Words by Megan Jane
It was the day of our first scan, which included the nuchal translucency forming part of the 1st trimester screening. The nuchal translucency is the fluid that is found at the back of your baby’s neck. The thickness of this fluid can be accurately measured and is called the nuchal translucency. A normal result is a small amount of fluid, producing a thin NT. These results are coupled with routine pregnancy tests free BhCG (beta human chorionic gonadotrophin) and PAPP-A (pregnancy associated plasma protein A). Both of which can change in the presence of certain chromosomal abnormalities, blood work should be done prior to your scan. Basically this test yields a risk value for having a baby with a chromosomal abnormality based on the above values, maternal age and a few other factors.
Things to remember!
- A nuchal translucency is a screening test and doesn’t offer 100% accuracy
- A high risk doesn’t mean your baby will go onto to have a chromosomal abnormality in fact most at high risk babies in fact don’t have a chromosomal abnormality
“Not all ultrasounds are created equally” “Patients don’t know the level of expertise of the person performing the procedure”.
Ultrasound is a useful diagnostic tool when administered by a skilled technician, this last part is very important, as Nancy Hueppchen, M.D says “Not all ultrasounds are created equally” “Patients don’t know the level of expertise of the person performing the procedure”. She also goes on to mention “There is also a worry about ultrasounds not being performed in a medical setting as these portrait facilities are not equipped to provide counselling should something go wrong, or proper guidance if a gross abnormality is suspected”. Therefore, it is imperative you discuss with your healthcare provider the best place to have your ultrasound perform. For women on the Gold Coast or in Brisbane I recommend Queensland Ultrasound for Women who specialise in this area.
Leading up to the scan I was excited and felt like it was taking forever for the day to roll around. Of course with anything when your waiting for something time stands still and it can feel like grass grows quicker. However, on the day a sense of nervousness washed over me, intuitively I had felt all along that our baby was healthy and growing just as it should but then I thought “what if our baby isn’t healthy or growing just as it should?” what if my intuition was wrong? What then? I thought to myself will just have to take the news as it comes and deal with it in that moment, there’s no point worrying about something that hasn’t even happened yet, nor do I have the slightest bit of control over it.
We arrived at the building, having had just drunk 600ml of water over the last hour, without any hope of seeing a bathroom any time soon, up we went into the elevator, and there I sat filling out all the appropriate paperwork. Within a few minutes of finishing Adam and I were called into the scanning room. The test was briefly explained to us, and without another word I laid on the bed and bared my belly for the sonographer. The gel she used was warm, it felt oddly nice. As soon as the gel met the “scan stick”, that’s what I’ll call it, as I’m not entirely sure what it’s called, up popped our baby. It was such a surreal feeling seeing it up on the screen for the first time, there was the baby we made. P.S I just shed a tear writing that, seems the water works haven’t entirely dissipated.
As the sonographer went about finding all the organs and body parts she needed, we saw its hands (there is a seriously sweet picture of all its five fingers, that I’ll post with this), kidneys, bladder, head, brain, heart, legs, feet, toes, spine, ribs. It seemed like all the bits were in the right places. I’ll mention that getting these photos was a little more difficult than I had initially anticipated.
Whilst I recall this experience please bear in mind my bladder is at breaking point during this entire process! I’m sure a few of you ladies out there can relate.
At first the sonographer wriggled the “scan stick” over my belly more than once to make our baby move, not fun for my bladder. Then I had to lay on each side and move back and forth again to make our baby move, again not fun for my bladder.
Our baby wasn’t being overly accommodating in helping us get the right pictures, but eventually she got all the shots she needed. Our sonographer then said, “you can go to the bathroom now” this was magic to my ears.
After waiting for around 10 minutes or so for the results, we were ushered into her office, the results were in, our baby was healthy and growing just as it should.
Mother’s intuition is a powerful thing, it’s a phenomenon that can’t be explained by any scientific study, it’s that gut feeling we have deep inside us, as women we all have an innate ability if we allow ourselves to tap into it. Trust your intuition, it’s only purpose is to serve you along this journey we call life.