Monday, August 21, 2006

Testing, testing

Antenatal testing that is. It's not that far into your pregnancy before you have to start making these major decisions. If you opt for a nuchal translucency scan to check for Down's syndrome, it has to be done between 11 and 14 weeks. The triple blood test is done at around 16 weeks, but potentially gives you more information (as it can indicate if there's a risk that the baby has spina bifida). But, if you opt for any kind of screening, what do you then do if it comes back showing a high risk? Katie of Maybe Expectant* wrote a great post on the subject a few weeks back, as to how they came to their decision

Initially, we felt that we would also avoid any kind of screening. For one thing, despite the fact that I'm technically of "advanced maternal age" at 36, the chances are still pretty minimal that there would be any kind of problem. And if we did get assessed as high risk (a number smaller than 1 in 250), we still probably wouldn't go for diagnostic tests, because of the risk (albeit small) of miscarriage, and also because most "high risk" babies are completely normal. Plus you've got the awful 2-3 week wait to find out what the actual diagnosis is. And termination simply wouldn't be an option for us, even in the event of the diagnosis of a problem. Having waited for this baby for so long, we'll take it as it comes, even if that proves to be coming with problems.

However, talking to my sister helped us to find a slightly different perspective (it helps that she's both a GP and a mother already). She opted to have a nuchal scan for both her children, and then to skip all further testing (bar the 20wk anomaly scan). As she quite rightly pointed out, if we did have a nuchal scan, the chances are overwhelmingly on our side that we would be assessed as low risk, which would be very reassuring and would help us to enjoy a worry-free pregnancy. After some further discussion between K and me, that's what we decided to do, and I went for the (private) scan yesterday.

Although it was primarily intended to check the baby's health, and could have produced an upsetting result, it was great to see Pip again. S/he seems to have rounded out somewhat in just a matter of 5 days! And s/he was awake this time, moving around and waving arms and legs, which was utterly magical. K hadn't been able to come as the scan was in the middle of the day, and it was such a shame that she couldn't share that experience. The consultant actually had trouble measuring the nuchal fold because it was so small - I had to ask him whether this was good or bad! Turns out it's a very good thing. I had some blood taken afterwards, and once those results are back from the lab I'll get sent an actual numerical risk factor, but the consultant said that he'd be surprised if it was as high as 1 in 300, and that it was more likely to be in the region of 1 in a 1000. Hurrah for a healthy young Pip! Oh yes, and I got the new picture above showing that sweet little nose.

*if anyone can tell me how to link directly to another blog/site without you all having to read the code (i.e. I would just put Maybe Expectant and you could click directly through to the post), I would be eternally grateful. I struggle to understand much of Blogger's help system! ETA - thanks Marta for telling me just how simple it is - I hadn't even noticed that link icon!

Bump pics

We finally got around to taking our first photos of the bump this weekend. Sheer laziness/lack of organisation meant that it hadn't happened earlier, and I was a bit upset that we didn't have any "before" (or indeed earlier week) pics for comparison. But then I remembered that, back in January, my youngest sister Fran and I had taken a whole set of "fat" pics (the black undies ones), to encourage us both in our efforts to lose weight and go to the gym. It didn't prove to be a great incentive (at least not on my part), but at least I've now got some shots for comparison.
I prefer this "clothed" version of the bump - it makes it look more rounded, and less like excess fat (although there's a good couple of inches of that around the outside, particularly at the bottom - the muffin top fat is still there! It doesn't look as big as it already feels when you look at this shot on its own, but you can see the change compared to pre-pregnancy based on the simple fact that the bump is already sticking out more than my boobs, which are pretty darned prominent normally.
I don't much care for this "nekkid" bump shot as it mainly just looks like fat to me, not baby belly! However, I suppose it will be useful for comparison with future unclothed versions. And there's the before version underneath.
Apologies for the seriously un-designed and ugly layout of pics/text. I need some lessons in how to make my blog look pretty!
The whole set of bump pics is at