Wednesday, January 7, 2009

First Trimester Combined Screening Test

I had my first trimester combined screening test. Just a couple of years ago it was only offered to woman over 35, but now it is offered to all low-risk women no matter what age. I can read between the lines on this one. Larger pool of people equals more money. Even with this knowledge, I couldn't resist getting the test done. At first I said that I didn't want to do it. I didn't want to get a false positive and have to take other riskier tests to get a clear answer. Plus, I didn't feel like I could abort my baby no matter its condition this late in the pregnancy.

But once these tests are offered to me, I start to worry and the only way to stop the worrying is to take the test. If they were never offered to me, I wouldn't worry because I am healthy and don't have any reason to worry (reasons to worry listed on UCSFs website).

So, I got up at 6:30am to go to my 7:45am combined screening test at UCSF.

Both my home birth midwife and my former OB offered me the test. With both, I needed to take it at a lab outside the my regular care office. I chose UCSF because that is my backup hospital in case my home birth doesn't happen. So far, I've noticed no difference between prenatal midwifery care and OB prenatal care in regards to the medical tests offered to me.

So, I got on my bike and road down the driveway. Oops, flat tire. Back to the garage to drive the car. I was the first to arrive in the waiting room. In fact, I was waiting by the locked office door when the receptionist arrived to open it for the day. As people trickled in they were all with their husbands. My sweet husband was home listening to his weekly staff meeting on speaker phone while playing with our two-year old.

My name was called and I was escorted to a room with a chair that looked like a dentist chair. The room was dark and warm from the humming of the ultrasound machine. On the wall was a TV monitor. Soon my baby was on it like a reality TV show that it didn't sign up for. I smiled, happy to see it swimming around. But after five minutes, I closed my eyes and sleep washed over me.


The test consisted of taking pictures and measurements of the baby. The technician tried to keep my attention by pointing out the hands and the feet but soon stopped when she realized that I wasn't opening my eyes.

After the ultrasound, she pricked my finger to draw a few drops of blood to be sent to the lab. As I was leaving, she suggested that I bring my husband next time. Maybe she thought that at least someone sould enjoy the expensive showing of my fetus.

When I got the phone call with my results a week later, the lady said my risks were as if I was 20-years old. I can't remember the stats but they were like 1 in 500,000. So, I am really low risk for having a down syndrome baby.

My worrying has stopped so that seems to make it all worth it. I have had a pleasant few weeks without appointments and have just been enjoying being pregnant. Although I started to worry that I feel small for 20 weeks. I'll have to ask Maria about that at my second home birth prenatal appointment tomorrow.

Read some of my other posts about
birth here, here and here.

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