To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Maternal Fetal Medicine - Genetics Testing?

August 7, 2015 When I was at my new OBGYN she strongly suggested I go see the specialists in Springfield, Oregon at Riverbend Hospital at the Maternal Fetal Medicine clinic. Well who am I to question someone that knows what she's talking about? I wasn't sure what to expect, and for some reason I was really nervous.
My appointment was in the afternoon, giving me all day at work to feel anxious. Finding the clinic was so simple, as was check in. I was brought back right on time and taken first to get my weight, blood pressure and pulse. We all had to laugh when my pulse was racing. I told them I was really nervous! And the craziest thing is -- I've lost weight while being pregnant. My tummy is noticeably bigger, yet my number has gone down.

The next stop was with Kathryn, the Genetics Counselor. We had done some genetics counseling at OHSU prior to starting IVF, so that was focused more on what testing we could do BEFORE transferring an embryo into my uterus. Now that I am pregnant, and of "advanced maternal age", we were learning about testing that can be done to see if/what/probabilities that our baby could have a genetic defect. We had 3 basic options which I will simplify. 
  1. Leave us alone. This would be standard ultrasounds and prenatal care. What will be will be. I don't want to be poked and prodded.
  2. Blood tests. The blood test could show a very small chance of any defects and let us not worry. However, it could show cause to be concerned, which would ultimately lead to option 3.
  3. Testing of amniotic fluid. A needle would go in and take a small amount of fluid to test. The risk? It could irritate my uterus, causing contractions and possibly a miscarriage.
Option 3 was a huge NO for us. Given our family histories there were no red flags to cause alarm, so why would we cause needless worry? Option 2, for us, wouldn't be as helpful due to the fact that we had a twin at one point. That extra DNA is probably still present and therefore the numbers could be off, causing needless worry. So going in we had pretty much already discussed not wanting to mess with life's plan and have zero testing - and in the end that's what we selected. We also had a small talk about our "vanishing twin" and how most likely it had abnormal cells or a genetic mutation that wouldn't allow it to continue growing. It was a very interesting consultation though, and I'm glad we did participate in it.

Next was the highlight .... the ultrasound! I feel pretty lucky since at 12 weeks pregnant this was already my 4th ultrasound, this one surpassing all others! For the first time I just got to lay down and not take off my undies. I had a standard over the tummy ultrasound! And now I shall flood the world with pictures of my little lime! In my defense, I am not putting ALL the photos on here, and maybe it's because I'm the mommy, but it seems like they all make sense and aren't like looking at interpretive art!

The lady doing my ultrasound was great, and told me to ask any questions I wanted - so I did! I didn't have as many as Man Friend expected, but I think most of the time I was watching in awe with a huge smile on my face. The first photo I'm sharing is looking down at the baby's head, with the arms and hands in front of the face. Seems obvious to me anyway, but then I was there watching all the angles. That was one of my questions - to see how is the baby in my body, meaning is the ultrasound like a mirror so the head is on the right making the baby's head really on my right side. Now we know that at least on this day around 3pm my baby's head WAS in fact on the right side of my body, little rump at the left!

The last image we took was the side profile, which I happily got to taken home in paper form with me. Not saying I'm framing it - but I could if I wanted to! So here's the profile of a cute little head and tummy!

Other views we saw were of the brain, legs, back, ovaries, placenta and gestational sacs. It was fascinating to actually see the parts of the brain through the thin skull that is forming! We could see the face, and I did say I couldn't really see it. It looked like brain to me. Maybe I wasn't understanding or looking at it the right way. The crown to rump length was measured, and we did not hear the heartbeat, but it was measured, and coming in at 158 beats per minute! She said that the heartbeat was just like they want and size wise our little one is right on track! There is a small widow of time where they can measure a small amount of fluid at the back of the neck. If it is thick that raises concern for possibly having Down Syndrome. With our baby she measured about 3 times and said based on the ultrasound there was no reason to suspect that ours could possibly have it. It was sad to see, but she did measure the empty gestational sac from our other baby. The doctor (we had two ultrasounds in one setting) said it was good that the empty sac is on the top, which means less chance of any complications. And as time goes on the sac will start to shrink due to the healthy growing baby that we still have, but it will still be visible at least until 18 weeks or so.

We were both surprised when all of a sudden we were looking at a 3D ultrasound on the large screen. My insides look creepy! Like the Indian caves on Tom Sawyer Island in Disneyland! But the baby was very human like and I loved seeing it that way. At first the baby was moving a bit, even kicked once and sent its entire body up and then floating back down. Then it almost seemed to nap. When the head doctor came in for the second ultra sound, however, the little one was wide awake and waving its hands and arms all over the place. I could clearly see individual fingers and a busy little baby!
That is the umbilical cord - NOT a baby boy showing off!

From here I have 2 more appointments with them. The next will the check on the development of body parts like the spine. And if that all looks fine we have a final appointment where they do thorough looking at the heart. I'm eager to go back!

11 weeks pregnant
Estrace: M E
Blood drawMaternal Fetal Med.12 weeks pregnant
Estrace: M EEstrace: M EEstrace: M EEstrace: M EEstrace: M EEstrace: M EEstrace: M E
OBGYN13 weeks pregnant
Estrace: M EEstrace: M EEstrace: M EEstrace: M EEstrace: M EEstrace: M EEstrace: M E
2nd Trimester!!14 weeks pregnant
15 weeks pregnant

1 comment:

Thanks for reading my little blog, your comments rock my compression socks!! ºoº