So here's the story on my first-trimester screening tests. We'd done the bloodwork a few weeks ago, so that just left the ultrasound nuchal measurement. The procedure is a very simple one -- you don't even have to get undressed for this ultrasound. They just have you push your pants down a bit, and slap some goo on your lower abdomen. They do have to press somewhat hard with the ultrasound sensor, but it's no more than mildly uncomfortable -- not painful at all.
The first thing they did was check the progress of the fibroids -- yes, there are still a lot of them, and yes, as expected, they're growing. With luck, this won't actually be a problem. I'm lucky that all of mine are on the outside of the uterus, so they're less likely to cause difficulties with the pregnancy there. (More likely that they're going to push their way into some other organ at some point, but we can worry about that later, if it happens.)
After that, very briefly, they let us hear the baby's heartbeat. They were in a big rush because one of their machines had broken that day, so they were very backed up (we had waited at least two hours, I think), so I didn't ask them to let us hear it for longer, though I would have liked to. Maybe next time. Have any of you actually gotten those fetal heartbeat monitors? Is it just a goofy idea? (pause for googling) Okay, on web searching, it seems like products like this aren't even effective until two months from now, and even after that, only work if you're lucky. Hmm...it seems like most people don't hear the heartbeat this early at all -- it's usually at the 22 week doctor visit, it seems like. So I guess we should just count ourselves lucky that we got to hear it at all. It did sound strong and steady for those few quick beats.
What was actually more exciting was watching baby squirm around while the technician tried to get a good shot for the nuchal measurement. It moved a lot, and you could see arms and legs flailing! Definitely an improvement over the generic bright blob of last time. It's slightly creepy and queasy-making, realizing that baby is jumping around all the time in there, and I just don't notice because a) it's only about two inches long right now, and b) it's completely cushioned by the amniotic fluid. I wonder why it moves so much. Strange. But also reassuring. If it's moving, it must still be alive, right?
I got pretty stressed, waiting in the waiting room, then waiting while they measured the fibroids and told me they were getting bigger, then waiting while she tried to find the nuchal measurement -- baby wasn't in a good position, so it took a long time until she could prod it into shifting around a bit. By the time she actually got her measurement I was pretty close to falling apart. And then she took her little report and said she was going to go talk to the doctor and stepped out. Kev was very good and reassuring, but I think at that point I'd been so tense for so long that I was just going to lose it regardless. I couldn't help crying a little bit. Then she came back in and said I should get cleaned up, and the genetic counsellor would meet us in a side room.
The first thing the counsellor said was that she was sorry for the long wait, but that at least she had good news for us. The news is very good. I think I left the sheet of specifics in the car, but roughly, after the first-trimester screening tests, our odds for Downs and trisomies 12/18 have dropped from 1/200 to about 1/3600, which they tell me are the odds for a 20-year-old woman. And yes, I do feel younger, oddly enough. :-) Baby is probably just fine. Healthy. Happy. Yay.
I'm so glad we did these tests. If you're pregnant and older, and especially if your insurance will cover them, I highly recommend doing these tests, if only for your peace of mind. Of course, you might not fret as much as I do...
I cried some more that night, just out of relief, I think. Kevin says he doesn't know why I get so convinced that the worst possible thing is going to happen, and I don't know either, but I do keep doing that with this pregnancy. I keep having these strong feelings that the pregnancy test was a false positive, or that I've somehow miscarried without noticing it, or that our baby will be that 1 in 200 with Downs. No good reason for believing any of these things -- maybe it's just an instinctive bracing for misfortune, a pessimistic streak in my character finally finding its way out, saying it's better to expect the worst and then get good news, rather than expecting everything to be fine and then being crushed. I'm not sure. It does seem out of character for me, but there it is.
When we were waiting for our test, we paged through these pregancy magazines in the waiting room, mostly trying to sell us stuff we don't need. But there were a lot of articles about how to have a healthier, happier pregnancy, and one thing they said was to try to think positive, happy thoughts. When we were waiting for the results and I was freaking out, Kevin reminded me to 'think happy thoughts.' That's what I need to do now, I think. Try to stop fretting about the unlikely bad things that could happen, and just be happy and excited about the good things that probably will happen. I can do that, right? Don't worry, be happy. :-)
Of course, this all assumes that we survive telling my parents...