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Christy's Pregnancy Journal

Week 18
~ Immense Relief

Well, after five incredibly long days, the day of our appointment with the specialist came. The morning was tense. I was jumpy and edgy and found everything my husband did annoying me. I know he was trying to keep my mind occupied and be supportive but my nerves were rattled. I had no idea what the doctor was going to tell me, what to expect and what the outcome would be.

Shortly after we checked in I was called in to meet with a genetic counselor that discussed my blood results and indicated that the results showed a possibility of carrying a baby with Down Syndrome. She was very informative and made it clear the test was a screening test and not diagnostic. She said plenty of couples have false positives as well as couples that have false negatives. She discussed what to expect in the ultrasound and how this test, too, was only another scan and the only way to truly diagnose whether our baby had Down Syndrome was through amniocentesis. I had read up over the weekend and was against this testing. The risk of miscarriage, while small, seemed enormous to me at 1 out of 300. My husband and I would never terminate the pregnancy so it seemed unnecessary to put the baby at risk. However, during the discussion with the counselor it appeared my husband and I did not agree. My husband, of course, made it clear it was my decision but made a very strong case which I will get to later.

Anyway, the genetic counselor discussed Down Syndrome and the ranges of severity and explained how and why it occurred and what proteins in the blood trigger the positive we had received. It was very informative and I learned much more than I did on the websites. We then went through our entire family history on both sides and they sketched a family tree that outlined any diseases, illnesses or issues anyone on either side of our family had. Based on the tree we both appear to have a pretty healthy normal family, free of any genetic disorders which she indicated was a good sign.

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We then were sent in for our ultrasound. We were told that the ultrasound could indicate development issues consistent with Down Syndrome but again was not diagnostic. I was so excited and scared to see my baby. You never get over seeing your baby. The minute my angel popped on the screen my eyes started to tear up. It is truly one of the most beautiful sights. The heart was beating strong but the baby was being difficult and the tech was having a hard time getting the shots she needed. However, she did get one very interesting shot. It's a boy!!! After having me roll in a variety of positions with little success she had the doctor come in to take a look at the baby. The doctor came in and looked around and told us we had one good looking boy. He was very quick to tell us this did not rule out Down Syndrome and that he recommended the amniocentesis as a definite determination. I wasn't prepared to make a decision at that moment especially realizing Chris and I had conflicting opinions. He told us to talk about it but the decision needed to be made as soon as possible. He said regardless of our decision he would like to have me back in to take another look at the baby's heart in four weeks. We scheduled the appointment and left.

In the car the debate on the amniocentesis began. My husband explained to me that he felt that based on my personality that if I didn't know for sure I would spend the next four plus months worrying myself and him to death which would not be good for me or the baby. I hate to say it but he is right. Second, my husband is an infantry marine and deployments to Iraq are inevitable. While he has been non-deployable for the past three years, in January his orders expire and he most likely will be sent back to the fleet and eventually to Iraq. He pointed out that if there is something wrong with the baby and we determine it now, he can work with the Marine Corps to keep him in a position that would keep him stateside. After the orders are processed in January this will become more difficult. Again, he had another good point.

Next, he pointed out that I am planner by nature to the point that I even have to plan to be spontaneous. It is the reason we opted to take all of the initial tests to begin with. It is important to me to be prepared. Our life, my job, Chris's job are both very demanding and we would certainly have to make some serious changes to take care of a baby with special needs. I have no clue how day care works with Down Syndrome babies. Does it matter? Is it only relevant to find alternate care if it is severe? I know very little about what to expect. It was very clear that my husband had clearly thought about this, while I had jumped right to the emotional aspect. But I couldn't help it. The odds still pricked at my heart. 1 out of 300 seemed just too much of a risk. I couldn't bear it if I lost the baby because of "our" need to know. But Chris even had an argument for that. Chris said that if we have the test and lose the baby it was meant to be, it was God's plan and even if we don't have the test we could just as easily lose the baby from some other issue. He stressed that taking the test or not taking the test is not going to change God's plan for our child.

I knew in my heart he was right. Yet, even after all of that he told me if I still couldn't come to terms with the test then we wouldn't have it and he would support me 100%. Did I mention how much I love him? Needless to say I scheduled the test which is for Monday. I am quite nervous but I know I made the right decision.

Till next week . . .
~ Christy

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