You'll have to forgive my pregnancy centered blogging for the next 26 weeks or so. My body is no longer mine, it's just on partial loan while I incubate the newbie. I have been subjected to yet more maternal-fetal tests and am reminded how pregnancy is much like gambling, specifically craps. The worst odds in the house and it can all be completely reduced to numbers. Especially when of 'advanced maternal age' ie over 35. The chances of miscarriage: 20-35%, chance of Down Syndrome 1 in 190, birth defects 1 in 400 at age 35 1 in 400 at age 40, risk of autism goes up 18% with every 5 years mom increases in age. I'm sure I could go on but quite frankly reading these statistics is depressing. Realistically the percentages are still good that my baby will be perfectly normal. If I don't miscarry. I have a multitude of friends with both success and disappointment stories. Many have had at least 1 miscarriage before a successful pregnancy. I have 1 friend (parents of my kid's classmate) who recently had a baby with a chromosomal defect. It wasn't Downs but he does have a few issues that will need physical therapy. So I suppose the statistics are great, as long as you aren't that partial one percent right?
We have crossed a few hurdles already and I'm thankful for every one. First off was getting pregnant. Our first was a total fluke so I didn't figure we'd have too much of a problem repeating the oops. Wrong. I'm sure age had plenty to do with that too, it's been almost 10 years since that last pregnancy. Damn we're old. We tried for over a year and then decided to try Clomid. I've had a few friends try it, none have actually gotten pregnant when using it. It does carry a risk of multiples so there is that. The women I do know who used it have all gotten pregnant eventually. One several years later on her own, the others the month after stopping the Clomid. This is what happened to us. You only take the pill for 6 consecutive months, then you stop. We got pregnant on month 7. No multiples, thank gawd. The first hurdle after conceiving is having a viable pregnancy. That means it's in the uterus (ectopic=bad) and it has a heartbeat. I had a co-workers wife who got pregnant at the same time as I did with my first pregnancy. We went for our first ob visit in the same week. Mine had a heart beat. Hers didn't. They had to do a D&C. Really tragic. Needless to say when I went in for my first ob visit this time around, high up on my list was to hear the heartbeat. This being 10 years out from the last we didn't even have to do the doppler thing, I got an quickie office ultrasound. Got to see and hear the heart beat, measure the fetus, and determine the age of the pregnancy (which I was off on calculating) at that point (7 weeks). Freaking awesome and I mark that as the first hurdle post conception.
The next hurdle was the obvious 12 weeks. Highest chances of miscarriage occur then, my chances of keeping this one inside for the duration of baking time went up as of 1 week ago and, of course, continues to go up as time passes. It's a numbers game, remember? As a bonus of the whole advanced maternal age ob's send you to a specialty clinic along with their routine care. This specialty clinic has genetic testing and it does the testing for chromosomal abnormalities. You sit with a genetic counselor and he/she goes over all the genetic abnomalities and your liklihood of having them go wrong with you kid. You go through your race/lineage, any issues your relatives have had and it takes forever. You would not believe what tests they have available now. We opted for only one test because we're a 'mixed race' couple. I'm only half white, my moms from the Philippines so we're a mutt family. It lowers your risk of a ton of genetic abnormalities, kinda like a pound puppy as opposed to a pure bred.
We opted to do the ultrasound at 13 weeks known as the nuchal translucency. It measures the fluid at the base of the baby's skull (profile) and if it's thick it's indicative of a chromasomal abnormality. There's a blood test also but it's to be compared to another blood test taken at 15 weeks so we won't get results from that test for awhile. We did the ultrasound today and everything looks good. Normal amount of fluid at the baby's spine. Hurdle #3 jumped. Downs is a super big deal for us. We aren't rich and we don't have an at home parent. I have no idea how other people can raise a Downs child but we know we just can't do it. It's one of those make or breaks in life and the sooner we know the better. Others would handle it differently I'm sure but we have discussed it before, we just could not hack it. I have the option of asking for a amniocentesis, the only for sure way of ruling it out but again, it comes with it's own risks. I will only do an amnio if all other tests lead us to believe we have a problem. Today's visit put our minds at ease. It's not a for sure thing but it doesn't open up other questions either and I'm good with that. I'd show you the ultrasounds but it's really really hard to make out the baby because it was super active. Back arches, kicks and punches and rolls, the ultrasound tech had a rough time getting a profile picture so she could get the measurements needed. I can make out the baby but I think anyone that isn't as adept at reading ultrasounds would be hard pressed to see anything at all. Next ultrasound is at 18 weeks and that's when we'll probably find out the sex and it'll be much easier to discern a whole baby.
Hey, other good news on my end of the deal, my nausea is almost completely gone and I have yet to gain any weight. I already had too much extra, I'm thinking my body is smart and utilizing what it already has. Don't worry, I still keep myself well fed but the nausea kept me from over eating. I'm going to try and keep up with that theme and not go overboard. I love my food but I am too old to be packing it on.
So all is well so far in old preggers mom land, wish me luck going into trimester #2, it's really the only decent trimester there is!