Tuesday, 16 July 2013

The NT scan

I had been extremely nervous leading up to my NT scan. This is the scan that looks at the fluid at the back of the babies necks and, matched with some blood work that is done a few days ahead, is combined to give you a risk ratio of your chances of having a baby with trisomy 21, 13 or 18. This is the scan where Phoenix came up high risk last time. It's a pretty important scan. And I was anxious. Like up half the night anxious worrying about what was going to happen.

Because as much as I love, love, love my daughter, and fully embrace her challenges, there is nothing I want less in this world than identical twin babies with DS. Sorry, I just don't. I want a different experience this time. I want to envision a different future. I want to just worry about the normal twin things. Like how long I can carry them. Or getting them to a good birth weight. Or trying to breast feed two babies who most likely will end up in the nicu. Or how to fit three car seats across the back of our Ford Focus wagon. That's enough to worry about, don't you think?

So I've been worrying. A lot. Obsessively. And then the day of the scan came. I let the tech know that I was apprehensive and she did a wonderful job of talking me through what she saw. We saw two beautifully formed babies. We saw arms and legs, and bladders. In fact, it wasn't that different from what I saw when I went for this scan with Phoenix. The only difference were the NT measurements. With Phoenix it was 2.1 (still well within normal). With these babies the NT was 1.5. They were excellent readings. And this time when I met with the nurse afterwards the results were very different from last time. Last time I walked in with a background risk of 1:400 and walked out with a risk of 1:17. This time I walked in with a risk of 1:72 and walked out with a risk of 1:1444. Much, much lower.

So while this initially gives me some relief, the reality is that I could still be the "1". One mom I know had a risk of 1:20,00. Another had a risk of 1:12,00. They were both "the 1". So what does it matter how low your risk is, when you keep on becoming the "1"? My risk of triplets from the particular fertility treatment we did - 1%. My risk of identical twins - about 1% too. And then there is my lost baby. My triplet. My third heart beat. I am sure we lost it due to a problem with chromosomes. Even the geneticist agreed that it was probably lost to "chromosomal rearrangement". I just keep on winning and winning. How very  Charley Sheen of me. So why should I trust that THIS time I am not going to be "the 1"?

For people who have walked this road, it can be terrifying. The uncertainty. The not knowing exactly what is going on chromosomally with their babies. And now there are blood tests you can take that look at the free cell DNA of the baby that floats around in the mothers blood. Except, if you have a baby that has passed, like a vanishing triplet, you can't take the test because it will be inaccurate. So I am still SOL, not knowing if these babies are chromosomally normal.

 It's just never simple.

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