Making the Decision to Have an Amniocentesis

A pregnant woman
A pregnant woman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I didn’t want an amnio.  I never thought I would need one, even though I am 36 years old. The whole idea of intruding on my baby’s quiet home-made me shiver.  I likened it to throwing bricks on someone’s roof. But, when my nuchal translucency results came back stating that I had an increased risk for Trisomy 13 and 18, I knew that an amnio would be the only solution to put my mind at ease. I spoke with friends and strangers who had it done and those who had chosen not to. I was conflicted in the weeks following the nuchal translucency. I remember a friend telling me that she never had any tests done since she felt they were based on fear, and she didn’t want her pregnancy to succumb to those pressures. This friend also birthed alone in a house in the woods, so I reminded myself that we are pretty different. As much as I would have loved to be as chill as she was, I also knew that I was the type of person who often needs to be reassured that all is going to be OK, even if that means having a doctor tell me this rather than my own intuition.  But, I did know deep down that all was fine. I was actually 99.9% sure of this, but then again there is always that .1%.

So, last Wednesday, my husband and I went to the hospital to have the amnio. First we had the sonogram where we once again shared our joy that our baby was alive and well.  Since my first trimester pregnancy symptoms like nausea have seriously subsided (except when walking around in this wretched heat) I was starting to worry that we had lost the pregnancy, so it was great fun to hear the heartbeat once again and see a close up of the baby’s brain! For the first time in a long time I was feeling very positive about western medicine, the amazing technology we have at our fingertips! But, then we waited. We had to wait 2 ½ hours for the doctor to show up for the amnio. She had been called into an emergency meeting and since she is the head of  the high risk group, I began creating some pretty dramatic stories in my head about what must have happened to warrant such a meeting. Maybe she’s getting fired? Maybe she screwed up big time and will be totally shaken up when it’s time to insert that wretched needle into my womb!

In the end, the amnio was fine. The pain was minimal, nothing at all compared to going to the dentist. I actually didn’t even notice that the needle was inside of me since I was obsessed with staring at the sonogram and watching my baby’s little feet get closer and closer to the needle in the womb. I was freaking out inside saying to him with my inside voice “Get away from there!  You are going to get hurt!” So, through this process, I experienced my first maternal instinct to put my child’s feelings before my own. Simultaneously I was saying, calm down, don’t stress or the baby will be stressed as well.  Another good lesson as I prepare for motherhood. So, it’s done, the first bump in this long journey, and as usual, it was the fear that was worse than the actual experience. Always is.

The appointment also opened my eyes to new pregnancy magazines!  During our long, anxious wait, I calmed myself by reading Pregnancy and Newborn magazine. And, what fun that was! We sat side by side flipping the pages, and finally getting to the fun part – the small apartment baby wish list! I was shocked by all the goodies that are out there, and was anxious to come home and start searching online for some of these tiny room solutions.  More on this in my next post, but for now you can check out my new Pinterest board, and I would love to hear other suggestions for squeezing a new baby into a one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment if you have any…

One reply on “Making the Decision to Have an Amniocentesis”

  1. Do you think that it would be considered overprotective if there was a way to put a body cast on the baby to protect it from an amnio needle? Just wondering…….
    My suggestion for living in a small one bedroom apartment would be to delude yourself into thinking that you are already living in a spacious one. All you have to do is blow up some photos of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum apartments.The photos that feature one room apartments with several sewing machines and mangles placed next to the baby’s crib work best. These photos also highlight the greatly sought after work-at-home lifestyle that we enjoy today!
    Now plaster them on to your ceilings for instant gratitude.

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