Mean Girl to the Rescue!

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Almost halfway there

I've been relatively mum on the subject of my pregnancy, partly because I didn't want it to become a pregnancy blog, and partly because I felt really, really nervous and upset about being 35 and spawning (thanks, genetic counselors!). In fact, I was mistakenly given a quad screen blood test when I was only supposed to have an AFP (which determines the likelihood of spina bifida), and ended up getting a positive for Down Syndrome. The percentage of me actually having a chromosomally abnormal child? About three quarters of a percent. And this is a test that is less accurate than a previous test I was given, and also has a much higher false positive rate. This week, I had a Level II ultrasound in which everything looked absolutely fine, and now I feel much better and more positive about everything.

Booby thinks that the whole genetic counseling bit is a huge racket to "sell" amniocentesis (or, rather, he just corrected me, "They are trafficking in uncertainty."), and even suggested that the counselors receive a kickback or have a quota for the procedure. I don't want to think that's true, but considering that a similar "selling" of mammography has overtaken this country (as I think I mentioned in my breast cancer post), I wouldn't be surprised. Medicine is a big business, and the idea that this genetic counseling company (they are basically consultants for hospitals, not employees of the hospital itself) can promise you certainty is, I'm sure, a huge selling point for many expectant mothers/parents.

But anyway. The point here is that I feel OK about it all now, and the Little Bun (whose sex we have elected not to discover; thank you, my patient husband) has been doing all kinds of acrobatics in the oven of my uterus, which is kind of thrilling. We got to see feet and hands (and fingers and toes, all accounted for) and a spine and brain measurements and all that good stuff. As I approach the relative milestone of 20 weeks, it's nice to feel a little more excited and less apprehensive about all this -- at least until the idea of labor and delivery begins to haunt my psyche.

And now, a shot of the belly. Looks bigger in real life, but only in the last week or so have people begun asking me if I'm pregnant (and then only when I'm wearing something form-fitting).


At 12:13 AM, Blogger Mignon said...

Gorgeous!! Up until this point I just could not imagine you pregnant. Probably from constantly looking at that picture of you lugging a wine bottle around Savannah. And is that a belly ring or did you lose some Halloween candy?

I've never thought about the genetic counseling racket, although I have had so many friends and family members fall victim to the myriad of false positives. Please quote Booby more! I love this: "They are trafficking in uncertainty." Or maybe just write more. No pressure...

At 10:33 AM, Anonymous wordgirl said...

Yay for Little Bun! For me, it was difficult imagining you pregnant because I saw the skinny pants you wore (and purchased while we were out) and I could MAYBE fit my arm into one of the legs.

As for mammography. I don't think it's the testing that's taken over the country. The real money isn't in detecting's when we actually get it. You think the pharmaceutical companies want a cure for cancer? Hell, no! They'd be out of a job.

So...due date, please?

At 12:05 PM, Blogger Tits McGee said...

Awwwww! You are delicious and I want to plant a giant kiss on your beautiful belly.

Re: the genetic counseling? Totally a racket. And we didn't find out until too late how expensive it was, so the pregnancy/ganetic testing/delivery ended up maxing out our insurance and we had to pay close to a grand ourselves after we had the kid. Ugh.

At 12:11 PM, Blogger Arabella said...

Beautiful belly!

I'm so glad that everything is fine.

I have a lot of issues with the way pregnancy medicine is practiced these days. Everything is gloom-and-doom and what-ifs, and I feel like a lot of doctors would happily place sharp, lit bamboo shoots under the nails of expectant mothers if there was a 0.00012 percent chance that doing so MIGHT help the baby in some really speculative and not-strictly-necessary way. And so many of these tests are so unreliable that, after months of being a human guinea pig, you really start to wonder what the point is.

At 1:50 PM, Blogger The Big Pugawug said...

Gorgeous! And you still have an innie! Just wait until that turkey timer pops ...

If you think the genetic testing scene seems like a racket (fortunately, not so much at Kaiser Permanente, where everything is in-house), just wait until the cord blood people come knocking. Talk about preying on the fears of soon-to-be parents.

One set of tests that *does* make a lot of sense is neonatal screening for metabolic diseases. If caught early, some of these conditions can be managed so that your kid is relatively healthy. A friend of mine specializes in seeing these kids at CHOP, and it breaks his heart to get them in the clinic after it's too late to intervene.

Some states mandate neonatal screening, others (like CA) only test for a few diseases. Baylor University does a metabolic screening for $25; you call 1-800-422-9567 and they send you a kit for the pediatrician to spot a little blood on a card. There are companies that also do this, but they charge more ...

Lecture over, but I wanted to distinguish between this type of test and the more snake-oily variety.

At 3:59 PM, Blogger Mrs. Harridan said...

Mignon, that is indeed a belly ring, which one of my doctors has already given the stink-eye and said, "You're going to need to take that out." Yeah, doc. I know. Ah, wine. I miss wine.

WG, from what I'm reading, mammogram doesn't necessarily detect cancer early and it has less efficacy than we are being told. It seems like a way to "empower" women to take control of their bodies. I concur completely that the drug companies are making way too much money to stop the breast cancer train now. Not to mention all those pink teddy bear sales! Ugh.

Due date is April 10th.

Tits, so far, it's all been covered, although we did have to pay for a second round of genetic counseling (read: pointless lecture from counselor designed to make us feel bad). Health insurance sure is another racket unto itself.

Arabella, man, you said it. After all the poking, prodding and blood draws of pre-conception, I've had it. I intend to refuse any further scare-tactic testing.

Pug, thanks for sharing that important info. I haven't found anything on what exactly is required by the state of PA, so I will ask my doctor. I have not seen this mentioned in any book or any any pregnancy website!

And today is the first day I wore maternity pants. They're very comfortable!

At 11:53 PM, Blogger Blondie said...

YEAH! I love belly shots! Thank you. When my sis was preggers, her doctors freaked her out about all of those tests and everything turned out fine (after an "abnormal" test). That seems to be the pattern with most of my pregnant friends. I'm 29, so I officially have 1 year to find a man, sperminate, and hatch an egg before I am Over the Uterus Hill. Great. I'll get right on that!

I can see your belly off to the side of this comment bar while I'm writing and I just keep smiling--you are so cute.

At 4:18 PM, Anonymous Jess said...

Look at that adorable belly!

I'm glad that you are at least resting a little better after the level 2 U/S. Sucks that you had to worry about it, and doubly so since you didn't ask for the testing, anyway. I'm a high intervention type of girl (if I ever manage to get pregnant then I assure you there will have been nothing natural about it at all) so I would probably elect the tests. But it does sound like they're unnecessary for most.

At 5:59 PM, Anonymous TB said...

Awesome! You really have a belly. No one can tell I'm pregnant yet with my clothes on.

And I'm so glad all is well after the ultrasound. I've elected not to do the screenings because of the high rate of false positive.

You're halfway there. Isn't it crazy?!

At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Nancy said...

You look wonderful. I love seeing a mama-to-be's belly -- it just makes me smile every time.


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