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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Amniocentesis

Yesterday morning at 10:30 I went in for my amniocentesis appointment. And generally, the appointment and procedure went quite well.

I, however, was a total mess.

I have rarely been so afraid in my life. I trembled as I changed into my hospital gown. I wiped tears as I walked into the room and stared at the bed. I was not pleased to hear that the hospital wouldn’t permit us to record anything, nor take photos of what we saw on the monitor. I made it quite clear that I wasn’t happy and their ‘policy’ was a load of bunk. In my hospital gown, I stood at the end of the bed while the ultrasound tech shoved a consent form under my nose and I told her no, I wasn’t going to sign it until I spoke to the doctor doing the amnio. She was obviously pissed and said, “So you don’t want the amnio?” I replied, “Yes, I have to have it” (knowing in my own mind that I had to go through with it, for myself) and she tossed it aside and just looked at me.

I broke down. With my hands on that bed, I said, “I’m absolutely terrified that I’m going to lie down here and get up without a live baby in me.” I was afraid that something had happened to Petit since we’ve last seen an ultrasound or heard a heartbeat. I was terrified that the measurements would be off. I was scared about the needle for the amnio. I shook at the prospect that the needle would hit Petit and do serious damage. I was nothing short of frozen by fear at the thought that the amnio itself would cause a miscarriage. And of course, I trembled at the thought that the tests come out positive. One thing after another all rolled together in my head and I just wept. Big, fat, emotional tears. I think I wept for most of the appointment actually. Either I wept or I held my breath, alternately.

Once we explained some of our fears, our journey and our issues to the ultrasound tech, she SORTA understood. She reassured me, saying, “Okay then. It’s okay. Just lie down then and we’ll take a look at the baby first. One step at a time.” It was all I could do to get on that table. But I needed to see Petit and know.

And my fears were unfounded. Petit is doing well. Heartbeat of 140, moving limbs and twisting now and then for us. The tech took measurements of femurs, arms, head circumference, all sorts of details. And according to her, everything is on track. Petit is doing just fine. I spend every day in fear that something will happen in utero and the DBT just invade my head. How do I get them to go away? How do you banish DBT from your brain? I know all this stress and angst can’t be good for Petit, but what do you DO to make it go away? What do you DO to help yourself get over that? I fear I won’t be able to enjoy one minute of this pregnancy at all. And that sucks because it’s the only pregnancy I’ll likely ever have at all.

Anyway, the ultrasound was finished and we got one picture of Petit that I held onto for the rest of the appointment. As I said, I can’t be sure that it won’t be my last, so I needed that security blanket.

The doctor came in and sought to reassure my fears. I asked about miscarriage rates. I asked about false positives. I asked about the procedure itself and explained my fear of needles, miscarriage, positives and all the rest. He was good. Calm and understanding. He isn’t just a regular OB, he specializes in amniocenteses and that morning, I was the third one he had on his schedule. He does them every Monday to Thursday morning, usually 4 per day. Yesterday they only had 3 scheduled because the woman before me has twins; double the time for the procedure.

So I signed the form and lay back, weeping. The doc slathered my belly with iodine, and then covered my tummy with the necessary drapes. He walked me through every moment. Hubby held my hand all the way (I think he’s lucky that I didn’t break a finger). They pinpointed a spot near the placenta, away from Petit and the ultrasound tech held the probe in place. Of course I couldn’t look at the needle, but I kept my eyes firmly on Petit and the monitor. The needle went in easily enough, with just a pinch or two and some pressure. They went through my abdomen, into the uterus and through the placenta (as apparently that reduces any fluid leakage or possibility of spotting later) into the amniotic fluid. I saw the needle on the monitor and it never even came close to Petit. The doc said I had quite enough fluid to work with and they started pulling out the required amount. Petit was in no danger at all from the needle or lack of fluid from what I could see. And when they had all the fluid they needed, the doc pulled the needle quickly. THAT hurt like a mother!!! Jesus. I almost rose off the table!! Not cool.

The amniotic fluid was completely clear and it’s very light yellow in colour. There was no cross-transference with my own blood so hopefully that bodes well for the Rapid Aneuploidy Detection (RAD) testing that ought to be done this week. We might even get those results by Friday… we hope. After the needle was withdrawn, the ultrasound tech looked at Petit again, and checked the heart rate. All was completely normal and we were free to go. They handed me a washcloth to wipe the iodine and gel from my belly, so that I wouldn’t stain my clothing. Hubby helped me up and made sure I got all the iodine off before I got dressed.

For the rest of the day, I was told that I had to take it easy; no spring cleaning apparently! And for the next week, no heavy lifting, no straining, no sex (!!) and watch for spotting, leakage of amniotic fluid, a fever or severe cramping. No flying in the week post-amnio either; I’m glad my flight isn’t til April 3. We went home, stopping on the way to pick up a couple of movies to watch. Hubby went out for a DQ Blizzard for me and I took a nap before watching the movies and just kicking back at home. I was completely lazy but after the stress of the last four or five days, it was sorely needed.

And now we wait. Hopefully Friday we’ll get the RAD results and then before I go home, we ought to have the full details of the amnio culture. More stress for me. Until I get these results, I live in fear of “What if?” But as one of my blogging friends said to me, it’s important that I give Petit the benefit of the doubt right now and not to prejudge fate. Petit is REAL and deserves the best chance that we can give her/him. And that means, trying to breathe a little easier. I need to reason with myself (somehow!) and just take things one step at a time, and cross the bridges as we come to them.

I’m just tired of bridges and obstacles though. I want and NEED something to go right. For a change.

For your viewing pleasure, this is the picture of Petit that we obtained at yesterday’s appointment.


8 comments:

Vee said...

I am so proud of you getting through that, it would have been daunting for you.

Petit looks perfect :)

Heather said...

Petit is BEAUTIFUL!!

The one thing I regret is letting infertility steal my happiness during my pregnancy. I denied myself believing in my body and enjoying the miracle.

I can't imagine what it is like in your shoes. Just try to keep those DBTs away - banish them. Enjoy each moment as much as you can Sweetie.

Patti said...

Petit is beautiful. I will continue to think happy and positive thoughts for you. The DBT haunted me throughout me pregnancy, too. It wasn't until we were far enough along for the baby to survive prematurity that they calmed a bit, but everyone worries that something is (or will go) wrong. Ir's normal.

One thing I'd like to point out to you (and you can tell me to get stuffed) is this: you say you need something to go right...well, you're pregnant on the first IVF without having to use donor sperm (I think. Forgive me if I'm wrong). That's beating tremendous odds already, right? I think your proverbial toast landed butter side up that time. ;)

But that's just my opinion...as I said, feel free to bugger off.

~*~Bodhi~*~ said...

You have been on my mind for the past couple of days and you will remain there until I read that everything is fine with you and Petit!!

xxxx

ultimatejourney said...

I'm so relieved it's over and Petit is still doing well. I'll be thinking of you as you await the results.

Mick said...

I've been thinking of you these last few days. You've been through a lot. You and your husband are very brave. I'll be checking in again to hear about the results. As usual I've got my fingers crossed. Mick

Mo and Will said...

so glad you made it through - what a very stressful day. Will be waiting it out with you, fingers crossed, all my hopes pinned on the idea that things are ok with petit.

Mo

Kate said...

That would be so hard. The baby looks great!!