Monday, January 13, 2014

Week 12: First Ultrasound

I had my first ultrasound this week! The sonographer said everything looked great. I had all three boys with me, and they were great, too.

Because I had the boys with me, I asked her not to do ultrasound transvaginally. I thought a transvaginal would a) be awkward with a 4-year-old male child in the room, b) make it more difficult for me to calm the 1-year-old male child in the room with us, and c) not be necessary given the transvaginal I had at 5 weeks and the fact that I was already far enough along to see things clearly on an abdominal ultrasound. I would not have thought this would irritate her, but her demeanor was clearly annoyed by the request. Sonographers of the world, I beg of you: please don't be offended when a pregnant mother of three toddlers asks for a simple favor! We are adults and sometimes even think for ourselves, in advance, about what treatments might be good for us at any particular time!

The other thing I spent a lot of time talking to the doctors about was the genetic testing for Trisomy 18 and Down's Syndrome. I'm very skeptical of prenatal testing, not least of all because of what happened with the Statesman. In the end, he was a very healthy boy who happened to be missing a kidney. So anyway, I guess there's a blood draw they can do between 11-13 weeks that gives them a pretty good risk assessment for those diseases (although it's not a definitive diagnosis). I went back and forth, considering the alternatives, but ultimately decided not to do it. Here's why:

  • First of all, it's only a risk assessment, not a diagnosis. This means that there could be a false positive or false negative. Even though these rates are not very high, it's a big heartache for nothing if it is.
  • The ultrasound looked very normal - good, even. If it had not, perhaps there would be a reason to investigate further.
  • The reason they suggest and push the prenatal testing is so that you have the information, and can be prepared. For some patients, this may be code for, "so you can get an abortion." But I would not kill my child to spare him (or us) pain: that would be an ultimate embrace of the power of death to ruin us. No, not that.
  • So there is a value to having information before a baby is born, planning for medical needs, etc. But I realized last time that prenatal diagnoses change and develop many times over before they are finalized, so plans cannot really be made until the third trimester anyway. Not to mention, there are so many things that must be revealed about the child's health that cannot be revealed until birth. In short, we will have to be flexible at birth, whether the child has extraordinary medical needs or not. Only birth will tell us definitively what the needs are.
  • The cost. It was going to be $223 to maybe tell me something that might be true, or not, and might help us plan, or not. Since I'm paying for these things out of pocket until Medicaid kicks in? Not worth it! We're happy to live with the uncertainty for a little while longer, knowing that all is in a kind God's hands.
Did you do early prenatal testing? What did you think? And has anyone ever had a sonographer give them attitude about the transvaginal/abdominal choice? Why does this keep happening to me?