Thursday, September 29, 2011

I've been avoiding writing the past couple weeks.

So... my last entry was at 18 weeks, after my anatomy scan.  Talking about how good I felt to have passed the major milestones... that Fri. I got a call that my 1st/2nd trimester screening came back as high risk for Downs Syndrome.  1 in 94.  If any friend told me those were their odds, I'd tell them not to worry.  C pointed out that if we were given those odds before we did IVF, we'd still do it.

Those are pretty good odds.  But it felt like the rug was pulled out form under me.  I just felt like we were so used to being on the shitty side of the fertility odds... what if we were that 1 in 94?

My OB treated it very seriously.  And urgently.  The unspoken urgency was because I was far enough along that if I did amnio and found out the baby did have Downs, and we decided to terminate, that we still have time to do so.  At first I said to her that I wasn't too worried because my NT and anatomy scan looked good.  She said that didn't necessarily mean we would be okay.  She advised me to get the same perinatologist who did the anatomy scan on the phone and that if I couldn't get a hold of him that she would call in a special favor and make sure i got to talk to him that same afternoon.

We got an appt set for Monday morning and spent the weekend terrified.  We kept telling ourselves we're probably okay... but that didn't take away the fear or fix anything we were feeling.  Fri night I remember staring at my belly that I wished would just disappear, wondering what exactly was growing inside of it -- trying to detach.  C and I tried to talk about what we would do if we found out we had Downs... those were terrible conversations and we didn't have any answers at the end of it.  We decided to not tell anyone so that if we did get bad news, that we could handle it privately... what ever we decided.

We spent the weekend with C's family... trying to avoid baby conversation.  Thinking very dark thoughts.  Crying when I could sneak away to have a moment alone.  We also knew that amnio carried a risk of injury/death to the baby... and though those odds were pretty reasonable (about 1 in 400... probably less at our particular specialist's office)... but we also feared we had a perfectly healthy kid in there but could possibly hurt him through the amnio.  Monday morning we first met with a genetic counselor.   That was hard at the time because we were no nervous.  We met with the peri (Dr. S.).  He did an ultrasound.  He was quiet the whole time.  At the end he said everything looked good -- no Downs markers... but that as much as he wished, he couldn't tell us everything would be okay.  So... we opted for amnio.  After we decided, he said he would have done the same.   As the nurses prepped me they quickly brought over the consent forms to sign away for all the risks involved.  The needle went in and I noticed how stiff my leg muscles were as I tried not to flinch.  I was so scared I would cramp up from that while the needle was in me.  Both C and I were freaked out watching the amniotic fluid fill up the syringes... that something that should be undisturbed was being pumped out be a needle that was right next to this kid.

I spent the next two days at home... trying to rest... there are a bunch of symptoms you're supposed to look for to call the doc immediately so I was trying not to be a hypochondriac about it.  A day into the home-rest I got a call that preliminary results came in that we had the right amount of chromosomes.  We'd know in 7-10 days what the official results were.  It was comforting, but I didn't let my guard down until yesterday when we got the call that everything was OKAY.

Until then I thought a million dark thoughts... what would it be like for Feb to come and we don't have a baby, what if this past ivf cycle was a fluke and we can't ever get pregnant again, what would it be like to terminate a pregnancy this far along, how horrible would the grief be, how much guilt I'd have...what would a life time raising a Downs kid be like, what would this kid's future siblings have to do to take care of him when we die... we were not ready to make such a huge choice if we had to... I am so, so lucky that didn't happen.

Before I got the good news, I imagined the tears that would come with that happy phone call... telling us our child would be healthy... I still haven't totally let it sink in.  I definitely feel a huge weight has been lifted.  I am back to feeling happy and optimistic about what ever is to come... but I know it hasn't hit me yet.

This scare was horrible... but it has made any other concerns about this kid/my pregnancy/our future feel tiny.  I don't care what this kid turns out to be like... I'm just glad that he'll have a shot at a healthy, happy, normal life.


  1. I can't begin to imagine all that you have been through. I am so happy to hear that baby is healthy. I hope it is all positive news from here on out. You deserve more than your share of good news!

  2. I'm so sorry you've had such a rough few weeks. S and I are thinking about you two all the time.