Each of my cells carries 46 chromosomes which are divided in to 23 pairs.  Yours too:

The last pair in the picture are not mine, they are a man’s. X&Y.

I feel like there’s potential for an awesome tattoo in there somewhere.

The cells in my fourth pregnancy had 47 chromosomes.  Pair 16 had an extra chromosome attached, a condition called Trisomy 16 which resulted in miscarriage.

T21 or Trisomy 21, is Down Syndrome.  People with Down have a third (tri) chromosome 21 instead of a pair.

T18 or Trisomy 18, is Edwards Syndrome.  People with Edwards have a third chromosome on Pair 18.  In this election year we have learned more about T18 because Rep. Rick Santorum’s daughter Bella is afflicted with the syndrome.  Edwards occurs in approximately 1 in 6,000 live births, but more conceptions are affected by the syndrome because the majority of those diagnosed with the condition prenatally will not survive the prenatal period.

T13 or Trisomy 13, is Patau Syndrome.  People with Patau have a third chromosome on Pair 13.  80% of children born with Patau die within their first year of life.

Dark, scary stuff and at my age I am at increased risk to carry any of them in this pregnancy.

Today I took a blood test called MaterniT21 and in 8-10 days I will know to a 99% certainty if this pregnancy carries T21, T18 or T13.  I learned today that my 6cm baby is already in my blood.  Fragments of her DNA are already swimming through my veins.  This test counts those DNA fragments.  When the genetic counselor explained this to me, I detached from the science for a moment to marvel – this baby and I are already one.  This MaterniT21 test, which is so new the lab had to get confirmation on what to draw, will likely spare me the risk, pain and anxiety of a CVS or amniocentesis.  It’s also so new that insurance companies don’t know what to do about it.  We paid $500 for it and are keeping our fingers crossed the lab eats the remaining $1500 as R&D or whatever.

It’s a brave new beautiful world when it comes to healthcare.  For the most part.  For me.  In this instance.  That I could get a needle in my arm instead of through my abdomen, uterus and amniotic sac is to me, progress.  With all my heart, thank you great minds of the medical community.


2 thoughts on “MaterniT21

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