quad marker screen

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Yesterday afternoon I got a call from Dr. B's nurse. She said she had a favor to ask me. For a split second I got really nervous. My ultrasound and 20 week OB visit are scheduled for Friday afternoon. Was she going to ask me to postpone my ultrasound? I didn't think I could handle waiting any longer! But I worried for nothing. I was also scheduled to get the quad marker screen blood test on Friday.

The quad test is a voluntary test. It measures for four substances: alpha-fetoprotein, unconjugated estriol, human chorionic gonadotropin, and  inhibin-A. Basically, it's looking for the likelihood of certain birth defects and chromosomal abnormalities, like neural tube defects and Down syndrome. It does not tell you whether your baby has a defect or not, only tells you if there is a greater risk. And it only predicts about 75% of cases. There is also a great chance that the test would tell you there is a risk of a birth defect, and then have a perfectly healthy baby.

I originally didn't think it was necessary. The test isn't 100% accurate, and doesn't really give you any definitive results. If there is something different about our baby it won't change anything for us, since terminating the pregnancy is not an option we would consider. But after talking it over with Dr. B and hubby I changed my mind. She said that if they did find that there was a risk of a major birth defect, they may consider having me deliver at a larger hospital. And as hubby said, why wouldn't we want to find out everything there is to know about our baby? So we scheduled it for this appointment.

The quad test is supposed to be done between 16 and 20 weeks. According to their records, I was 20 weeks yesterday. The nurse said she knew it sounded crazy, that two days probably wouldn't make a difference, but she'd hate to send my blood sample in to Mayo only to have it rejected because it was two days late. So she was simply wondering if I could come in that afternoon to get the blood test done. No problem.

After I got off the phone with her, I called hubby just to let him know what was going on. He was ready to drop everything and meet me there! I assured him that wasn't necessary. I was just going in to give a blood sample and urine sample (they did that at the same time so I didn't have to bother with it on Friday when the lab would be busier.) He wasn't so sure. After telling him a few more times that, really, I was just going to run in there, have a test done and then leave, he finally said ok. Just told me that if I needed him, he'd be there in a heartbeat.

It really was as uneventful as I thought. I went up to see the nurse first. She weighed me, jotted a few things in my records, then sent me down to the lab. Then I left.

It took me a while to get a hold of hubby after I left, and he was going crazy! He wanted to make sure everything was ok. He told me I can't "keep him away from appointments anymore!" Really, how lucky am I to have a hubby that even wants to come with to get a blood sample taken!

It'll take about a week to get the results back. Tomorrow is the ultrasound!


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