I had an amniocentesis yesterday. For those of you who don’t know, an amniocentesis is a procedure whereby a needle is inserted into the uterus through the stomach to withdraw amniotic fluid for evaluation and diagnosis (In this case, we’re evaluating Spider Monkey’s lung function to see if she’s ready to come out). The nickname for the procedure is amnio.
My amnio was performed by my perinatologist – a doctor specialising in maternal fetal medicine – who I adore. Dr P is in his mid to late 60’s and has a razor sharp wit. He’s also a smart ass – something I highly appreciate.
Before he began, I expressed my anxiety about the process and he looked earnestly into my eyes and said “I’ve done probably 20,000 of these procedures and I can honestly say that I’ve never been hurt by one yet.”
Like I said, he’s a smart ass.
The procedure itself was simple. Before he began, he told me exactly what he was going to do and how he would do it. He would determine the best spot to tap with ultrasound, swab my belly with betadyne, place a drape over the area to be affected, spray a topical anesthetic on the spot and immediately insert the needle. I would feel some pressure while he withdrew the fluid and then it would be over.
Despite the anesthetic, I did feel the needle enter my skin, but it was the pressure that was incredible. I stared at the ceiling and breathed in thru my nose and out thru my mouth in the way they have you learn breathing techniques in childbirth. I felt the doctor change out one syringe for another as he drew off the fluid, but didn’t look at the procedure at all. I get nauseous watching someone draw my blood, so I can only imagine what it would be like to look down and see a giant syringe with a 4 inch long needle attached stuck in my belly would do to me.
After he was done, the nurse told me I’d been very brave. I didn’t feel very brave. I felt relieved it was over.
Then, Dr P said “Once again, I didn’t get hurt one bit.”
I spent the evening sacked out on the couch. I felt a few contractions, but nothing significant and there was no real rhythm to them and today I feel fine but a little sore at the injection site.
They should get the results today. Dr P’s office will inform my House o’ Babies and we’ll go from there.