Thursday, August 26, 2010

Health Check

A couple weeks of somewhat blessed silence were wrapped up with the first screen for Down Syndrome. Our clinic takes a nicely comprehensive approach, performing a combined screen during the 10th and 11th week. Made up of two blood tests and one ultrasound, this screen supposedly detects 80% to 90% of babies with Down Syndrome. In our case, the two blood tests - we're talking about R's blood, by the way - were performed late last week and the results were good. Expressed as ratios, each were "better" than the cutoff ratio which, adjusted for Shannon's age, is 1:250. (As in 1 out of 250 babies with the same blood test results have Down Syndrome.) The ultrasound won't happen until this week to give the baby a little more time to grow. Ultimately, it's the combination of these three results that will determine the likelihood of DS. So far, so good.

We've learned that this combined screen and similar exams to be performed during the second trimester just about eliminate the need for amniocentesis. That's great to hear because amnio increases the risk for miscarriage and we've had enough to worry about already, thank you very much. The only reason we'd request an amnio is if the screens came back with very negative results. So far, Shannon and I have no reason not to feel optimistic. It's a good thing because, quite honestly, we haven't forced ourselves to think through the implications of negative results. What would we do? I honestly don't know. The by-the-book answer is to take it one day at a time with constant reminders that a screen is not a guarantee. The reality is probably messier.

Meanwhile, our pregnancy continues. There'd actually been an ultrasound on the 12th of August that had taken us by surprise - we didn't know it was happening and the results weren't posted 'til days later. (Again, this is the one allowance it seems you have to make with overseas surrogacy. Dates are going to be fluid and expectations won't always be set.) The results were just where you'd like them to be; our little one was 27.4mm from crown to rump (rump!) with healthy cardiac activity at a little over 9 weeks. We'll have to take their word for it all because the images, well, this is the best one and I don't think it's time to play "who does he/she look like" yet:
Tilt your monitor, play with the brightness - it doesn't matter as, apparently, this little fetus is a camouflage master. My understanding is that we'll be getting video once we're fully into the second trimester. For now it's this shadowy radar.

Finally, this past Sunday we had the great pleasure to meet up with a few couples who had either already, successfully, gone through India surrogacy or were considering it. Our hosts were the venerable Mike and Mike, of Spawn of Mike and Mike, whose coverage of their surrogacy experience (now over a year ago!) was early inspiration for us.

Cripes were those babies adorable! All the little folks we met were the product of Indian egg donors which means, apparently, that some cute button is pressed in utero. The best thing about this gathering though? It was just a bunch of folks acting like parents. The babies certainly had no idea where they were from and the adults were dealing with the exact same issues as any other mother or father. India was the backstory, not the plot. That's the novel we're hoping to write as well.


  1. Glad to hear everything is going well. 3 more weeks and your little but growing baby will reach 12 weeks of pregnancy. A magical number, milestone and wonderful time for the both of you. After that the stress will be grately smaller and time will just fly. Belive me. Congratulations!

  2. It's a pleasure to read that things are underway and hopefully it will be an uneventful couple of months before your little one makes an appearance. We now have less than 100 days to we are trying to be patient.

    As for the Scan images......well, wishing you the best in getting a better picture. We're still waiting!

  3. Don't stress out too much. Things seem to be going quite well. As for the scan pictures...uhm...well...we were lucky if we got scans that did NOT make our daughters look like they were spawn of Alien. Half the time we thought they made a mistake and were sending us Rorschach tests.

    It was great to meet both you and Shannon this past next time you're in town, please don't hesitate to ring the door scare the girls when you hide in the bushes.

  4. Congrats on reaching 11 weeks! You are closing in on a huge milestone in your pregnancy.

  5. So glad to read things are progressing well and normal. Can't wait to see better pics of your little on in utero. On to the 2nd trimester! :)

  6. Wonderful update, almost past first trimester with only two to go. You are getting there and will get there!!!

  7. This is sooo exciting!! I am so happy for you both. Please call me on Monday :) I want all the updates.


  8. so happy to hear things are going well! actually, if you look in the upper right hand corner of the scan, under what looks like a fluffy white cloud, i think i see the baby's little head and an eye. adorable. how wonderful you were able to connect with some other surrogacy in india-ites.

  9. Awesome! So glad that all is progressing so well. We're thinking of you (all three of you!)