Friday, May 27, 2005

Boy Oh Boy, Oh Boy!!

There are times in your life when you swear that time will never pass, like when your OB gives you an important date for a test and of course a chance to see your precious baby(ies) again.
When our OB told us when we would have our first big scan at something over 12 weeks, it was 4 whole weeks away!
Dutifully I made a new ticker for my siggy and waited... then I waited some more... and then I went out and bought a fetal Doppler to listen in on the babies' hearts. No way I was going to go by faith for 4 whole weeks after all. Hey! It was either that or showing up at the OB's every second day just to make sure babies are fine!!

But wouldn't you know it? Time does go by and the day of our NT scan dawned all gloomy and rainy and I so thanked myself for ordering a cab the previous day because my SPD flared up and I couldn't walk.
You couldn't even talk to George the whole morning before the scan; the guy was gloomier than the weather! When I did manage to get a few words out of him all he said was he was worried this time we would find 3 babies in there!!

The traffic was not as bad as we thought and we were in the office for our appointment on time!
I filled in the necessary paperwork, where I accidentally wrote down as George's profession "housewife"!! Did you think they would notice?? I hastily smudged it up and wrote "Naval Officer" instead... No, I wasn't nervous at all.
Our name is called and we get up and into a nice office with lots of Ultrasound machines. I lay on the bed, shoes and all (!!) and exposed my belly. Oh yay! Our first belly scan! No dildo camera anymore! The babies are now big enough to be seen through my belly!

Up until that moment all I cared about was seeing my babies again. The thought of anything being wrong, had not entered my mind and if it had, I had hastily brushed it away. Nobody in our family ever had Down's Syndrome or Trisomy 13 or 18 and I was so below the "older mother" limit, I really did not think the test would be passed by both kidlets with anything but flying colors.
But as I lay there a new term entered my mind; "scrambled genes" or "oops, the blueprint for building this baby is upside down!! We were reading it wrong and now its all messed up! The hands go at the end of the arms, not the legs you silly cells!!"
Some times trisomies can happen for no apparent reasons. George's genes and mine were combined for the very first time; would they fit together? And would the combination wield a healthy baby? In other words, are we even genetically compatible? At least enough to create a complete, healthy, everything-in-the-right-place new life?

We were about to find out as the gel was squirted onto my bare belly. They keep saying its cold and inhumane, but I didn't even feel the thing. My eyes were glued to the screen and as the probe touched my belly, there was my first baby dancing around!!! They say a fetus' movements are spastic and without purpose but my baby danced the most beautiful, fluid dance in the history of the world. It no longer looked like a blob or a lima bean. There was no mistaking that the black and white little creature there, was indeed a miniature human, with a nose, ears, fingers, toes and a little wildly beating heart.

Allowing myself to have a few silly, innocent, I-haven't-really-gone-through-Hell-to-get-pregnant, thoughts, I recently thought if my babies would be ugly and if I would love them the same if they were as I was looking at a particularly unattractive in my eyes, little toddler in the super market.
But right at that moment I was totally, helplessly, forever and ever, blindly in love with something that did not even have thick skin yet (nor hair or lashes) and that looked more like a miniature skeleton than a baby. At that moment I didn't even care whether it would ever grow hair or if it would have big eyes or small eyes or short lashes or look less cherubical than an angel.
It was MY baby and I loved it with all the strength of my little heart and it barely looked human let alone beautiful.
And at that point, it turned and waved at me with all tiny (skeletal) five fingers. S/he knows me and its only 12 weeks old!!!

I turned to look at George who had leaned as forward as he could, mouth almost agape, looking at the screen with the same intensity I was, trying to memorize every little tiny detail, but thank God for videotapes because if I hadn't watched the video 25 times since yesterday, I wouldn't be writing this right now in vivid detail!

Then the doctor did something that pissed me off and I barely contained myself from jumping up and ripping his arm off. He prodded my baby!!! He dared to prod MY baby so it would turn for him. The little one kicked back fiercely and so hard it hurt me as my skin was caught between a probe and a tiny foot.
The thought of killing the doctor only lasted a few seconds because I realized he is not really hurting my baby and all he wants to do is to make him turn. I probably jar the babies more myself every day just going about my normal business.
I tried to calm down thinking of the "egg in a balloon filled with water" parallel my OB used to let me see how well protected my babies are while inside of me... yet no one ever told me how well equipped they are this early on, to handle the raging hormones of a protective mother, so I really tried to relax and allow the man to work. I am sure the kids will someday return to the office and give him a good kick in the head as pay-back ;)

Once our little skeleton man had turned the doctor measured this little gap between his skull and outer skin. Now, the number has to be under 3mm. Children with trisomies usually have an unusually thick gap (nuchal translucency) but since this isn't a diagnostic test but a screening test (meaning it will only give you with a % of probability for a potential problem), if you do get a thicker NT measurement, you usually have more testing done.
For our baby B, as charmingly s/he was named by the medical profession, the measurement was 2mm. When this data along with how tall s/he is from tail bone to top of bony head (in our case 5.6cm - a little over 2") is entered into a mathematical equation with my age and the fact that yes our baby does have a nasal bone visible, you get a probability that this child might have a trisomy. For our first baby that chance was 1:4853 for Down's and 1:7602 for other trisomies.
By age (27) alone the risk was 1:810 for T21 and 1:1459 for T13,18. So that was a marked improvement.

We momentarily leave baby B alone and move on to Baby A who is sleeping at the moment, even though its sibling has been busy kicking all the way to Virginia.
This little one yawned and dutifully turned sides so the doctor got a good look at it. This baby's NT was 1.8mm and s/he was 6.09 cm long. This was the baby we kept seeing for the first 8 weeks and it is by 3 days older than the sibling, so its natural its bigger.
For this little one (who really just wanted to get back to sleep!) the probabilities were 1:7689 for Down's and 1:10210 for T13,18.

And then we got our big news "Looks like you have two boys in there".
My jaw almost dropped at the news. For a teeny, tiny, please forgive me God, second, I thought of all the pink, frilly and wonderful clothes I had at home just waiting for our little girl.
In my wildest dreams I hadn't thought of having two boys! I thought, two girls, a girl and a boy as possible scenarios but never two boys and for that split second I mourned my girlie dream.
But it was only for a split second, because in truth I didn't care about the gender and I told the doctor that all I care about is that they are big and healthy and they come home with me after the birth.

We left the office holding (ok! cuddling) a pack of U/S photographs, a note saying our babies are healthy and a videotape of the event.
We smiled like a pair of Chester Cats, talking about our little boys, whose names are already picked out by family tradition... John and Cody!!
George seemed a little concerned and promptly painted me a picture of endless games of mock war, football, cowboy outfits and a house full of testosterone as we sat down for a cappuccino. He seemed somehow apprehensive we are (probably, don't paint anything blue just yet!!) having two little boys, but all I could think of were my two little guys and as I lay in bed later that day I realized that I couldn't care less if I didn't have a girl in there and I felt silly for momentarily mourning my pink dreams. In all my thoughts all I could see were my little boys... Though I did remind myself that we would know for sure sometime in August and that at this early stage there is indeed margin for error.
But for now, I am enjoying my two little boys and I can't wait for me to hit 27 weeks so I can go blue-things shopping :)

World beware! The twins are coming full force!!

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