Recently I have been dealing with some pretty terrifying news in regards to my pregnancy. Because of my age, 37, we were given the option of prenatal genetic screening – in the form of 2 blood tests and a nuchal translucency scan.
At 16 weeks pregnant we were given the results of a 1:16 chance of baby having downs syndrome (trisomy 21). At this point we were given some very hard decisions to make. After some questions and deep discussions, we decided that, even with the risks involved, we wanted to have an amniocentesis done. Nothing else would be able to provide us with, basically, a 100% accurate result. And, I couldn’t imagine going through the entire pregnancy not knowing, especially if babe needed any extra medical attention at birth.
Thankfully we were given only a 4 day wait for our amnio appointment. This was such an agonizing wait. So many things went through our heads during this time. The ‘what-if’s’ were driving me crazy. I couldn’t even think about what to do if the tests came back positive. I wasn’t worried so much about the mental aspects of the syndrome as I was the medical concerns; heart, bowels, ears, eyes etc. My biggest concern was potential quality of life, for the little one as well as the rest of my family.
Because our chances were so high, we were fast tracked through the process and our results came back the very next day, today in fact.
This was a phone call I will never forget. A call that held the potential to change all of our lives, not just mine alone. Not for better or for worse, but to change everything in it. Our priorities, plans, goals, everything in our lives would need an adjustment. You could almost cut the tension in our home with a knife. (No wonder Goose has been an emotional time bomb today!)
The results came back negative, meaning our baby was perfectly healthy. No trisomy 21, 18 or any other genetic abnormalities. It reduced us to tears of joy and Goose to a crazy dancing fit (not really understanding what was going on). It is hard to express to anyone that hasn’t been through this the relief, happiness and joy we felt.
For the first time in this whole pregnancy, I feel like I can actually relax and enjoy being pregnant. I knew, when we became pregnant after 7+ month of ‘trying’, this would be my last baby. This lead to something close to paranoia at times and an inability to feel a connection with baby, just in case something went wrong.
I haven’t shared this information with a lot of people, mainly because I didn’t know how to approach the subject. Everyone probably has an opinion, and I really wasn’t interested in hearing what they had to say, or any advice they might give us. This was a decision we had to make for ourselves based on what made sense for us and our family.
We have no idea what our decision would have been if the outcome had been different. We barely discussed the options as there was no point until we had the information in front of us. There are probably many of you that think you would know exactly what you would do if given the diagnosis, but I have to say you have no idea. And I still don’t know myself, as our outcome was exactly what any parent would hope for. We never had to go through the agonizing choices and actually decided for our family and our lives what was best, to keep the baby or not.
My heart goes out to each parent/family that is or has gone through this agonizing time. Regardless of the outcome and decisions made, it is never easy or unemotional. We were the lucky ones and will count our blessings every day.