Today was the big day. The one I stressed about since I found out I was pregnant. The one that I asked for your prayers for. It was the doctor's first look for indicators of chromosomal abnormalities. They're looking for indicators of Trisomy 13, 18 and 21. Because I'm advanced maternal age I'm at increased risk for all of them. Thankfully I have no family history for problems and neither does M, so we had that going for us.
We did a genetic consult prior to the ultrasound, something we hadn't done last time. They take your family medical history and draw a lot of circles and squares for your family tree. Then we went into the room for the ultrasound. The technician was nice, she kept making comments about how cute this or that was. I told her she could really make my day by finding a nasal bone. (Lack of nasal bone is an indicator of potential Trisomy 21 (Down's). She went looking and thought maybe she saw something, but then said, "I'm not convinced, I'll have to have the doctor look at it." I felt like a ton of bricks had fallen on me. Then I saw her doing the nuchal measurements, but I wasn't exactly sure what range we wanted to be in. From what I thought I knew they looked OK, but I wasn't sure. M asked her about the sex once she was done, because she never mentioned it. She said it was a bit early to tell but she had a guess. Did we want to hear it? We said of course! She told us her guess and then left the room.
I was pretty miserable because she hadn't found the nasal bone. Then the doctor comes in an proceeds to redo the test himself. I thought, Oh shit. He had another man with him, and he was explaining the procedures to him, showing him places that techs often go wrong. The doctor's nuchal measurement was even smaller than the tech's, his comment was, "Small is good." Then he went on for a while, just pointing out this and that...the little feet, the arms and fingers, the heart, the brain with two sides. He indicated that the presence of a "normal" brain ruled out Trisomy 13 and 18. It was a relief to hear that. Then I asked about the nasal bone. He proceeded to find it in short order. It took me a long time afterward to process the fact that he had, indeed, found it. That the test results were, in fact, good and not what the tech had left me feeling they were. I mean...it took me nearly three hours after the whole appointment for it to sink in.
We pushed the Dr. on the sex too and he said that the physical differentiation really starts at 12 weeks and we were 12 weeks five days so there wouldn't be much difference to see yet. We couldn't even get him to guess. I know he's right, and we had what we came for, the reassurance that we're growing an apparently healthy baby. We certainly feel we can wait until the 20 week appointment to find out the sex. We went ahead and scheduled that particular appointment for January 8th, 2009.
After the ultrasound was over we went in to finish the genetic consultation. They gave us our revised stats based on the test results. Our odds of bad things happening went down exponentially in all three chromosomal categories. They said that we have an 85% assurance that everything is normal along those lines. With a blood test they can find out to 95%. I let them draw the blood in the office. I should have those results Tuesday or Wednesday.
So, the short version is everything looks good. Now don't you wish you'd skipped to the end? :)
P. S. Thank you for your prayers. Keep them coming, we still have a long way to go.