Thursday, August 8, 2013

Advanced Maternal Age

My Second Son - Isn't he perfect?
I went for my first OB appointment this week and left with a lot more fear than I started with.  The visit was going well as I answered question after question about my medical history, my family's medical history, my habits, nutrition and exercise routine.  There weren't any red flags at all until I asked her if I was considered high risk due to my age.  "Well, how old will you be when you deliver?" she asked.  "Thirty five.  The due date is two weeks after my birthday," I explained.  She rolled back her chair and started typing into her laptop.  "Well, honey, you just changed this ball game.  Let's talk," she said.

She explained that my age triggered additional ultrasounds to check for Down's Syndrome and a multitude of other chromosomal disorders.  She said that I would need to make the 35 minute drive to the hospital twice a week starting a thirty six weeks to monitor the baby and do an ultrasound to ensure that there is enough amniotic fluid to support the baby being carried to term.  And as she talked, my anxiety began to rise.

"Listen," she said to me frankly, "If this was your first baby, the risk would be much higher.  As it stands, the risk is just raised a tiny bit.  But I still have to mark on your chart that you are of advanced maternal age."  Ouch.  I couldn't resist asking this next question.  "So, if I had gotten pregnant a month before I did, none of this would be done?"  I asked.  "Yup, you got it," she answered.

It was then that the anxiety released and a feeling of annoyance overtook me.  I just gave birth two years ago without a single issue.  And it will be a huge pain to go to the hospital twice a week.  I will have to find childcare, balance homeschooling and try not to get too nuts.  I would do anything for the health of my baby - anything.  But I am struggling with seeing why we are going from zero to sixty here.  Shouldn't there be some kind of red flag before we go nuts with the doctor visits?

I'd love to hear from you if you've been through this.  Do you feel you have a choice when it comes to these kinds of decisions?

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