13+1 weeks, the day things changed
So 13 weeks and one day and i’m back to work. I have my scan picture in my bag to show everyone. It does actually look like a baby in bean/alien kind of way. But for those not used to seeing ultrasound pictures this is quite a clear one. Seeing as the ultrasongorapher put me back a day, yesterday was the day I turned 13 weeks and the day I leave the first trimester and enter the second. Text books would have it that I should start to feel better and be back to my old self soon. We shall see.
Today is a normal day at work. Busy busy with the start of the spring season and although I feel like crap most of the morning I make it through until break time and show my picture around. Everyone is so pleased and excited for me. They all share the picture around and comment on how clear it is and that they can actually see its a baby and not just a grainy black and white photo. Then its drink up your tea (just water for me) and back to work time. Then lunch time comes and although I haven’t thrown up yet today my lunch of crackers is turning my stomach.
While I’m checking my phone as we all do every 5 minutes, it rings, its a number I don’t know but a number for the local area where I live. I quickly ran outside and before I answered the sick feeling in my stomach has changed to that empty pit feeling you get just before an anxiety attack hits. I answered it and as soon as the lady on the other end says who she is my heart starts pounding.
“Hello I am one of the midwives for the screening team at the hospital are you ok to talk for a few minutes”
Yeah sure just tell me before I start hyperventilating.
“We have had the results for your combined screening test back and your bloods have shown a raised level in one of your hormones. I’m afraid this has come back showing you have an increased risk of Down’s syndrome in the baby of 1 in 47”. “Now any risk factor that comes back as higher than 1 in 150 we consider to be high risk and recommend further testing.”
I knew it, I knew from the scan that there was something not right. 1 in 47 wow that’s high how is this possible. The nurse then continued to talk to me explaining that the risk factor is just that a risk factor and not a diagnosis. She then offers me 4 options.
1. Do nothing. Continue with your pregnancy and enjoy it. Don’t worry about test results and just wait and see. 1 in 47 is just a 2% chance of Down’s syndrome, so 98% chance of a “normal” baby.
2. Wait for a few weeks until I am far enough along for an invasive test either CVS (Chorionic villus sampling) or an amniocentesis. This would give an accurate diagnosis but also carries a risk of miscarriage.
3. Another blood test which can look at the babies free DNA that has mixed with my blood but its not available on the NHS and costs £300.
4. Termination. Why termination is even an option at this stage I don’t know.
The midwife then goes on to tell me that if termination was an option I would consider they would recommend I have an invasive procedure done first to get an accurate diagnosis before I went down that road. The blood test they could do the next day if I wanted that done and it would take a few days to get the results back but it has been shown to be 95% accurate. The midwife then says to me I don’t have to make a decision now, I should talk to my husband and my family and think about what choice is best for me. I manage to hold it together as we finish the call and then I ring my husband and relay the news to him. He is in a bit of shock but he just says that he thinks this is an easy choice and that I should have the blood test done. Whats £300 for peace of mind. If it had been £3000 then maybe it would have been a more difficult choice. I then rang my mum who said the same thing and that she was surprised I needed her opinion to help me make this choice. So I rang the screening office back and ask to have the blood test done and they book me in for the next morning.
When I got off the phone this time thats when I loose it. The tears came and the panic set in big time. One of the other girls I work with who also happens to be my best friend came over and gave me a hug and checked that I was ok. I explained to her what had just happened and she agreed that a blood test was the best way forward at this stage. I’m not the kind of person that can just do nothing and go through months not knowing and forget about the results. The not knowing is sometimes worse than the knowing. So I then have the rest of the day to get on with. I try my best to stay calm and not break down in tears every time the phone call goes through my head. When I finally do manage to get home my husband does his best to reassure me that everything is fine and that if you were told you had a 98% chance that you would win the lottery you would go out and buy a ticket straight away. This is quite reassuring but I can’t stop thinking about it and spend most of the evening googling the blood test and how it works and how the combined test comes up with the results. Google is my coping mechanism. I only seem to get anxiety attacks when there is something going on that I can’t control or don’t know enough about to ease my brain from going into the overdrive of what if’s. At 10pm my husband has to stop me and take away the iPad so I can get some sleep. I have another blood test tomorrow and I need to be awake and have eaten enough food to stop throwing up in the waiting room.