Friday, January 25, 2008

Appointments, OBs & the Ultrascreen

On January 8th, I had my first regular OB appointment with Dr. Shows. We discussed the pregnancy, and she showed me pictures of her new little girl. She seems a little distracted, understandably so. We discussed doing the ultrascreen tests that I've always turned down.

Prior to going in for this appointment, I knew I would be asked if I wanted to do the triple screen to test for Down's Syndrome. I knew I was at high risk due to my age. I've always turned these tests down in the past due to the high incidence of false positives. I have never wanted the extra stress. This time I opted to have it. I felt like if there was a problem, it would be beneficial to know ahead of time so that we could have the right specialists available at the delivery. Also, I wanted to be able to prepare the children.

I also started to feel like I needed to deliver at a hospital closer to home. Dr. Shows only delivers at the Northeast Baptist Hospital. I had a good experience when I delivered Deborah there, but everyone else I talked with had negative experiences.

I had also started to feel like I needed a new OB. It was tough to think about that because I have really enjoyed seeing Dr. Shows. Additionally, she helped to diagnose 2 health problems that had been ignored or denied by other OB's. I felt a sense of loyalty to her, but eventually I realized that I was receiving spiritual promptings to deliver at the hospital closest to my home.

I started the process of finding a new OB. I asked several women at church about their OB's. The Northeast Obstetrics & Gynecology practice kept coming up over and over again. In fact, out of the 2 dozen or so women I spoke to, only 2 of them went to other practices. Everyone I spoke with had rave reviews for the North Central Baptist Hospital. I heard nothing but positive comments about the hospital and the nurses there.

Eventually I settled on Dr. Tammy Murdock with the Northeast OB/Gyn Associates. I did not find anyone else who was already her patient. But, after reading her bio online, I knew she was my first choice. Several things attracted me to her. First, she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering. It seems most engineering majors understand the need to be detailed and exacting. I like that. Additionally, she is the Chief of Obstetrics at North Central Baptist Hospital.

When I called to schedule an appointment with her, they took all my information and said they would call back to schedule the appointment AFTER they had verified my insurance benefits. So, I waited... and waited... After about 2 weeks, I called them back to follow up. I was assured they were getting to me and would call me back as soon as they could.

In the meantime, I had my ultrascreen blood work done. The following Monday, Dr. Shows called to discuss the results. It was abnormal, as we expected. My age related risk is 1 out of 72 for Downs. The blood test adjusted it to 1 out of 238. (Their cut off is 270.) Dr Shows recommended that we see a high risk OB around 15-16 weeks. Depending on the results, they may recommend an amniocentesis. She reminded me again that the tests just indicates RISK. It is not a diagnosis.

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