A few weeks ago a phone call from my amazing OBYN turned my world upside down. She said that the blood tests, she had ordered, came back showing me as “high risk” for Down syndrome. My baby could have Down syndrome. My little Jonah boy had a 1 in 50 chance of being born with an intellectual impairment and/or physical abnormalities. She asked me to arrange an appointment to have diagnostic tests done so that we can know for sure. But I immediately knew that I was NOT interested in diagnostic tests. I did NOT want to “know for sure” if there was something wrong with my baby. There was just no room in my head for something like that.
Let’s go back, right to the beginning: During my first OB visit, our sweet doctor ordered the blood screening tests due to my age (apparently I’m “too old” – okay she actually didn’t say that, I’m being dramatic, but still). The risk of having a baby with Down syndrome, and other chromosomal abnormalities, increases as the mother’s age increases. The screening test would help to identify the possibility of any abnormalities, but it would not give conclusive answers. A blood draw later and we were on our way, with no doubt in our mind that everything would be fine with our Jo. Until the dreaded phone call came to say that the screening tests showed a worrying result.
My OBYN suggested that we do an amniocentesis. This is a diagnostic test, usually done after week 15 of a pregnancy, where they draw amniotic fluid from my womb, and send that in for chromosomal testing. I spoke it out with Hubstopher and made up my mind: I was not interested in finding out about abnormalities. I would love Jo, no matter what the tests say! To us, our baby is perfect and beautiful and a Godsend and nothing would change that. Yep, I was pretty emotional, spreadsheet brain and all. Thankfully, our doctor was more factual about it, explaining the pros and cons of having the amniocentesis done.
Pro: It would better help us to prepare ourselves for raising a child with special needs.
Con: The procedure comes with it’s own risks. Basically, she has to stick a needle into my belly, coaxing it down to penetrate my womb, so that she can draw enough fluid. All of this while making sure that she doesn’t harm Jo in the process.
After thinking about it (rationally) it seemed wiser to do the procedure. It actually went really quickly. The needle prick wasn’t as bad as the contractions that followed. I mean, your womb is basically saying “something’s not right here!” and with it comes really painful contractions. After the 3rd attempt (yes, the needle went in 3 times), staying cautious of my very jiggly baby boy, she was finally able to draw enough amniotic fluid.
The days that followed were filled with a lot of ups and downs. There were moments where I relived those first few days of Kari’s life; after the doctors had told me that she was born with Congenital Hypothyroidism (she only has half a thyroid gland). I remember feeling the exact same way: Perplexed and sad that my child has to live a challenged life and yet overjoyed that my perfect baby is all mine! (In case you didn’t know, Kari is 100% healthy, and pops 1 little thyroid pill per day to stabilize her hormones.)
Anyways, 2 days ago, my doc called with the results: No chromosome abnormalities, no neural tube defects, and no genetic disorders – baby Jonah is fine! We knew that he would be fine anyways… either way! But this just put the cherry on the cake for us! It reminded me that regardless of what the report says, you still get to CHOOSE to live a life without fear.
Even if the situation says “nope, no hope here” you have the freedom to say: “Go away negative spirit, you have no power here. I choose hope. I choose faith. And I don’t choose fear.” Say it and MEAN it!