We came back for the detailed fetal scan. As usual, waited quite some time before my name was called.
We spent quite a bit of time in the room. At times I could hear/sense the sonographer getting a little frustrated. Baby wasn’t in the right position so I had to keep turning so she could try and get a good shot. Somehow though, the longer we were there and the more she asked me to turn (didn’t mind it one bit), started making me feel just a little bit worried. We were in the room for almost an hour before she was done. We asked if everything is alright, she said everything was ok; just that with the way the baby was positioned, it was hard to have a good look at his heart.
From there we were directed to go to the Sapphire clinic and wait for Prof S. Husband even had time to take a quick power nap as once again, we waited for my name to be called. Thought it’ll be a quick talk and then off we go.
It wasn’t quite to be.
Maybe the sonographer didn’t want to alarm us but what we heard was not the least bit reassuring. Prof told us that there seemed to be some issue with baby’s heart. That the aorta didn’t seem to connect and she said that it seemed like an interrupted aortic arch. My mind went blank at the moment because all I could think of was all the scans before and the strong heartbeat I could hear during consultations. Like, this couldn’t be true.
She mentioned that IAA was common in children with a chromosome deletion called DiGeorge syndrome. She wrote it down for us to read up when we got back. She suggested we go for amniocentesis to test if the baby either had DS or 22q.11.2 (also known as DiGeorge) and to think about possible termination. There was a window for termination, up to 24 weeks, and she’d give us time to think. I just couldn’t process everything and the husband was quiet. I held my tears back until we were out and waiting for the Uber. Even as we got back home and I tried to explain to my parents what had happened, I felt suspended in limbo and disbelief.
We would go back for a continued scan with Dr B, the fetal care expert. Maybe he’d give us better news.
But at least I got a good scan of our son. Yup, it’s a boy.
I guess I kinda expected that if we were private patients that we wouldn’t wait too long to meet with our gynae. Our appointment was at 10am but by the time everything was done, we reached home close to 3pm.Prof S is in hot demand and so there was quite a lot of mum-to-be waiting their turn to see her.
When we did see her it was a quick scan and conversation and boom, done. The total fee was slightly lower than that at the private gynae but the experience was a lot different. Long wait, short consultation. I kinda expected it and had to start planning all the half day leaves I’d need to take from work to be able to go for all my scans and consultations as Prof S doesn’t have a clinic on the weekends.
I turn 32 this year and one of the things the doctor advised and suggested we do was the Oscar testing. OSCAR stands for one-stop clinic for testing for assessment for risk of fetal abnormalities. This is mostly done to test for Down Syndrome. They do a blood test and a scan to look at the nuchal translucency (thickness at the back of the neck) and to locate the nasal bone. Results are about 80% accurate but sometimes even a positive or negative result can change as the foetus continues to develop in the womb.
Our result was that it was low-risk and the doctor asked if we wanted to do amniocentesis or even go for the harmony/panorama test to ensure that everything was ok. Harmony and Panorama tests also check for specific chromosomal or genetic abnormalities. Thing is, Oscar test already cost us almost $500. Harmony/Panorama is almost $1.4k. While some parents want the 100% assurance, we couldn’t afford it and prayed that low-risk remained low risk and be of no risk.
By now we were looking at our finances and re-evaluating if maybe we should have gone to NUH instead – this after conversations with several friends (who are now parents of one or more kids). Not that we didn’t like our gynae, we did. Just that the cost for each consultation (even without supplements) was still costly and we paled when looking at the delivery prices at the hospital where she could deliver our baby (cost not inclusive of her delivery fees).
I called the NUH Women’s Clinic and got an appointment in early Jan for our first consultation with Prof S. This was as a private patient (subsidized patients need to get a referral from polyclinic and will meet with gynae on duty for that day in Clinic G).
I suspected I was pregnant when my period didn’t come. It was late but when I did the test, it showed negative and my heart kinda fell. But the period never came that week, or the week after. It was only when I was at school and S convinced me to do the test again that I succumbed.
And that’s when we had a confirmation that yes, I’m pregnant.
We started off our first gynae trip to the Singapore Women’s Clinic where the doctor scanned and told us our baby was still the size of a small bean at 5 weeks and to come back in about a week’s time for another scan where we’ll get to hear the heartbeat.
The following gynae sessions were then at Gynae MD, it was a bit closer to home. Why we didn’t go NUH or KKH straight, I still don’t know why. First-time parents and we weren’t really sure what was the right or proper route to go. So. We kinda went with what we felt we were comfortable with.
I teared up hearing the heartbeat for the first time. The husband was in shock, a happy kind of shock. We got a CD with pictures of the scan which I uploaded and kept in my phone when we got back.
Unfortunately the heartbeat wasn’t recorded but it’s ok. I knew my baby was growing inside and even though it had yet to take its final shape, I couldn’t wait for it to come out and meet us.