Adventures in Pregnancy : Tests on the Pea Pods

We’re doing the big tests now. The ones that involve multiple needles, no moving, meditative breathing, and going to your happy place.

There are also massive words like amniocentesis and comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) which is overwhelming, yes, but also calming because knowledge is power.

And the unknown is terrifying.

At the appointment this morning, the doctor (and two students) used sonogram to analyze the hell out of fetus one (the one with the thicker nuchal fold that MAY indicate any number of chromosomal abnormalities.

I need to go back in time for a moment to last Thursday when I received the official results of the combination test.

1:8 Down’s syndrome T21
1:500 Edwards’ syndrome T18
1:1000 Patau’s syndrome T13

The doctor informed me that she already called the big hospital and got us an appointment for Tuesday morning.

I was fairly calm.

Perhaps because of the conversations on Tuesday.

Also I dove into self care and distraction techniques that I learned from PTSD recovery.

It helped.


Friday I woke up fine. Saturday I woke up bad. Sunday I woke up worse.

Monday, actually, wasn’t bad.

Probably because it was hotter then hell and all of my resources went to surviving the HOLY FUCK HEAT that is Groningen in the summer. Because the sun NEVER comes out, none of the houses or buildings have air conditioning.

Including ours.

Okay, well, we have a portable unit for PROS.alpha, but… DAYUM yesterday was ASS.

But mostly because of the temperature and not because of stressors.

This morning I puked twice.

We took PROS.alpha into daycare. And headed to the hospital. We were a bit early. They were running a little behind. And by three minutes past the appointment time I had worked myself up to a proper panic attack.

P went to find water and I put my head between my legs.

The appointment hadn’t even started.

One of the interns saw, came right up to me and asked in Dutch are you alright?

I replied in English, “No. My husband is getting water. I’m not alright.”

I was crying.

P arrived with water.

They asked if I wanted to lie down.

I said no, I wanted to start the appointment. Knowledge and information would help me calm down. Answering questions would help me calm down. Moving forward and discussing options would help me calm down.

And it did.

The doctor was incredibly thorough, as I said, she focused on the fetus in question more thoroughly than the initial scans, sent tons of data to my file. Double checked the second fetus as well and then recommended the amniocentesis on both twins.

I let out the breath I didn’t realize I’d been holding, “Yes.”

One of my biggest concerns is that we double checked one fetus, but not the other and found out later … well.

I fully expected this test to be scheduled for later this week so when she explained the procedure and said she’d be back in five minutes to make it happen.

“Will you be okay alone?”

“Yes, of course.”

The doctor and two interns left.

And I fell apart.

Lots of puking. Lots of snot. Lots of tears.

I totally pee’d my pants.

Did I bring extra pants and underwear to this appointment?

Of course not. I had no plans to puke / cry / panic / pee my pants.

Will I bring extra pants and underwear to future appointments?

Goddamnright. Just in case.

They returned.

I was still crying / coughing / breathing deeply and they had a gurney with all kinds of scary implements on it.

I laid back, put my arms over my head, closed my eyes, breathed deeply, and slipped into a meditative trance.

This is the same thing I did to give birth.

I don’t know where I learned it. Dance, maybe? But it’s that slippery awesomeness before you fall asleep where you’re completely relaxed, but still a bit aware of your surroundings and it helped me get through the last stage of labor and delivery with PROS.alpha. I had my pillow and my best friend last time, but P was there and I managed.

They covered my belly in antiseptic and put the sonogram wand into its own glove.

At a certain point before it started, I opened my eyes, saw one of the interns had on gloves and I thought, “Fuck.”

I closed my eyes and refocused on breathing.

For amniocentesis, they find the fetus under sonogram. Then they administer a local anesthesia. Then they stick a LONG ASS needle, ideally into the placenta, VIA YOUR BELLY.





Breathe, Rain.


And then, cause it’s TWINS, they do it again.

The second time, though, I knew the anesthesia would hurt like hell and it hurt worse. And then I dove into breathing to deal. But the very last needle. The second UP AND DOWN process. It started to tickle.



And you’re not allowed to move at all cause it’ll hurt you but it could seriously hurt the fetus cause there’s a needle RIGHT THERE. And it mother fucking TICKLED.

I started to grin. And one of the interns, who was apparently in charge of keeping an eye on me, asked, “Are you okay?”

And I knew I wasn’t allowed to laugh cause I belly laugh with all of my soul; I breathed out and replied, “Yeah…”

“Are you sure.”

“…yeah. I’m fine.”

I almost started laughing RIGHT THEN.

And then it was over.

Results, a phone call, and discussion of next steps will arrive on Friday.

But, in the meantime, the doctor wanted to find out the gender of the twins. Because the amnio will verify that as well, but it helps if they have two different genders, for control purposes.

And they do.

It’s a boy and a girl.

As much as I want to focus on that beautiful little miracle, I also want to stay logical.

The possible outcomes of the test are that both are normal or that one or both is affected. If one or both is affected, we’ll be sent to the genetics department where they’ll use the fetal fluid we nabbed today AND blood from P and I to do a thorough micro array CGH and look at EVERYTHING.

Depending on those results, we’ll have some difficult conversations and decisions to make.

Before twenty-four weeks.

Please be healthy. Please be fine.

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