Ultrasounds and genetics counseling
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
I've been getting monthly ultrasounds because my pregnancy is "high risk" purely due to the fact that I'm carrying twins. I have to go to a hospital 30 minutes away from my house and my usual OBGYN because the usual folks aren't used to dealing with multiples, and the maternal-fetal medicine center at the hospital is better able to do these scans and see what's going on with the babies. So anyways, the last couple ultrasounds have been pretty good, but they keep freaking me out a bit because they keep telling me that one of the babies has one of the markers for Down Syndrome (very short femoral length). Even though my blood testing results showed that there was a very minimal risk of DS - 1 in 10,000, I think it was. But the doctor kept telling me most sorrowfully that it could be DS, and last time he told me that he'd want us to see a genetics counselor at our next visit to talk about options (testing and whatnot, I guess). So I left those ultrasounds in TEARS. And one of them was the big 20 week ultrasound where we finally learned their sexes...it should have been a much happier afternoon than it was.
Anyways, we went back for another ultrasound today and to talk to the genetics counselor...and I'm feeling much better. There was a different doctor there today who didn't feel terribly worried about the legs at the moment, and she apparently had told the counselor that we probably didn't really need to meet just yet but that we might as well go ahead and give the counselor our family medical histories in case it really did look like the baby might have some kind of disorder in future scans. Today's worry was less about DS (given the low risk) and more about the fact that both femora were bowed or curved. The counselor and sonographer told us that it could have just been a result of the baby's position today (he had his legs all curled up, frog-style) and so he might have been causing them to bow since baby bones are very flexible....or it could be some kind of skeletal dysplasia. BUT, the counselor emphasized, it was nothing to worry about just yet - they'll just keep monitoring it. She said that usually when they see bowing as a result of a genetic disorder, they see it in all the limbs, not just the legs. So hopefully this kid is good - just maybe a bit short-legged. Which kind of does run in the family a bit on my side.
So WHEW. I feel better about it all today. It's amazing, the difference a real compassionate and positive - yet still honest - bedside manner can make. The doctor we had previously just had a way of discussing everything as if someone was about to die and the world was ending.
Plus, Baby A (meaning the one who is closest to the cervix for now) has always been smaller than his brother, in addition to just having stumpy legs. My regular OB was worrying over it a little bit at my appointment with him yesterday and told me to eat a bit more and see if A didn't catch up a bit to B. But he only had the results of the 24 week ultrasound, and I'm now just about at 27 weeks....and today's showed them both pretty well on track for size! B is a little ahead and is 2 lbs 5 oz, and A is within a week or so of being right on track (according to the sonographer) at 1 lb 15 oz. So that made me happy too! Between still struggling a bit with exercise compulsion and worrying that I'm eating too much (even though I haven't gained all that much weight for a woman pregnant with twins - about 23-24 pounds so far, and there seems to be a general recommendation to gain 24 pounds by 24 weeks, which I didn't quite do)...I worry sometimes that I'm making the babies suffer when I go jogging (even at my current snail's pace) or try to limit my food to what seems like reasonable portion sizes (because otherwise I'll just eat everything in sight until I puke; I am not yet very good at intuitive eating).
But the babies seem to be doing okay! We just have to keep an eye on A's development, but I am going to be positive about it and have faith that he'll be fine.
And...AND! I got to see his face. The sonographer was just doing the usual black-and-white lava lamp blob-style ultrasound imagery that showed almost nothing to either me or my husband because it's so hard for the untrained eye to pick out what you're seeing...and then all of a sudden the image switches to a more sepia color and there's more detail and I'm like "what is that?!?!?!" and it turns out she had switched to a 3d scan of his face very briefly, since she could tell his face was in the right direction and he wasn't blocking it with his arms or anything. It was incredible. I SAW HIS FACE AND HE IS BEAUTIFUL. My eyes watered up a whole lot at that point. Unfortunately, baby B was hiding his face behind his feet (somehow?) and she wasn't able to get a view of him.
Anyways, sorry for the baby ramblings, but I'm very new at this whole mommy thing and with all the worrying and relief and excitement and all these jumbled maternal feelings...I needed to vent a bit of it and talk it out, so to speak. :)
And now for my snack of grapes! God bless nature for making plants grow not just healthy veggies, but also all these various colorful juicy sugar cubes that nutritionists call "fruit" and still proclaim to be healthy!