Fear Factors.

I had a Level II ultrasound last week, and it didn’t go quite as well as I expected.

The ultrasound tech was great. Unlike some of the others I’ve encountered in the past, she never turned the screen away from me so I was able to watch the entire scan.

And everything was completely routine until she asked if I had had an NT scan during my first trimester.

I explained to her that I had not had one, even though I had tried to schedule one when I was at my nine week appointment, but the doctor said it wasn’t necessary because I was low risk and had healthy children.

As soon as she started asking about the NT scan, I knew something was up.

But she went on with the ultrasound without any further explanation.

Towards the end of the scan, she couldn’t get a view of the baby’s back, so she told me I would need to come back for another ultrasound.

Then the doctor came in to talk with us.

She said that there are a few, tiny choroid plexus cysts in the baby’s brain.

She said that normally these go away by 21-22 weeks and that it doesn’t affect the baby.

I had heard of this cyst thing before, so when I was talking with the doctor I didn’t get too alarmed.

But then she started asking if anyone in my family has a short nose. I wasn’t exactly sure what she was talking about or why it would matter, so I just kind of started rambling.

It turns out, the baby also has a short nasal bone. She said that when the nasal bone is missing, they get concerned about Down’s Syndrome. She said that because my nose is short, (and there are a few other people in the family with shorter noses) it’s probably fine and that there shouldn’t be any reason to worry.

So I didn’t worry…at least not at first.

But then I went home and started consulting Google Howser, M.D.

I should have known better.

What I initially found scared the pants off of me.

There is a lot of information on the internet about choroid plexus cysts (CPC’s) being a marker for Down’s Syndrome. I started getting really worried after that, thinking that maybe my baby had two soft markers for Down’s on the ultrasound. After a little more research in medical texts and journals, I found that CPC’s are only a soft marker for Trisomy 18 (Edward’s Syndrome) and not Trisomy 21 (Down’s Syndrome).

From what I understand, one of the characteristics of Edward’s Syndrome is that the baby cannot unclench it’s hands. Since I have a clear sonogram of the baby with it’s hand open, and the doctor never mentioned anything about Edward’s Syndrome, I think it’s safe to rule that out.

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CPC’s are common in healthy babies and most experts are starting to believe that they are normal part of fetal development.

So, as scary as the choroid plexus cyst sounds, I’ve come to the conclusion that I really shouldn’t let it worry me.

Hopefully they will have resolved by the time I get my next ultrasound.

The part that I’m still slightly nervous about is the short nasal bone.

In the absence of other makers, it really could be that the baby has just inherited a small nose. And from what I’ve found on Google, many mothers who are told during their ultrasound that their baby has a short nasal bone just have healthy babies with small noses.

But while an absent nasal bone is considered a “hard marker” for Down’s Syndrome, it seems that the jury is still out on whether or not a short nasal bone is a strong marker or not. It does seem to be a bit of a red flag though.

The rational side of me realizes that in all probability, things are probably fine. The baby is most likely completely chromosomally normal and healthy.

However, now that the Pandora’s Box of “what-if’s” has been opened, I’m not sure I’ll be able to completely relax until the baby’s born.

Because even though I do have a quad screen scheduled in just a few days and another ultrasound next week, they will only be able to tell me if my risk for chromosomal abnormalities is higher or lower.

The only way I can know for sure is an amniocentesis.

So while I’m trying my best to convince myself that everything is most likely okay, I’m still a bit of an anxious mess.

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