Sequential Screening During the 12th Week of Pregnancy

At my last OB apptiiontment with a midwife, I was offered some optional prenatal testing called sequential screening. The tests looks for various genetic abnormalities including Down Syndrome, Cystic Fibrous, Spina Bifida and more. The test is done by looking and measuring baby through ultrasound as well as testing for different hormones through a mother’s blood draw.

I considered this test when it was first offered to me, and decided to do it for two reasons. 1) because of my history with miscarriages I wanted to know all I could about baby. and 2) with the family history of my brother dying as an infant I knew I could be higher risk for different genetic abnormalities.

On the day of the test, I was a bundle of nerves, as I always am. I went to work that morning as normal as possible. Teaching preschoolers was a good distraction for most of the day. However, as the time drew closer and closer to the test, my fears and worries started to creep up on me.

I confided in many of my coworkers, and they encouraged me and sent me many positive vibes before leaving for my test. The funny thing is, at the time I wasn’t even concerned about the results of the test or any genetic disorders that may be found. I was actually scared of the actual ultrasound. We all know how ultrasounds give me anxiety since my last two losses. I was more concerned that I had lost baby and didn’t even know it. What if baby’s heart stopped beating? What if baby stopped growing? In between work and my test I also confided in my family and friends, read my bible and did some deep breathing.

Charles and I headed to our appointment. I prayed and talked to him the entire time. Charles reassured me that everything would be just fine. When we arrived, we were called back immediately and shown the ultrasound room. Before laying down and preparing for the heated jelly, I confided in the tech and told her I was very nervous.

I laid down and prepared for the worst but hoped for the best. The tech turned on the screen, asked me some questions and began the exam. I held my breath and watched as she looked for baby. She said “There’s baby, and there’s the heartbeat.” I sighed with relief and thanked Jesus. The tech measured baby’s heart rate and it was 163. Perfect. She then started to take images of baby’s heart, stomach, head, and spine.

Baby made little movements here and there but actually looked like he or she was sleeping. The tech still had a few more images to take. She tried nudging baby with the probe and getting baby to turn or roll over… that didn’t work. She then thought she’d take a moment to look at my ovaries then come back to baby. She continued nudging baby with the probe, asking me to roll to my left then roll to my right then flat on my back. She asked me to roll quickly and roll slowly. She asked me to walk around, do some stretching, and anything to get baby to try and move.

As the tech tried nudging baby again, baby turned it’s head and looked at us. It was hilarious and obviously trying to tease the tech. Then baby started waving it’s arms and tried sucking it’s thumb. Baby even put one hand on its forehead, as if feeling irritated and trying to be dramatic. Baby was just stubborn and really wanted to nap. I told the tech during the appointment that this time of day after work is normally my nap time, so it’s understandable why baby wants to take a nap. Eventually, baby cooperated enough to where we were able to get all the photos needed for the test.

After the test I was given a bunch of pictures of our photogenic baby and sent to the lab for some blood work. I was told all of my scans and blood work would be sent to the Mayo Clinic and I would receive results from them within a week or two.

When it was time to go home, all I could do was stare in awe over baby. So many pictures. I got to see baby move and I got to see baby’s heartbeat. Charles actually enjoyed himself too because baby was starting to look like a baby! I shared the good news with my family and friends. They were excited, relieved and so happy for us.

I even shared this little update on my Facebook page as I truly want to not only share in my pregnancy with others, but also share the struggle of pregnancy after loss. I wrote:

It’s funny, now that writing is my hobby, I’m usually really good at explaining what I’m trying to say. But today, I’m at a loss for words. I guess I’ll try and speak from my heart, and maybe just maybe it will make sense.
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I’m going to be completely honest, pregnancy after loss is freaking scary. Sometimes I lay awake at night worried, and over analyzing my symptoms hoping and praying baby is okay. Other times, I am happy, I am at peace and I am content.
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Today, I didn’t know what I was feeling. I was hoping and praying for the best, but truthfully planning for the worse. When you’ve gone through loss you know what the heartbreak feels like and you remember the never ending grief, and in someways you never really escape it.
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This afternoon we had a special appointment. I walked into the room holding my breath and giving it to Jesus. The minute I heard the tech say “there’s the heartbeat.” I knew it was all okay.
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Baby is happy, healthy and stubborn! Heart rate was 163. And I’m measuring a few days early so we are already at 13 weeks! I don’t think I could have asked for better news even if I tried! Baby is okay. We are overwhelmed with joy and feeling so blessed!

Post Written 7/2/21

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