Thursday, December 05, 2013

On the cusp

Warning - pregnancy talk and scan pictures ahoy!  If you are in a bad place, skip this post, have a nice glass of wine, put your feet up, and check back for the next post where I will surely be talking about Kettle Chips Zesty Ranch flavor, which, ahem, yes, I ate the bag by myself.  To serve as a buffer, please enjoy this picture of "War Fries"or patat oorlog as the Dutch call them.  That's peanut satay sauce, mayonnaise, and onions on fries.  They are amazing.  I don't know why this isn't a thing here.

Okay.  So big things happened this week!  First and foremost, I hit 12 weeks.  According to everything I have read, 1st trimester doesn't end till 13 weeks, but still.  12 weeks!  That also means my nuchal translucency scan was this week.  Today in fact!  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

You may recall that I mentioned having the MaterniT21 screening test done at my last OB appointment.  I was told results would be back in two weeks, which would mean this Friday.  But on Monday, late afternoon, I was sitting at my desk and my OB called.  Results were back already!  The great news - everything came back normal.  MaterniT21 is a cell-free DNA test, and it's one of the few perks of being made to feel like you are 123 years old - it's only "approved" for women who will be at least 35 when their baby is born.  You can still get it if you're younger, but your insurance probably won't pay for it, or so I've been told.  Anyway, cell-free DNA testing has a higher predictive rate for trisomies 13, 18 and 21 (aka Down Syndrome) than the first trimester screening (which is a blood test for HCG and PAPP-A plus the nuchal translucency scan (NT)) while also having a lower false positive rate.  So the fact that everything came back normal is really promising.  But I still had to go for the NT scan because as great as MaterniT21 is, it can't tell you anything about anatomical defects, like a heart defect.

At first I felt great about these results and thought the NT scan would be a breeze.  But one of the expectant moms in my Facebook group also got good results from her M21 test, but then got a bad NT scan that indicates potential for a heart defect.  She won't know for sure until she has a fetal echocardiogram, which isn't for another 3 months.  There's always something to worry about.

I had to go into the NT scan with a full bladder, and holy moly, it took a lot of concentration to not piss myself when the tech started pressing down on my abdomen.  The bun was chillin', and at first I couldn't see its heart beating, and I thought the tech had turned on the sound, but we didn't hear anything.  I thought the baby had died.  Jeeves thought the same thing.  But two seconds later, she really turned the sound on and we could hear the heartbeat and as she moved the wand, we could see it beating too.  Sweet relief.  Still, because I am neurotic and crazy, I did worry that the bun didn't seem to be moving much.  More on that later.  She took all the measurements and immediately said, "there's the nasal bone!  Very good!"  The nasal bone is one of the main things they look for in the NT scan.  She measured the bun, showed us its legs, and one arm.  She didn't show us the other arm (Jeeves worries now that it only has one arm, to which I said, "Well, then we'll love our one-armed baby."  And we will.).  She measured the nuchal translucency and it was 1.1mm.  The doctor told me afterwards that that is about as small as you can be and still be measurable (small is good - it indicates lower risk of trisomy 21 and heart defect).  It really looks like a baby, you guys!  It is also measuring 57.3mm from crown to rump, which is 2.25 inches.  Crazy.

After the scan was done, we met with the doctor.  He walked us through our results and explained that with the combined blood and NT scan, my risks for the trisomies went from 1 in 235 (for Down Syndrome) and 1 in 416 for trisomies 13 and 18 to 1 in 4,681 for DS and 1 in 8,301 for 13 and 18.  In other words, I went from the risk of a 36 year old to the risk of someone in her early 20s.  Woohoo!  BUT, with my MaterniT21 results, our risk for DS is now down to 1 in 346,394.  Now, the thing is, these are screening tests, NOT diagnostic tests.  Only a diagnostic test like CVS and amnio can really tell you what's what in your uterus.  But with screening results like this, I feel no need to do the diagnostic tests and run the risk of miscarriage.  We'll still have an anatomy scan at 18-20 weeks to make sure everything is okay, and we'll do the quad screen to check for neural tube defects.  But I'm feeling pretty good about all this for now.

A couple of pictures of the wee one.

This one right above is kinda cool cause you can see the legs and little toes.

Oh, yeah, and I spazzed a little about how the baby wasn't moving much.  The doctor showed me the pictures sped up and it was moving, shifting a bit.  But not waving little arms or legs the way I expected.  The doc said it's normal - that they go through phases of activity and sleep and just sitting there.  So no worries.  Hopefully it will be moving around more at the anatomy scan.

You might recall that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that MaterniT21 can tell us the gender.  Well, we found out the gender of the bun on Monday when my OB called.  Now that we're so far, and we've gotten such good news, it's time for us to tell our friends.  Some of them are like family to us, and I feel bad spilling my guts all these months to the blog and keeping such big news from them, even though I had my reasons, and I know you guys get that.  Plus, Phil and Anh (real life friends) read the blog, and I don't want them to learn the gender from this post.  So once I've sent out that e-mail to them, I will write a separate post about the gender of our kid, and our reaction to it.  

Okay, time to stuff my face.  


  1. Omg the Dutch seriously know how to eat rich foods. I spent a week in the Netherlands and was amazed by all the meats/cheese/bread/sweets and vending machines of identifiable fried things. Wonderful tests results and ultrasound and such a great time in your life to share the news with your friends.

    1. Yes, the vending machines with the scary fried foods! We did that once, while waiting for a train back to Brussels because there was not much else to choose from at the station. It still scares me a little that I have no idea what I was eating.

  2. Anonymous8:33 AM

    Oh Megs! Super excited for you...that's sooooo relieving to have positive results, even though we all know it doesn't mean everything will always be perfect - you can enjoy the perfection right now.

    You know the gender at 12 weeks? That's incredible...and I can't wait to hear what it is (once you tell your fam and friends of course).

    Those fries sound/look delicious. Probably a heart attack on a plate, but delicious just the same.

    1. Those fries are amazing. Probably for the best that they don't serve them in the States. I know - crazy early to know gender, but that's the bonus of this new screening test.

  3. So happy for you! That baby is beautiful already! Glad you got your results! I can't wait to hear the gender!

    Can you email me your address? I'd like to send you something via snail mail :)

    Also I need those fries in my life... I mean I don't it wouldn't be good for my robustness.. but I do...

    1. Thank you!

      Yes, the fries were amazing, but definitely not good if you're trying to be healthy. I always gain weight on vacation and I think the only reason I didn't gain more weight is because we walked so much. Good thing too - I hate having to buy new pants when I come home form vacation because my old ones don't fit.