NT Screening (The Most Detailed Doctor Visit Ever)

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When I was pregnant with G, the NT screening was something that just happened. I don’t remember getting an option. Whether it was routine for my OB to have her patients do this screening or the fact I had had a miscarriage due to a chromosome abnormality I won’t ever know.

It was pretty easy and spanned two different days. The screening was done at a prenatal specialist office. I think I got blood work done first. A prick on the finger so I could put blood in five different circles. Then I came back for the ultrasound to measure the space behind the neck.

This time, I wasn’t offered the NT screening. I have always known it is optional, and at the time of my first prenatal appointment with this baby I wasn’t too concerned about getting it. I brought it up with my midwife who seemed surprised I asked at all. Hubby is the one who wanted it done. I was going along with it because I wanted to make sure the baby was still alive.

Today was the day. I didn’t get two appointments scheduled; just one. I have spent almost three weeks wondering if I was just getting the ultrasound or blood work as well.

After lots of paper work, I got called back by a nurse who asked all the questions I had just answered on paper. Not that I usually care, but having to actually say I am on my third pregnancy and have one living child is hard for me to say out loud. Also, I had to explain G’s NICU stay. That was hard too.

Then I was told I was going to meet with the genetic counselor. Say WHAT?

This turned out to be a very good thing. Originally he was supposed to explain the NT screening, what it’s for and what it looks for. Hubby and I nodded and tried to pay attention while trying to keep G out of all of the counselor’s important papers. Then he asked if we had any questions. Hubby wanted to know if Turners Syndrome was something they looked for in this screening, because that is what we lost our first baby to.

That opened a whole new door! The counselor seemed surprised we had a diagnosis for the one miscarriage I’d had. He explained what it was and that because I have had a baby with Turners before, my chances if it happening again increase to 8% (scary sounding but it’s still a low chance, though that doesn’t matter much to me). And babies with this defect definitely have a larger nuchal fold. Then he told us that because we’d had a miscarriage with a confirmed chromosome defect, I was eligible for a newer blood test called the Harmony test. I have heard about it before. Instead of giving you a “1 in some number” chance of the certain abnormalities, the results just tell you if you are at a high or low risk. And, because it tests for the X and Y chromosomes, it can tell you your baby’s gender. Since money is a concern of mine right now, I opted to wait for the NT results before taking that step.

Last week I read that the NT screening can lead to a Turners Syndrome diagnosis. Finding that out blew me away. Then learning about 8% and being eligible for a better test? Blown away again.

Once our visit with the counselor was done, we had to wait in the waiting room. Where we waited for almost 20 minutes to be told by a staff member they were running about 30 minutes behind because some U/S were taking longer than expected. This was at 10:30. My appointment was 8:30. And we brought G with us and he was getting antsy. I was not very pleased, but I got it and had to give the staff member kudos for coming into a full waiting room of pregnant ladies and spouses to announce it. I hated doing this at the optometrist office I worked for. You got your head chewed up for passing on that kind of news! Maybe the crowd was laid back, or maybe it is another difference between NOVA and here, but everyone seemed to take it well.

It didnt take 30 minutes for me to get called back again. This time it was for the ultrasound. I don’t remember this being so thorough with G. We got a ton of pictures, including two 3D images (we never got those with G). We got a gender guess (trying not to tell though). We saw arms! Legs! Heart! My ovaries! Finally heard a heart beat (163). Baby was bouncing like it had the hiccups. The tech left the measurements on the screen so I knew before the doctor came in that the NT measurement was good (1.5 avg). She measured the baby four days ahead.

We had a five minute wait for the doctor who took another look at the baby. While we waited, I told Hubby this was the most detailed doctors visit I have ever had. This wasn’t something I expected to happen “down here” where we live now. I expected it back in NoVA. Hubby pointed out they just seem to care more here; back in NoVA they wanted to push more patients through for money.

After the doctor took another look, she said everything looked good and asked more questions about my miscarriage. She was surprised that my OB would have sent for a pathology when it was my first. I didn’t know and told her I know it is a rarity for a doctor to even consider it unless you have had several miscarriages.

Then she noticed I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia with G (this was news to me until I read my OB records; I know my blood pressure was wacky with G, but no one told me I actually had pre-eclampsia). She suggested I do a 24 hour pee test this time and would write the recommendation in the letter to my new practice.

My first midwife appointment my BP was 150/something. The nurse retook it and it was down to about 130/something. I was scared shitless until I saw the baby on the screen. I wish they had taken it a third time. At this appointment my BP was 138/72. And to give you some history, in my last two pregnancies my BP was never higher than 115/something in my first trimester.

The pee test was really the only bad news I got. I am trying to see the midwife only this time and she didn’t seem concerned with my history. She told me she’d keep an eye on it but it may not even be an issue this time. So we will see, I guess.

I opted to get my blood work done at a specific lab so that, hopefully, it will be mostly covered by insurance. I’m still waiting to be called back after sitting here for over an hour. I think I’m going to need a nap along with G when I finally get home!

5 thoughts on “NT Screening (The Most Detailed Doctor Visit Ever)

  1. Sounds like a lot to take it, just take it one step at a time. I also had high blood pressure in pregnancy but would also have been freaked out to only hear after that it was pre-eclampsia. I was admitted to hospital for 2 nights with high bp but my protein remained low at 1 so… it was just bed rest for that last month. Good luck to you further and I hope the rest of the pregnancy goes well.

    1. The night I went on bed rest I had to go to the hospital for further testing. None of my pee showed elevated protein levels and my blood work came back fine, so the fact I was diagnosed with pre-e and wasn’t told about it made me upset. I just thought I had elevated BP.

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