Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hello, 2nd Trimester & Thoughts on NT Scans

13 weeks down, approximately (but not accurately) 27 weeks to go. It some ways this has seemed to take forever, as I've known I was pregnant since 3w2d...but on the other hand...WHAT!? It feels good to be out of the first trimester. The second is the best. You start to get your energy back, hormones are leveling off, less pressure on the bladder...for awhile! Then comes the third trimester when you're bigger, uncomfortable, sleep goes out the window, pressure on your hooha, all the gloriousness of the last trimester.
Happy 13 weeks and happy 2nd trimester to me! Off to my brunch date with @countrymother and the little boys! #eggsbenedictgetinmybelly!!
So you got to see Squishy yesterday! In Canada, we typically don't have an early first trimester ultrasound. Only if something is wrong, like last time I had spotting so they just wanted to check things out, or if you have no idea of your dates...which I never will because I'm so Type A. But, if you opt to have the nuchal translucency ultrasound...then you get to see your babe between 11 weeks and 13 weeks 6 days.

So what is it? In layman's terms, between that age a fetus has a space in their necks called the nuchal space. That measurement combined with blood tests from moms can help determine your risk of having a baby with chromosomal defects such as Downs syndrome. I truly did not care about the results of this test, I just truly wanted to see my baby before my 19 week anatomy scan. But, they did go over my results which look something like this:
My risk was low before from being younger than 35 and my risk went lower with the combined results from my bloodwork and ultrasound. Like I said, even if my odds went up, it wouldn't determine anything. It's God's will for me to have and love this baby, no matter what test results indicate.

And that's the thing...it's a test. It's not final, they aren't 100% accurate and I feel they make women worry unnecessarily. I recently got into some hot water over on my due date forum. One of the moms in my due date had her NT scan + blood test and was very upset that her risk of Downs was 1:77 or something to that effect, I cannot remember her exact risk number. I commented that this wasn't a statement towards her, but rather a generalized statement about NT scans and genetic screening:

"Why do women have the tests done if they are scared and going to worry about the results?"
I got held under rapid fire. I can see why, I certainly didn't mean to be insensitive to this women in her time of worry and did promptly delete my comment. But it's something I've always wondered. Why do the test if all it's going to make you do is worry & not enjoy your pregnancy? Her response was "I want to be as prepared as I can". Again, especially as a nurse and a mother...how do you prepare for the "what ifs"? There are SO many. Many Downs babies are born with medical issues with their heart and lungs...but how do you possibly wrap your brain around all the possibilities? I'd go absolutely insane.

 A dear friend of my mom worried through her whole first pregnancy because she was told she was extremely high risk of having a Downs baby. She had a perfectly healthy baby boy and had another one after that. How do you enjoy your pregnancy at the mere risk of having a baby with a chromosomal defect? I don't know...that's not how my brain or morals operate. I would never abort a pregnancy on the risk of having a baby with a "defect". There's a heck of a lot worse things in this world than Downs syndrome, let me tell you. Unfortunately trisomies 18 & 13 often aren't compatible with life, for example.

I don't know...am I out to lunch? Please comment and tell me your thoughts on this kind of prenatal screening. If you've had it done and have had less-than-favorable results how did you handle it throughout your pregnancy?
And now, as busy of a day that I've had, I must take the dog for a walk! #12weeks4days
This one was a few days ago taken in the evening...Squishy gets BIG in the evening....or my bloatness does anyway!
Sarah

29 comments:

  1. You know my thoughts on this. They look for that little space at my OB on everyone, but I declined the optional blood work. I understand wanting to be prepared, but there is no way to entirely prepare for a child, period, so I don't see how that would make you more prepared.

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    1. Thanks for your support, that's exactly where I was coming from. If I had the choice I would have opted out of hearing the results...but they just kinda came in and told me!

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  2. I am with you. If you already know that it isn't going to change your decision of having a baby, why stress? Especially when there are so many studies out there now that showing how stress in the womb can cause issues later on in life.

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    1. Yes I just don't like what I've seen my friends stress through, worrying about things that we cannot change anyway.

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  3. I chose not to have this testing done for both of my pregnancies. I am the type of person to worry so I did not want added stress. What will be will be. I will love this baby the same and could not abort so why even think about it. I do appreciate science and how far it has come but on the other hand I sometimes think it's too much. What did people do before without all these tests and options? They simply just had their babies and figured it out. I'm certainly not opposed at all to people who decide to have these tests done, it's just not for me.

    I went for my 18 week U/S and got a call back saying there is a cyst on my babies brain....what? Seriously? I go back tomorrow for a follow up U/S to see if it's been re-absorbed or if it will be a soft marker for something else. I have spent the last 3 weeks trying not to think about it because at the end of the day I can't change anything BUT it has been on my mind. I'm praying everything will be fine. I can tell you this, it was a bit of added stress I definitely didn't need.

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    1. I hear ya! If it makes you feel any better, one of my friend's had cysts on 2 of 3 of her babies and they were benign/absorbed all on their own. I'll be praying for you and thinking of you today, my dear friend!

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    2. I had a friend who went through the exact same thing you are. Thankfully her the cyst reabsorbed and she delivered a full term healthy baby boy. That boy is now six years old and typically developing. Best wishes to you!

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  4. We opted out. I mean, who really needs that kind of stress while you are pregnant. Not this mama!

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    1. I hear you! I reeeeeeeeeeally didn't want the bloodwork, but they wouldn't do just the ultrasound without it.

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  5. I opted out for my last pregnancy, but with our next we don't have a choice (I'm too high risk and the MFM want's a full picture). At 26 weeks they found soft markers in G's bowels and kidneys and got us into the MFM with in a week - and it was nothing but GOODNESS did I stress.

    the information woudln't change a thing for us. God blessed us with our son, even at 32 weeks, and we love him for him.

    We have friends who annouced their pregnancy before they had gone for the testing - they annouced at 5 weeks - but made it clear that if the results weren't favourable they would terminate. - WHY tell people you're pregnant and have a high risk of DS and then go through with terminating and then telling all of us that you're no longer expecting. That part baffles me.

    I agree with you Sarah - God gives us the children that he is trusting us to raise and he knows that we are the parents that should be raising them. So if they are special needs - we're the ones that know how to love them just like he does.

    Blessings!!! - and there's some mail coming your way!!

    Jac

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    1. Yes, that's a really weird decision, that your friends made...but to each their own I suppose. I guess they maybe wanted support through their decision?

      Luckily my scan was negative, there's always a chance of "something" happening, even during the birthing process, but I'm prepared to love any child that God blesses us with.

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  6. I'm not sure how I feel about testing. On the one hand, it can cause a lot of stress especially if nothing is wrong. And I feel strongly that, like you, God gives us certain children for a reason. Many of the special needs children I know are incredibly loving and are a blessing (and a challenge) for their parents. Yet at the same time, having the testing done can help a mom with a more-fragile baby take better care of the baby before he or she enters the world. Also, there are always things to worry about, whether it is your unborn child's health, their future health and safety, and their life choices. I think moms just worry--I'm already worried about those things!

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    1. I guess if results were certain, like with an amnio, I can see that preparing you more...but with these "odds" testing alone I just don't see the need to worry. And you're right, moms just worry...we're wired too from the moment we see the 2 pink lines on the stick!

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  7. We passed. First of all, those tests are a slippery slope. And here in the US they are expensive, especially if you don't have insurance or not very good insurance. A friend of mine got the test, the results said something may (or may not) have been wrong with the baby. She was devastated. She had to get an amnio, and guess what? All of her tears were in vain. The baby was fine.

    Yes, at some point we have to let go and trust God. And if someone was wrong with my baby, I wouldn't want to know.

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    1. Yeah, we don't have to pay in Canada, otherwise that would definitely be a huge determining factor for me! I said that to a previous poster too...unless results are certain, as with an amnio, I don't get the worrying with just the "odds" of the NT results.

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  8. For us it was a more invasive test (I think) but even so Hubs and I decided the results didn't matter so we didn't do it.

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    1. Yes, I would never do an amnio under any circumstance...I guess unless my doc REALLY encouraged me and thought I needed one. But no optional invasiveness for me!

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  9. I was wondering how you managed such an early ultrasound lucky girl! I didn't know that was included in the testing...they just told me it was a bunch of blood work. But that being said I had no desire to do the testing. I've worked a lot with special needs kids, got my BEd. in order to teach them, worked in homes with multiple kids with Autism, I know what's involved and that would never make me terminate a pregnancy in order to avoid all that. I don't know if knowing beforehand would make things any easier. I would just stress out even more. I agree with a previous poster- you're never prepared enough anyways!

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    1. Yes, my doc even said "you can even just have the testing done to have an early ultrasound" which is exactly why I did it. I even asked the nurse if I could opt out of the bloodwork because I didn't care about the results, but she said that with the radiology centre, it was mandatory, and I understand that. I was more nervous about the scan, just to make sure baby was measuring properly and that the heart was beating!

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  10. I didn't have a technical "NT scan" or do the "quad screen" as they call it here, because I couldn't carrying 3, the results in the blood work they can't figure divided by 3. I did have a lot of high resolution scans to look closely for abnormalities though. (And I had like 25 ultrasounds!) Unsure what I will do if there is ever a next time. I imagine there would be a lot of unnecessary worry over numbers from me. Over analyzing is a fault of mine ;)

    As someone who works in the maternity field though, I do see the benefit in the screens from a medical standpoint. A known case of downs, with a heart defect, gives you the option to consider delivery at a facility with a skilled NICU vs a rural hospital for example. A baby with a known Trisomy 13 or 18, which is not compatible with long term life, parents can be "somewhat prepared" in terms of knowing how far they want to go with medical interventions. IVs, ventilators, etc vs. comfort cares. I don't mean to sound insensitive, but its a reality. I don't know that it makes it any easier to decide, but it does help you think through your plan beforehand instead of instantly, if something happens. Because who plans for something like THAT to happen? Maybe NICU nurses? I could see wanting to know some of those conditions that are not compatible with life, because that WOULD change what you are doing at home to prepare. Lots of those babies never go home.

    I have a friend who's screen gave her a very, very high risk for trisomy 13 & 18, so she had an amnio done & has a perfect, healthy 4 year old today. And I also have a relative who didn't do the screen & has a beautiful baby girl with Downs. Its not something you can control or change, but I can see how in some cases there would be benefits to knowing before hand.

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    1. That's a VERY good point, that even as a nurse, I never thought of, Katie. To be more prepared to where you give birth...a very valid point. It certainly does not make you insensitive, it's just very logical. Thank you so much for your comment!

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  11. I, like you, feel the same way about not finding out. My hubby and I opted out with my first two pregnancies and will once we get pregnant with number 3 as well. I will love and raise my child with all my heart, no matter what genetic disorder thay may have. As you know working in the medical setting with peds (for you at one time for me now) you see A LOT of very severe and fragile children. I have worked with many children with various genetic syndromes and they are all amazing children. DO they lead difficult lives? Yes. Would I abort my child because they had a marker for one of these? No. Once I see that little bean on the u/s screen I fall in love right away.
    On the other side, I can see where others may want to find out to prepare for the future. If I did know that there may be a problem I'm sure I would do as much research as possible and find the best medical facility for my baby. I know a lot of our parents research cardiac surgeons prior to deliverying when they know their baby has a CHD. Regardless of all this I still won't get the testing. I know way too much and don't to worry myself anymore than I already do!

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    1. I think, that parent's are "chosen" for these special children. I guess I especially feel this lately as I'm reading Kelle Hampton's book "Bloom"! I'm starting to see more now why people to "seriously" have this test done, I appreciate all the comments from my readers and yours too!

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  12. There also numerous instances where people have opted to terminate, and there was absolutely nothing "wrong" with the baby.

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  13. You look so fabulous, mama. :) I don't have anything to add about the testing stuff, except that I did undergo all the tests when I was pregnant with Colin, and all the results came back great, except he had a calcification on his heart that concerned them a little. They said it can be a marker for Downs and other disorders, but based on his test results it was "probably nothing." The good news is, it DID turn out to be nothing, but there was a short time during my pregnancy when I was preparing myself for some potentially bad news. Even if there HAD been something wrong, though, I would have never considered terminating the pregnancy. The main reason I agreed to the tests was that I wanted to be able to prepare myself for any extra obstacles we may have had to face.

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    1. Aww shucks, Katie - thank you! I'm just so happy that Colin is who he is. I honestly don't know how I'd be feeling if my risk was up...but it's not so that's all I'm going to think about!

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  14. I stumbled onto your blog a few months ago and have enjoyed popping in...and i don't think we live so very far away from each other either!! i just had to leave my "two bit's" on this post...at age 41 i became pregnant with our 3rd child. My doc that i was going to at the time was quite particular about this nuchal ultrasound because of my age..(i had had it done to with my 2nd and all was good.)The results came back with the red flags being high for Down syndrome...needless to say some panic set in...but, we did choose to go for the amnio,both my husband & i could not think of going thru the remaining 6 mo with this hanging over our hearts, is it, or isn't it, so we did and we were quite comfortable with that decision...yes, the results came back positive,this little precious babe i was carrying had Down syndrome, what now,how do we cope? Terminating the pregnancy was not a choice before or after the amnio, but how to go on with life?? Needless to say i did alot of crying, felt like going to bed and staying there for a looong time. We were told that it would be like a grieving process, we would grieve the loss of a normal, healthy child and that is what happened...i went thru every emotion there was to go thru and the morning our beautiful baby girl was born,i was ready to meet her,i held her and loved on her with no reserves (before they took her to NICU) and i was fine with it,she was mine and i was keeping her, no questions asked.My husband not so much, he faced it after she was born, which my doc told me could happen. That was the start to a long 7 mo of hospital stays,the longest she came home at one time was 12 days, she was flown to Edmonton for her heart surgery at almost 5 mo of age, before her surgery she was intubated in ICU for 5 weeks with RSV and that along with her heart defect was a double whammy...she is now a little over 3 and the sunshine in our life. She is so much fun. She still gets every little sniffle that comes close to her, but other than that she is doing great!She has added so much dimension to our life, it's just awesome, more work yes, but awesome! Boy, this was long enough!! (and i could of said alot more!) take care and congrats on your pregnancy!! Anne

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    1. Hi, Anne. Thanks for your comment and for sharing your story! I'm so glad to hear that it had a happy ending. I truly do believe that it would be a grieving process, I'm in the middle of Kelle Hampton's book "Bloom", I think you'd love it if you haven't read it already. Thanks for reading and for the lovely comment!

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