A day I will never forget

The day I had been waiting for not so patiently finally arrived yesterday. And it turned out to be one I will never forget.

The day dawned bright and cold. Joburg is in the grips of a brutal cold front at the moment (I am not a fan of the cold let me tell you!) and it was all I could do to drag myself out of bed and go through the motions of getting dressed.

I was incredibly anxious and nervous. I think terrified may have been a more accurate description, but I didn’t want to dwell on what we could find out. I have been doing crazy research into Downs and Turner’s Syndromes these past few weeks. I have scoured the internet from top to bottom looking for something that would give me peace of mind an while I felt well informed it didn’t feel at all at ease. I was mentally preparing myself to hear the worst news and to calmly take action after that.

I headed off to the hospital to meet up with my husband before the appointment and my nerves were frayed. I remember getting teary in the elevator and the waiting room.

When we got to the doctor’s offices I had to do blood tests. The way the 12 week screening works for us is you do the blood test before you see the doctor and while you’re busy with your appointment the lab analyses is. They combine the blood test results with what they saw during the scan and give you a pretty accurate view of where you stand in terms of Downs Syndrome and Trisomy 13 and 18.

The actual drawing of the blood didn’t go so well. I have notoriously low blood pressure and coupled with the cold it meant that the nurse was unable to get any blood from me. She tried my right elbow, my left elbow, my wrist and still nothing. By this point I was feeling really sick and was in pain. I swear I was about to faint. She whisked me off to the guys in the lab to have one of them take the blood and after a few more tries we managed to find a vein that gave us enough for the test. But nor my arms are black and blue and I look like a drug addict.

After that we waited a bit longer for the doctor to be ready for us then we headed in to our appointment.

The doctor who saw was very nice. She spent the first part of the appointment taking my history and explaining to us what we’re looking for, how they interpret what they see, and what are options are should we find Downs Syndrome indicators.

After that we went onto the next room to do the scan.

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It was just like the movies. I lay down on a bed, had gel spread all over my abdomen and then she got this wand thing and pressed it on my stomach. The image on the screen was incredible. The baby looks very much like a baby now. It was moving and wiggling around, its little throat practising swallowing the amniotic fluid. We had a look at its brain which looks to be on track, as well as its liver, bladder and measured the leg and arm bones. It’s amazing what you see in the scan because we could see little fingers (five on each hand), we saw the lenses of the eyes and where the ears are.

The doctor also asked us if we would like her to take a guess at what the sex of the baby is. She took a few measurements using what she called the Israeli method and told us she’s pretty sure it’s a little girl!

After showing us all the cool stuff the doctor then checked the bridge of the nose and the nuchal folds behind the neck – these are the main indicators that the baby may have Downs Syndrome. And it was all perfectly normal! I have never been so happy to hear the word normal in my life! It’s the most amazing word every created.

We also checked the baby’s blood flow and my blood flow to the placenta and the placenta to the baby. It all looks good.

She then called in Prof Nicolau who is the specialist at the practise just to double check everything and he was incredibly happy with what he saw.

His words were: “Everything looks perfect, it’s a normal as normal gets!”

Afterwards we were given documentation that shows our adjusted risk for Downs Syndrome and Trisomy 13 and 18. The numbers are looking really good now and the relief I feel is beyond description.

I know I was freaking out about this, but I didn’t realise how much until the burden was lifted from our shoulders. Everyone in our families is incredibly relieved and we are all looking forward to the potential little girl about to join our ranks.

My due date was also adjusted. It looks like baby will most likely arrive on or around the 14th of January next year.

Our next scan will be around 16 weeks, so sometime in August, then we go back to the specialist on the 18th of September for the Anatomy scan.

I know this was a very long post and I really appreciate it if you’re still around and reading it. I’m just so happy and relieved and for the first time feel like I can enjoy this pregnancy. I’m looking forward to the coming months and focusing on staying healthy and keeping the baby healthy!

Thanks to all who wrote me such kind words of support. They really helped me when I was feeling really down and anxious. They seemed to come through whenever I needed a pick me up and words can’t express how much I appreciate that!

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