Today the baby was screened for Down syndrome, Trisomy 13 and 18 (other genetic disorders). I went in bleary eyed and sleepy at 8:30am to the high-risk pregnancy center. The reception area smelled pleasantly of something perfumy, much like when you walk into the perfume dept at Macy's. A nice touch, maybe to help with morning sickness.
They explained to me that there are a few things they can see on the ultrasound that indicate the risk of a genetic disorder. One was the thickness of the fluid at the back of the baby's neck. Anything greater than 3mm indicated high risk. Absence of the nasal bones indicated high risk. As they explained all this to me, I got very scared. I hadn't even considered all this as a possibility. So far, "birth defects" had been a vague problem without a face, but hearing these details made it suddenly very real.
I lay there, stiff with anxiety. With every ultrasound, there's a moment before they confirm the heart beat when I fear the worst. She saw the heartbeat and I relaxed a bit. She checked for the presence of arms, legs, hands, feet, stomach, bladder, etc. So far, everything looked good. We could see the baby swallowing as the jaw was moving. That was supposedly a good sign. Fluid in stomach and bladder - good signs. Nasal bones in place, spine fluid was 1.3mm - what a relief!
The baby had its feet curled up for the longest time with its arms in front of its face. So we had to try to look at it from various angles until we could finally see and record the feet.
I was vastly relieved when everything was confirmed to be normal. There was still the bloodwork - they were going to check for certain proteins in my blood. I have to wait a week before that comes back.
I spoke to some friends who had babies before 30 and they didn't have to go through any of this screening. The perils of waiting until post-30..
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