Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Going Public" and The Nub Theory

Today, I am 16 weeks and 4 days pregnant. A friend of mine recently asked me why I had not "gone public" yet. I assumed she meant why hadn't made a status update or new blog post announcing the good news, but it made me chuckle because I imagined myself on the cover of a tabloid mag sporting suspicious belly bulge with a header that read "Is it a baby bump?". Here is my version:)

I am thrilled to have another child and a sibling for Dahlia. This pregnancy has been almost completely different from the first, so far. For one, I have only gained 5 lbs, which is 7 lbs less than I had gained by week 16 of my first pregnancy. On the downside, I got to see what morning sickness was like with this baby and, some evenings, I am so exhausted after work that I can barely keep my eyes open long enough to put Dahlia to bed! Luckily, in the second trimester (my favorite part of pregnancy) the general malaise is starting to wane, I can feel the baby move occasionally and, soon, I will start looking pregnant instead of just overweight!

Another reason I love the second trimester is that it is the time you get to find out your baby's gender if you so choose! Having a little girl at home, I would love to have a boy next but, more than anything, I just want to be able to go shopping and buy something that isn't unisex! I've been so eager to know if I will have a boy or a girl that, at about 11 weeks, I did some online research into early gender detection using ultrasound, more crudely known as "nub theory". It has to do with the "angle of the dangle" of your fetus' genital tubercle, the protrusion that will eventually form into a clitoris or penis, and it is measured in relation to the spine. It is simple really, >30 degrees indicates a boy and anything less is a girl. It has well documented accuracy when done correctly (about 75% at 12 weeks) and is not a wives tale[1].

[1] Determination of gender - 10 and 14 weeks , Z Efrat et al, Journal: Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology 1999; 13:305–30.

Anyway, while the theory itself is simple, convincing your ultrasound tech that you do not just have a case of "I read it on the internet, so it must be true!", is another matter all together.

Nevertheless, at my 12 week appointment, I enthusiastically asked if she knew of the technique and if we could try it. I stressed that it would just be for fun and that I would not take the results too seriously. She did not address my question but instead said dismissively, "Well, I'll take a picture of whatever you want but I don't have the equipment to take those measurements". I asked her to just try to get a good shot of it and that I would measure the angle at home (with that sophisticated piece of equipment known as a protractor).

When she had completed the nuchal translucency measurements and located the nasal bone, I could tell she was about to wrap up, so I reminded her of my request. She sighed heavily and said, "You know, this really isn't accurate at this age. We are talking about a "microscopic" size here." Microscopic? I thought, almost laughing out loud, Not really, but I looked at her pleasantly and respectfully explained the theory again and that I was not trying to measure the size but the angle. "I just need a picture of it.", I smiled. "Ok. So, what is it I'm looking for?", she asked repositioning the ultrasound probe. "The genital tubercle", I repeated for what must have been the fourth time. "You can't see the genitalia this early one.", she said with an air of authority. "ARGH!!", I thought. "I know. The genital tubercle is a protrusion that eventually forms into genitalia. It is the same for male and female fetus' with the exception of the angle."

I am sure that this came out condescending but, at that point, I was ready to return some of what she'd been dishing out. "Do you do ultrasounds?", she asked sardonically. She was letting her insecurity show, so I decided to end it there and left- without a usable nub pic.

Luckily, there are only two more weeks left before I have my anatomical ultrasound and hopefully, if the baby (and the technician) co-operates, I will finally know what color onesies to buy!