Sunday, December 02, 2007

Amnio on the Mind

You probably already keep up with the news at Her Bad Mother, where Catherine has had some troubling news and is contemplating an amniocentesis. She asked for the experiences of her readers, and I am amazed at the quality, detail, and respectfulness of the responses. This is the blogosphere at its best – heartfelt sharing of information and memories, without cattiness or blame.

If you are debating whether to have the testing done, I recommend that you read the comments to that post. There are a wide variety of opinions and reasons represented, and I certainly learned more than I knew when I went in for mine. I've been thinking about the topic some more, and here are my thoughts:

I had an amniocentesis, because I'm a person who feels better when prepared with knowledge. I would want to know what specialists to have at hand at the birth or special programs in which to educate myself if needed. I do recognize that it might be a false feeling of knowledge, because who could even be truly prepared the surprises of any baby, no matter the chromosomes?

The physical pain of the test was much less than I expected. It was described to me as similar to a blood draw, and it wasn't all that different in terms of pain - obviously, the stakes are much higher. The nurse said it'd take a minute, and indeed I counted 57 seconds while I waited.

The odds that we grew up hearing about amniocentesis-induced miscarriage are much more severe than what they quote now. Apparently, the statistics were influenced in the past by the fact that women of the age to request the test were already slightly more like to miscarry. That being said, anything can happen, so I was fortunate to find a testing clinic that quoted its own miscarry-rate as a hundred times lower than the national average.

The waiting for results is hard, no question about that, but we were happy to get good news for Swimmy. If you're of "advanced maternal age," I hope that this little bit of information was useful as a reference. Everyone's situation and feelings are different, so I wish you all the best in your choices.

If you choose not to do the testing, choose that because you're the type of person for whom test results would just result in stress – not because you're worried about the pain. The pain is nothing compared to the first time you're leaning over to help your almost-walker climb back onto his feet and he suddenly sits up, inadvertently head-butting you so hard that you see stars.

Photo note: We went out to dinner Friday night, and the restaurant attendant made the most amazing balloon dinosaur for Q. He promptly named it "Edwina," from his beloved book, Edwina, The Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct.


Kimberly at said...

"Dwina" is Zen Baby's most beloved book at the moment. She MUST have it at every bedtime. I don't mind that much, since saying "Reginald Von hoobie Doobie" ober and over again is so much more fun than "goodnight moon"

Bob said...

Sophisticated dinosaur, awesome.

Mama Drama Jenny said...

Good stuff to know.

And the dino picture? I'm totally melting over here.