Posted tagged ‘12 weeks’

12 Weeks

December 17, 2009
Ultrasound picture, 12 weeks

Baby says, "Hi"

Today was my 12 week OB appointment. The purpose of the appointment was twofold: To set me up as an “official” pregnancy patient and to start genetic testing.

The day started out with an ultrasound. Part of the 12 week genetic testing, called Nuchal Translucency, is to measure the amount of fluid in the baby’s neck. This measurement, coupled with some blood work, assesses the baby’s risk of having Down syndrome and some other chromosomal defects.

This whole genetic testing thing is complicated. As parents, you do not have to do the testing, it is just an option. Also, the tests are known for producing false positives, which can cause a lot of worry and heartache. It was hard for us to decide whether or not to do it, but we finally decided that we would rather know what the odds are, and to be prepared for the outcome at delivery.

The ultrasound was somewhat uncomfortable. Because the baby is so little at this stage (something like 2.5″ – 3″!,) you need to have a full bladder to push your uterus forward so that the ultrasound wand can pick up the sound waves. I dutifully drank my 20 ounces of liquid 1.5 hours before the exam. As anyone who has been pregnant before can probably tell you, there is a lot of pressure in the bladder area. Even when your bladder is not full, it sort of feels like somebody is trying to wring it out. I am in the habit of peeing every 1-2 hours, even when I have not had a whole lot to drink. So maybe you can start to understand the pain I was in when I walked into the doctor’s office.

Luckily, I did not have to wait long, and the ultrasound experience, as usual, was mesmerizing. Hearing that heartbeat (171 beats per minute this time!) and seeing a “real baby” in there is just amazing. This time it looks even more like a baby, less like a fish. Baby looked like s/he was posing for us, with his/her right hand in the air as if to wave “hello”. The ultrasound tech also instructed me to leave a urine sample, which was not problem at all!

Afterwards, we spent several long minutes trying to draw my blood. They need something like 6 vials of it for this genetic testing, and my veins are apparently still weak from my dehydration and hospitalization. So we finally gave up on that. I have strict instructions to rest and drink tons of water. On Tuesday I have to go back for another try.

After that, the nurse practitioner recorded some of my genetic history, and then took some cultures. And then I was free to go.

All in all, a tiring visit, but I am so relieved to hear that baby is healthy and growing as expected.