Monday, April 23, 2012

Half baked!

That's right kids, we've hit the half-way point! Now, we inch closer and closer to V-day (viability day = 24 weeks, the point at which a pre-term baby has a chance to survive outside the womb) and my anxiety becomes less and less.

We also had our anatomy scan, which is essentially a follow-up to the NT scan, in which a high-tech ultrasound is done to take measurements of all of baby's systems and look for any structural abnormalities. The doctor comes in after the tech has walked us through what she's imaging to take a peek and tell us his findings. So, she showed us all kinds of cool things like blood flow in and out of the heart and kidneys, the baby's face and limbs (counting all of those fingers and toes!), and where and how the umbilical cord is attached to the placenta. As she was capturing images of that, I noticed it read "Anterior" on the screen. I asked her if that meant that I have an anterior placenta since it flashed by so quickly and she said yes. Darn. My heart sank a little and the (probably irrational) sadness kicked in. An anterior placenta essentially just means that the placenta is located on the top-side (closest to my tummy) instead of the usual back-side (closest to my spine). It's not a big deal and certainly doesn't affect the baby's health, but it does usually mean that it could be quite a few more weeks before we get to feel real movement. The one thing I was eagerly awaiting. Darn again. Otherwise, everything else seemed to look good from what I could tell (which isn't much, obviously), and we were able to find out the sex! Don't get too excited, our lips are sealed. Muahahaha!  

The doctor then came in and seemed equally pleased with everything, except he showed us that there are 2 EIFs on the heart, but given that our blood work came back stellar once again, he was not at all concerned that this extremely soft marker for Downs Syndrome meant anything was wrong in our particular case. As many as 1 in 10 caucasian mothers see these calcium deposits, and of course, the occurence of Downs Syndrome is much less than that, so it shows how often finding EIFs means nothing. Especially relieving to hear is that they do not cause any damage to the structure or function of the heart itself. Whew. But... you know me. The genetic counselor offered us the option of taking blood for the Verifi test (another like it is MaterniT21) which can detect with almost certainty the kinds of chromosomal abnormalities they were looking for by ultrasound. It used to be that you had to opt for an amniocentesis or a CVS test in order to rule out a problem, but these blood tests are all but making those obsolete and do not carry the inherent risk of miscarriage (however minor it may be) involved in an invasive procedure. So, being the "let's just be really sure" kind of people we are, we did the blood work on the spot. Cue yet another dreadful 2-week-wait. Of course, my brain told me that our amazing odds of 1 in 15,200, even with this finding, meant that there was likely nothing at all to worry about... but my brain lies to me sometimes and also tells me that there is a worst case scenario out there and that it would be my luck to fall into it under our seemingly perfect circumstances. Thankfully, logic prevailed and the labs came back negative for everything. *exhale*

From here, our baby just keeps growing. I am about to start the sixth month, and so far, I have few complaints. Sure, I can't poop to save my life, my lower back kills, and now the oh-so-fun Braxton Hicks contractions have begun as my body prepares itself for "the big show", but nothing that has kept me from truly enjoying the experience. Nursery plans are underway (even though we'll be moving a short time after the baby arrives) and we've purchased the crib, glider, stroller, various carriers, and an abundance of clothes... even before the first baby shower takes place. In short, this is the fun part.

I can no longer see my feet when I look down, unless I lean forward, and my belly astounds me with how much it has grown. I am carrying high and all in front, which I think makes some people believe I must be further along or just weigh too much for this stage, neither of which are true. The weight gain has probably been the biggest challenge for me so far. Having always been the skinny girl (and all the body image issues that went with it), it's tough to watch myself go in the other direction in such a short amount of time. Of course, baby weight gain is different than just having too many Big-Macs, but taking the weight off when all is said and done doesn't discriminate. I do love my belly though, and I'd like to think I'm a cute pregnant lady nonetheless.

Just 2 short days after the anatomy scan, J and I both felt the baby kicking from the outside, anterior placenta be damned! Looks like our kid is also going to be one to not necessarily do what's expected.  :)