Today I am officially 22 weeks pregnant. There were literally years where I never thought that I would say that. I pinch myself. It is incredibly hard to believe how quickly the journey has been. Everyday, I thank God for this gift of life. But, it wouldn’t be me if there weren’t some hiccups on the way I had to report.
First off, at one of our earliest OB appointments the doctor offered us the quad screening. This screening gives you a percentage of odds for chromosonal abnormalities, such as Spina Bifida and Downs. Although we would keep the baby no matter what the outcome, unless it would cause harm to the baby, I felt like the test would be a good idea. My logic was that I would rather know beforehand, to help prepare and research to give the child the best life possible. Well, be forewarned it is an extensive test. There is an ultrasound which examines the lining in the baby’s neck, thicker lining can sometimes be an indicator of Downs. Well, my darling one was in the wrong position so the test was inconclusive. Then, there is a series of lab tests. We got the call around 16 weeks, the day after I had told my entire staff we were expecting, that our baby “screened positive for Downs.” I left a meeting, thinking oh it is just my doctor’s, and thank goodness because I spent the next hour crying in a resource room. So, if you ever screen positive I am here for you and can help answer any questions!
First of all, screen positive does not mean your child has Downs. It just means you fall outside the average levels for your age group. For me, the average would be 1/600~. My results were 1/200~. Not bad odds, but boy does it make you wonder. If my baby is fine, why would I have higher results? If it isn’t DS, is there something else, a placental issue, etc? And, people with DS are beautiful and productive members of society, why am I so afraid? Have I been harboring this bias deep within me and had not confronted it?
These results led us to the Harmony test. We got the call on Saturday of Columbus Day Weekend when we were visiting friends in Boston. We were out for brunch when I got an unidentified number on my phone. I didn’t answer, but with the iphone you can see the message transcription…the test results came back normal. After hugging Spencer and my friends and calling my parents, texting my sisters in law and the school nurse who has become comically involved in my pregnancy, I went to the bathroom and dropped to my knees (yes, I know) and just offered up my deepest prayer of gratitude. Later, the OB nurse would say it was my first test of parenting.
There have been other moments of stress. My brother has severe bi-polar disorder, and although we live a state away he went into a manic episode when I was there for my birthday and we had to leave. I felt my heart racing, and allllll the feelings you feel. And, so what I am learning is that first comes gratitude, then you have to put you and your baby first. You have to take care of you. It is for the literal health and well being of your child. I don’t think I have ever been more forced to be a true practicioner of self care in my life, but I plan on doing my best to make it a habit–it is in everyone’s best interest.
Love and take care of yourself.
PS- It’s a girl!