Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

1st Prenatal Visit

Or, well, I guess that is what you could call it. I met with a nurse and she didn't exactly touch me or look at my body (in that way), but we met about the pregnancy.

I ran the 20 minutes to the clinic in my sweatpants, gangsteresque winter hat, sweatshirt, backpack. I own the only two pairs of sweatpants in Denmark, so I invariably get looks. But yesterday was a little different because there is now SO MUCH SNOW here that it's nearly impossible to drive and truly impossible to bike, unless you are Jill Homer riding on a bike called Pugsley. So you get cred for arriving anywhere - in any apparel.

First order of business was last menstrual period. Well, I had forgotten about that, since I had been so focused on the day I ovulated. "Well, I can tell you my due date based on the day I ovulated", I offered. She could not have cared less about the day I ovulated. I finally came up with the real first day of LMP - Oct. 22nd. This pushes my due date back 4 days to July 29 (the real due date is, of course, August 2nd). The best thing about having the wrong due date on my record is a get an extra 4 days off of work! "WHAT?" you Americans say. Yes, I get a full 8 weeks paid maternity leave BEFORE the baby is born. So my last day of work will be June 2nd!! (wrapping my arms around Denmark in a big hug) SR just about shit his pants when he heard this. "You get 8 weeks to run and workout while I have to work!" (He just pointed out to me he said "work out" and not "workout"). In all honesty, it will only be 7 weeks since women who run while pregnant tend have 39 week pregnancies instead of 40 (hey, but actually 7 weeks and 4 days!).

Then I learned my height in centimeters (but subsequently forgot it again). It is hard to convince a nurse that you are a physician when you don't know your own height. I just can't get used to metric for length! Anyway, I got weighed with clothing at 54 kg. So I have MAYBE gained a half a kg or 1 lb in the first 8 weeks - and she told me I was a little underweight. Well, I have been working on that, I ate an entire quiche from the frozen section at the grocery store last night (I didn't eat it frozen - I'm not THAT lazy). I have found the more protein and fat and the less carbs, the less likely I will puke.

Finally, she said one of the blood tests that would be drawn was to test for Down Syndrome. Well, I said no. There was a moment of confusion and she tried to regain her composure... but how could I not want it? I started thinking of all the things I don't agree with in Danish life. In my mind, they force everyone (in that "everyone does it" way) to be tested for babies with Down Syndrome so the Society doesn't have to pay for their costly lives. It's all about creating a country where everyone is equally productive. I had to repeat about 20 times for her that I didn't want it and state why almost as many. So here's why: Being 31, my chance of having a baby with Down Syndrome is about 1/900. What is the chance that the test tells me I have a risk for a baby with it, but actually don't? - probably higher. So then I have to deal with the stress of "maybe I have an abnormal baby" and deal with making the decision about what to do. The thing is, for me, the decision is simple: do nothing and just have the baby. For SR the decision is equally simple: if the test says Down syndrome, get an abortion. Well, I am no Pro-Life advocate, but I strongly believe that no non-harmful natural process should be interrupted (there is also risk in having an abortion). Anyway, SR and I had a long discussion about it - and from his point of view, I made the absolute wrong decision. And now, since I said no to the blood test, he says I won't be offered an ultrasound either - because that is simply part of the triple test for Down Syndrome. Kind of sucks to not even get to know if I am going to have twins or not! I may have to go back to the eye department and try to get better at abdominal ultrasounds with a tiny probe. Gosh, with a 1/900 chance of having a Down Syndrome baby, you'd think they could find a better test to do on young women - like "Cri du chat", or something (okay, if anyone besides SR knows what that is, I'll be impressed - NO LOOKING IT UP AND PRETENDING YOU KNEW, PEOPLE!).

Running songs of the day: I Don't Want Anybody that Wants Me by Make Out
and American Mourning by Bikini


May-Britt Hansen said...

I´ve allready told you that the real date is July 30th ;-)

PiccolaPineCone said...

I can tell you that "cri du chat" is not a known expression among my french canadian and acadian colleagues. though I have never had so many people make the cat hissing sound at me in one morning... and it's only 8.15 am here.
p.s. b/c SteveQ would say, it's all about me - Oct. 22 was my date of LMP for my pregnancy and July 25 was my due date (cocotte was born Aug. 1). meaning your baby and my toddler are season-locked so I can totally set you up with season-appropriate hand-me-downs

Karen said...

Those ultrasounds in the ophthalmology department sound way more exciting than having a tech do it anyways.

SteveQ said...

I know what "cri du chat" is; I've heard it. I've seen the "simian crease" - which is a just terrible name. I've seen the "Mongoloid epicanthic folds," which insults two groups of people at once. What I've never experienced is a parent of a child with Down Syndrome not loving that child. I can't even fault Sarah Palin on that (as much as I fault her on everything else).

There's such an incredible range in affectedness in Down's kids. We just tend to think of the worst cases, which can be very trying to parents.

@PPC: because it's all about me, I was due on July 24th (my brother Tom's birthday) and came August 6, which explains why I was such a big baby then (though not why I'm such a big baby now). My mother was 39 and father 51, so there was a fair chance of my being a Down's baby.

Mapp said...

If somebody is perfectly qualified to tell you what cri du chat is, being French, that's me. Except I have no clue. But at least, I have not cheated.

Now... with an expected due date between 25/07 and 01/08, how are your plans to come to the French Alps and ideally do a trail race here around, well, July 25 and Aug 1, wasn'it, look like? In other words, should I be coming up with best trail races or best maternity wards suggestions? And yes, I do remember you emailed me and I still owe you an answer... You may even get it before the end of the year...

Mapp said...

I have just re-read what I have written and realised I constructed my sentence as if I wanted to make sure nobody would understand it. Let's hope I am doing slightly better in my own blog, but there is a fat chance I am not. God thing I am a better runner than writer.

And, looking on the bright side, that will at least serve one purpose which is to make your number of comments / number of posts ratio go even higher.

Fast Bastard said...

Oh my god, for the sake of all that's holy and pure, crazy woman...

You still get the 18-week ultra-sound. The 12 week ultrasound (the "neck fold" scan) is part of the eval for possible Down's. So if it's two Finnbjørns or Finnbjørgs, we'll still know.


And if they do find something suspicious on the blood tests and neck fold scans, they do an amniocentesis to find out if it is indeed a baby with Down's syndrome.

If we went down that road, and we learned that we did have a baby on the way with Down's, I'm NOT sure I would want the abortion. I don't know enough about Down's syndrome.

But it's like any other type of screening; people hope for a negative result to give them peace of mind and rarely consider the consequences.

Steve, Down's is indeed a spectrum, but some (maybe the majority?) of that phenomenon is explained by mosaicism, ie. only some of the cells carrying the trisomy 21. You can carry as little as a 1/16 Down's mosaic and by completely asymptomatic. I do suspect a mosaic (or a translocation) would show up as part of the amniocentesis work-up. Usual karyotyping involves 25 copies, so they wold certainly be able to demonstrate a ratio of normal chromosomes to tri(21)s.

Kate said...

The scenario you described basically happened to me. I was pregnant, due to have the baby at age 31. Got the first trimester triple screen and got abnormal results. So instead of 1/900 they were saying 1/75 or something. Which of course means 74/75 chance of no abnomalities, but at that point, all your brain hears is that the baby has Downs. Like you, I would have kept the baby either way, I just wanted to know in advance so that I could start preparing and learning more about it and not just be surprised by it at the birth. So they gave me a CVS (lower risk than amnio) and determined that the baby did not have Down's. Anyway, there is no point to all of this except to say that I totally can understand how you are feeling or thinking about it. Funny thing is that after all of that mess the first time around, I still did the triple screen with our 2nd child during the first trimester, because again, I just wanted to know. Hope you find peace of mind either way. Good luck.

The Chapples said...

My LMP was Oct 28th and was told yesterday at my nurse visit that the due date is August 4th so your July 29th due date lines right up. I am also opting not to have the quad screen, just like I did last time. No desire to know all of that. Case closed. Luckily my practice doesn't push it at all. They just asked if I wanted to schedule it around week 15 and I said no and she moved on.

Glad you're finding some solutions to your sickness! I am still luckily skirting that again - woooo! - but have the lovely side stitch going on all of the time on my right side where I've literally been running digging my fingers into the painful spot.

I have an ultrasound on THursday and can't wait. I don't know how you stand the waiting!!

Stefanie Schocke said...

I did not cheat- but I do know what "cri du chat" is...but that's because my Master's is in Special Ed and have a friend with a daughter with it.

I hope you can get the ultrasound. I liked giving birth in the summer. My first was born 8/7/06 (due the 8/17/06, LMP 11/10/05). It was so easy to keep a good exercise routine due to warm weather (not that you'll be lacking in that department).

And...what if a runner quits running at 33 weeks? Do they still typically deliver at 39? For some reason I think I read in Clapp's book it's only if exercise is intense up until delivery- right?

Marathon Princess said...

I'm one runner who didn't follow the 39 week pregnancy, I actually had to be induced at 41 weeks, darn baby didn't want to come out with the cold weather we had! Maybe that doesn't apply since I had to quit running at 34 weeks due to SPD even though I kept up with working out on the elliptical.

Have you tried B6 for nausea? That was the one thing that got me through the early days.

Kirsten said...

Can't you just have the ultrasound privately in one of those private hospitals that everybody loves to hate?
Agree with May-Britt, July the 30th is a nice day to give birth - I've done it......

Fast Bastard said...


As I described above, the "regular" ultrasound at 18 weeks has nothing to do with the "neck fold" or "nuchal fold" ultrasound at 11-13 weeks. While they would be able to tell if Sea Legs is carrying twins, the test is performed to look evalutate for the risk of Down's syndrome.

The "regular" ultrasound, looking for arms, legs, penises, and what have you, is unrelated to the Down's debacle.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Well, "cri" = "cry", right? And "chat" = "cat"? And I assume in French, "cat" and "pussy" are interchangeable just as in English, and so "cri du chat" means ... something so dirty that even I won't type it.

I just can't get used to metric for length!

Don't even try, sister! Metric measurement is just something European males made up so that it would make their penises seem larger than they would in inches because they know if you knew how small they (their penises, that is) are, they'd never make your "chat" "cri", as it were.

My word verification is "classuppl", which I assume is short (or "metric") for "class up the place", which I have now done.

sea legs girl said...

I can't help laughing at you Francophones. Especially Mapp, being French and thus MORE qualified than a French Canadian to discuss "cri du chat". Ha ha ha.. Poor PPC! But, seriously, Marie-Aline, I have been there. I used to get so mad when people in France asked me if I was French Canadian - because they don't speak REAL French there!

It is a good thing I have this blog so I can get some real answers out of my husband :).

There is now a lot of pressure to have our baby July 30th - I guess I'll "push" for that. wakawakawaka

Piccola - oh my, well, I had better have girl or an effeminate boy. Thanks for the offer.

Stefanie - oh, I hearken back to the days of my first pregnancy when I ran outside until mid november - when I was too big to run long anyway. It sucks being able to run but NOT being able to run in any place fun due to snow. And I know you're also suffering in Chicago!

Finally, I really want to thank everyone for the honest, heartfelt input about the tests for Down Syndrome. Really interesting to learn about different experiences.

sea legs girl said...

Glaven - what sort of miniscule unit of measurement do the men in New Jersey use?

s.a. said...

I have several friends who had the same experience as Kate- were told of an elevated risk, and had a few weeks of extreme anxiety, when in fact the baby was totally normal. Anecdotally, I don't know anyone who ended up having a baby with a serious abnormality, but MANY people who had 'abnormal' preliminary results. I also elected not to do the triple screen. I am ardently pro-choice, but decided after giving it a lot of thought that I would only be willing to terminate if the baby had a serious congenital abnormality, ie missing its brain or similar.

I know what Cri du Chat is, but like the previous commenter I am in Special Ed.

I hope your nausea diminishes; I was fortunate to not experience any pregnancy nausea, it sounds just miserable.

SteveQ said...

It's been a while since I've been completely irrelevant and wierdly crude at the same time: so, just for Glaven... there was a study that found that Danish men have, on the average, the largest testicles (Korean men the smallest). Now you can start wondering why I read such a study.

SteveQ said...

I have a new favorite song! "Famine Affair" by Of Montreal. It's not a great running song - and you might not care for it - but I absolutely love it!

sea legs girl said...

Oh my gosh - A new Of Montreal Song! Thank you. The chance that I WON'T like it is smaller than any of the disease probabilities discussed above! Even smaller than Korean testicles (now that was a weird factoid!) :)

Katie said...

That stinks that you and SR disagree on the whole blood test thing. I didn't have any tests either, but Nick was right there with me. Neither of us could imagine having an abortion and neither of us wanted to worry about it. I'm also 31. I do think there is some pressure here in the states to have all that testing done too. During my pregnancy, I managed to sneak a peak at my medical record while I was waiting for the doctor. There was one section called "known issues" that identified genetic tests that I had refused. I was a little irritated and decided to press the doctor. She was a little embarrassed actually. She told me that it wasn't an issue that I had declined the tests and I wasn't in any high risk category, they just for some reason place it under "known issues."