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Rachel's Amnio Blog
Final update Nov. 7, 2005

Introduction
The tests
We're going for amnio
The day of the amnio arrives
After the amnio
Days 2 to 5 after the amnio
Nov 1, 2005 - Day 6
Nov 2, 2005 - Day 7
Nov 3, 2005 - Day 8
Nov 4 & 5, 2005 - Days 9 & 10
Nov 6, 2005
The results

Introduction

Day 6 after the amnio. The time's gone by quickly. Maybe because there are 4 kids in the house and maybe because the youngest one (7-1/2 months) came down with chickenpox on day 3.

This is my fantasy pregnancy – the one you find out about and you're actually surprised. I import ovulation & pregnancy tests, so I literally had hundreds around the house. We knew we wanted to try for another baby, but I couldn't get organized to do the ovulation tests properly… I tried for a few days, but not always at the same time & it didn't look like anything was happening, so I gave up. A while later, I started feeling some cramping (I thought the cramps must either be ovulation or that I was getting my period) so I tried an ovulation test, which came out positive. I was really excited to know that we did have a chance that cycle after all… It was day 28, but it was my first cycle after delivering our daughter, so I knew such cycles are frequently messed-up.

Over 2 weeks later, I was feeling "weird". I told my husband that on the way back from the store where we'd just looked at parquet floor panels for our new house. I specifically said to him that I didn't think I was pregnant, but I did feel strange… He dropped us off at home (the baby & me) and I, practically without thinking, grabbed a pregnancy test & went on to do it, just to get the whole idea of pregnancy out of my head.

Imagine how surprised I was when the test line came in even before the control line(!) It wasn't one of those faint pink lines I'd seen with 2 of my previous pregnancies – it was a dark pink line. There was no question as to whether it was there or not. My first thought was that if it was a mistake (that I wasn't really pregnant) that I was closing my business (I'm not going to sell a test that's inaccurate!) I then remembered that I've sold thousands of them and haven't had any complaints, so it was kind of unlikely.

In shock, I picked up my baby and wondered what to do. If I had thought the test were going to be positive, I never would have done it when my husband wasn't home… He was due back soon, but in the meantime, I was about to explode.

I took the pregnancy strip, put it in a card on which I wrote – "I'm at least as surprised as you are" and closed it in an envelope, which I left on the table.

It took him forever to get home. I mean, it was a really long time. Torturously long, because I wasn't only waiting to share the news, I was also feeling bad that I'd done the test without him. I needed desperately to explain why…

He finally got home, opened the envelope and the test strip fell on the floor. He picked it up and understood immediately. I explained, he wasn't upset, and then we were both in a whirlwind of shock.

It was exactly the day when we had to return his company car, so we drove to Jerusalem in separate cars & I was obsessed with thoughts about having another baby. The whole way home we talked about it, about the fact that it was good that we had chosen the biggest room in the house for our baby, since we'd need to put another baby in there; that it would be great for her to have a little brother or sister.

We had a big move ahead of us, moving out of a 5-bedroom into a somewhat smaller house, arranged completely differently. Fortunately we'd ordered packing in advance, so at least I knew we wouldn't have to do that.

The next day, having calmed down a bit, I realized there was still a chance it was not really happening. I took a sample that I'd gotten from another company & tried it too. BFP, as they say. And it was soooo fast. I don't think I had to wait 10 seconds for the line to appear.

The tests

The first test was Thursday, the second Friday, and on Sunday my husband went to pick up a slip so that I could have a blood test. When the value of 19,707 came in that afternoon, I was shocked. I had been hoping for over 200… In fact, it was so high that I was worried. I called the nurse in my doctor's office & she told us to come right by for an ultrasound. We were there within half an hour.

And there, on the screen, was a tiny sac. Inside it, a tiny embryo with what I remember as a 1 or 2 pixel heartbeat. I was in tears. It appeared that I was 6 weeks pregnant - there would be just over a year between our two babies.

I spent the evening looking up on the Internet what a very high beta HCG test result means. In general, a normal pregnancy ruled out all of the scary stuff, so I calmed down.

My doctor wasn't worried about the high beta. The pregnancy was easier than the previous one. I was tired, but not as tired as before. We went for the nuchal translucency test, which was excellent – 1.1mm, reducing our risk of Down's syndrome to 1:1500. We also did the accompanying blood test, where the free beta came out on the high side (1.58MoM) but overall the risk was still 1:1500. The high free beta worried me.

At 16 weeks, we went for an early scan. Based on this, we were hoping to avoid having to do amniocentesis. The scan was fine. Nothing worrisome. In the previous pregnancy we'd had "golf balls" and had gone for a special ultrasound of the heart, but this time everything was OK.

At 17 weeks, I went to have the AFP (alpha-fetoprotein or triple scan) test. I was anxiously awaiting the results; because we knew that if the results were poor we would opt for amniocentesis.

We're going for amnio

The doctor called and said he'd gotten the results. We were going for amnio. I understood that it was bad. I thought he would say our risk was 1:30. I was surprised when he said it was 1:150. All the values were within normal range, but together they still raised our risk.

I was able to make an appointment quickly, for that same week. It could have been sooner, but there were holidays in the middle. I spoke to my doctor who gave me a recommendation, so I changed my appointment, opting to pay privately.

My mind was overflowing with thoughts. What do you do if the fetus is not OK? If our decision were to abort, would we want to know the sex? Would we want to see it? How would it feel to make the decision to end life – something that completely negates things that we spend our whole life learning? How would we explain it to the kids? How would this make us feel about another pregnancy?

And there were answers too. I am lucky enough to be able to share all of my thoughts, even the craziest ones, with my husband, who is also my best friend. We decided that we did not want to know the sex of the baby. That it would be easier for us. We both felt that we would rather not see it – for fear of having the picture in our heads forever. We realized that the decision would be terribly painful, that there would be a lot of tears and that we would have to be sure that we were making the right decision. We would tell the children the truth, explaining about quality-of-life. We would be OK both as a couple and as a family. We could survive it. We would try to have another baby when the time was right (obviously not waiting very long because of my age).

Being able to talk about it helped me a lot. I felt that a lot of the issues were (at least temporarily) solved. That my husband and I agreed about things. That we would get through this together.

We also discussed who we would tell about the amnio. Not wanting to be driven crazy by anyone asking us how it was, how we feel, did we get the results, etc. We told a few people and asked them not to discuss it with us. We said we would let them know when we had any news and that it would likely take 3 weeks (which is what the hospital told us).

Holidays meant seeing people and being with people. It felt artificial to wear maternity clothes. I felt like I wanted to hide the pregnancy. Like I didn't want anyone to see me that way or to talk to me about it. I did wear the maternity clothes. Nothing else fits…

The day of the amnio arrives

I was completely calm most of the time before the test. I didn't want to be stressed or for stress to in any way effect the fetus (who, statistically, is likely to be healthy). Our appointment was for 11 & we had to run around within the hospital for a long time before that. My husband found it very frustrating. I took it in stride, not worried about being a few minutes late. We were pretty much on time & they told us there were 2 more women ahead of us. 30 minutes later, they told us that there were still 2 women ahead of us. Both women didn't happen to be there when they came out to call them, and suddenly they pointed at us & took us in.

My husband stayed for the ultrasound and the prepping & then I thought it would be easier for him to wait outside, which he did. The doctor was great – said 1, 2, 3 and stuck the needle in. My greatest fear of amnio had been having a needle stuck in my uterus of which I feel so protective when I'm pregnant. I didn't feel this fear at all before or during the test. I could feel the fluid being sucked out, as a kind of tugging. It wasn't pleasant, but it wasn't terrible. The doctor told me that the fluid was clear and that it looked good. I didn't notice when she took the needle out.

After the amnio

Two minutes later, I was up on my feet and walked out to where my husband was waiting for me (he was surprised it was done so quickly). I felt a little achy and I broke into tears – I guess just a kind of mental relaxation… We sat outside for about 30 minutes. I had pain that seemed to go down the muscles in my leg and up my back. We asked the doctor, who said it was normal, so we went to get a sandwich & a drink and we drove home. From the minute we got into the car, I had no more pain. My uterus was a bit achy, but no cramping, no pain.

I felt some relief at having the test over with & I felt pretty confident that the risk of miscarriage involved in amniocentesis was minimal. I took it *really* easy. My husband spoiled me, taking care of our baby & the three older kids, doing everything. I slept a few hours in the afternoon. In the evening I uploaded a website I was working on for someone else.

Days 2 to 5 after the amnio

Day 2, I barely did anything even though I was feeling fine. I did pick the baby up by mistake… Day 3, by the evening I was doing most things. That night, at 2am, when my baby daughter woke up screaming, I discovered she had chickenpox.

Day 4 I went to the doctor who checked my uterus & listened to the fetus's heartbeat. I got the OK to go back to my normal routine.

Day 5 I spent mostly with our baby. She's feeling OK even though she's got it pretty badly. She has pox in her eyelids. She has pox everywhere pretty much.

Nov 1, 2005 - Day 6

So here I am at day 6. I don't feel stressed. I am wondering what the results will be. I can picture them going either way. I am remembering to be happy each time I feel the baby move. I am remembering that I have to continue to eat well and be healthy. I wonder how I will feel if the results are good – will it be an incredible relief? Will I suddenly be more "into" the pregnancy? I will continue to write & I will post the results, whatever they may be.

Nov 2, 2005 - Day 7

I feel like I don't want to plan anything... My in-laws want to go away for the weekend before my SIL goes to Australia (for 4 months) and I feel like the near future is so uncertain that I don't want to make any plans. I'm wondering if the 2nd week is going to be harder than the first... anticipating the results. And then what if they actually take 3 weeks like they said they might. At least the woman who explained how to get the results told us that they're updated daily at 3. That will save us calling more than once a day (you get the results here over the phone, from a computerized system -- unless the results are bad, in which case you get them from the doctor).

The big kids have told a few people that we went for a test because there might be something wrong with the baby. We're very honest with them & I guess it worries them enough that they feel the need to talk about it.

On another note (is G-d trying to keep us busy?), we heard a boom in our house today & the power went out... and then we smelled a burning smell. Now 2/3 of the electricity in our house isn't working. The electrician we called can only make it tomorrow morning, so we gave the baby a bath by candlelight :-) Her chickenpox are bad, but overall she had a much better day today than yesterday.

Nov 3, 2005 - Day 8

Today my husband felt the baby move for the first time. He looked so happy... I had felt like he might not want to feel the baby so that he wouldn't feel attached. He said he did want to...

I posted a message on one of the local boards to try to see how quickly other women got their results. The consensus was pretty much 3 weeks. So I've got 2 weeks to go? Gosh, that seems like forever.

We're putting off planning things until we get the results. We were supposed to be having a big party for our oldest daughter tomorrow, which we had to postpone because of the baby's chickenpox. We didn't schedule a new date because in any case it would be after the results & if things are bad & we have to abort then I don't want to have to postpone it again. Though statistically it doesn't make sense, I can't help feeling like this is a bad time to make that sort of plans.

I know I'll be able to put off making the first call until 10 days have passed, because no one seems to get results before that... but will I be able to put it off longer? Sunday is 10 days. Maybe we'll have the results before my husband leaves for reserve duty on Wednesday.

Nov 4 & 5, 2005 - Days 9 & 10

Well, I didn't see the point in not calling on the earliest day there could possibly be results - it's a computerized system, so I'm not wasting a person's time... I waited until after 3 to call on Friday and the answer's not in. The next possible time is Sunday (tomorrow).

The waiting isn't so bad, I guess the hardest is to think that the doctor might call with bad news & then wondering what he's got to say and whether he'll tell me over the phone.

Yesterday it poured, so I guess our garden party would have been kind of wet... The chickenpox are getting better :-)

Nov 6, 2005 - Day 11

No answer. Today at about 3:01 I mentioned to my husband that we could call & immediately he was on the phone to check. I guess it will be the daily ritual until we know...

I started working on the course I'm taking at the Open University (a Data Systems course) and was able to both concentrate and move ahead with it. I've started the course before, but then the course got put on the back burner when my best friend & now husband (finally) proposed to me :-)

My in-laws came to visit today & I didn't really want to talk about how I feel, because how I feel physically seems so irrelevant and I don't want to share with them how I feel emotionally...

The chickenpox are nearly gone and our baby's in a much better mood. Yay! Tomorrow's my husband's first day at the university where he's starting his doctorate.

The Results - Nov 7, 2005

That's it. The waiting is over! The results are in and our baby is healthy :-)

I'm trying to think if I feel relieved or not. I'm not sure yet, but I do remember thinking that only after we get good results does the pregnancy really begin for me... So here we are...

I'm pregnant!

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On March 25th, 2006, after discovering gestational diabetes in the 39th week, I was induced and our daughter Nomi was born weighing 8lbs 1oz. She is a healthy and adorable baby :-)

 


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