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Caroline's Week 25 Scare Results in Fetal Fibronectin Test

The science of pregnancy.

It started last weekend. Caroline and I have really been hunkering down and getting ready for Grande Finale’s arrival. Our close friend (Caroline’s former sister-in-law, whom I totally adore) has been helping us. Together the three of us spent virtually every minute of the day on Saturday sorting, organizing, unfolding and folding various and sundry items which will all eventually belong to our son.

And on Sunday, Caroline was worried that she might have overdone it. She felt horrible, much like how she felt when she learned last time that her cervix had shortened—a fact which necessitated bed rest. Which is ironic, indeed. Because one of the reasons she’s been so active with 15 weeks still left to get everything done is because she fears bed rest. As do I. We survived nine weeks of it last time, but it’d be tougher still this time around with four kids instead of just one.

Luckily, Caroline already had an appointment scheduled with her OB GYN. We were both praying that her cervix hadn’t shortened like it did last time.

And, it hadn’t. (Phew.) Still 38 beautiful millimeters and holding. Yet given that Caroline felt so similar to the way she felt when she nearly went into preterm labor while pregnant with the triplets, her doctor decided to leave no stone unturned.

So he decided to administer the fetal fibronectin test. Do you know about this one? The test looks for the presence of fetal fibronectin within the tissues of the placental membrane, which is present up until the 22nd week of gestation. At 22 weeks, it disappears, but reappears in the vaginal secretions shortly before labor begins.

If the test is positive and indicates that the fetal fibronectin is present, that doesn’t necessarily mean that labor is imminent. It could reappear on account of something else, like inflammation or infection. But if the test comes back negative, it means that no fetal fibronectin was found within the tissues of her placental membrane, and that meant there’s very little chance of birth within two weeks.

The hope, obviously, is for a negative test result. Last time, that’s exactly what we got. And we’re confident that the same result will come back this time, especially given the fact that Caroline’s cervix is a-okay and everything on the ultrasounds looks great.

Again, the only reason why the doctor even administered the test in the first place was to be extra cautious given the fact that Caroline felt so bad on Sunday, not to mention her history.

The test hasn’t come back yet, but the result of another one has—a result that makes us even more confident that the fetal fibronectin test will come back negative. It seems Caroline’s thyroid level is low which probably explains why she felt so bad. This has happened before earlier in the pregnancy, so he simply upped the dose of her thyroid medication. I’m happy to note that she’s already feeling much better.

And I’m even happier to note that the science of pregnancy as well as the knowledgeable folks who practice it, are taking great care of my beautiful wife.

Image: Wikipedia

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