Thursday, January 29, 2009

Still Pregnant: Reporting on my 12 week Scan

I'm 12 weeks and two days pregnant. Unbelievable. Yesterday, I had my regular 12 week OB check-up, along with the nuchal translucency test, and all was well. The baby was measuring right on track, had a healthy heartbeat, and passed the NT test with flying colors.

I wish I had a better sonogram picture to share. The ultrasound machine at my OB's office is old school. It gets the job done, but that's about it. The machine at the MFM's office is so advanced, it not only takes clear, gorgeous pictures, it might have a setting to read the baby's mind. Instead of having a beautiful picture to share of a sweet baby face, I have instead a grainy picture of an alien trying to consume me from the inside out. What a special memory. Oh well. It could certainly be worse.

Back to the sonogram: it took a while to get a good read on the NT test, which concerned me. I'd come in concerned since my last scan was at the hospital -- I was concerned we'd come in and see no heartbeat. After all, I was 12 weeks along, and I just don't get that far. Instead, we saw a heartbeat right away, and a baby who was as vigorous and active as before. So vigorous, in fact, that it kept turning spine up, thus preventing the sonographer from getting a good read on the nuchal fold. The sonographer tried and tried to get a good image, then she left the room to have me get up and move around. She tried different probes, had me roll onto my hips, even suggested a hand stand. Finally, at the very end of a very long appointment, the baby turned and the sonographer was able to get three good measurements.

For those who don't know, the nuchal translucency test is a fairly standard test for women at 12 weeks gestation that helps to determine the odds of having a baby with Down's Syndrome. The sonographer measures a little pocket of fluid in the baby's cervical spine, as well as the length of the nasal bone. Babies with Down's Syndrome generally have a shorter (or missing) nasal bone and that pocket of fluid at the nuchal fold is wide and easy to spot. Along with the sonogram, a panel of blood work is run.

These tests don't guarantee anything either way. Everything could look normal when there is a chromosomal abnormality, or the results could look daunting when everything is really fine. This test just helps to determine the odds of a problem, and since (based on age) I was already at a low risk of having a baby with Down's Syndrome, the positive outcome of this test just makes my chances that much more favorable. For that, I am grateful. It's nice -- really, really nice -- to have these instances of great news.

During yesterday's scan, the sonographer even took the time to determine the sex of the baby. The sex organs, while tiny, are generally visible by 12 weeks. Many sonographers won't bother looking this early because mistakes are easily made, but our sonographer was probably more agreeable because she had to have me do so much to take care of her end of the appointment! She showed us two little lines parallel to one another and said, in general, when they're in this formation, it indicates a girl. (A little boy has lines perpendicular to each other.) It's far too soon to buy anything in pink, but it's exciting to have an idea! I have repeat sonograms scheduled at 14 weeks, 18 weeks, and 20 weeks, so hopefully after a little more looking around, we'll feel good to make the call official.

In the meantime, I'm in this very surreal state. The doctor made the comment yesterday about the first trimester being over (though I don't think it officially is until week 13-14), and I'm just astounded to be at this stage. Because of my history, and particularly because of the scares early on in this pregnancy, I honestly did not anticipate making it this far. Could it be that my chances of bringing home a living, breathing baby have increased exponentially? I really do know to much for my own good and know that there's never a time in pregnancy (or in life, really) to take anything for granted, but I also know that statistically, my chances look really good now. Again, unbelievable.

At this point, my prenatal care becomes more routine -- well, routine for me anyway. I'll rotate biweekly between my OB/GYN and my MFM for check-ups and sonograms. Even with the transabdominal cerclage in place, my cervix will still be visually monitored and measured. (However, with that cerclage in place, the pressure of the pregnancy should be dispersed in the uterus among the tendons and above my cervix. As a result, my cervix should hold up just fine.) I'll likely begin the 17P hydroxyprogesterone injections at 16 weeks to stave off any pre-term labor. Other than that, no bedrest is anticipated, and there's a really good chance this could be a normal-ish pregnancy. God has been truly gracious towards me.

"Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
He rises to show you compassion."

Isaiah 30:18

"The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness..."

Genesis 34:6b

"The LORD is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion."

Psalm 116:5

"...You are a gracious and merciful God."

Nehemiah 9:31b

Then Esau looked up and saw the women and children.
"Who are these with you?" he asked.
Jacob answered, "They are the children
God has graciously given your servant."

Genesis 33:5

Cross-posted on Mandigirl Muses


Elizabeth said...

Oh girl! I sense your guarded heart...and am just constantly praying for you and this precious baby. I love the picture of your little one!

Jenny said...

WooHoo! How wonderful to see the words "normal" and "great news" in your post! I think your baby looks beautiful!

Randi said...

What great news. I'm so excited for you guys that things are progressing like this and that everything is looking great. We'll keep praying.

Emily said...

Yeah!! So happy that everything is looking healthy! I know that you have been guarding your heart as best as you can, and I don't blame you one little bit. It has to be a load off to (almost) be finished with your first trimester and moving on to the next stage. I can't wait to meet your healthy baby just a month or so after I meet mine. I can't wait to know for sure if it is a girl.

christy said...

Did I ever tell you I had a dream that someone, I assumed (or hoped) it was me, announced just before Christmas that they were pregnant with twins. After you told me about your pregnancy I realized the premonition must have been about you. Just thought it was kind of interesting. I'm sorry it didn't work out that way but I'm so happy things are progressing normally now. Hang in there girl, or boy... My latest favorite baby names for girls are Daphne, Lila and Peggy. You're welcome to use any of them if you're so inclined. :)

Amy said...

I love her already.