I’ve been remiss in posting for far too long. A combination of laziness, exhaustion, and anxiety, I suppose. But I want to write more. I need to. It’s a good outlet for me during these long, quiet days of fall.
We had a scare this week. A big one. One that will likely stay with me for quite some time. We had our big fetal anatomy ultrasound on Wednesday, at exactly 17 weeks. I’d had some abdominal and back pain in the week leading up to it, so I was very anxious (who, me?). But the ultrasound tech was very sweet and understanding, and pointed out both heartbeats right away. I relaxed. That was all I cared about.
Soon we knew the genders, too: it’s two boys for us. I will own up to a little disappointment. I’ve always wanted daughters. Always imagined myself as a mother to girls. Really never envisioned myself parenting sons. Of course, I love and will love my boys endlessly, boundlessly. But it’s a bit of a mental and emotional readjustment.
It all got put into perspective, though, when the u/s tech left the room and a radiologist appeared. She did some additional checking before telling us that “Baby 2 looks great. With Baby 1, I see some things.” Those “things” turned out to be multiple soft markers for chromosomal abnormalities: an echogenic focus (heart), mildly echogenic bowel, and choroid plexus cyst (brain). Two soft markers for Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome), one for Trisomy 18 (generally fatal).
After a brief talk with a nurse practitioner, we were fast-tracked into an appointment with a genetic counselor who, though still reassuring about our odds, did agree that amnio — if we were comfortable with it — was probably a good idea. Given my age and the soft markers, our risk for chromosomal abnormalities in Baby 1 was higher than our risk of miscarriage from the amnio. And so off to the procedure we went. Soon I’d had two needles inserted into my abdomen and amniotic fluid withdrawn from each baby’s sac. Physically, it was only mildly uncomfortable. Emotionally, well — I was gutted.
We are lucky that our practice is in a big hospital in a big city, and that they offer FISH (rapid) results on the amnio. Rather than waiting 10-14 days for the final results, we would have preliminary (and 95% accurate) results in 24 hours. But oh, those 24 hours. I cried. I wandered the house. I tried to eat, at my mother’s urgings. I couldn’t look at the ultrasound photos, or at my growing belly.
When the call came at 2:55 p.m. on Thursday, I had already resigned myself to what I was sure was the inevitable. But then there was the genetic counselor on the other end of the line, telling me she had good news. The amnios for both babies were normal.
We have another week to wait for the final results, but for now, we are breathing again. We are relieved. We are grateful.
We are expecting sons.