Sorry I'm late! Entry one and already 11 weeks behind. Lucky this isn't high school.
Actually, it is probably better that I start at this point. Twelve weeks was always the standard mark most pregnant women waited for before they announced the news publicly, right? The "safe" point after which all would be well? First trimester over = happy days!
We thought so too, until last year. Until our 12-week scan revealed Down Syndrome and a serious heart defect . . . that ultimately resulted in us losing the baby. Our hearts broke as we made the call to terminate at 16 weeks and four days - not a decision everyone would agree with, but one that thankfully my partner Tracey and I were in unison about. It was partly that we knew we weren't strong enough to cope and partly that we were worried about the strain it would place on our family, but mostly we felt paralysed with grief at the thought of knowingly bringing a new little life into the world that would be burdened with such a poor quality of life. My pregnancy was too far advanced for a hospital procedure that would have mercifully knocked me out with a general anaesthetic, so I was induced. I won't go into any details about those 26 hours...funny, I think I have blocked many of them out anyway. But even though I have erased them from my mind, they aren't permanently deleted like you can do with emails and trash in your computer recycle bin. The memories are like the lead pencil impressions left carved on paper even after you try so hard to rub and rub them out. Just like this is something we won't get over, that is something we will never truly forget.
I am sorry to dwell on such maudlin matters in this, my first entry. But I need you to know some of the back story, because unfortunately - while I wish it wouldn't - it indelibly taints every second of this pregnancy. Whether that is through pretty regular bouts of uncertainty, anxiety and stressful moments that take my breath away, or through seemingly unstoppable tears at 2.30am while I lie awake, unable to sleep, thinking. "What if it happens again?"
I try and think of the baby growing inside me and remember I have to protect it and nurture it with love and positivity, but sometimes the damn worry wins.
So, that's where we find ourselves at this very moment. Tomorrow I will have a 12-week scan. The same procedure that last time sparked such a catastrophic crumbling of our world. The same scan that triggered such tragedy last August.
I am petrified. What if it happens again?
I saw our OBGYN, the same one we had last time, last week. It was our first appointment back, as we had been to another IVF doctor in Brisbane to this point. I was shocked to hear what he had to say. As I sat down he, knowing my history, asked me if I was thinking about going straight for an amnio. I admitted that thought had not crossed my mind at all. He said in his experience, women who had had a similar experience just wanted that peace of mind and immediately by-passed the nuchal, which is purely indicative and educated guesswork really, whereas the amnio is 100% clear.
Instantly I felt unprepared and silly for not considering this. But then I said that I actually did want to do the nuchal. Firstly, it is less intrusive and less risky. And why have an amnio if you don't need it?
Then he shocked me for a second time. He said that because of my history, the ratio used to calculate the likelihood of me having another Downs baby was reduced. So instead of a woman my age starting at a point of one in 400, I start at one in 100. Holy shit. I was gobsmacked.
To this point, we had been convinced that Downs was a genetic anomaly. It is not hereditary and even if both sides of the tree have zero family history with the syndrome, for some random reason, it can strike. It is inexplicable and impossible to trace/predict. Even our IVF doctor said we would be bloody unlucky for this terrible lightning to strike in the same place twice. And yet, the possibility now seemed to be opening up.
So, with this in mind, I am now readying myself for what I believe to be an almost-certain amnio. Especially given my numbers are going to be so drastically skewed downwards. But, on the other hand, we won't know until we know. And even then we won't know for certain - the nuchal result is just a guide. I just hope my number is high, and there is no room for doubt over whether or not we need an amnio.
Roll on Wednesday, that's when we can get the results.