two uteri, two mamas pregnant, AGAIN, with baby number two

the big scary ultrasound… October 16, 2007

Filed under: ttc — charlotte @ 4:44 pm

…was good. BUT.

Yes, there is a big fat giant but.

First though I will tell you that there was an adorable, ALIVE, kicking baby in there measuring a day ahead at 5.1cm (11w6d). It was miraculous and we thought all was well (silly us) when the nuchal fold measurements were coming back at 1.5 and 1.7. Oh those blissful 10 minutes before the doctor returned with our results.

The combined screening results (S had her blood drawn last week) were scary. To me. Our Downs Sy.drome statistic came back at 1/342. That, my friends, is not a reassuring number to me. Not at all. Not when yours were like 1/1700 (bri) or 1/6200 (familyo).

The fucking cutoff for the “increased risk zone” where they recommend an amnio or further testing was 1/298. Am I supposed to be reassured that we missed the cutoff by fucking 44 instead of 1000? No. Hells no. Our trisomy results were reassuring at 1/6,221. I think the issue that messed the whole thing up was the blood result. The fre.e b.eta number was 2.94 which is in the 98th percentile, which means it was high. Which is a downs indicator, I think.

If any of you know more about these numbers, please tell me. Am I over reacting? Everyone I know gets way way better numbers than that. So I just feel sad and confused. Am I being completely fucking ridiculous? Insane? Is this really a great number and I just don’t understand the whole freaking thing? **BTW S is 36 and will be 37 at due date.

Following is the neat little chart they gave me. Following that is the picture of what I hope is our chromosomally normal little baby. The baby sure was cute with all the toes and fingers and pretty little heartbeat. Good god. Must we be terrified this whole fucking pregnancy?

I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to post a picture of our perfect baby and be so relieved, so happy, so ready to finally relax. And for the ten minutes while we waited for the results of the blood test to do fancy statistical things with the neck fold measurements, I was.

I felt happy about the baby in a new way. I was just happy. It was unexpected and very, very lovely. Anyway, here is the baby, who really did look incredibly cute. I’m off to Google this and likely to freak myself out and cry.


17 Responses to “the big scary ultrasound…”

  1. Lo Says:

    I know very little stats except this: if there *was* a vanishing twin, that *could* have affected her beta (which in turn would have affected your statistical outcome). Jude would know more about that.

    Because S is older than Co and Bri, her result is necessarily going to be higher; age is a factor in the calculation. And it is GOOD that the results made the risk go *down* from what it would for her age.

    that baby is SO CUTE.

    I hate that there is more stress. I hope other people will give you good hard science-y reasons to make it go away.

  2. cooler*doula Says:

    Beautiful baby.

    Age has a big BIG, nay HUGE effect on the stats… I don’t know how old S is, but my midwives advise that the closer one is to 40, the greater the skewing effect to the point that it overrides any good results from the draw.

    At 38, I’m not looking forward to making the decision whether to do this test or not. Skipped it first time at 35.

  3. Kim_m_kk Says:

    well I was 30 years old when I fell prgnant with Aidyn. My downs results from the nuchal test came back 1 in 50. The nuchal fold measure for Adiyn was normal…I can’t remember the exact number but it was normal and I actually left the scan feeling happy and sure our baby was healthy. The next day is when the dr called and based on my blood work gave us the news I was high risk. My b.eta number was very high as well. I was freaked…I cried for days. We went to see a specialist in brisbane and had CVS testing done. The interesting thing to me was this dr who was amazing and does this kind of thing all the time did an ultrasound and said this baby is fine but we will do the test to make sure. He was sure the baby was fine because of the nasal bone and some other measurements being perfect. We had 3 scans in four days and everything in the scans was perfect. In the end the CVS test came back normal and Aidyn is a happy healthy two year old. I know all too well how hard it is not to be scared and freaked but really the odds are in your favor.


  4. Co Says:

    First of all, the littl’un is adorable!

    Secondly, I know you wanted better results–who doesn’t?–but odds of 1 in 342 for Downs mean that the odds of no Downs are 341 in 342. That’s a 99.7% chance of NO Downs. I also notice that the results show that the odds of Downs are equal to the odds of those of a woman 2 years younger than S.

    While that doesn’t make you feel much better–why would it?–I’ll also say stuff you already know, like a Nuchal is just a screening test. It’s not definitive. And just like they always warn you, sometimes screening tests can result in unnecessary scares. I hope that’s what this is.

    I’m sorry. You and S. deserve so much better than more worries right now.

  5. jennifer Says:

    This is when it is better to look at PERCENT and decimal instead of the “one in” number. 1 in 342 as a decimal is a .0029 chance. .0029 is VERY small. And, as PP said, that is 99.7 percent chance of a regular ole screaming baby.

    The reason why it isn’t 1 in 12,333 is because of her “advance maternal age.” Seriously. Our oidds drop so quickly from year to year.

    I think everything is going to be just fine.

  6. TTC4years Says:

    I am looking at that picture, and I see a BABAY!I will let no test deflate my excitement for you- and I hear your concerns, and yes there is a chance of something there… but what I see is a BABAY! I am going to be happy, and I want you to enjoy that moment too:)

  7. Ugh, sorry that you didn’t get a worry-free ride from this point forward. However, I agree completely with Co & Jennifer and their mad math skilz — and at the same time I know that even teeny tiny odds can still be terrifying. Hang in there.

  8. pourlebebe Says:

    Hi, I’m so sorry that you didn’t get the worry-free ultrasound that you were looking for. I’ve been reading your blog and hoping good things for you for so long now! I had to chip in; though I will say… I know nothing about math and stats and have no official knowledge about nuchal scans in any way… with that said, I’m currently working on my dissertation, looking at parents’ experiences with prenatal chromosomal abnormalities (mostly Klinefelters and Turners and such)… and what I have found is that people that are meant to be experts, like Dr. PSS for one, quite often are not the experts. This is your baby and you are the expert on your baby.
    I’m all for scans and analysis and checking things out ahead of time… but what you need to remember is that you can’t plan this child’s college graduation, or marriage, or retirement right now… What you need to focus on is a healthy pregnancy and bringing a new family member into this world.
    Scans be damned! This baby is a part of your family, and I for one am overjoyed for you all!!

  9. Calliope Says:

    I yield to all of the smarties that are doing the reassuring calculations.
    But seriously. fuck. It just sucks so hard that you couldn’t have the “everything is perfect” moment.
    You guys so could use some of that.
    I will say that you guys are making one hell of a cute baby. Totally not a blueberry anymore!
    I am sending you so much love and virtual hand holding.
    Are there any other scans available to you guys now that could give you more answers???


  10. veeandjay Says:

    Great scan – very baby!
    I like what the others did with the numbers – somehow less scary (well, to me at least). A result that puts S in a bracket 2 years under where she’d be expected to be is something to hold onto, at least. I hope you are both able to get some reassurance soon.

  11. asia Says:

    I just wanted to say that I too had scary nuchal screening results because of the bloodwork. Mine was due to insanely low PAPP-A (in the .01 percentile!), and that alone raised my age related risk (whereas yours was still lowered). I did a cvs and everything was fine. One doctor I spoke to said that when the nuchal fold and nose bone look fine and it is just the bloodwork that’s off it creates a sort of “false positive” (in other words you are most likely looking at a healthy baby regardless of the calculated risk). Of course, I did not find that at all comforting at the time, and it did not explain what other problems might be causing my low level of PAPP-A, but it turned out to be true in my case, at least so far. I’m currently about 20 wks along with twins.

  12. Jennifer Says:

    My results with Lauren were 1/150. I didn’t like those numbers so I decided to go with the amnio. I knew that I would spend the remainder of my pregnancy obsessed that something *might* be wrong.

    I agree with everyone else, the 99.7% is a great number. But I also understand how easy it is to focus on that .3%.

  13. gold star Says:

    Everyone before me has said it much better than I could. .3% is nothing. It’s tiny. It’s hardly a probability. And you, S, and LM deserve to step away from that little number and just be happy.

    Have faith that S’s body is doing this right. Tell these charts and numbers and doctors with their non-answer answers to go suck it.

    There’s a little life in there, and it’s yours, and it’s fine! It’s amazing.

  14. Katy Says:

    Yep, I too can commiserate with the “false positive”. But for me it was the kids “plump” nucal sac instead of the blood test. It was plump enough to take my original 1/800 (?) to 1/80. Had a CVS, kid was totally fine. I can absolutely understand the terror, I still have moments of what-ifs of terrible things happening to my son. As a parent,does that ever go away? You just have to try not to focus too long on those worries or you make yourself nuts. I know it’s easier said than done…

  15. whathef*ck Says:

    damn you sounded so good on the phone. didnt realize you’d taken a turn for the worse. 99.7 baby. that’s pretty good. and honeslty you couldnt have agotten a worry-free u/s anyway could you? you (and me) are going to have anxiety about something, right, and the numbers just gave you something to pin it on (and something to google). goddamn that free-floating anxiety. rememeber how we talked about how weird and a little unsettling it is to have a perfectly good news doctor visit. its like you walk outta there scratching your head and half-expecting a cartoon piano to drop on you as you set foot out the door. are you with me? face it lady YOU ARE HAVING A BABY AND EVERYTHING LOOKS GOOD LIKE THE DOC SAID. if you need to worry about something, worry about who’s going to care for the little darling.

    now on to nicknames, as requested, hmmm. y’know the best nicknames spring up very organically. they cant be forced. y’know how it took me years to name my cat and then i named her al. it’ll come.

  16. Christie Says:

    Lurker here, hope that you don’t mind if I reply. (Love your cakes by the way, my kids go crazy over them) Anyway, when I was pregnant with my daughter, my triple screen showed an increased risk for Downs. I was 30 at the time. They said that my risk was 1 in 100. I had read a lot on the internet that said that as long as the ultrasound was normal, and showed no other Down’s markers, that everything was probably fine. The ultrasounds was fine, so we opted not to get an amnio. My little girl is now 5 and 1/2 and is completely normal. I know that my DH was scrared out of his mind though, and was never really able to relax until 2 pediatricians confirmed to him that she didn’t have Downs at birth. I feel for you. Hang in there! I hope that it all turns out as well for you two as it did for us.

  17. Jude Says:

    I was going to post the percentage for you (.0029) but I was beaten to the punch. I’m not even a betting type and I would bet on those odds FOR SURE.

    Age is the biggest factor in all of this. Just 2 years earlier, you would have gotten a whole different number.

    BABYYYYYYYYYY! Kicking baby!

    And yes, if you had a vanishing twin, it can totally screw with quad screen bloodwork. It’s why we skipped all of those tests.

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