I wasn't able to see my OB/GYN until I was 10 weeks along. When I met Dr. Flores, she did an ultrasound so I could see the baby, and we talked about the pregnancy. She mentioned that she might want to induce me at 39 weeks, due to my Advanced Maternal Age. (I turned 35 in August of 2010, became pregnant that November). I hadn't really thought of myself as an old mom before. Then again, I didn't think of myself as a young mom, either.
For each of my pregnancies, we've done the early blood test. My husband's brother had severe spina bifida, and we are at a higher risk for having a child with spina bifida. With my first pregnancy, it was the triple screen. Second pregnancy, the quad screen. And this time, the penta screen. Before this pregnancy, I didn't even know how the results came back - there was never any cause for concern. This time, my doctor brought me over to her computer and showed me a list. There was a list of various conditions (is that the right word?) on the left of the screen and ratios on the right. I looked for spina bifida first; the number was something like 1 in 2500. That was a relief. Then as I scanned the list, I saw that the ratio for Down syndrome was 1 in 19.
My doctor said that it was a pretty high chance for having a baby with Down. She recommended that we have a level II ultrasound at a special clinic.
The day of the ultrasound was horrible. I had a MOPS steering meeting that morning, then I had planned for a friend to babysit Corrie so Emmett and I could go for lunch and to the ultrasound. A mini-date! Unfortunately, while I was at MOPS, Corrie was not acting like herself in the childcare room. The workers came to get me, saying that she seemed sick. Poor girl! I brought her home and sure enough, as soon as we walked in the front door, she threw up all over herself and me.
I couldn't leave Corrie with a friend if she was sick. I called Emmett, and he came home to keep Corrie while I went to the ultrasound by myself. I was nervous, and I was sad that he wasn't going to see the baby. He had gone with me for the ultrasounds for each of the other two kids.
I had kind of a weird conversation with the nurse beforehand. She commented that 1 in 19 is a pretty good chance of having a baby with Down Syndrome, and she would terminate. She also said that she doesn't have any children and may not want to, after realizing all the problems there can be.
The ultrasound tech was pleasant, gave me some pictures of our little boy - he was active, moving around a lot. Fun to see! Then the doctor came in to talk to me. She was nice, too, explained things when I asked questions, and seemed very willing to talk through things. Good news: none of the major markers for Down Syndrome were there. Not as good news: the baby had an echogenic bowel, which is a minor marker. She said that it could be there for any number of reasons - Down, cystic fibrosis, and some other minor reasons. I'm a carrier for cystic fibrosis, so she recommended that Emmett be tested. She also said that the baby's femur was measuring a little short, not short enough to consider it a major indicator of Down, but just a little short. (Both our other babies have huge heads, so if they were comparing the leg to head circumference, then it wouldn't surprise me that the leg might come up a little short).
I told the doctor that we were not going to terminate, and I didn't know whether I wanted an amnio.
My friend had picked Evan up from school, so I got him, then came home. Corrie still had a fever, but hadn't thrown up again. Emmett had to teach a class, so he ran out right away without talking about the ultrasound. And I missed Evan's open house at school because Corrie was sick.
I felt emotionally wrung out.
And hungry! I didn't want to cook and I didn't want to drag Corrie out to the store to get sick kid feeding supplies. So ... I ordered pizza and a Sprite. It may have been Corrie's favorite sick day ever since she got to drink Sprite all evening to calm her stomach. :)