Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A bloody mess

From the first doctor’s appointment that I had, I was presented with the question of whether to do any extra genetic testing for down syndrome. Without any present family history, these tests are generally utilized for people of higher risk, such as women over thirty five. However, since Toby is adopted, we know nothing about his biological history. All of the paperwork regarding the genetic testing makes a pretty big deal about the decisions you are faced with if you do receive a positive, or even a false positive. I didn’t really know which way to go, but I figure knowledge is power… so might as well know more.

I saved up all of the blood work to be done in one fell swoop, rather than doing different blood tests on different dates. What did this result in? The technician neatly stickering eight lovely plastic vials with which to hold my copious amounts of blood. Eight vials of blood. Each vial is about 10mls, so we’re talking about 80mls of blood here! That’s practically half a cup! People around me where coming in and leaving their blood tests, all the while I was still sitting there, getting drained. The whole fiasco took about took about fifteen minutes to complete, all the while Toby laughed and pretended to faint. Once the whole awful thing was finally done, I felt rather faint and teetered away, happy to finally be done with the blood portion of this pregnancy (as if).

First thing Monday morning, I get a call from the maternity clinic, advising me not to panic but asking to call them right away. So, I panic and sit on hold for about fifteen minutes with my heart beating out of my chest and bracing myself mentally for the worst. What do they say? That two of my blood vials BROKE and that I would need to come back in as soon as possible to replace the missing blood. Now, these were no flimsy vials. They were plastic, and sturdy. But according to the lab technicians, these things do “happen once in a blue moon!” Well, I guess things could be worse.

So, this morning I go in for my removal of the ninth and tenth vial of blood, and the lab guy comments on my teeny tiny veins. As I’d been having a conversation about my giant stomach just a mere minutes earlier, I shot Toby a look of “See?! I’m not a whale!” and felt pretty proud of my teeny veins. But you know what? That’s totally not something to be proud of. He prodded around on my right arm, and then the left, which was still bruised from the last test. He inquired as to my water consumption for the day, which had been minimal, and continued to prod around while I kept getting more anxious and clammy. Eventually, he decided to stick the needle on the vein on top of my hand, as it was absolutely the only option. Minutes pass. More minutes pass. Toby inquires as to the logistics and technicalities of this needle – is it just gravity, or is it vacuum? I sweat some more. Eventually, the whole ordeal concludes, and I turn around and look at my lovely crimson blood. All eighth of a vial of it. Apparently, I have no more blood to give. The tech double checks that it is indeed enough for the final test (maybe) and sends us on our way.

As I’m walking into work this morning, my phone is ringing with a call from the maternity clinic. They just got a fax stating that one of my vials of blood (not the broken one, obviously) had coagulated and was unusable. When am I able to come back in to redraw? Um, never?

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