*I'm posting twice in one day as I didn't really want to combine this post with our Christmas post. So don't forget to check out all the pics of Jillian's holiday fun below*
I'm in an emotionally precarious state these days. I can't think of the last day that went by that I didn't cry. I cry over movies. I cry over the local news. I cry over television shows. I cry over commercials. I cry over books. I'm a hormonal basket case. And my ultrasound last Wednesday nearly put me over the edge.
As I mentioned before, we went for an ultrasound at the maternal fetal medicine clinic (rather than our OB) because Hayden is not a photogenic baby. She prefers hiding at the bottom of my uterus behind the placenta to getting her picture taken. The same held true at the MFM clinic so much so that they even hauled out the transvaginal wand to get snapshots of her brain since it was crammed up against my cervix. This is clearly a stubborn child.
The hour plus of trying to photograph my child I could handle. What I couldn't handle were the words "marker for downs" and "marker for Trisomy 18". They said that they thought my OB sent us in because the nuchal fold seemed to be measuring a bit thick (5 cm) and at their office it was measuring between 5-6 cm. They prefer to see it less than 5 cm but that measurement is really only valid until 20 weeks and both ultrasounds were taken just past that mark. Plus some doctors consider 6 cm the cut off so really the measurement is borderline. There was also some other brain part that was measuring at the upper edge of acceptable, which could be a marker for Trisomy 18. However, usually you would see other markers of that condition and none were found. Plus my nuchal fold testing and blood work from the sequential screen put Hayden's risk at both conditions at 1 in 20,000 so during the ultrasound I wasn't really too worried.
But then they stuck us in a room with the genetic counselor. She was nice enough for sure. But somehow sitting in that room and listening to her throw all these numbers at us sent me over the edge. She said that a marker like this would typically increase the risk of either condition 20 fold (and really since both measurements were borderline abnormal maybe even less) meaning that the 1/20,000 went to 1/1,000. She then told me that amnioscentisis was an option if we wanted to know for sure. But of course when I pressed her on the risks of that procedure, she told me that the chance of miscarriage was also 1/1,000. I told her that I didn't want to do the amnio since it didn't make sense statistically, but of course I was in tears at that point and she pressed me about whether I felt comfortable with that decision. In truth, I really felt like they were steering more towards the amnio...this is the U.S. after all. The more tests and procedures the better, right?
Anyhow, Jeramy and I decided not to do the amnio. Like I said it didn't make sense statistically, and I don't think we would decide to terminate the pregnancy based on the results. Plus as I got to thinking about it more, at 1/1,000 the risk for Down's is not even elevated over the normal incidence of the condition, and they certainly don't recommend amniocentisis for every pregnancy. I feel fine about this now, but it was not a good feeling to be sitting in that room working about a .01% risk and being pressed to make a quick decision.
I do go back in a few weeks for a follow-up ultrasound to measure the part of the brain that was borderline as a marker for Trisomy 18. They want to look to make sure it is growing at a normal rate. And tomorrow is the fetal echo. For the first time ever, I find myself wishing that I didn't have to do any more ultrasounds. I'd rather close my eyes, not think of the risks (which are always there in any pregnancy) and imagine a healthy baby girl at the end of this.