Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sequential screen, step 1

I had my first sequential screen today. It went better than my 8-week ultrasound in that the staff at this place was much nicer, which makes all the difference in the world. Whereas at the 8-week they prevented Mark and River from coming in until the end and wouldn’t even let me look at the screen until the sonographer had finished her work, here they had a second screen that was just for me to look it. I was able to watch the whole thing and she pointed out much of what she was doing. As a result, I feel a lot more connected to the fetus (apparently, it has now graduated from embryo to fetus) and the process.

“It looks human this time,” I said, as I saw the head and face (which looked like River, even in its fuzziness), the limbs, and the way it bounced up and down.

“It is human,” she said. “It’s only as big as your pinky, but already has everything.”

I saw the placenta and the umbilical cord, was reassured it was alive with a 170 beats per minute heartbeat, and saw close-ups of my ovaries. They were kind of gross-looking, like craters on the moon.

Looking at all the tissue, blood and cells made me marvel how this all works and how a little person, who will come into being at the end of this year, is starting out its life there. And how I started my life in a similar environment within my mother.

I hoped there was nothing wrong with the fetus. I wanted it to be perfect. I didn’t want to abort that little bouncing bag, nor did I want to give birth to a child with birth defects. I resented knowing that the results were going to come back with more caution for me, just because I hit this magic number of 3-5. I didn’t think they were taking note that I’m healthy, eat well, and just biked 200 kilometers. I must say I was relieved that the fetus seems to have survived the bike ride OK. And in fact, I’m relieved it’s alive at all. I still have trouble believing that a pregnancy can be this easy.

The results of the screening won’t be available for a couple of days, but based on the sonographer’s comments, I think things are fine. She said it looked “perfect” and was developing very well. She tried to look at the gender, but the legs were crossed. So no dice. I am a little more excited now that I see it as a more human-like form.

In other news, a friend of mine gave birth two weeks ago and had the same type of epidural as I did, where it blocks the contractions, but not the pushing. She was very lucky in that she only pushed 13 minutes to get a 9 pound, 6 ounce baby out. She said that part was very painful.

“I wonder if they give that type of epidural on purpose,” I said.

“Yes, they said they needed me to be able to feel when to push.”

She was using the same group of doctors I used last time. But I have friends who have delivered at that same hospital (with different doctors) and have had the nice experience where they don’t feel anything. That’s what I want next time and my current doctor says he can make it happen. He says we’ll set up a meeting with the anesthesiologist before the birth. I hope so because for me, that pain was positively traumatic. I would feel super blessed to have both an easy pregnancy and a (relatively) easy delivery. At least I can hope.

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