are you planning to do any of the big tests we have coming up? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 46 Old 10-27-2004, 11:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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reffering to the AFP testing and the big 18-20 week sonogram.

i am under 35, so the AFP is just a blood test for me, and since it has such a high rate of false positive, i am thinking i will skip it. i would not abort in any case, but i guess if there was going to be something very wrong with my baby it would be nice to have time to prepare. especially somethin incompatible with life. still, i think i will take my chances.

the sonogram, however, i will do. and this is going to sound so silly, but the biggest reason is i want to know the gender. i didnt find out with dd because dh was strongly opposed, and it drove me nuts. i dont know why. we certainly will be keeping the info from anyone who might give us very gender specific gifts, because we just dont want that. i have no idea why it is so big to me to know. maybe becuase in dh's family there is a ton of pressure for a boy : but i also think it is just a very personal curiosity i have.
so then i guess i will let the tech go ahead and peek at all the other stuff, like brain, heart, spine but i am not terribly worried about that.
i do feel sorta bad doing the sono just to find gender, since i would otherwise be having a sonogram free baby. i dont know what it is with me. i sound kind of shallow to myself, since i do believe ther may be risks involved in ultrasound, and i am usually such a big fanatic about trusting nature more than technology, so this is just weird for me.

anyway, what choices are you making and why?
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#2 of 46 Old 10-28-2004, 12:14 AM
 
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i don't do the AFP. as for the 20 week U/S. if we are staying in Fl for that i don't think i will do it. my OB would do it and i just don't trust her doing an U/S after the first one she did. she told me i miscarried, and then ooops no you didn't miscarry, that must be your cervix, ooops, no that's not your cervix that's something else...................

don't think i want someone that unsure doing another one on me. if we move and i decide to get one i will have an U/S tech do it, but i will only have one done if i continue to be this big to rule out twins. i don't want to know what this baby is, until delivery
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#3 of 46 Old 10-28-2004, 12:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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oh my. that sounds like a very traumatic ultrasound, danaalex. why is this woman even performing ultrasounds? i think i would pass too, if that was my experience. the biggie at 20 weeks here is performed by an ultrasound tech who specializes in it.
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#4 of 46 Old 10-28-2004, 12:52 AM
 
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No AFP for me this time or last time. I'll do the u/s at 19 weeks just to check that everything is there. I wouldn't abort but would like a chance to prepare myself for any problems that might be there. I feel that one u/s in the second tri is reasonable. I wouldn't do frivilous u/s or early or late u/s that don't have a medical purpose but I'm comfortable with one.
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#5 of 46 Old 10-28-2004, 07:44 AM
 
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I didn't do the AFP last time and won't this time. I'm going to do the one ultrasound because I think it will really put my mind at ease, and I'm also obsessing over whether Tristan will have a brother or sister. I think having an "all's clear" (or knowing about and being able to come to terms with a problem) will really make the last half of my pregnancy much more peaceful.
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#6 of 46 Old 10-28-2004, 10:30 AM
 
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We're not planning on having the AFP or any further ultrasounds at this pt. Our midwife's office doesn't perform them, so we'd have to make special arrangements, and having already had 2 early u/s we feel that's enough.

Though I have to say as weeks pass with no u/s I do start to wonder;
Melanie--I can see your point about putting your mind at ease. Both Beth & I have started to dream about dopplers and about getting another u/s as I think we are both anxious about Mondays mw appointment (when we hope to hear the hb)..and since we are doing doppler anyway... But I have always been quite firm that I didn't want to know the sex and I wouldn't want to accidentally find out....
indecisive, a bit, but definitely no AFP. At 30 I'm not terribly high risk and we would never terminate a pregnancy...
interesting thread!
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#7 of 46 Old 10-28-2004, 10:39 AM
 
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No AFP for us last time or this time. I have a pretty strong feeling that we would get a high result even if there was nothing wrong, partly b/c DD has some soft markers for spina bifida (she doesn't have it and they weren't noticed until waaaay after she was born-- 6 mo. or so). We will have an u/s mainly b/c SIL (who is 9) was born with major birth defects that, if present, would make me feel better delivering at the children's hospital rather than at home. The peace of mind is nice too, and we might get one even without the family history, but that's enough to seal the deal for me.
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#8 of 46 Old 10-28-2004, 10:44 AM
 
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I had my blood drawn for the AFP test on Monday. At first, I was debating over it, but finally decided to have it done to know for sure. If something was wrong, we want to be prepared for it before birth.

My dh and I both want to know the gender, so we're definitely having the U/S done. I've scheduled it for Nov 12 at 18w2d. We're very excited to finally have another peek at the baby
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#9 of 46 Old 10-28-2004, 04:09 PM
 
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We're not planning on doing either the AFP or the U/S, but I do have to say that I had to really think through whether I was ok not knowing the gender for this 2nd baby.

The funny thing is that I've always NOT wanted to know the gender and have always struggled to understand other people's desire to know in advance. I try to raise my ds as free of gender expectations as possible and always feel (on some level at least) like gender is overrated as information on your child's personality, but I was a little concerned that I would feel a bit of disappointment at the moment of birth (certainly not a time to feel that tinge) if the baby isn't a girl. This realization really came about in talking to a friend of two boys who felt slightly disappointed at her second and last child's birth. She says that she had to mourn the loss of an adult mother-daughter relationship and that really struck home with me.

But on the other hand, I'm hoping to cultivate a close relationship with all of my children that continues onto adulthood and maybe can find that confidante relationship that I have with my mother (that my brothers lack) with sons as well as daughters.

So, the long and short of it, is that I'm not going to find out now, but just live with the moment and believe in the power of forging new roads with my son(s) and daughter..

more than you wanted to hear....

Angie, Mama to Finn (6/01) and Theo (4/05)
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#10 of 46 Old 10-28-2004, 04:33 PM
 
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I didn't have the Quad Screen (I did have it w/dd, but dh & I decided not to this time). We are having an u/s on Nov 17 (20w1d). I used to work in fetal/infant mortality & honestly know WAAAAYYYY too much about the bad things that can go wrong. I **need** to see for myself that everything is okay with the baby. We are planning to find out gender. I'm not a patient person & it would make me nutty to wait, LOL. But, that's just me. To each their own & my own feeling is, it's a surprise no matter when you find out

I'll also do the GTT later on because I have PCOS & it makes me more likely to have GD (although I didn't w/my dd, TG!!).
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#11 of 46 Old 10-28-2004, 05:01 PM
 
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We're not doing the AFP, but the ultrasound for sure.

hearts.gifhearts.gifhearts.gifhearts.gifhearts.gif A house full of girls, but for dad and one brother bikenew.gif
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#12 of 46 Old 10-28-2004, 06:20 PM
 
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we opted out of the quad screen. our u/s is scheduled for next wed (i'll be 18 wks).

with dd i would have been just fine now knowing the gender, but this time around i'm dying to find out. so, like sunbaby, i'm only concerned about the gender. really. i'm not worried about anything else in the least. though, our doctor delivers at a hospital in a small town, so if there's a major problem detected it'll be good to know so we can plan to deliver at a large hospital downtown with a nicu and all that stuff.
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#13 of 46 Old 10-29-2004, 06:24 PM
 
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I'm torn on AFP, I opted not but don't feel very confident about the descision. I'm just not sure that I'm a strong enough person to deal with major dirth defects and I'd like to have plenty of time to prepare...honestly if it were a more accurate test I'd do it w/o question. I finally decided against it though because I'm not quite in the high risk group age (I'm 31) and I'm even more afraid of false +.

I've heard rumors that my birth center does a mandatory 20-22 wk US because they are very conservative about higher risk births. I did US at 14 weeks to confirm due date and that was very reasuring to me. If the sex is obvious I don't mind knowing but I'm not feeling a strong need to know right now.
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#14 of 46 Old 10-29-2004, 06:42 PM
 
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simone, the U/S might be able to tell you two huge things that could come out of a true positive AFP anyways, one is spina bifida, they can usually see that on the U/S. not always, but usually. and anencephaly (sp) ( no brain) sometimes they can tell this too. depending on if the skull is growing or not. the others, trisomy disorders, aren't usually looked for unless they are suspected. i just think there is such a high rate of false + with the AFP that it's not always worth it. but that's just my opinion
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#15 of 46 Old 10-29-2004, 10:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danaalex
simone, the U/S might be able to tell you two huge things that could come out of a true positive AFP anyways, one is spina bifida, they can usually see that on the U/S. not always, but usually. and anencephaly (sp) ( no brain) sometimes they can tell this too. depending on if the skull is growing or not. the others, trisomy disorders, aren't usually looked for unless they are suspected. i just think there is such a high rate of false + with the AFP that it's not always worth it. but that's just my opinion
Thanks for the reasurance, I really need it.

I'm worrying about so much more about everything with this pg, draw back of actually "doing my homework" this time around. I blindly did everything my OB told me with dd1, not a good thing to do it turns out. I'm determined to take a far more active and educated role in managing this PG but I find the taking on the burden of descision making to be so much more stressfull than ignorant bliss.
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#16 of 46 Old 10-31-2004, 03:14 PM
 
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I am not planning on doing any of the testing unless truly warranted.

Ultrasounds are not recommended for routine use as they have not yet been tested adequately.

tireless sewer of teeny little clothes for Bamboletta dolls ...

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#17 of 46 Old 11-01-2004, 01:39 PM
 
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Just heard back from the OB's office, my AFP test from last Monday came back negative. I'm so relieved I'm not in the high risk category, but all the false positives concerned me a bit. Glad that's over with!!! Now, I have the ultrasound to look forward to in less than 2 weeks.

A friend of mine said when she was pregnant the nurse recommended her to drink some caffeine before the ultrasound so the baby will be more active. For those of you finding out the gender, are you trying any tricks to ensure an active baby?
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#18 of 46 Old 11-01-2004, 02:23 PM
 
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Kattie,

We're not finding out the gender this time, but we did last time. I avoided caffeine pretty religiously, so I went the sugar route to help the baby feel the need to be a bit more active. I drank a big glass of OJ right before the u/s and that worked nicely. Good luck!
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#19 of 46 Old 11-03-2004, 12:44 AM
 
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I don't think the AFP or quad screen is done here. Not sure. If they do it, I'll get it done, if not, I won't lose any sleep over it. It's not a test I've put much stock in, so I'm kind of indifferent.

I moved to Japan two weeks ago, and there's enough of a language barrier as it is. Conformity is very important too, so I have to really pick my battles.

This clinic does have doctors that speak (some) English, so it's my choice of clinic. They do an US at every visit, so that answers that question! :LOL
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#20 of 46 Old 11-03-2004, 01:03 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saharamama
Ultrasounds are not recommended for routine use as they have not yet been tested adequately.

Hmmm... where are you getting this information? There are a lot of half-baked articles on the internet & there was even an article in Mothering a few years ago w/this as a theme. When I went to the UCONN Medical School library w/a copy of Mothering trying to get evidence to show my boss that u/s wasn't safe (based on the article) I couldn't find ONE research article that stated this. I took the ENTIRE reference list from the article & looked up each of the references & you know what.... the authors took small pieces of studies, articles, etc & twisted them to say what they wanted. I wanted to prove to my boss that u/s was questionable & based on the Mothering article & it's references, I couldn't. Ever since, I've been very suspicious of anything I read in Mothering.

U/s technology is not new, has been used for years, is used on MANY more patients then just pregnant ones, and no credible study that's been published in any respected medicle journal (that i've ever seen) has ever shown it to be harmful.
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#21 of 46 Old 11-03-2004, 03:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ctdoula
Hmmm... where are you getting this information? There are a lot of half-baked articles on the internet & there was even an article in Mothering a few years ago w/this as a theme. When I went to the UCONN Medical School library w/a copy of Mothering trying to get evidence to show my boss that u/s wasn't safe (based on the article) I couldn't find ONE research article that stated this. I took the ENTIRE reference list from the article & looked up each of the references & you know what.... the authors took small pieces of studies, articles, etc & twisted them to say what they wanted. I wanted to prove to my boss that u/s was questionable & based on the Mothering article & it's references, I couldn't. Ever since, I've been very suspicious of anything I read in Mothering.

U/s technology is not new, has been used for years, is used on MANY more patients then just pregnant ones, and no credible study that's been published in any respected medicle journal (that i've ever seen) has ever shown it to be harmful.
Good for you for doing your own research!!!!

As much as I enjoy Mothering and appreciate their role in encouraging alternative ideas, I find that I have to often remind myself that this is a magazine and not a medical journal. IMO the risks associated with US are theoretical whereas the risks associtated with not doing an US (when deemed diagnostically appropriate to ensure baby or mother's health or safety) are real.
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#22 of 46 Old 11-03-2004, 05:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saharamama
Ultrasounds are not recommended for routine use as they have not yet been tested adequately.
Just in defense of saharamama, u/s are intended for diagnostic use (I looked for the ACOG statement of this but couldn't navigate their website too well), not just to give us a visual introduction to the baby or to determine gender. There are some anomalies that can be detected through u/s. But I think that it's conventional use (though this would be the debatable point) is largely for the latter two reasons, which are not medical (though I'm not pointing any fingers here). Personally it doesn't matter to me, but will let the insurance companies decide whether to fight that battle.

Personally, the risks of u/s for me are not medical; they are more subtle than that. One is that u/s further medicalizes birth by focusing on what can go wrong rather than trusting in our own sense of what can go right in pregnancy. Second, u/s gives us a visual picture of our babies, which somehow for me I believe lessens my intuitive connection with the baby which is based on other senses as well as the sense of the baby as being integrated within rather than disembodied in that little picture. I (and most of us) rely too much on sight to tell us about the world and am interested in recovering some of the other ways of knowing and intuition. It's tempting though to SEE the babe, but I keep telling myself that it doesn't matter since I already KNOW the baby in every part of my being.

I'm not saying that this holds for everyone and think that there are reasons to do them (my 3 yo has one for his kidney tomorrow b/c they are worried he might have stones as a result of one of his anti-convulsants), but wanted to add a different perspective.

others?

Angie, Mama to Finn (6/01) and Theo (4/05)
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#23 of 46 Old 11-03-2004, 09:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LiminalOne
Personally, the risks of u/s for me are not medical; they are more subtle than that. One is that u/s further medicalizes birth by focusing on what can go wrong rather than trusting in our own sense of what can go right in pregnancy. Second, u/s gives us a visual picture of our babies, which somehow for me I believe lessens my intuitive connection with the baby which is based on other senses as well as the sense of the baby as being integrated within rather than disembodied in that little picture. I (and most of us) rely too much on sight to tell us about the world and am interested in recovering some of the other ways of knowing and intuition. It's tempting though to SEE the babe, but I keep telling myself that it doesn't matter since I already KNOW the baby in every part of my being.

I'm not saying that this holds for everyone and think that there are reasons to do them (my 3 yo has one for his kidney tomorrow b/c they are worried he might have stones as a result of one of his anti-convulsants), but wanted to add a different perspective.

others?


From personal experience I can definately appreciate where you are coming from on this. I used an OB with DD#1 who routinely orders an early and late US for every PG. On my second US the tech noted that dd's umbelical cord was wrapped around her neck multiple times. My OB assured me that this wasn't a big deal but knowing this really scared me anyway and made me more willing to accept medical interventions. Ultimately I think it made her birth harder, riskier, and longer because I think I was a lot quicker to go to the hospital, follow their directions explicitly, and to accept continious fetal monitoring than I think I would have been otherwise.
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#24 of 46 Old 11-04-2004, 01:07 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natashaccat
As much as I enjoy Mothering and appreciate their role in encouraging alternative ideas, I find that I have to often remind myself that this is a magazine and not a medical journal. IMO the risks associated with US are theoretical whereas the risks associtated with not doing an US (when deemed diagnostically appropriate to ensure baby or mother's health or safety) are real.

ITA


While I believe u/s to be a very powerful & useful tool, I also agree it shouldn't be done for no reason (i.e. those Fetal Photo places). There are many problems that can be detected by u/s for which it helps GREATLY to be prepared (various heart defects, omphocile (sp?), spinal bifida, diaphramatic hernia, velatemous (sp?) insertion of the cord, etc). A baby born with one of these conditions would be a much higher risk of death if the care providers weren't prepared to deal with them at birth.
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#25 of 46 Old 11-04-2004, 04:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctdoula
ITA


While I believe u/s to be a very powerful & useful tool, I also agree it shouldn't be done for no reason (i.e. those Fetal Photo places). There are many problems that can be detected by u/s for which it helps GREATLY to be prepared (various heart defects, omphocile (sp?), spinal bifida, diaphramatic hernia, velatemous (sp?) insertion of the cord, etc). A baby born with one of these conditions would be a much higher risk of death if the care providers weren't prepared to deal with them at birth.
you know i was just thinking about this. there are a bunch of defects that you would want to know about before delivery, especially true spina bifida, where the spinal cord is growing out of the back and not covered. also, an intestinal disorder called gastrocesis, where the intestines are growing outside of the body. those would make delivery very tricky if you didn't know your child had them.

so, i don't know. i guess both sides of the coin have valid points as a mom you just need to weigh the pros and cons of both
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#26 of 46 Old 11-04-2004, 05:15 PM
 
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I agree that overuse of ultrasounds is a problem, and I also agree that diagnostic use can be a major asset to prenatal care. As I've mentioned previously, my SIL was born with birth defects that were unknown before birth. Had MIL had an u/s with a skilled tech, they likely would have caught some of the problems and SIL could have been born in a better-suited hospital. As it was, she was air-lifted to Denver Children's while MIL was stuck in small-town Montana recovering from a c-section. Not a great situation. SIL's condition is called VATER-L or VACTER-L, which is an acronym for a series of related defects-- SIL's major issue was having an esophagus that missed connecting to her stomach by about 1.5 inches. She had other issues too, but thankfully avoided the last two letters of the acronym-- her roommate at Denver Children's was born without a rectum (R) or legs (L= limbs). VACTER-L does not appear to be genetic, but we feel compelled to screen for it via u/s, just in case, since nobody is really sure of the cause. If I were diagnosed, I would certainly sacrifice my home birth plans in favor of delivering at a well-suited children's hospital. Through a mix of good luck and good care, SIL is now a healthy 9 year-old. But the first few months of her life would have been less traumatic (for all involved) had she been diagnosed prenatally.

That's not at all a soapbox rant about why everyone should have an u/s-- I don't think everyone should, necessarily, and everybody has to make the choice based on their own experience, beliefs, and indications. But it's an explanation about why we feel compelled to have one.
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#27 of 46 Old 11-04-2004, 06:49 PM
 
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My husband and I decided jointly on no tests (including u/s). Why? For both health and spiritual reasons. Whoever comes our way - boy or girl, healthy or unhealthy, "normal" or "deformed", quiet or boisterous, outgoing or introspective - it is who is meant to be with us. We will accept our child with open hearts and loving arms.

As for health, why mess with procedures that may (or may not) be dangerous to the well-being of our little one? As far as I'm concerned, the most any of the tests will do is ease my fears - the worst is to increase them. Either way, the fears are my own and I have to deal with them. So I'd rather deal with my normal "oh my gosh I hope the baby is alright" and learn and grow from that (after all, I'm sure that I'll still have that feeling after my child is a fully independent adult!!) rather than risk potential harm to our baby.

Best wishes,
Julie
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#28 of 46 Old 11-04-2004, 07:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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of course, we also will 'accept a baby with loving arms, no matter who is sent our way'. and as stream mentioned, i might choose different circumstances for the birth if i can know ahead that will be necesary to keep babe alive. if immediate surgery is required for life, for example, i wont go ahead with our homebirth plans. and i am just plain old guilty of insatiable, impatient curiosity about gender.

i do feel some guilt around this, i mentioned i would have an otherwise sonogram free baby. i do think too much in our society we trust technology more than nature, and i do beleive it is possible that sonograms could have adverse effects that we dont yet understand. certainly in other ways i do alot to protect my child from this sort of influence. on the sonogram, i am making a compromise.

i am feeling a little defensive right now. maybe no one is really trying to correct my chioce, but i am feeling bad. i thought we'd just talk about our choices as individual families, and didnt ever think it would come out feeling kind of like a debate about the merits vs. risks of ultrasound. maybe i am just sensetive. i am all outa sorts from the election : and many of my interactions this week seem to leave me feeling stressed. sorry if i am being really emtional. could someone pls just give me a hug now?
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#29 of 46 Old 11-04-2004, 08:15 PM
 
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DH and I have decided not to do the Quad Screen. It was pretty funny actually. His ex did the total mainstream medical route with DD, so all this MW, no drugs, etc is new for him. When the MW asked about the screen, he was like, maybe, then in the car on the waty home I was reading the brochure to him, and he said"it's almost as bad as a coin toss," then when I got to the part about false negatives on top of the false positives, he says" you'd be better off with a coin-toss!"

We are doing the u/s. I left it up to him, and he really wants to. He also wants to know the sex, partly b/c if it's not the sex he's hoping for, any disappointment will be over with before the birth.

In reference to a PP, I was born at home when u/s was barely used, and had gastroschisis, or possibly a ruptured omphalocele. Anyway, it was really mild and I was fine. I was transported to OHSU for surgery and was in NICU for 2 wks, but my mom's REALLY glad she had me at home so she could hold me first. If they had known, that wouldn't have been possible.

Just one experience. Not to take away from anyone else's decisions (including mine )
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#30 of 46 Old 11-04-2004, 08:21 PM
 
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awwww, i'll give you a huge giant hug!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i seriously don't think one u/s ( that lasts, what 10 min?) is going to do any harm to you baby and you know what, there are TONS of parents out there that want to know the sex, and a lot of them consider themselves highly educated in all aspects of natural childbirth, home birth, AP, and the list goes on, and they STILL get u/s and they STILL find out the sex!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you do what you want to do you'll never hear a neg word from me.

i think most parents will accept their child as is , but yes there are some conditions that are detected via u/s that you really wouldn't want to be at home for, and some you even want to avoid a vaginal delivery if you can.

with my first i worked in a NICU and i saw all sorts of disorders. unfortunately i started freaking that my baby was going to have them all LOL. my OB was great and constantly reassured me that i was seeing 1% of all babes born, and mine was going to be fine. i did have the 20 wk u/s to make sure the baby didn't have a heart defect, cleft lip and palate, spina bifida, anencephaly, gastrocesis, and probably some other disorders i knew of too. these are all visible by u/s. and we opted not to do the triple or quad screen. i figured the u/s would tell us if there was something we needed to know about before delivery. thank the lord all was ok. i relaxed with my second and this one LOL.

there is one story that i do want to share, and not to scare anyone or anything. there was a mom in italy back in 2001. she was pg and had an u/s that determined the baby had a heart condition that contained 4 major defects of the heart. this kind of defect requires IMMEDIATE surgery to repair the 1 st defect, then follow up surgeries so many weeks, months, years afterward. well, there is ONE pediatric cardiac surgeon in the world that does this specific schedule of surgeries, starting with the first right after birth. he has a survival rate of about 60-70%, while most babes treated by other surgeons might have a 20% survival rate if even that. the thing is he is located in Wilmington, De. at DuPont Hospital for Children. the mom had to fly to DE, and deliever at our hospital and then the babe was immediatly transported to DuPont for surgery.

if she had not known of this cardiac defect, her baby would've died shortly after birth, more than likely. so...............there are some good outcomes to u/s diagnosis too


Quote:
Originally Posted by sunbaby
of course, we also will 'accept a baby with loving arms, no matter who is sent our way'. and as stream mentioned, i might choose different circumstances for the birth if i can know ahead that will be necesary to keep babe alive. if immediate surgery is required for life, for example, i wont go ahead with our homebirth plans. and i am just plain old guilty of insatiable, impatient curiosity about gender.

i do feel some guilt around this, i mentioned i would have an otherwise sonogram free baby. i do think too much in our society we trust technology more than nature, and i do beleive it is possible that sonograms could have adverse effects that we dont yet understand. certainly in other ways i do alot to protect my child from this sort of influence. on the sonogram, i am making a compromise.

i am feeling a little defensive right now. maybe no one is really trying to correct my chioce, but i am feeling bad. i thought we'd just talk about our choices as individual families, and didnt ever think it would come out feeling kind of like a debate about the merits vs. risks of ultrasound. maybe i am just sensetive. i am all outa sorts from the election : and many of my interactions this week seem to leave me feeling stressed. sorry if i am being really emtional. could someone pls just give me a hug now?
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