Here’s how my amniocentesis went:
I arrived at the maternal-fetal-medicine clinic, which is in a different hospital from the one where I usually see my doctor. The first thing they did was to send me to the lab to have my blood drawn because I’m Rh-negative and they needed to prep my RhoGam shot. Had the blood drawn from my left arm and headed back to the MFM clinic.
A genetic counselor called me back to her office and we spoke for 20-30 minutes. We talked about the genetic problems in my family and my daughter’s diagnosis of 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. I said that, while I believed my daughter’s condition was a de novum appearance of the disorder in my family line, I had felt so much grief at my daughter’s birth with a new doctor coming into my room every few hours to tell me something else was wrong with my daughter, it had just been overwhelming. If I was going to have another child with special needs, I needed the time to grieve and adjust.
She explained what the amniocentesis looks for and what it does not. They use the amnio to check for the most common trisomies (21 aka Down syndrome, 18 aka Edwards syndrome, and 13 aka Patau syndrome). They also look for some sex-specific disorders, like Turner syndrome. Beyond that, they usually have to know what they are specifically looking for. There are different types of tests and arrays they can do, though we can only do so many with a single amnio sample. I agreed to do a FISH test (which will check the baby for 22q11.2 deletion syndrome) in addition to the regular amnio. I also had the option of doing a microarray to check for other deletions, but would have had to cancel the FISH test for that, so I stuck with the FISH. We also talked about the risk of miscarriage that goes with the procedure, and I mentioned the 2006 study I saw that put the risk at 1 in 1600. She said she thought that number was optimistic and was honest with me that, at their clinic, they see about 1 miscarriage for every 300-400 amnios performed.
I was then called back to the ultrasound room. The technician did a thorough ultrasound. It was my first for this pregnancy, and it was a thrill to see a “picture” of my baby for the first time. I saw his/her little wiggling arms, legs, tummy, spine, butt, and head. I warned the technician that I did not want to know the sex, so there was no perfect potty shot. (I did THINK I saw a flash of penis at one point when we were looking between the legs, and I definitely did not see any vaginal “white lines.” But it could have just been the umbilical that I was seeing. We’ll know in 5.5 months!) The fetal heartbeat was down to 150 BPM (which is still perfectly healthy), and s/he was measuring as being due on September 14, 2013—six days ahead of the due date I’ve been using! However, I feel confident about my date of ovulation and will not be moving my due date.
The doctor then came in. He was a DO with a specialization in MFM. He was definitely not my hot doctor, but he was nice. He draped me and kept the ultrasound wand on me, then prepped the needle. When it initially entered my skin, it felt like any shot. But I could feel it once it had gone through the uterus by the cramping, and I could see it on the ultrasound monitor. It only took about 60 seconds to do the actual withdrawal of amniotic fluid, maybe less. Overall it was not very painful at all. The doctor assured me that the baby did not care at all that we were there. He slapped a band-aid on my tummy, then had me turn over on my side and tug my pants down a bit so that he could give me the RhoGam shot. It went into the place where my hip meets my butt and was the least painful part of my day. I barely felt it go in.
The doctor then asked me if I wanted to participate in some kind of clinical trial involving pregnant women and cytomegalovirus (CMV). It would involve another blood draw today, and if I was a candidate they would call me back. I said in my most enthusiastic Portal series voice, “Sure, I’d love to help science!”
So I went into another room to sign some paperwork about the study and do one more blood draw, this time in my right arm. That means I got poked in the right arm, left arm, butt and stomach in the span of 2 hours. Ugh.
They told me to watch out for any severe cramping, contractions, bleeding or leaking of watery fluid. They said that if I’m going to have a miscarriage, it will probably happen within 24 hours, and I’ll be altogether out of the woods by Friday. I admit that my abdomen felt pretty sore as I made my way from the clinic to my car and I was clutching it like… well… a pregnant woman. I’ve been a little sore so far today, but overall pretty good.
So, that’s my amnio. Here’s hoping my baby does not spontaneously die over the next several days, and that my results come back with good news! Now here’s the rest of my cute ultrasound pictures: