details (because that's what I do best :) ) since I know I would have benefited from reading such a thing beforehand. This is a fairly new screen, so not a lot of familiarity out there with it. So, here goes.

Mike and I arrived, and naturally, I had to fill out a slew of paperwork. I don't do illegal drugs or pound alcohol when pregnant. They always want to know about that. Of course, lots of questions about previous pregnancies. Then, the nurse took me in for the preliminary stuff. I was very unhappy to be weighed, since I wasn't expecting that at an ultrasound appointment. *begin rant* I loathe getting weighed at the doctor's office. It's always a bunch more than on my scale. Probably because I only weigh myself first thing in the morning, after a first pee, with absolutely no clothes on. Don't want a single ounce skewing the data. My scale is also on a tile floor, as opposed to carpet, which the doctor's office inevitably has. Plus, I've eaten twice already. Oh ugh. Anyway, I just hate it. I always feel portly when I leave. *end rant*

She also did my blood pressure, and asked if I wanted the blood test. She explained that you don't have to do the blood portion, but it does increase the accuracy of the final result. It's just a finger stick, so I readily agreed. She pricked my ring finger and put 5 drops on this special piece of paper. No biggie. Then I went back out to Mike, where I needed to fill out even more paperwork. Finally, we were called back.

An ultrasound technician lead us to the room, and the facilities were very nice. Beautiful large flat screen up on the wall, and the table for me to recline on was nicer than at my regular obstetrician. It was an easy transabdominal jobbie, and as she squired cold gel on my belly, she explained the test.

This new late first trimester screen (also called a nuchal fold screen, or Nuchal Translucency Screen) looks for signs of Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome), Trisomy 18 (Edwards Syndrome) and Trisomy 13 (Patau Syndrome). To do this, they look for a nasal bone (somehow this is related) and measure the thickness behind the baby's neck. The thicker the measurement, the greater the risk is that your baby is affected by one of these chromosomal abnormalities. Full results need to be combined with the blood work, and that takes about a week. She said that if the results come back normal, they just forward them to your regular obstetrician, who will address them with you at your next appointment. Mine is in less than 2 weeks. If your results come back high risk, the perinatologist calls you.

Ok good. Ultrasound gets underway, and I was relieved to see a very active baby therein. Heart was beating rapidly, and the baby liked to keep his or her hand up by their face. :) In fact, at one point, they appeared to be sucking on their little hand. Extremely precious.

The technician said that all of our measurements were "thin" which was a good sign. Also, baby had a nasal bone, another good sign. She printed off some cute pictures for us, and we were done. I'm scheduled for an 18 week ultrasound with them, and this time I will meet with the perinatologist. She will discuss amniocentesis with us (which I highly doubt I would get, but I'll listen to what she has to say about it) and address any questions we have. This ultrasound will also screen for open neural tube defects, like spina bifada, as well as continue to look for markers for these same chromosomal problems, and measure the baby's overall development. So far, Baby CL is right on track for his/her due date.

So, I'm glad that the news is all good so far. I also feel freer to tell people now that we're expecting, like my co-workers. Good stuff. This is particularly important given how my waist continues to thicken. It's good to have that out in the open, so that nobody will think that I've just overdone it with the Halloween candy. This in-between time is tough. But happily, my maternity clothes days still seem far off in the distance, so I'll take it.

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