During my first pregnancy my husband and I decided to do the two routine ultrasounds offered in Canada, IPS (integrated prenatal screening) and the anatomy scan. We were beyond excited to see our little baby and find out the gender so that mommy could begin her shopping.
Our IPS can back with a low risk score; however, the anatomy scan done at 19 weeks demonstrated an echogenic intracardiac focus. In other words, a small bright spot seen in the baby’s heart. My midwife called me a few days later to share the news with me. She mentioned that this finding could be a sign of a chromosome abnormality (Down Syndrome). I was advised that another ultrasound was recommended along with genetic counseling. After our conversation I immediately called my husband and just balled hysterically. He quickly calmed me down and reassured me that only a soft marker was shown and the likelihood of Down Syndrome was still extremely low. I then spoke to my second midwife and she backed up my husband. We decided to opt out of getting a 3rd ultrasound and genetic counseling. We knew in our hearts that everything was fine with our son and we were right!
Then came along our second pregnancy. Again we decided to do the two standard ultrasounds. We contemplated this idea for a while. We did some research into the safety of ultrasounds and weren't quite sure if the risks outweighed the benefits. We did feel as though we knew a little bit more about ultrasounds and felt like we knew what to expect. So we went ahead and decided to go ahead with it. Again our IPS results came back with a low score and our anatomy scan showed another echogenic intracardiac focus. However, that's not all it showed. Our scan also demonstrated a cleft lip. I called my husband yet again balling hysterically. He still stayed positive and tried to calm me down but was a little scared himself. I immediately told him that I wanted another ultrasound and the genetic counseling. He agreed with my decision. All that was left to do was wait for our next test and pray. Two days later we were sent to a better-equipped hospital. Here we find out that our baby did not have a cleft lip and that our previous ultrasound tech had thankfully made an error.
Based on our experiences and research we have decided that we are officially done with ultrasounds. All of this could have been avoided if we choose to do the Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) instead. This is a new way to screen your pregnancy to see if your baby has an increased chance of having a few specific chromosome disorders. This test also determines your baby's gender too. All this test requires is a simple blood sample done at 10 weeks of pregnancy. The test isn't covered by OHIP but you can apply for it to be covered. I just think for my own peace of mind the money would be well spent if it means no sleepless nights and anxiety.
I hope that my story can help other parents feel more at ease about their ultrasound results.