The benefits of technology

in Voices by

By Pamela Brownstein
When it comes to technology, I am usually resistant to change. I don’t have a smart phone and I’m not on Twitter. For a long time, I didn’t have a microwave or cable and Internet. My car doesn’t have a GPS or automatic windows or locks. I don’t play video games and I still watch VHS tapes and listen to records. If it was up to me, I’d probably still be writing on a typewriter.
But I am slowly coming around to the benefits of technological advances. I am discovering the awesome ways of my husband’s iPad, and I’m also in love with this little box that my father-in-law installed called Roku that lets us watch almost any movie through Netflix.
I am also learning how much medical science and technology has shaped the experience of having a baby. There are so many tests and machines that have improved the quality of life, but sometimes the choices can be overwhelming.
It was especially hard between the 15-20 weeks of pregnancy when we had to decide whether or not to have a multiple marker screening: a blood test that detects the level of different substances in your blood, and together the levels of these substances show the baby’s risk (or lack of) certain birth defects like Down syndrome.
We debated over the test. On one hand, it’s comforting to know everything is OK with the baby, but on the other hand, what if there is something wrong, what would we do then? Also, the screening could be a false positive that comes back abnormal but there’s actually nothing wrong.
On my go-to website for all things baby, thebump.com, the comprehensive week-by-week list of things to do includes: Schedule nuchal translucency screening. Schedule amniocentesis and CVS tests. What are these? Do I need to get them done? (For the record, these are more comprehensive screenings that test for genetic diseases or birth defects.)
For many women, having these options can help detect birth defects early, and for others, having the results helps relieve months of worrying. Fortunately, I am not in a high-risk situation, so my husband and I decided not to have the screening or other genetic tests done. We figured we are going to love our baby no matter what, so it was better off not to know.
But there was one thing we really wanted to know: the gender. The ultrasound machine is an amazing piece of technology, and one that I fully embrace. At five weeks and at eight weeks, the ultrasound allowed us to see the baby’s growth and confirm early on that everything was well in the womb.
Halfway through the pregnancy, last week, we went to Beaufort Memorial Hospital for a high-tech ultrasound that measures the baby’s progress and also reveals the sex. I could have stayed in that room for hours, just watching the little one inside me move around. It’s incredible. The technician said it was like trying to take a picture of a bouncing ball, the baby was moving and wiggling so much. She took images of the heart, the head, other internal organs, the hands and feet … and then she showed us the part between the legs — no denying, Baby Brownstein is a boy! Joy, pride, excitement flooded over me at the thrilling news.
With any luck, he’ll grow up to be tech-savvy and won’t be exasperated every time he has to help his mom with all sorts of newfangled, high-tech contraptions.

Pamela Brownstein is a 5-foot-tall pregnant lady who loves Beaufort and hopes you will join her adventures in life, love and all the little things in between. Contact Pamela at theislandnews@gmail.com.