Sceptimum

One sceptical mother (of two)

Archive for the tag “tests”

Times flies when strangers are probing you with wands

If anyone is wondering where I have been for the last couple of weeks, the answer is “being poked relentlessly by strangers dressed in scrubs”.

Not that there was any emergency (or I was up to anything kinky), it’s all just standard mum-to-be care complicated by a child as contrary as its mother. At around the 20th week in Australia they do a fetal anomaly ultrasound scan examining the fetus in detail, checking the heart and internal organs and measuring all the various bones including the spine. Normally this should take 30 minutes or so, unless your child is uncooperative and in wrong position the whole time.

Transvaginal ultrasounds are pretty much like this.

I’ve spent about 10 hours over the last few weeks at the doctor’s or in the hospital and the child’s nickname is now officially “Little Fecker” so you can draw your own conclusions as to their cooperation levels. Little Fecker has clearly inherited both my hatred of posing for photos and the bloody-minded sense of humour from both sides of the family.

To get most of the pictures they need the child needs to be lying flat and relaxed face-up or down, but Little Fecker apparently felt in a V with hands by feet was the correct way to pose. And, lacking a bribe of a lollipop if they behave, all I could do was bump my uterus around a bit in the hope of changing their position.

So began the 2-day St. Vitus’ Dance Disco Epic that was last week. I jiggled and joggled, walked, danced and pranced, all the in hope of maneuvering the child. No change. I sprinted up and down stairs. No change. The technician jiggled my belly so violently my glasses fell off. No change. I danced to Baby’s Got Back in the hospital bathroom completed with Beyonce-style butt-jiggling. The child moved to an even less suitable angle and started kicking me in the cervix.

After 3 hours, they tried the joy that is a transvaginal ultrasound which would have worked if Little Fecker hadn’t moved to sit on it, giving a wonderful shot of their arse. After 4 hours, they sent me home to come back in the next day. After 6, they called in the most expert staff member they had, who basically turned me upside down on a hospital bed, and punched my belly and other bits with the various wands until the Little Fecker finally let us get the angle we needed.

It took nine attempts at scanning from various angles, spread over 7 hours in hospital, to finally get the pictures that fdoctor needed. And the result, finally given to me after another 2 hours waiting in a doctor’s surgery where I used the wait to come up with ever more pessimistic and far-fetched reasons (“The child is deformed. The child is a quadruped. Oh fuck, it’s actually triplets.”) for the hospital insisting on the thoroughness of the scans?

The child is in great shape. The little fecker.

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Choon! And other inappropriate reactions.

I went for my 13 week nuchal ultrasound scan last week. This scan comes under the heading of “not fun but highly recommended if you are 35 or over” which I am.

In combination with a blood test and a family history questionnaire, the nuchal scan assesses the chances of some chromosomal conditions – including Down syndrome – occurring in the fetus. It’s not diagnostic and can only give you odds based on the various results (1 in over 300 is good, under that not so much). If your odds are bad you’ll be referred for another more invasive test, probably an amniocentesis, which give definitive results but come with a small risk of miscarriage.  I haven’t got the results and have to make yet another doctor’s appointment to get them. (I am very happy I live in Australia where short doctor’s appointments are usually free; go Medicare.)

So, not a happy-joy-time scan but one fun side effect was that we got to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time. And it really wasn’t what I was expecting.

Career option for The Child, no 1 – replace aging Keith Prodigy.

In yet another “the movies get this so wrong” moment, the heartbeat wasn’t the  normal watery slow “wub-dub wub-dub”, but a Doppler scan made of the various sound frequencies found and all layered together. The result, at a healthy 130 beats per minute, was a catchy multi-toned electronic wub-wub-wub-wub-wub-wub worthy of a pumping dance floor at 1am when the wusses have fecked off home.

(Don’t believe me? Listen to someone else’s one here.)

I found my head bobbing along appreciatively to the speeding beat. The Child themselves didn’t stop moving during the scan. They were mainly upside-down while throwing shapes so it looked like they were also getting into it.

All the articles and books I have read so far talk about the amazing and intense reaction you will have to hearing your child’s heart beat for the first time. Words like “magical”, “ecstatic” and “transcendent” and are thrown around. No one mentioned interest followed by the urge to go clubbing, but there you go.

And The Prodigy are playing Sydney next month. Think I should take it as a sign and buy some tickets?

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