Thursday, August 7, 2008

Neuchal Translucency Test

On Monday we went in for a test of Neuchal Translucency, which is defined as "A pocket of fluid at the back of an embryo's neck visible via ultrasound that, when thickened, may indicate the infant will be born with a congenital heart defect." The pregnant mother gets some blood work, then comes in to get an ultrasound to measure the neck. This test also helps determine if the baby has a chance of Down's Syndrome, as well. It is usually given to women older than my wife, but her doctor didn't think it would hurt to have the peace of mind and get it (except maybe the pocketbook, since it is not covered by insurance -- at least not ours).

We took grandmom to the appointment since she had never witnessed an ultrasound, even though she has three grandkids already! She was pretty excited, as we all were, to get a glimpse of the little kid inside my wife's belly (though my wife and I knew the severity of the test). The technician performing the ultrasound wasn't entirely personable, or easy to understand with his accent, but he knew how to manipulate the baby to get the correct pictures he needed. However, we had the opportunity to record the ultrasound on a DVD, so we brought our own (or pay $20 to use theirs). The nurse warned us the DVD recorder has had trouble recording on DVDs other than theirs, but just told us to make sure it was recording by asking the technician. He assured us it was recording and gave us the DVD when it was over. Not surprisingly, the DVD was friggin' BLANK! We are going to go all Marge Simpson on their proverbial asses and write a letter, goshdarnit!

Anyway, the even less personable but thorough doctor came in and gave us the good news that the blood work and ultrasound show a barely slim chance of our baby having any defects (the test is almost 100% accurate, but still almost). We were pretty pleased about that, of course. I'm not sure what we would decide if we knew there would be a (serious) problem with the baby. The test is performed within the first trimester so if there is any complications, the parents can decide to terminate the pregnancy or not, I guess. I have been a strong pro-choice advocate for as far as I can remember, but after seeing the previous ultrasound and witnessing the baby moving around, I feel a bit different. Not hardened pro-life different, but surely changed. I would never tell a woman she should do this or that, but now I wonder if the "myth" that a baby feels pain during an abortion is true or not.

In any case, it would have been have really difficult to terminate this one since we have told so many people and everyone is so excited for us. Thankfully we do not have to make that painful decision, and so far the pregnancy is going very well.

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