Thursday, October 29, 2009

Level 2 u/s @ 18w6d- and other news

The big event yesterday was the level 2 u/s. First, we met with the genetic counselor, who explained how our odds changed so dramatically in just a month, from 1:150 to 1:16. One contributor was simply the passage of time; chromosomally abnormal pregnancies are less likely to survive to the gestational age when our second blood sample was drawn. The smaller population to which I can be compared exaggerates my deviation from the norm. Additionally, the second blood sample was analyzed for more indicators of a potential problem, so the results carry a bit more weight in assessing the overall risk for DS. There wasn't any one thing that "got worse" and dramatically altered my odds. My results just happened to fall into a pattern that fits with a hgher-than-normal risk.

I asked about the impact of DS on labor and delivery- would my baby's life be at risk if I went into labor not knowing whether or not she has DS? No, it would not. Individuals living with DS are at increased risk of heart defects, but symptoms should be observable in utero via ultrasound and via doppler. Other health complications occur later in life, if at all.

Since knowing whether or not our baby has DS would have no influence on our birth plan and wouldn't change how happy we are to be expecting, we've decided not to accept the amniocentesis that's been offered. Even though the risk of complications is small, the knowledge we'd gain would be essentially useless. Sure, we're curious. We're also curious if this baby is a boy or a girl. And we're curious if she'll be athletic or if he'll be artistic, if he'll have bad dreams or if she'll eat her vegetables without a struggle. But all these things will be revealed in their own time, and that's part of the joy of discovering and learning who this little person is. I don't want to know it all at once, now. So, no amnio for us.

Then we had our u/s and consult with the MFM specialist. Unlike the tech who did our NT scan, this one was all business. This was no photo shoot. We watched as she collected images of Ishkabibble's brain, heart (4-chambers, just as it should be!), kidneys, arms, legs, fingers, toes, stomach, intestines, and spine. Much of the time, it was hard to tell just what we were looking at. When she got to Ishka's privates, she advised us to turn away from the monitor. C wanted to look, and that would've been OK with me as long as he kept his mouth shut and let me believe he was as ignorant about Ishka's gender as I am. but, no, he had to ask me if I'd mind if he looked. Silly man! Luckily, even though he then looked, he had no clue what to look for because the images don't look much like 3-dimensional babies and he hasn't had a lot of practice looking at ultrasounds.

Then the MFM came in and revisited a lot of the body parts that the tech had examined. She explained a few specific markers that she was looking for with respect to DS. The humorous in each arm is often distincltly shorter in a fetus with DS. The kidneys are often enlarged and prominent. And there's frequently a thick fold of skin behind the neck. Ishkabibble had none of these markers. The GC had advised us that if no markers were found on the u/s, then our odds would essentially be cut in half, but the MFM wasn't comfortable putting numbers on anything. I'm simply satisfied that our odds did not get any worse. There was nothing apparent to strengthen a suspicion of DS, and Ishka appears perfectly healthy. Hurray!

Believe it or not, that wasn't the best news of the day. One of my co-workers congratulated me on the pregnancy and asked how much time I planned to take off when the baby's born. I explained that I wasn't sure I'd be able to afford more than the 4 weeks of vacation that I'll have saved by then. Then she gave me the best news I've heard in quite a while, maybe since the BFP and Ishka's first u/s... I am entitled to 8 weeks' PAID sick leave when the baby is born! And that does not include any sick time I might need to use before the birth to accommodate bed rest or complications that preceed delivery. Under FMLA guidelines, I'm allowed 12 weeks' leave following the birth. Now I know I can use as much of that as I want without missing a penny of my salary. With C laid off and trying to start a business (and me praying for another snowy winter), I've been worried about our finances lately. I slept better last night than I have since C was laid off. Hurray!


BB said...

That is a great update! Glad to know the u/s went well... and the news about maternity leave is awesome!

Nic said...

That is great news about your US and your sick leave!!

IrishNYC said...

Great news all around! I'm glad Ishka is looking good - but of course s/he'd be looks good no matter what!