For those of you who may become pregnant some time in the future, near or far, file this little tidbit away. If, in the 12th or 13th week of your pregnancy, you should opt to take the maternal-blood/fetal-DNA “Harmony” prenatal test to detect the presence of trisomies, please keep in mind that in about three weeks your test may return as “insufficient fetal DNA.” Do not panic. Keep breathing. Convince your heart to start beating again. This is, in fact, a surprisingly common result. Truck back to your OB. Get a second pair of vials drawn. Don’t be surprised if the nurse who does the draw has to use the Big Needle this time (it hurts like the dickens for those of us with small, fickle veins). I am the fourth such result my OB’s office has had, and of the three women before me, two succeeded on the second draw and the third didn’t, but went on to do a different type of testing. And everyone turned out just fine. And by everyone, I mean All The Babies.
It helps when the nurse doing the blood draw and your husband work for the same hospital system. They can banter about workplace stuff and it is sufficiently distracting to keep you from thinking about the blood being siphoned out of your system and wondering whether the little frog in your stomach is doing okay.
I noticed I can go about 2 weeks before I really start to get irrationally worried about what’s going on in there. And it’s been three weeks since my last OB appointment, wherein I heard (for the first time) the heart I had first seen beating at 5 weeks, 6 days. My next appointment is next week, and I was willing to be as patient as possible and just hang on and wait. I looked on the enterprise as an exercise in faith, and trust, and a little bit of pixie dust. But then in the middle of the afternoon at 15 weeks, 6 days I get this phone call that practically stops my heart in its tracks, and I figure if I’m going to be called back in to give another two vials of blood, I’m not leaving without seeing a nurse with a Doppler.
And happily, they obliged. To me, that steady “thub thub thub” was like hearing “Chill out, Mom, things are fine in here.” Ever-kind Nurse Julie even made the epic mistake of telling me to come in whenever I wanted to hear that “thub thub thub thub” or “smush smush smush smush” sound again. Which I interpret as, No one will look at you like you have three heads if you come in every day. Except they probably would. I know I can manage now til my appointment next week, and two weeks after that is our 19-week ultrasound, so that basically carries me through the month of January. I think I’ll just plan to go in every two weeks for the rest of the spring, or until I can start to feel kicks, elbows, and somersaults. Once that two-way communication gets established, I’m hoping that much of my anxiety will lift away.
At 16 weeks, the little frog is roughly the size of an avocado, about 4 1/2 inches. I love avocados.