Friday, January 30, 2009

Screening and Stuff

Today was the 16 week appointment. It was originally scheduled for Wednesday but the snowstorm made it impossible to get there. I was very lucky that Deb was able to fit me in after her final patient late this afternoon. I was feeling some nervousness about hearing the heart beat... and some decisions to make about the prenatal screening I was due to have. We had declined the nuchal translucency testing, although I'd originally thought we'd do it. I think the AFP screen is commonly done, though, so I just assumed - again - that we'd do it. But as the day has been drawing near I've been feeling less and less certain,

What do you do with the knowledge? We wouldn't terminate.. that's for sure, and unless my anxiety was sky high if the AFP test was positive, I can't imagine that we'd do more invasive testing.

As luck(?) would have it we couldn't do the blood work today so we have the weekend to think more about it. As Deb said, there's no test which will definitively state whether the baby will lead a life of health or suffering.

But the test might offer some reassurance that things are fine... Any perspectives you might have, I;d love to hear.


Everything else seemed to be going well. Blood pressure fine, no protein or sugar in urine, and, in spite of continuing sickness, I am gaining appropriate weight. Rich didn't come to the appointment so he missed the lovely sound of the heartbeat. It was so much more audible compared to a few weeks ago. Just amazing.... I wish I could record it. You can actually rent dopplers with recorders on them, and I'll admit that I'm tempted :)

The remnants of the snowstorm...


  1. this bottom photo might be one of my Favorite Ones Ever. it's so classic.

    lots of love,

  2. hi alex and rich,

    my best friend is also pregnant at the moment and i think she is just slightly further along than you. being that she is 40, there is a ton of tests that they wanted to including some pretty scary & invasive ones. her & her husband originally thought that they would do all the necessary tests. however, on doing the blood work and coming in with some damn good results they decided against it. i spoke with the husband about it. and like you, he said they wouldn't abort so they would go with the odds. and like them, you guys will be awesome parents :)

    i adore the picture of both of you, it is so sweet!!

    and the heartbeat..
    how precious, i would be tempted to rent the doppler to record it too.


  3. the heartbeat - how amazing, al. i wish for you both that rich had been there to hear it as well.

    i have to second ash - i LOVE that last picture.

    glad to hear your body's doing exactly what it's supposed to be doing; isn't that beautiful and amazing?


  4. Thanks, Ash! I will admit that I messed around in iphoto and used the 'Antique' finish as the colours were a little vibrant :) But we were holding a puppy each.. so amazed that we were both in the frame!

    Thanks for sharing, Belinda. I'm so undecided. This, I think,is the most basic screen. They measure 4 substances in the body and do some sort of equation with the mother's age. Without the screening my odds for a healthy pregnancy are very strongly in my favour 700-1, or thereabouts. This is just based on age... The test does have a lot of false positives but mostly because people aren't sure of their conception dates. We're really sure and have a dating scan which verifies it. Thus the test is more likely to be accurate... It's just so hard. Even a positive test, though, is not conclusive... and your ratios just o down. So much to think about.

    Thanks, sweet Fi. Rich was at least there for the first time we heart the hb. But it was so loud and clear this time :) Just lovely.

    I'm pretty amazed by how much my body is changing. Digestion has completely slowed down.. and apparently it's to do with your body making better use of the nutrients in the food you've digested.

    Ooh, look our for an update name list :)

    Love A

  5. wow Alex,
    what fantastic odds, 700 to 1

    i don't know if it makes you feel any better by me sharing what my friend is going through :/
    i hope it doesn't upset you!

    her odds for the 1st pregnancy were 300 to 1, and that little boy is probably the most beautiful (and cheeky) person i have ever met.
    her odds this time, 70 to 1. it's a little scary but whatever the outcome, i know this child will be loved dearly & will be strong to face whatever challenges arise.

    i kinda feel same about you alex..
    your child will be so loved and cherished. i can't say i truly understand the anxiety but i can appreciate the anxiety (as i think i would be the same).

    now off to the updated name list :)
    i love name lists!!


  6. ** oops! what i meant was that i cant truly understand it in an experienced way, of course, i do understand the anxiety. i think i'm obsessing. lol

  7. I didn't have any tests done for babies #1 or #2 (when i was aged 29 and 32 respectively...) but i did for babies #3 and #4... (when i was aged 35 and 38 respectively). i had a cvs done each time. i chose to have testing with #3 and #4 because #2 does have significant special needs and i knew i would not cope having a second child with a severe disability in our family (so i would have terminated if the baby had serious problems and would have been mentally/emotionally prepared if the child had mild problems), plus my anxiety was extremely high and i needed the reassurance that the babies were healthy (and of course these tests are of limited use and don't offer any guarantees but i wanted and needed the limited reassurance that the cvs offered...)

    i guess what i am trying to say, is that there is no right answer as to whether you should test or not... it depends on the individual circumstances during each pregnancy... what wasn't right during my first two pregnancies changed due to our change in circumstances as a family and my own emotional needs. whatever you decide will be right for you. emxx

  8. thanks for the invite! I don't know what to do about the testing, that's a tough question, bu tI wanted to let you know I'm here and reading.

  9. Hi Alex!

    I, too, love that last picture.

    You have some very wise friends here. ;-) I think the key is that there is no right or wrong way to do it--everyone has to weigh their individual factors.

    I was 37 when I got pregnant, 38 when Sage was born. I don't remember now why I didn't have a CVS test--I don't remember considering it at all, for some reason! But we were of the mind that we should assume everything would be fine, so we weren't unduly concerned. We did have blood work done and then we met with a genetic counselor. At that meeting we discovered no alarming factors, but because of my age, I think the chances were around 200 to 1. Because this was roughly equivalent to the chances of miscarriage in an amnio, we did not do one. Then I had one of those detailed ultrasounds (I went in to the "high risk pregnancy" office at Maine Med--ack!) and all looked fine then, too. So we didn't really worry and we got very lucky.

    I think the key is that you would not terminate anyway. If that's the case, you might just wait for that detailed ultrasound a bit later, as it's so much less invasive? But if not knowing is really bothering you, I'd take that back.

    Feel free to give a call if you want to talk it through!


  10. Thanks so much, Jen, It really helps to hear your story. I don't think a CVS test was offered to us because I'm 32. We were offered the ultrasound at 12-13 weeks to check the thickness of the neck, but we declined that - partly because I'd just had a scan and was wanting to avoid more! The test tomorrow is just blood work - and since it's a screening I perhaps shouldn't be too worried. I can't imagine that we'd have the amnio even if things didn't look promising with the blood tests. Phew, so much to think about...

    Another possibility is to just wait until the scan, as you suggest (we have our ultrasounds done at Maine Med, too). By then it would be too late to the blood work. That wouldn't be a problem except that the blood work can help them interpret the scan if something doesn't look quite right...

    Okay... I think we've decided to have the blood work done! Phew, what a decision. I'm going to be quite nervous about the results. I have to admit that when Deb was talking about screening early in the pregnancy I hadn't expected it to be such a difficult decision.

    Thanks so much for offering to chat about it, Jen. I'll hopefully get the results back in just a couple of days... I'm a little nervous already :)

    Love, A

  11. Oh, yes, I think having the blood work is a good decision--it gives you lots of useful information, and if there's something unfortunate that you learn, you'd find out later anyway. So I think, despite your nervousness, that you'll be glad simply to know what's in there! And at least, aside from the stick, it's totally non-invasive for Poppet.

    You are all going to be fine, I have no doubt.
    But do call if needed! I look forward to hearing how it goes and what you learn.


  12. Thanks so much for your support, everyone.. and thanks, Jen, for being so involved and interested. I had the testing yesterday and immediately felt very nervous. As it happens the last 24 hours have been very busy with teaching and meetings so I haven't thought about it too much. But now, as i sit here, I can feel myself becoming very nervous.

    I'm not sure how long the results will take to come in. i see Deb again on Friday though she said she'd contact me asap when the results came in.. I hope we hear tomorrow. I don't think I am blessed with patience-genes.

    Love, A

  13. hey babe, just wanted you to know i'm thinking about you and wondering how your appt w/ deb went on friday. how are you feeling about all this?

    also, i have to (again) say how lovely that last pic is - i smile so big every time i see it. you both look so happy and playful, and pink is for sure a wonderful color on you, alex! so rosy and joyous.

    love you.

  14. hi fi! for some reason your post was delayed in reaching my gmail email. How odd! thanks for checking in on me. I did see Deb... and NO results! Yikes, I guess they take some time. I did get to hear the little heartbeat again, though, and we talked about which hospital we'll use. I'm anxious for the results but am mindful that this is simply a screening and thus no need to panic or even worry if the result is positive (1/200 in chance is considered positive).

    Deb did observe my very popped out belly :) It seems as though I am measuring right on track.. perhaps even a little ahead. Apparently by 20 weeks the uterus is right at the navel. At just about 17 weeks I was 2 inches underneath... (about an inch a week it expands!)... the growth spurts now are phenomenal (in my own body). I should gain almost a pound a week from now on. All of it feels like it's in my middle... with lots of lovely fluid!!

    Love, A

    We have our big u/s booked for the 18th...

  15. Hi guys. I thought I'd let you know that I had my screen results today. About to write a post about it.

  16. difficult decisions, i can't imagine.

    i am so excited about all of this, sweety x