Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Nine-week update

I had my first OB appointment this week. I'll have the same obstetrician I had with my other pregnancies, and I really like her. She's warm but not touchy-feely, and while she's very kind and empathetic, she doesn't let me get away with anything. It's a nice mix!

Frankly, I could have practically phoned this appointment in. I'm only at nine weeks, so it's too early to hear the baby's heartbeat with the doppler. There isn't too much that she could tell me that I don't remember from my last two pregnancies, either. (I always stumble over the number of pregnancies. This is in fact my fourth pregnancy, since we lost the first one, but I don't want to keep dragging that into the conversation. Anyway, I digress...)

She listened to my heart and lungs, and took my blood pressure, which always tends to the low side. The only part I didn't like was the weigh-in, mostly because her scale is a full five pounds heavier than the scale I've been using at the gym to monitor my weight weekly. Ugh. I'm more paranoid about my weight this time around than I ever was before.

The one conversation that I meant to have and that I forgot about was the "advanced maternal age" issue. I'm 37, which while not exactly ancient still puts me into the risk category. I'll be having the Integrated Prenatal Screening (IPS) test that's available to all pregnant women in Ontario (can I get a hallelujah for socialized medicine? Throughout my entire pregnancy, the only cost I am likely to incur is in the hospital when I give birth, because I will upgrade from a ward to a private room at $100 a night.) IPS consists of an ultrasound at 12 weeks, plus two blood tests, and screens for increased likelihood of Down Syndrome, Trisomy 18 and neural tube defects.

What I can't quite bring myself to do is an amniocentisis. Because I know my OB fairly well by now, I don't think she'll push one on me, despite the 'advanced maternal age' issue. When I was pregnant with Tristan, the 18 week ultrasound showed an echogenic cardiac focus, a bright spot of calcification on the heart that was at the time considered to be a 'soft marker' for Down Syndrome. We went for genetic counselling, but facing a 1 in 200 chance of Downs, I couldn't bear the risk of the 1 in 200 chance of miscarriage with an amnio.

Although, it sure would be nice to know whether this baby's plumbing is of the indoor or outdoor variety - and the amnio can confirm that. Waiting another nine weeks for the ultrasound that shows gender is going to be excruciating!

The one thing I love about my OB's office is the chart on the wall with the actual-size representation of what your baby looks like right now. I'm thrilled to see that the little munchkin has developed fingers and toes already, and is roughly the size of my thumb. Nine weeks down, 31 to go!