My Amniocentesis Experience

Somehow I did manage to fall asleep because when I woke up again it was light out and Friday morning.  I was sick to my stomach and didn’t want to face the day.  I tried to keep my mind off of what was coming with my kids and house work.  I’ll be honest, I don’t even remember what we did that morning.  My dad came over to watch the older two for me so that I could meet Chad at the doc. office for the amnio.  I made my way over at around 12:30pm.  When I got there Chad was already there waiting for me.  They were running behind so it took a while to get me back there.  My eyes were blood shot and I hadn’t eaten in almost a day.  They weighed me and I had even lost 2 pounds since the day before.  I was a wreck.

After taking my vitals they walked me to a room where the procedure would take place.  They laid me down and Chad held my hand while the ultrasound tech set everything up and started checking out the baby to see where she was laying.  They need to do this in order to make sure that the needle doesn’t go where it’s not supposed to like the baby’s head.  Some babies will play with the needle or swat at it so they also like to make sure that the needle doesn’t go in front of the baby if they can help it.  The doctors came in after the ultrasound tech found the baby and they got ready.  There were two doctors, a man whom I had seen the previous day and a woman who was performing the procedure.  I was shaking and tears started running down my face.  I couldn’t help but think that this could be the last time I’d ever see my baby girl.  I tried to stay calm but the tears just kept rolling down my cheeks.  But then we all started joking around.  The thing about both Chad and myself is that when we are in tense or awkward situations we start making inappropriate jokes.  The guy doc. was really good at distracting me from what was going on.  Because we were going into Labor Day weekend he asked us what our weekend plans were and we told him that distraction was our main objective.  We asked him what he was doing and he told us he was going to Las Vegas and everything he’d be doing there.  We started joking about how lucky he was that he was a young single guy going to Vegas and how it’s not as fun to go with kids.  They found a spot on my lower middle abdomen that looked good for the needle penetration and cleaned me up with alcohol.  The needle was super long.  The doc. told me I was going to feel a pinch and that would be the needle being inserted.  I felt the pinch and watched as the needle went through my skin and into the view of the ultrasound picture by the baby’s head.  Once the needle was in the doc. pulled out some amniotic fluid which was a very pale/clear color.  She explained the coloring of the amniotic fluid looked great.  The female doc. told me it was a good thing I was skinny because it was making the procedure go very smoothly.  I told her I was anorexic, you know, a totally appropriate response to someone when you are pregnant with a child who could have potential life threatening problems…but jokes.  She pulled the needle out, threw a band-aid on me and it was over.

I think from the second I got into the room to the time they were done explaining what to look for afterwards which could cause trouble, took about 10 minutes.  I was envisioning an hour long thing but it was so easy.  They told me that the procedure had gone pretty text book and that if I were to start bleeding to give them a call immediately.  Bleeding was really the only thing that could happen or to look out for.  They told me that within the first 24 hours I may experience some pains in my uterus but that after that it’s not normal so also call after that.  I was also told not to lift things like my children, and to take it easy and lay in bed the rest of the day.  So if anyone’s asking, yes, get the amnio!  It’s a perfect excuse to go on bedrest and be completely pampered for at least 12 hours!

As we were getting ready to leave we asked the doc. when we’d get the results back.  He told us that we should get them by Monday as the test results take 48-72 hours to culture.  I reminded him that it was Labor Day weekend and asked if they were open on Monday and he corrected himself and said we’d get the results probably sometime Tuesday morning.  This specific test is called the FISH test and gets you rapid results much sooner than the chromosome results.  Those usually take abut 10-14 days to get back so this would get us back the test results for the syndromes we were most concerned about, trisomy 13, 18 and 21.  If those came back normal then we could rest easy.  If they didn’t then we’d need to decide quickly if we were going to continue on with the pregnancy.  Again, I knew I would continue regardless but I needed to know what was wrong with my baby so that I could mentally continue the pregnancy knowing the outcome and to prepare myself for anything that was wrong with this baby.  So this is also worth a mention…The guy doc. also told me that if the genetic counselor called me with my results then it would most likely mean that nothing was wrong and the test results were normal.  However, he said if we got a call from him it would probably mean something came back abnormal and that the end result isn’t good.  I really wish he wouldn’t have told us that because it made me even more paranoid.  I asked if I could continue to breastfeed and he said yes and I also texted him several more questions later that afternoon.

As Chad and I walked back to the car we both felt so much relief.  I think it was because that part was over and if I was going to miscarry then it would be sooner rather than later.  It felt really good to know that we had taken action and had some control in a situation that was completely out of our control.  It was nice to know that in a little over 72 hours we would have so much more knowledge about this baby.  Once we got home I hugged my kids tighter than I ever have and Chad sent me up to bed for some much needed rest and some food since I had neither slept nor eaten anything prior to the procedure.  It felt good to have that behind me and for the first time in over 3 days I felt a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.  That feeling was short lived though.  I couldn’t help but hop in the computer and research more about the spot on the baby’s heart and the connection with the cleft lip which by the way was diagnosed as a unilateral left sided cleft lip and palate.

The waiting game was not a great experience.

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