Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Confusion, But Not of the Gender Kind

“Your baby girl appears to weigh about five pounds and the due date is predicted to be June 10th,” the ultrasound technician told us.

What? We had our third ultrasound yesterday to figure out whether or not our baby was due on June 17th which was our original due date or June 28th which was the modified due date after our first and second ultrasounds. Now they were telling us that it was a week earlier instead of two weeks later? Confusion. So there was nothing to do but wait for the doctor to look at the results and give us his opinion. He was after all, the one who changed it to two weeks later in the first place.

When Doctor B came in, he said right off the bat that he had no idea what the due date was. He said that our baby was in the 85th percentile and only after I asked him did he clarify his statement to say that it was the 85th percentile for weight among babies the same gestational age as ours assuming a due date of June 28th. After questioning him further, he said that for June 17th, our baby would be in the 50th percentile but said it with the tone that it was a bad thing. Doctor B then went into ass covering mode and said that he was keeping the due date as June 28th but that we would go about our appointments and other procedures as if it really was June 17th. We walked out not knowing really anything more than when we went in but we did get another couple pictures of our daughter, gender confirmed for the second time.

On our way home, I started reviewing things in my mind. Ultrasounds produce a due date based upon some measurements taken by the technician. It spits out a date based upon averages measurements taken across a statistical sample of babies around the United States. In the early stages of pregnancy, it can be fairly accurate but our technician at the time has been really quick at taking all the measurements where as this recent nurse took lots of time and redid several measurements twice when the first one didn’t look good enough. But in the later stages of pregnancy, genetics kick in and can skew the results. Our result of June 10th was still based upon averages but since I am taller than average, my daughter could possible skew the results to appear earlier than in reality. Okay.

So then I got to thinking about the meaning of 85th percentile. To me, that means that of every 100 babies, my baby is bigger in size than 85 of them, which would indicate that the due date of June 28th is later than expected. The 50th percentile result assuming gestational age of a fetus with due date of June 15th seems like we are right in the middle of the statistical table or average and yet the doctor dismissed this as bad. One would accept that the doctor knows best except my wife is also a doctor and knows these things. Doctor L, whom we met with last week and who said that all his measurements show the baby is more likely due on June 17th and thus arranged this follow-up ultrasound, also contradicts Doctor B’s findings.

So my wife and I have come to the conclusion that our real due date is on June 17th and that Doctor B thinks he made a mistake but because of all the tests, etc. that the false diagnosis caused us to retake only to get a false positive diagnosis for spinabifida and worry about for over a week until it was discovered to be a false positive, is now covering his ass. Why else would he “pretend” our due date was June 17th just to be on the safe side? When it comes down to it, it really doesn’t matter. The baby is going to come when it is going to come. But if we end up having to get a c-section because the doctor over estimated the due date simply to save face, I’m going to be a little bit miffed. So according to some doctors, all my research, comparisons to birth calendars based upon conception date (which we also know), our due date is June 17th. Doctor B says June 28th. For either date, there isn’t a lot of time left until we find out who was right.

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