Okay, so the big day is upon us monkey! I’m both so excited and so nervous to see you tomorrow. I hope you’ve been baking nicely in my tummy for the past two weeks. I’ve been doing my part out here so…fingers crossed!
So in California, you have the option of participating in what they call first trimester screening to look for chromosomal abnormalities, namely Down’s Syndrome. Now, you know your mommy…she wants to know every little bit about you as soon as she can so of course I signed up for the full first trimester screening which includes blood work and an ultrasound. One week ago I went and got my blood drawn. They are looking at the beta subunit of my HCG (which is raised in children with Down’s) and Pregnancy Associated Plasma Protein A (PAPP-A) which is decreased in children with Down’s. They then take the results of these blood results and correlate it with the Nuchal Translucency (NT) ultrasound. This ultrasound must fall between 11 and 13.6 weeks pregnant. With you in the sagittal view, the ultrasound technician will asses the amount of fluid behind your neck (or in the nuchal folds — hence nuchal translucency). Children with Down’s tend to have higher amounts of fluid here. At 12 weeks of gestational age, an “average” nuchal thickness is around 2.18mm. They will then take this number, along with my blood results and my age to calculate my “risk” level. Lots of calculating huh? It’s just because mommy cares and is a curious cat when it comes to you, baby! This will give us about 80-85% accuracy in determining whether you have Down’s Syndrome or not. Later, in my second trimester (around 16 weeks) they’ll take another blood sample and do some more calculating.
Bonuses to doing first trimester screening:
1. We are doing our share for research! Our data will be used in the California database to help better predict chromosomal abnormalities for other babies! Yay, look at you monkey…already helping out in this world. I’m proud of you!
2. I get to see you again!!! OMG I get to see you again!! But I don’t just get to see you in blob form…this is a special ultrasound machine (they’re sending mommy to a special facility for this one) where I’ll be able to see all your bits and pieces and even more exciting…your BRAIN. Oh man, mommy is going to have so much fun checking out all your goodies tomorrow.
Here are some examples of NT scans:
I just need to see your beautiful heart beating my love…and if you want to wave at me and Daddy feel free! Now until tomorrow is an eternity…
Now, if I could just stop stressing about you and your well-being. I wonder if I’ll get any sleep tonight…haha that was funny. Yeah right.