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Jennifer's Pregnancy Journal

Week 16 ~ September 25 - October 1, 2005
~ Appointment Week

We had another OB appointment this week. Somewhere in Aaron's brains he had decided that this was the week we'd have THE ultrasound to determine the sex of the baby, and despite everyone's doubts that he was right, he would not be swayed. He had so much subdued excitement oozing out of him about finally seeing "her," it was hard not to catch the buzz just a little bit, though I was more convinced we were in for a poking/prodding type appointment rather than a slimy ultrasound appointment. We drove off to the doctor's office Monday afternoon, hoping to see the kid, chatting cheerily, while internally I tried not to fret about all the dreaded things that I would have to go through before seeing the baby.

We arrived at the office, and were taken back almost immediately. I obliged them in their request for a cup o' pee, and a weigh in, though I declined to hear the results of my gain. The women in my family, because we're short and small, tend to get just enormous when pregnant, and believe me, I can see the evidence of it just fine without the nurse loudly blabbing my three billion pound gain to the whole office. (I'm anxiously awaiting my visit from the Outtie Fairy, who will come in the night to pop out my belly button and transform me from just looking obese in my eyes to actually looking pregnant.) The nurse took me back to the room where Aaron is waiting for me, and had me lay out on the table. We listened to the heartbeat again, a perfect 148, and then before she left, I asked her what else was scheduled for our appointment today, and she looked at the chart: no ultrasound, nothing fun, just blood drawing and the optional disease screening I was given reading material about.

Optional disease screening? What optional disease screening? I knew that if we had wanted to do an amnio, we would want to schedule it soon, but as we had decided against it long ago, I hadn't taken a second glance at the reading material I was given. Granted, we have had a very hectic and stressful couple of weeks, but even with that, I could not for the life of me remember anyone telling me anything about disease screening tests. Once the nurse was out of earshot, I frantically turned to Aaron and asked him what he thought we should do? Did he want to do the tests? What were his thoughts? Did HE read the pamphlet? No luck, he had no clue either. Dr. Abbott arrived, sat down, glanced at the chart that said in enormous red letters all across the front OPTIONAL DISEASE SCREENING TODAY (maybe I'm exaggerating...), and asked me what our decision was. Already feeling like a horribly unprepared mommy, I treaded the water, trying to buy time while I decided what I wanted to do. I asked him what the difference was between these tests, and doing an amnio. These tests would be done to screen the baby for Spina Bifida, and Down Syndrome, and is less invasive than an amnio, as it can be done with just a blood sample. I nodded wisely, as though all of this were old news, and asked Dr. Abbott what his thoughts were on the test, looking at it from the stand point of my age, and the fact that neither Aaron or I have a history of the diseases in our family. He went over the pros and cons, gave us the statistics for false positives and actual positives, explained that if we did come back with a real and true positive, there is nothing that can be done to medically change the condition, and then left the decision up to me. Again I nodded, doing my best to look pensive, and said something about how everything he was telling me mirrored all the readings I had done. I looked at Aaron, who was looking back at me like I was insane, shaking his head a little bit and trying not to laugh. I thought about it for a minute more, and then told Dr. Abbott that, in line with my feelings on the amnio testing, I really did not feel that the optional blood screening tests were something I was interested in either.

No one said anything for a whole looong minute (or so it seemed) before Dr. Abbott leaned back in his chair and said, "Well, good, now I can tell you that you made the right decision. I couldn't bias you in any way before, but with your family history, and being healthy and young, your chances of actually having a child with a disorder are far less than coming back with a false positive on your tests that would later show to be nothing."

Now here is the Jennifer Disclaimer: the decision to not have the screenings done was the best choice for Aaron and I, based on our personal beliefs, feelings, and our particular family medical histories. I in no way want to encourage anyone to follow my lead without having thoroughly examined their own feelings on the matter (and, obviously, having actually read the literature that I completely forgot about.) Don't trust me, I'm pregnant and I'm totally crazy! This choice was best for me and my peace of mind, and that's what is ultimately the most important in making this decision.

With that out of the way, Dr. Abbot lay me back on the little table again and squished around on my tummy to feel my uterus, while I fired a battery of questions at him concerning colds, sinus infections, sleeping positions, back and hip pain, etc. (All of which, might I say, he answered automatically, and without even having to give them any time to process. Obviously, my fears are all standard and not so uncommon and scary and unique to just me as I had previously thought.) My uterus is apparently now two finger widths below my belly button, which, he says, puts me at around 17 weeks instead of my calculated 16. And to that I give a hearty "WOOHOO" because any news that I am actually closer to my due date than previously thought is a miracle. This whole pesky pregnancy thing takes an ETERNITY!

After the gut squishing uterus exam, the doctor released us again to the nurse, to have blood drawn for a standard set of tests on me. (Aaron, the big creep, didn't have to give blood, which is totally unfair in my eyes, as he's just as much genetically responsible for this child as I am!) Fretting ensued, as I, tattooed and pierced, have never actually given blood before, and am terrified at the thought of it. You can imagine the small measure of relief I felt when the door opened again, and the very sweet nurse came in to do my blood letting, I mean sample taking. She explained everything that was going to happen beforehand, tied up my arm with that rubber band thingy, and told me to look away. Aaron, a blood-donor veteran, held my other hand tightly, and watched intently as she stabbed away at me. Owowowowowowowow! Ok, with that out of the way, now I can admit that it really didn't hurt at all, and I was rather pleased with myself when it was all over with. And that's when I learned that, although she had had no problems hitting a vein, I apparently had problems giving up any blood. Damn! The nurse left the room, saying that she didn't like to stick anyone more than once in a day, and sent in another nurse: The grumpy nurse of doom! Ok, ok, she's a perfectly friendly woman, but there's just something about her that unsettles me. So then I had to go through the whole process all over again, even more on-edge than the first time around! Luckily, Nurse Doom was able to bleed me dry to her heart's content, and the appointment was over in a matter of minutes.

We went up to the front desk (with me in a grump that both my arms were all weird and stiff from having been needled all over) to schedule our next appointment. It's a big one... the Week 20 ultrasound and gender screening! Hurrah! I cannot WAIT until October 27th.

I have to admit now that I'm starting to climb on Aaron's baby girl bandwagon. Originally I had felt that maybe Squirt would turn out to be a boy (especially after our accident ultrasound, which I thought looked just like Aaron, even though, in reality, it just looks just like a monkey.) I am now leaning more to the opposite side of things, and thinking girl, girl, girl. Aaron wants a girl. Chelsea wants a girl. My mom wants a girl. They've given me the girl fever. I casually looked into that whole fetal heart rate test theory, and as it turns out, there's girl fever there too. Obviously, I'll be thrilled either way, but this whole gender furor is just making the wait for our next appointment that much more long and drawn out!

And one final thing... To update you on the status of my stick shift driving abilities, I am proud to say that I can actually make the thing go now, without stalling out or setting the clutch/engine/entire vehicle on fire, or anything! Just don't hold me to any of this when hills or reversing is concerned...

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