Friday, August 29, 2008

Nuchal Translucency Screen at 11 weeks, 6 days

Wow. This kid really looks human now! We went to Boston Ultrasound for the nuchal translucency screening test (the first part of the serial sequential screening). In this ultrasound, they measure the clear (translucent) space in the tissue at the back of the baby's neck. We were told that anything less than 3.0 is "normal" and our baby measured at 1.6. So that makes us very happy. There is a much lower chance of the baby having Down Syndrome. The baby also measured a few days ahead of schedule as far as growth. The sonographer was very friendly and thorough and looked at lots of different organs. We saw 2 arms and 2 legs. We saw the stomach, which she said showed that the baby was properly swallowing amniotic fluid. We saw the two halves of the brain and we saw the septum dividing the heart. So we walked away with "nothing abnormal" from the ultrasound, which was divine news.

The baby was quite active during the ultrasound. At first, he (I think it's a he for no good reason other than 2 recent dreams) was lying peacefully on his side and giving us a nice profile view. But then he started flipping around and showing us the top of his head and his tushie. At one point you could see that he was literally pushing off my uterus to do a somersault. It was really quite amazing. My husband asked me if I could feel any of this movement and of course I couldn't. The sonographer said that the baby was only 2 inches long and weighed only 1 ounce. So tiny!!!
It was so nice to have reassurance that I was still pregnant and that things were progressing along nicely. Without many symptoms, I sometimes wonder in between doctor's appointments if everything is okay. It's irrational, but I think that way anyway.
I'm proud of myself for not gaining too much weight during this first trimester. I've eaten when I'm hungry, but I'm trying to eat healthy too (although I did eat a 6 piece chicken mcnugget at south station while waiting for a late train one night). Right now, I'm 145.0 and I think I started this pregnancy at 141.5 or 142.0.
I can't wait for the next appointment to hear this guy's heart beat again!

Friday, August 15, 2008

It kind of looked like a baby...

Yesterday I had my first ultrasound since the last one at 6 weeks, 2 days. It was very exciting. At 9 weeks, 5 days, this little thing growing inside of me is actually starting to look human (instead of like a grain of rice or a peanut). We saw a big head (about 80% of the entire body!) and two little sticks for legs. And we think we see at least one arm (and hopefully the other one is lurking in there somewhere!) And my husband finally got to hear the heart beat that I was able to hear last week. It's unbelievable.

We talked to the doctor about genetic testing and to her amazement, I asked for the entire Jewish panel of blood tests. She was very surprised to hear that my insurance company paid for the tests, but I assured her that it was covered for those of Ashkenzi Jewish descent. I think she was annoyed by all of the paperwork/consent forms that she would have to fill out.

Then we talked about the other testing choices. We opted to do the serial sequential screening, which is an ultrasound and blood tests in 2 weeks, followed by more bloods tests in the beginning of the second trimester. Together, these tests yield a 95% accuracy on whether our child will have Down Syndrome or other trisomy disorders. We decided that the 1/300 risk of miscarriage with an amniocentesis (or possibly higher with CVS) wasn't worth it to get to 99% accuracy. And what makes me feel better is that if something abnormal shows up from the serial sequential screening, I can still do the amnio. So I have my next ultrasound in 2 weeks. I hope the baby looks even more human then!

So far, this pregnancy has been quite easy for me. Other than being pretty tired after 9:30 pm, I have had no nauseousness or food aversions. Of course, I wanted to eat only eggs on a toasted bagel on Thursday night, but so be it. I guess you could consider that my first craving, but I don't feel like it was strong enough to be a craving. But it's what I wanted to eat. But as payback for the lack of other pregnancy symptoms (metallic taste in mouth, excessive saliva, puking, etc.), I had amazingly horrendous cramps last night. They lasted for 15 minutes and all I could do was moan out loud and put a heating pad on my midsection. I was on the verge of tears when they finally stopped and I was able to go to sleep. If I had any bleeding last night, I would have been sure that I was having a miscarriage. Those cramps hurt. They never let up. They were constant for the full 15 minutes. I'm very happy that they haven't appeared again today (knock on wood).

And last but not least, today was the LAST DAY OF MY PROGESTERONE SHOTS! I'm done. I can finally shed the infertility patient needles and be a normal pregnant woman. Life is good.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Heartbeat (again)!

I saw the midwife today. We discussed my options for genetic tests. Then she did the fun breast and pelvic exam. Finally, she decided to try and hear the baby's heartbeat (because my uterus felt nice and big to her). So after some cold lube on my belly and about 2 minutes of searching, she found it! The heartbeat sounded nice and strong and fast and it was amazing to hear. I'm so glad that she did find the heartbeat. She told me there was only about a 5% chance of hearing it this early and so I shouldn't worry if we didn't hear it. But then, there it was! Too bad my husband wasn't there with me.

After the appointment, I spent 1 hour on the phone with the insurance company to determine what is and isn't covered. The invasive tests (amnio and CVS) definitely aren't covered unless I'll be 35 or older at the time of delivery (which I won't be) or if the other non-invasive tests show an abnormality. So I think I will be able to settle for the serial/sequential testing, which involves a nuchal transulency screening (by ultrasound) and maternal serum analysis in the first trimester, followed by the quad screen in the second trimester. That will give me results with 95% accuracy. If something abnormal shows up, then I can do the amniocentesis and it will be covered. But I have a good feeling about this baby. It is strong and healthy.

I meet with the doctor 1 week from today. At that time, I will ask for the serial/sequential testing and I will also ask to be tested for all of the other Jewish diseases. I've already been tested (and am negative) for Tay Sachs, Canavans and Cystic Fibrosis. But there is a multitude of other genetic disorders for which I want to be tested. And insurance covers it!

Monday, August 4, 2008

8 weeks, 2 days

I am now 8 weeks, 2 days pregnant. I keep waiting for the morning sickness or nausea to strike, but so far so good. I guess I will be one of those lucky women who don't get sick in their first trimester. I think if it was going to hit, it would have hit already. I'm exhausted at work today though. I've already fallen asleep at my desk once (leaving a mark on my forehead and a little bit of drool on my paperwork). Hopefully, I'll be able to get through the day. I'm also wearing one of the bella bands that I bought. My pants still fit me, but they're getting tight and uncomfortable (especially when sitting!) and so I thought I would try it out. It works pretty well! It's nice to be able to walk around with my pants unbuttoned and unzipped without anyone knowing. I actually didn't expect to have this problem for another 1 month. Before getting pregnant, I figured that since you don't start "showing" until after the 3rd month, there would be no problem with wearing regular clothing until that point. But I was wrong! My body has definitely changed and my belly is definitely bigger than it was before I was pregnant. I'm up 2.5 pounds to 144.5 and my waist has most definitely expanded. I'll look forward to the time when I'm not in this in-between, unannounced phase and I can proudly wear maternity clothing and be happy about my growing belly.