April 26, 2011
We received our first phone call from Vanderbilt Medical Center the day following our ultrasound. The staff was informative and easy to talk with. We decided to continue on the journey to pursue the fetal surgery for Rachel. We set up appointments for further testing at Vanderbilt to see if we qualify for the surgery. One of the requirements for the surgery included the need to have an amniocentesis done to rule out any other defects and check if Rachel is a viable fetus. The thought of the amniocentesis being done made me feel more nervous as I have read horror stories of women having miscarriages after having this procedure done. In the grand scheme of things having an amniocentesis done is very minor compared to the surgery.
April 29, 2011
I was very nervous prior to my appointment for the amniocentesis. Steve took me to my appointment and was allowed to be in the room during the procedure. I had the amniocentesis done by the same doctor that performed my ultrasound. I was comfortable with his skill level with procedure as my other OB doctor had stated this doctor was one of the best in southeastern WI. Prior to the procedure we were given a list of things to watch out for post procedure and the risks involved with miscarriage. The more I hear this word- the more I despise it. It is an ugly thought and my heart truly goes out to the mothers that have experienced it. (to the mothers- read the book Heaven is for Real- your babies are waiting for you)
The doctor began by using ultrasound to identify an area of fluid away from the baby. After identifying the target area, the nurse helped prep the sterile field and the doctor scrubbed my abdomen with betadine (which thankfully I did not have a reaction to as I am allergic to both latex and shellfish). The doctor uses the ultrasound the entire time as the baby was very active at this time ( I closed my eyes during the procedure as I did not want to see the needle in my uterus on the large screen in front of me- crazy I know- I can poke other people but can not stand to watch myself being poked) The needle feels like a small pinch when it is inserted- after the pinch you feel pressure at the injection site- similar to if someone was pressing down on your abdomen and not letting up. The doctor filled up 3 vials of amniotic fluid and then removed the needle. The entire procedure took less than 3 minutes but I was a nervous wreck the whole time. I was given a written excuse to miss work following the procedure. It takes up to 48 hours for the small hole in the amniotic sac to repair itself.
After the procedure I was sent downstairs to our lab to have my rH factor tested for sensitivity and if needed would receive a shot of Rhogam as my blood type is A- and Steve's is B+. Shortly after having my blood drawn I began to feel slight cramping and dizziness. It would take up to an hour to have the results of the blood draw before I could be given the Rhogam if needed. I must have looked pretty pathetic in the lobby waiting for my results with my head in my hands as one of the lab techs noticed me. She quickly found a wheelchair and found a room for me to lay down in while we waited for the results. She was very helpful and her kindness was much appreciated. I ended up needing the shot of Rhogam- which I was positive I would as my last injection of it was after Alicia was born 9 years ago.
Steve took me home after the injection (which felt the same as our annual flu shot required in healthcare workers). Both Steve and the girls took great care of me following the procedure and ever since then. We continued to do more research on spina bifida and fetal surgery. We were blessed with other family members that did research also and I would personally like to thank my sister-in-law Pam for finding the spina bifida group on the baby center website. This group has been a comfort to us and has provided so much hope for Rachel's future. I love to read the blogs of the other families that are experiencing spina bifida also. Their kids are amazing!!!!
Amniocentesis results show a "normal female fetus". I have a copy of her chromosomes which I think is very cool to look at.