My Decision To Have An Amnio
My amnio was booked for a few days after Christmas and the appointment came so much faster then I wanted it too. By the time of my appointment I was 22 weeks pregnant and it was just a week before that we had been given the news there might be something wrong with the baby growing inside me. We knew that we wanted the best chance for this baby and knowing more about what was going on could ultimately help us.
I never thought I would have an amnio before I was met head on with the big decision in this pregnancy. I felt like if something was going on with this baby, I wanted to know what it was. If there was something we could do to help the baby before it was born, I wanted that choice.
For the most part, my choice was met with total support from friends and family. A few friends were weirded out by the idea of me having an amnio and automatically thought that anyone agreeing to have an amnio meant they were planning to end the pregnancy. I will be honest, I had a major eye roll on that one. Way to jump the gun.
In my professional life as an OB nurse, I knew that if something was going on with the baby knowing ahead of time could be a huge asset through the pregnancy and at birth. Ultimately, having the right resources lined up BEFORE birth could be a lifesaver after birth.
The days leading up to my amnio I was full of emotion but also a weird sense of ease. My sisters swept in and took my 2 kids and had all these great plans to distract them with holiday festivities. Having my kids gone really helped with my emotional status and I felt like I could focus all energy on me and the baby.
I made plans for a spa pedicure with a girlfriend the day before the amnio and later that evening I had dinner plans with more girlfriends to indulge, distract and keep my mind busy. These things were vital to my own survival and coping and I am so appreciate of these friends. I am all about self care when things are stressful and know this is what works best for me.
The Day Of
I was able to sleep in a bit the morning of the appointment. Again I was thankful that I didn’t have the other 2 kids around as I’m sure I would have been all yelly and short tempered with them. Instead I had a nice bath and changed my bedsheets in anticipation of the post procedure 24 hours of bedrest. I tidied up my bedroom and charged up my laptop with plans to watch endless movies while I rested.
I really wasn’t too nervous heading to the hospital for the procedure and I just wanted to get it over with. I think that being a RN helped me feel a bit calmer with understanding the process. While this may be a unique procedure FOR ME it was not a unique procedure for the perinatologist and that made me feel calm.
When we arrived at the hospital we met with a registered nurse who went over consent forms and walked us through how things were going to go. Luckily she did not make us watch the 20 minute pre procedure video after she learned that I was an OB nurse. I really just wanted to get on with things. We were taken to a procedure room and there was laughter and a light mood and I joined along with the laughs. We had an ultrasound tech, a RN and a perinatologist in our room and my husband sat near me too.
The Amniocentesis Procedure
We had an amazing perinatologist and his demeanour and bedside manner made a huge difference with how I felt. At first the tech scanned my belly and figured out what position the baby was in. I paid attention to the ultrasound monitor to distract myself while the doctor and the nurse got ready. My tummy was washed with antiseptic and the doctor donned his sterile gloves and draped my tummy with a sterile drape. I concentrated on my breathing and could see the doctor gently pushing the baby around on the ultrasound screen with his external pressure.
He told me I’d feel a poke and soon enough I did. I would compare it to having blood drawn from your arm but in your uterus. Similar sensation with the poke and pressure but it lasted longer and was just uncomfortable more than painful. It was fairly quick and just like that the amnio was over. The doctor and I had a chat about things and he was so personable and real.
When I stood up to leave I had some pinching pains in my uterus and felt a general ache on the drive home. I made sure I wore my soft stretchy yoga pants and kept them lower on my tummy than the puncture site. When we got home I was so grateful for the clean bedsheets and tidy room. I started my 24 hours of bedrest and had a nap, switching things up with movies and eating dinner in bed. My hubby treated me like a queen and fetched me my favourite take out salad.
Waiting For Results
In Canada, all amniontic fluid is sent out of country to Santa Fe, New Mexico. I have to say that I had NO idea that in Canada we don’t have a facility that tests amniotic fluid. When I signed the procedure consents I had to sign one for my fluid to be tested out of country. Luckily, the results came in quickly. I had my amnio on a Monday and by Wednesday I was called with the rapid results for the top 3 trisomies and everything was normal. Another week later and we got the full results of the rapid array and again, everything was normal. I can’t express what a relief this news is. That breath that I had been trying so hard to catch was finally inhaled with ease.
Over the 10 or so days of waiting for the big results I couldn’t help but imagine myself in every scenario. I remember laying in the bath and trying to imagine what it would feel like to hear the genetic counsellor tell me on the phone that something had come back positive. I did the ugly cry in the bath many times and kept trying to play out different scenarios of what could happen.
Even before we knew the results, I ended up feeling empowered by my choice and I’m really glad that I chose to have the amnio. While we still have some concerns with the baby, it feels good to have been able to rule out different things and know what was going on. If I had to do things over, I would choose to have the amnio again.