Trying out SneakPeek

Recently we found out we were expecting our fourth baby. For all my previous pregnancies I waited until the anatomy scan at 20 weeks to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. But I recently found out that you can pay to do a blood test solely to determine gender, without additional genetic testing. It was torture for me to wait 3 1/2 months to find out what we were having so this time I was determined to try to satisfy my curiosity earlier.

I did a little research and found two places in town you can pay to have the test done. Fairbanks Ultrasound was one. I was familiar with Fairbanks Ultrasound because I had my 20 week scan done there 6 years ago with Silas. The other place I had never heard of. It was called Bun in the Oven Imaging. I found out later that it opened quite recently, just 5 months ago, and all of her tests are what you might call just for fun, that is, non-diagnostic. She does gender scans and heartbeat teddy bears and things like that.

At Bun in the Oven they advertised you could do the test as early as 6 weeks of pregnancy but at Fairbanks Ultrasound they wanted you to be at least 9 weeks. I decided to wait until 9 weeks and actually once I got around to making the appointment I was already past 10 weeks.

The prices for the gender DNA test were about the same. $140 at Fairbanks Ultrasound and $130 at Bun in the Oven. I chose Bun in the Oven over Fairbanks Ultrasound because the former had more information on the website. Aside from the price, there was no other useful information on the Fairbanks Ultrasound website. It wasn't clear to me if you need to make an appointment or if you can walk in. I tried to call during business hours to find out more but somehow ended up talking to a woman who told me she was just the answering service and didn't know anything. So I gave up on that and went back to the Bun in the Oven website, where I found I could easily book an appointment online for the service I wanted.

I paid $30 in advance to book my appointment at Bun in the Oven. The confirmation email warned me to drink lots and lots of water during the week before my appointment in order to ensure good results. This turned out to be a problem later.

I found out that the test they do at both imaging places is a kit made by a company called SneakPeek. The sample of your blood gets sent to the SneakPeek lab and if they detect male DNA in the blood sample, you are having a boy. If male DNA is not detected, you are having a girl.

When the day arrived for me to go to my appointment at Bun in the Oven, I was actually very dehydrated. The reason I chose to ignore the exhortation in afore mentioned email was because I had been queasy for about 4 weeks and water tasted terrible and made the queasiness worse. Nearly all I had been drinking was diet Pepsi on ice that Christopher would bring home from the gas station for me. It was the only thing that would settle my stomach. But I was very eager to find out if we were having a boy or a girl so I drank one or two cups of water and happily went off to my appointment.

The Bun in the Oven office seemed pleasant when I walked in. There was a tiny desk with a tablet for checking people in, some stuffed animals and knit baby hats and booties for sale on display and a cute little play area for children. Everything was fresh and brand new. The lady who greeted me was kind and polite. I feel bad that I've forgotten her name now. She took me right back to her exam room, which had some comfortable tufted leather chairs, an exam bed, ultrasound machine and a huge TV screen for showing the ultrasound images. She immediately gave me a bottle of water to drink while she was opening my SneakPeek kit.

I had to scan a QR code and fill out some basic information on my phone so the company could send my results. The kit came with a code that I had to put in.

Once I had that done and after I had held a hot pack on my arm for a few minutes, she cleaned my arm off very carefully, 3 times with wipes and 3 times with alcohol. Then she attached the Snap device to my upper arm. The Snap uses microneedles to collect blood from epidermis and it doesn't hurt at all. Honestly, ripping off the bandaid later hurt a lot more than the Snap did. The problem is, Snap doesn't work well at all if you are dehydrated. She barely got any blood the first time. She gave me another bottle of water to drink, told me to move around to get blood flowing, and then opened another kit and tried again. This time there was a little more, but not enough to fill the sample tube. I felt awful. She looked a little flustered too. (Of course, it wasn't her fault. What more could she have done?) She said she would mix the two tubes together and thought that way there would be just enough.

At that point I felt embarrassed and thought I had wasted a lot of money by being stupid enough to ignore the email that said to drink plenty of water before the appointment. So I just paid quickly and left.

One thing that caught me off guard was that when I paid using Square there was an option to add a gratuity. I had never in my life heard of adding a gratuity for a medical service. But since she was just launching her business and it wasn't exactly the same as going to the doctor or a clinic, plus she was really nice and opened a second kit for me when the first try didn't work, I went ahead and added on a gratuity. So in the end I paid $154 for the test. I'm still not 100% sure what the proper protocol was here, but, not being a very quick thinker, I did the best I could on the spot.

She told me that she would send in the sample by the next day at noon. The next day was Wednesday. Then I would most likely get my results the day after that, on Thursday.

On Thursday I got the "Sample arrived" email from SneakPeek. Then on Thursday afternoon at 3 I got a text message saying my results were ready. I am glad I signed up for the text alert because I didn't get the email saying my results were ready until about 11 o'clock on Friday morning. It was surprisingly hard to wait even just two days!

If I ever had another baby I would definitely do this test again. But I would probably do it at home. Even though I feel like I had great service at Bun in the Oven, SneakPeek makes the kit amazingly simple to use. You can order it online for $99. I was worried about contaminating the sample with so many males in our house but the sample tube comes already attached to the Snap and you don't actually come in contact with the blood sample. So now I would not be worried about that. I'd just clean my arm off really well like she did at the office. And make sure I was well hydrated, of course.

Now you are probably wondering what the results were. Well... tune in next time. ;)

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