By: Kerrie Olejarz
Near the end of March we received our baby update. We were 16 weeks pregnant and had a heart beat of 148 bpm! It was around this time we also had our triple marker test, a genetic screening. The triple marker would take a few weeks for the results, but we were not worried; we do not have family gentic issues and our NT scan was fine. The ultrasound report noted both passive and active movements and all the critical measurements were on track. This was a big relief for us, because some of our pregnancies went bad around week 18 or so. Knowing the baby was measuring fine at this point was so important.
However, much to our dismay, just two weeks later we received the results of our genetic screen and they were not favorable. We screened on the positive side for Trisomy 21 and 18. Our hearts sunk. We were in utter shock. We had let our guard down, getting too comfortable with this pregnancy, and wham, here it was, the curve ball. I immediately made arrangements to speak with Dr Shivani on my drive home from work. She sounded concerned that I wanted to talk while driving; I guess she worried I would be too stressed and crash my car. I spoke with Mark and said I was against an amnio –too risky, too scary. He agreed. Mark and I were realistic and logical about the results. We knew it was a mathematical equation that took my age into heavy consideration. Dr Shivani also agreed an amnio was too risky. She recognized how long it took for us to have a baby and how precious this was and that we were not willing to take even the slightest risk. She suggested we do a Level 2 Scan with a fetal medicine specialist present and I agreed. The Level 2 Scan would look at 140 critical markers and the tabulation of the findings would give us a better idea. Dr Shivani ended the phone call with a plan to set this up over the next few days. I did not crash my car and I was oddly calm about the situation. I think a lot of my calmn came from my trust in Dr Shivani. She offered up sound medical advice along with her compassionate personal opinion.
Less than a week later we received an email saying “We are happy to inform you that Dr. Shivani has reviewed the reports and found everything normal. Baby is normal and doing good. As per this report, everything is within the normal limit.” Attached to the email was a two-page, detailed report of each measurement. We spent an hour Googling each term unknown to us. We looked up Anthorn, Sandaltoe, Cavum, Choroid Plexus, and so on. The most important thing on the report was the word “normal”. Every critical marker was normal, normal, and normal.
Also attached to the email was a zip file, which to our surprise extracted 69 photos of our baby! Lots of amazingly clear 3D pictures allowed us to easily see our baby’s lips (which look just like Daddy’s), five toes on one foot, and baby’s nose. We flipped through these pictures for a long time and each one drew us in. We were in love! At the end of the pictures we had a couple more 3D pics that clearly showed our baby sucking his thumb. His little am stretched to his mouth, probably trying to soothe himself after this very long photo shoot. We were super relieved and hoped Sumita was feeling ok. This scan probably took a couple hours to complete and I can only imagine how uncomfortable she was lying there for that period of time. We also hoped this scan did not worry her, and make her wonder if something was wrong.
The chapter was now closed and we decided to not spend any more time worrying about genetic concerns. Dr Shivani and her team made the process as easy as possible for us. It is difficult being so far away from it all, but really, if we were there –in India, what could we do anyway?