This Tuesday last week I was anxiously counting down the hours until my NT test. I was a bundle of nerves, and had to break down the activity into tiny steps so that I could get through it (get dressed, leave house, get to hospital, walk through front doors, etc). My doppler still hasn’t arrived, so I had no idea if the foetus was even alive.
I arrived 30 minutes early and impatiently waited for my husband to arrive, as he left it to the last minute and only arrived 5 minutes early. Twenty minutes after that, they called us in. My first transabdominal ultrasound, I didn’t even have to take off my pants.
The technician pressed down on my belly and a grainy picture appeared. At first glance, it didn’t look that different from the scan three weeks ago, and my heart froze. But she pointed out the heartbeat and I started to relax. I thought that I had been a responsible patient by drinking a litre of water an hour beforehand, but the technician said that all I was doing was forcing my uterus further towards my spine. She sent me to the bathroom to empty my bladder, and then got down to business.
Everything looked great. The foetus was measuring 6.5 cm (12w6d) at 12w0d with a femur length of 0.68 cm and a NT thickness of 1.49mm (photo of the fetus with a hand on its nose here). I was so relieved when I saw that NT measurement. Then the technician went on to check all the organs, pointing them out as she went along: brain, stomach, kidneys, spine, fingers, feet, even the four chambers of the heart. Due to the position of my uterus, she switched to a transvaginal probe for some of the measurements, so I got a visit from my old friend too. All in all, she concluded “it is a good baby”.
The foetus waved its hands in front of its head, occasionally wiggling and kicking. Although the print outs were a bit poor, seeing the live-action movement on the screen was incredible. With my husband by my side, holding my hand and smiling at me, we could have watched that little thing for hours.
After she had finished, the supervising doctor came in to double-check the measurements. I was a little concerned that the heart rate was a little low (151 bpm) – (the mean rate is 159 +/- 3 bpm at 13 weeks). She did something where she did four different types of doppler heartbeat measurements and said that everything looked fine.
My urine, weight, and blood pressure looked good, so they printed out an official certificate of pregnancy that I need for my work and for securing a childcare position. A few days later I heard that my combined trisomy risk is 1:11 600 for T13 and 1:20 000 for the others.
So, there we are. So far, things look good. Now another three weeks until my next check-up, and another seven weeks until the big anomaly scan.