Amniocentesis Day had arrived. I was getting nervous. Karen, our caseworker, set up an appointment with the genetic counselor before the procedure. The genetic counselor explained how the amniocentesis results will come back in two waves. Wave one will be the preliminary results which are returned in two or three days. The preliminary results would be reliable and will look at four chromosomes- 13, 18, 21 (Down’s Syndrome), and the sex chromosome- to see if there is a missing, extra, or partial chromosome and to determine the sex of the baby. Wave two was expected to take 1 to 2 weeks to receive and is the full chromosome report. It would help us understand, if there is a diagnosis, if Wayne or I passed this issue on to our baby or if it was an incredibly unfortunately fluke of nature.

The counselor answered several more questions. We were concerned with how we would learn the preliminary and final results. It was a phone call. This made me nervous. What if Wayne was at work? I didn’t want to receive this information alone. She put our minds at ease. We could ask them to call back when Wayne got home. Thank goodness!

After this meeting, we could decline the amniocentesis if we wanted to. We didn’t. It was time to start the procedure which would lead to more waiting.

Basically, an amniocentesis is like having blood work done. A long needle is inserted into the uterus- far away from the baby- and amniotic fluid which contains the baby’s cells is extracted. The procedure is typically a minute or less. I don’t care for watching or knowing a great deal about the medical details especially when the procedure is being performed on me. So I told our doctor, Laura, and Cassie, the technician we worked with last week, I trusted them to do what they needed to do to keep me and our baby safe. I closed my eyes. The needle was inserted- OUCH. My uterus did not like being invaded. I immediately cramped. It was intense. I was trying to stay in my happy place- Hawaii, of course- and giving my best effort to only focus on my breathing while in paradise. After a while my mind wondered to how this was the longest minute in the history of minutes. I was right because actually it had been two minutes. Apparently I have an overly protective uterus (or “uterus of steel” as Laura referred to it). My uterus continued to contract preventing the flow of fluid- the fluid needed to end this icky procedure. I told them I would try harder to relax. Everyone in the room chuckled. I wasn’t going to be able to control my contracting uterus.

Finally, the fluid began to flow. They got just enough to send to the lab for testing. So the one minute procedure turned into 3 of the longest minutes of my life. I sure hope I never have to go through that again.

Now I received my list of recovery tips. I hadn’t thought about recovery. I wasn’t able to pick up anything over 10 pounds, including Madeline, for 24 hours. I had to take it easy as one of the side effects, although the chances are small, is going into labor. We definitely didn’t want that. I would have some cramping and maybe a few contractions (oh, I definitely did!) but otherwise I should be fine.

Since our baby is so tiny, they had a hard time getting all of the measurements they needed last week. They performed another ultrasound centered around the heart. They wanted to see if the heart defects they detected were there and how severe. Our little baby was tiny. And he/she was very active (aka difficult). He/She wouldn’t allow Cassie to get the best pictures of the heart and we were told they would have to try again in three weeks at our next growth ultrasound.

Our doctor than started talking more about the complications and suggested we were dealing with something called Trisomy 18. Or an extra 18th chromosome. The test would confirm it, but our doctor would be “shocked” if it didn’t come back as Trisomy 18. Oddly enough, hearing one phrase made it feel different rather than hearing the 7 different complications our baby had.

When we had Madeline, we decided not to find out the sex until she was born. Since we weren’t sure what we were dealing with nor how much time we would have with this little one this time around, we decided we needed to know if we were having a son or a daughter. Well, our precious little stinker’s legs were crossed making it almost impossible for Cassie to tell. She had a guess, but that was it. We told her we would wait for the preliminary results of the amniocentesis. We couldn’t handle any more surprises this pregnancy. Cassie completely understood. I’m guessing she was a bit relieved too.

Our long day was over. We went home… to wait.

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