It feels like I blinked and am already 5 months pregnant! Yes, 5 months because I am writing this during my 21st week. It happens, we all get behind sometimes, especially during the holidays. Nonetheless, I’m sharing the nitty gritty of the 20th week because it’s a big one. Last week, I went in for my anatomy scan. All was well, a perfectly healthy fetus with 10 fingers and 10 toes, a normal heartbeat and lots of movement.
The anatomy scan is a level 2 ultrasound, which basically means a more detailed scan. It is performed between 18 and 22 weeks, typically around the 20 week mark. It consists of laying on a reclined exam table with the sonographer moving the transducer (fancy wand) over your belly just as they would in a typical ultrasound. The wand emits waves which produce 2D, sometimes 3 or 4D images of the fetus on a screen. The sonographer takes ~80 images of different views to capture every part of the developing fetus, lasting 45 minutes to an hour. These images are then reviewed with you by a perinatologist.
In 1-2% of normal babies, a tiny bubble of fluid is pinched off as the choroid plexus forms, appearing as a cyst as the time of the ultrasound. A choroid plexus cyst can be likened to a blister, resolves or disappears in most cases, and is not considered a brain abnormality. When the perinatologist came in to discuss the results, she informed me of the cyst only because she did not want me to be alarmed when I saw it on my paperwork. She explained we have nothing to worry about, especially considering we’ve had extensive chromosomal and genetic testing on ourselves, the embryo and now fetus at various stages throughout our IVF and pregnancy journey.
A few days after the anatomy scan, I went to my ob for my 20 week appointment, which was pretty uneventful. She pulled out the Doppler just so I could hear the heartbeat since that’s always reassuring and so simple. She also explained the choroid plexus cyst in a little more detail and was extremely reassuring that we have nothing to worry about. So, we’re not concerned.
I described some recent side effects of pregnancy I’ve been experiencing, like lower back pain, indigestion and heart burn, and nose bleeds. Well, I’m not sure they are even nose bleeds, but when I blow my nose, most often after first waking up and washing my face, there is blood on the tissue. I already did some research, so I was aware it’s a normal side effect when pregnant due to the expanding blood vessels. She reassured me it was not cause for concern, but it might be good to invest in a humidifier if it got worse. The lower back pain is surely due to my changing posture from my growing belly and chest. I may start wearing a belly or back brace to give myself more support especially when I am working or at home. I plan to take Tylenol as well if it gets too bad in the mornings, which seems to be the worst time for it. I’ve been taking Tums for the heartburn and it seems to be helping to some extent.
Everything else has been par for the course. I’m craving lots of dairy, like milk, drumstick ice cream cones and cream cheese. Not sure if that is a natural response to the heartburn (dairy helps to remedy) or if it means I’m having a boy. I like to humor my husband by telling him I think we’re having a boy because I am craving dairy. I’ve read lots of forums with women saying they craved dairy when they had boys. Who knows if there is some correlation or if it’s just an old wives tale. Either way, I’ll keep having fun with it! Looking forward to the next few weeks and reaching the viability mark. I certainly don’t want poppyseed coming at 24 weeks, but it’s one step closer to a happy, healthy baby!