And then there were three

Not the 1978 album by Genesis but the news that Lucinda and I have been keeping to ourselves over the wettest summer in a century:

Lucinda is Pregnant

Yes, we are expecting our third child on 10th March 2013, just over a week before my 40th birthday.  I will therefore keep this update short and to the point and leave a detailed update of our general news for another day.  You will notice that Baguette no.3 already has its own page under Amélie’s in the sidebar, they are already part of the family and to prove that they are part of the family its first photos are below (two photos but only one baby).

Peace and love

Baggie, Lucinda, Éowyn and Amélie

Baguette Number Three
Baguette Number Three


OK, this was meant to be a short write up and some of you that all ready knew about the above may wonder why there has been a little delay in posting this good news.  We were due to post this at the beginning of last week when we had told parents, siblings and our respective colleagues and managers, however just before all those people had been told we received the phone call that everyone dreads to receive: that our results indicate a higher the normal risk that our little one could suffer from Down’s Syndrome.

When you go for your 12 week scan (in the UK) there are three tests that are conducted to check for chromosomal abnormalities, most commonly Down’s Syndrome.  They are the fetal nuchal translucency test (which checks for the fluid beneath the fetal skin in the region of the neck) and this is done during the ultrasound scan.  The other two tests are biochemical tests of the mother’s blood and are to measure two ‘pregnancy’ hormones: free beta-hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin hormone) and PAPP-A (Pregnancy Associated Plasma Protein-A).

In a baby with Down’s syndrome the fetal nuchal translucency will be larger than normal (i.e. >2.9mm), the free beta-hCG levels will be higher than normal while the PAPP-A will be lower than normal.  These results are then added to the mother’s age and they give you a probability of chromosomal abnormalities.  These tests are indicative but not definitive however are there to help to give you an informed choice.  Any mother with a risk of less that 1 in 150 is contacted by the medical team to offer further invasive testing.  We were given a 1 in 70 chance.

Obviously this was a bit of a kick in the guts but both were of an opinion that we needed to know and so opted for a more invasive test.  There were two tests offered to us: Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) and Amniocentesis.  Both have a similar miscarriage risk and both are in the region of 99.9% accurate.  CVS involves taking a sample of the placenta while amniocentesis involves taking a sample of the amniotic fluid.  The main difference between the two (for us) was that the CVS test could be done within the week and we could get the results 4-5 days later.  The Amniocentesis can only be done between 16-20 weeks gestation (i.e in 3 weeks time) and there is a 1-2 week waiting time.

We travelled to St George’s Hospital in Tooting (South West London) for the procedure, which involves a detailed ultrasound scan followed by the procedure itself.  The procedure involves using the ultrasound scanner to guide a long slender needle through the abdomen into the placenta.  It probably looks worst that it was and in fact Lucinda said that the procedure wasn’t painful but uncomfortable.  However, afterwards she felt a little woozy and had to lie down and compose herself before we made the journey back.  The detailed ultrasound didn’t show any obvious problems but the placenta sample was the important test.  

Each human cell nucleus (not quite each but this isn’t a biology lesson) usually contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, which are thread-like structures that contain the DNA molecules.  The common chromosomal abnormalities are that are tested for are caused by extra copies of chromosomes.  Our sample would be tested for Patau Syndrome (trisomy 13, i.e. 3 copies of chromosome 13); Edwards Syndrome (trisomy 18) as well as the more common Down’s Syndrome (trisomy 21). 

While we were at St George’s we were asked (and we consented) if they could also take a sample of Lucinda’s blood to compare with the placenta sample as part of a research project that is hoping to be able to detect fetal cells in the blood samples taken from the mother.  If these tests can be developed then there would be no need for such invasive procedures that put the baby at risk for they will be able to test the fetus’ cells rather than relying on hormonal levels in the mother’s bloodstream.

As you can imagine the wait for the results was horrendous, even when you were trying to block it out it would come back with vengeance, it was always there lurking in the background.  We were told that if there was a chromosomal abnormality we would be told more quickly that if there were no issues as the abnormality would show up quickly in the first set of tests.  If these first tests were clear then they would conduct a second and then third round of tests just to be certain.  So we hoped that we would not hear for the full 4 to 5 days (by our reckoning late Thursday or Friday).

So imagine how we felt when St George’s called before that Thursday afternoon deadline (a deadline that only really existed in our heads); I think we both went as white as sheets and our hearts pounded when the rang to give us the results.  Then imagine how relieved and happy we were when then said that they were pleased to inform us that the placental tests showed no chromosomal abnormalities, our little bubba was going to be fine and we should continue the remainder of the pregnancy as any normal third pregnancy.

One pleasant side effect of chromosomal testing is that they can determine the sex of the child.  We were given the option of finding out and we decided that we would like to know and therefore share we you dear readers.  Our third child will be a boy.  Both of us feel that with two daughters and now a son this will make our family complete.

Peace and Love