Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Joyfully Blessed

Baby zarbock in profile I'm feeling pretty thrilled with life this afternoon, despite still dealing with a migraine. Earlier my husband and I had another appointment with the baby Doctor, only this time it was with a genetic specialist. Because I'll be 37 when the baby is delivered I'm considered a late in life pregnancy (like 37 is late in life, ugh!) and could be at risk for more birth defects than an expectant Mom in her 20's. We were offered a genetic screening test to try and predict if the baby will have Down's Syndrome or two other chromosome abnormality birth defects. Since the test was non-invasive we decided to have it done. All it involved was giving a blood sample and doing a more detailed ultrasound where they measure different areas of the baby to look for abnormalities, then going over our family histories with the genetic counselor.

The ultrasound itself was pretty uncomfortable, even painful at times, as the technician really put a lot of pressure on the center of my pelvis, an area that has been feeling a bit tender anyway as the baby developes. The baby wasn't in the right position and didn't want to move so the technician actually had to bounce (kinda hard) the wand around to get the baby to move into a profile position. Even though it was uncomfortable it was really cool to see the baby in a bit more detail. We could make out the arms, legs and hands much more clearly and the baby was waving it's little arms all over and even put it's hands over it's nose and mouth at one point. The technician laughingly said the baby was very stuborn a few times as she tried to get it into position and I had to smile at that. Both my husband and I are pretty stuborn too. The heart beat was a nice, strong 151 and the baby is exactly the right size for it's age.

After the ultrasound the genetic counselor spent awhile talking to us and charting our family medical histories. Then she gave us the results of our screening. Apparently I have the bloodcells and reproductive organs of a 20 year old :). The tests showed I have about the same chance of having a baby with Down's Syndrome as someone20 years old (approx. 1 in 2800) and an even lesser chance of the baby having any other defects. So basically she said that we have a 99.9% chance of having a perfectly healthy baby. The screening will never say there is no chance at all for problems, but I think we're pretty safe. Even though our results were really good because of my age they still have to offer us the option of doing more invasive testing such as a CVS or amniocentisis to completely rule out any chance at down's syndrome or other defects. We've chosen not to have those done now. Both of the tests come with a moderately high risk of miscarrying and we aren't willing to risk that. We could still choose to do an amniocentisis later in the pregnancy if complications arise.

So YAY!! The baby and I are both fine and healthy. It's really a relief to get those screening results back. It gives us piece of mind and reduces the anxiety. All 'late in life' first time expectant couples hear are horror stories about miscarriage, birth defects, etc. It can really make you worry unnecessarily. So far we've been incredibly lucky. We had no problems concieving and the pregnancy so far has been text book. We really are joyfully blessed.

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