She apologized for calling so last minute, but was wondering if we could come in by 12pm instead. They were hoping to test Paul's blood to see if his chromosomes carried 2 little c antigens or one little c and one big C (confusing, I know). Anyway, if they could determine that he has two little c antigens then we would know for sure that baby #5 has the antigen and the amniocentesis wouldn't be necessary. If though, he had one big C and one little c then the baby would have a 50% chance of having the little c antigen and we would still need to do the amnio.
Not having an amnio certainly appealed to me as I was (and am) very concerned about the risk of miscarriage, though it's a very small risk (less than 1%). But not having the amnio would also mean that this baby is at great risk for developing Hemolytic Disease of the Fetus or Newborn (HDFN) because of having the antigen. So Paul left work and picked me up and we rushed down to the hospital.
They took Paul's blood and then we met with Cherie, the genetic counselor. We had to go over about 4 generations of family members to determine any risks that this baby might face. (With the way our government and health care are going, it felt a little like genetic profiling.) After that was done and Cherie shared more details with us, we rushed off to grab a quick bite to eat.
When we returned the results for Paul's blood work were back. He has one little c antigen and one big C which means the baby and every baby in the future has a 50% of getting the little c antigen. Then we waited a long time to get in for the ultrasound. They do an u/s before (and during) an amnio to determine good pockets of fluid and to see how baby is doing. It was the most detailed u/s I've ever had with a pregnancy. And like I said earlier, it was amazing to see our baby!
After the ultrasound, the perinatologist came in to do "the procedure." They no longer do a local anesthetic, which was little frightening. The doctor told me I'd feel "a pinch and then cramping." I'd say that was a fairly accurate description of the way it felt, though the cramping was pretty intense. Not to mention I was tipped back so my feet were higher than my head, so my legs got all numb. The whole thing lasted (in my estimation) about 60-90 seconds. Afterwards they checked the baby's heart rate again on the u/s. Then I had to go down to the lab for a blood draw so they can confirm that the cells in the amniotic fluid are the baby's, not mine.
We opted to do the chromosomal study as well as the antigen test. That way if anything is detected in a later u/s during the pregnancy, they will have the chromosomal study to compare it to, rather than having to go through another amnio later on. The doctor did see something in the u/s that was slightly concerning and that was the measurement of the baby's arm and leg bones. She said that were a little shorter than normal and that could be an indication for Downs Syndrome.
It was a little scary hearing that. We would love a child who has Down's Syndrome like any other baby that God gives us, but our concern is how a baby who has Down's would be able to handle HDFN if he/she has the antigen. We will find out the results of the chromosomal study in 8-10 days. We will have to wait 2-3 weeks for the results of the antigen test. If baby has the antigen I will have to go down to the University Hospital every week starting at 18 weeks for weekly ultrasounds.
After 4 hours, we were finally done. It was a long afternoon, but Praise God it went well. I'm feeling pretty good today, some cramping but no spotting. They told me to take it easy for 24 hours.
Oh, and did I mention we found out whether baby #5 is a boy or girl? We did!
Thank you so much for your prayers! You are a blessing to us and to Caleb!