40 Weeks

A mother's seventh (and final) journey through the wonders of pregnancy.

Friday, April 11, 2008

12 Weeks, 2 Days

Looking like an alien in 3-D.

I went to the maternal-fetal medicine specialists today so they could tell me all about my increased risks for terrible problems with the baby now that I'm so old (38, for the record, and just a few breaths away from decrepit, one would think after a visit like this!) First, a visit with the genetic counselor, where I was reminded that at my age, the chances of having a baby with birth defects was about 1 in 130. This is down from about 1 in 2,500 when I was 25. I was enlightened about several different types of birth defects, from the more common Down's Syndrome to the less common but more fatal Trisomy 18 and 21 birth defects. I was warned about the chances of Spina Bifida and the possibility of Cystic Fibrosis due to my ethnic background and something else (maybe Thalassemia? My brain was numb by this time,) due to K's ethnic background. After all this enlightenment, I was cheerfully escorted back to the waiting room by the friendly staff to wait for a sonogram. K has done a few, of course, but he is only trained to look for the most basic things, since that is not his specialty.

Phil, the sonographer, was arguably the best I've ever had, and the first to explain such small details as which way was up when looking at the screen. According to Phil, based on the sonogram, my chances for a baby with birth defects were much slimmer than they were a few moments ago based solely on my age. On the other hand, there is another subchorionic hematoma to watch, which he agreed could have been caused by this incessant violent cough I've been dealing with for the entire pregnancy so far. The placenta is also much lower than it's supposed to be, and exactly centered over the cervix. Known as placenta previa, it is not too worrisome in the first trimester and usually migrates to one side or the other and well out of the way in time for the delivery. Phil says that in my case, though, I have a complete previa (not at all to one side or the other,) and these are much less likely to migrate. I worked up a good bit of worry reading about placenta previa, but K won't even consider starting to worry unless it's still a complete previa when I go back for my 20-week scan. He thinks it will still migrate.

After the sonogram, I warned the lady who came to take my blood that I was difficult to get blood from at the best of times and I happened to be slightly dehydrated that day. She informed me rather cockily that people told her they were difficult all the time and she never had problems with them. That's what I like to hear, but preferably only when it's true. It took two needle sticks and a lot of deep digging with the needle all the way in as far as it would go before she was able to get all the blood she needed. I was sure she was going right through a vein and would be coming out the back of my elbow at any moment.


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