NIPS Test and Ultrasound

So yeah – it’s been a while… Sorry? I guess this is going to be a long post.

In the weeks since my last post, I have: done the (expensive) NonInvasive Prenatal Screening (NIPS) test (I did the Harmony one, but there are other brands), received the results, and done the “normal” 12-week ultrasound and blood test. I have also: told work (not in writing yet) and announced my pregnancy on Facebook (an important step I guess?).


I went to LabTests (luckily my one I usually go to is one of the ones that are able to do the Harmony test – only a handful can) on week 10 day 2, and they charged me $675 for the test and $12 for the privilege of having them suck my blood. Still cheaper than it used to be – I read online that it used to be over $1000, but the ultrasound technician (when I went for my scan) told me that it used to be well over $2000 – closer to $3000! She reckons by the time it comes down to a few hundred it will be funded by the government (and likely a standard test), so hopefully that will be the case in the next few years.

They drew the blood into SPECIAL vials that came in an INSULATED BOX and were specially packed away to send to the USA. It was supposed to take 10 working days, but they emailed my results to my midwife after only a week, and she forwarded it to me – it arrived one morning as I was pulling up to my work carpark. It was scary opening it, but it is ALL GOOD – <1/10,000 chance of trisomy 21, 13 or 18 (“low risk”), and a “low risk” of any of the sex chromosome aneuploidies tested for. I also found out the sex, but haven’t told anyone yet (I am planning on telling my family soon, after which time I expect I will make it general knowledge – I just like having something to myself for now).

So that was a huge relief! The chance that it is a false negative is <0.01%, so I am feeling pretty confident right now – especially after the ultrasound earlier this week (see later).

A couple of links about NIPS that I found to be interesting:

A general-info article published in The NZ Listener last year

A small survey conducted on NZ clinicians about their use of NIPS

An explanation about the make-up of the DNA tested (it is not technically from the fetus, but rather from the placenta – which generally has the same DNA but can contain some differences, which may skew results a little, similar to chorionic villus sampling)

A summary of relevant points about the test, including that it is apparently most accurate in high-risk populations

A very cool calculator that gives you the probabilities of a false negative or false positive based on your age

And a sad article about people who believed that this is a diagnostic test (rather than just screening) and aborted their healthy child, without first doing an amniocentesis

Ultrasound and blood test

This was so cool you guys! I had it done on week 12 day 2. I got to see the little heart beating and the brain and it MOVED (squirming, moving its limbs around SO CUTE) and I thought it was too early for those 4D pictures but NO IT WASN’T so I got to see its little face and EVERYTHING. The nuchal fold was tiny (2.1mm I think it was), and everything else looked good, she said.

I got a package deal, where I get all my scans that are needed throughout the pregnancy (i.e. midwife requested) for a lump sum (but only in this place, so when I move to Taranaki I will have to go elsewhere if I need scans, and pay there), and get a DVD and printouts of images every time – so I got a video of the whole scan. Plus it was half price, as there was a special going on with my midwife’s clinic and Ascot Radiology, so it was a REALLY DECENT cost. And Ascot are really good – my midwife told me that she has heard of some of the other, possibly cheaper, places missing things, whereas Ascot are all fancy and stuff.


Telling work

I told my direct supervisor a few weeks ago (before the NIPS test even), just so that I could explain any midwife/scan absences, but I asked him to keep it on the down-low for a while. Then, last friday, my workplace did a group volunteer outing to the city mission, to help them out in the pre-xmas rush. I originally volunteered without thinking (I had done it the previous year and it was fun), but then I remembered there was a fair chunk of heavy lifting involved, so I went and told one of the HR people (the one organizing the event), and asked her if there was a way I could go but not do heavy lifting. She thought there was, so I went (in the end, I think I shouldn’t have gone. I was sorting clothes, which wasn’t heavy, but it was a hot room, and I was on my feet the whole time, and I did have to avoid lifting big bags of clothes without explaining to the other volunteers why I was being so lazy…). So she knew then too.

Once I announced on Facebook (see below), I talked to my direct supervisor again, and we thought it was a good time to broach the idea of my working remotely from Taranaki with his supervisor, who makes these decisions (with HR approval). She seemed fine with it, apparently, but it still needs official approval. A guy in my department has recently announced he is moving cities but staying with the company, so there is recent precedent – so I am feeling pretty hopeful that it will be fine (I am a senior member of the department now, and I think they won’t want to lose me).

Next step is doing the official written notice, but that can wait until next year.

Telling Facebook

I announced my pregnancy on the same day as the ultrasound scan – I wanted a good picture to post with it. 🙂 So far, my parents (who both posted on their walls about it too, once I had) have more likes than my post. Not fair!

The response has been very positive – I was worried I would get at least one preachy person telling me I hadn’t thought it through or what if the child needs a male role model etc, but it seems that if any of my friends believe that they are being very quiet and polite. So yay!

General pregnancy stuff

I have had a runny nose for EVER – apparently this is A Thing, known (shockingly) as pregnancy rhinitis. It is really gross and annoying, anyway, is what it is.

I am planning on doing a lot of nursery furniture shopping in the Boxing Day sales, if they are any good (I am hoping for somewhere between 30 and 50% off… But not really expecting that?). I have decided to get a bassinet for the first few months, rather than going straight to a cot.

My lovely mother came and stayed with me this week (she just left yesterday), and cooked up a storm – I now have like 20-30 servings of soup (for dinners) and 10 servings of stew (for lunches to take to work) in my freezer! I can now be lazy (to be fair it is like 15% laziness, 50% nausea, and 35% exhaustion) AND eat healthily.

Happily, too, the early pregnancy symptoms are starting to fade – nausea is not as constant as it was (although when it hits BOY does it hit!). Although I still get really tired, and have started feeling really out of breath a lot lately – apparently this is to do with pregnancy too (for a bit I was worried that I was just getting unfit).


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