So I posted about the anatomy ultrasound at 18 weeks in the last post. What I didn’t include was what happened when the perinatal doctor came in.
This doctor. I will be over the moon if I never see her again. Ever.
She walks in and asks how we are doing. I reply “fine, thank you! How are you?” and she doesn’t say anything for a minute then, “how are you doing today?” …okay, maybe I wasn’t loud enough? I dunno. It only bugged me after the appointment because of everything that followed.
She sits down, grabs the wand, and begins looking at my baby girl.
“So I see your doctor never talked to you about Down Syndrome testing?”
….what???????????? First off, yes she did. I made it clear to my doctor that I didn’t want to test for Down Syndrome for several reasons, the main two being those tests don’t really tell you anything except your “chance” of having a baby born of Down Syndrome, and I wasn’t getting an amniocentesis done no matter what so why stress the rest of my pregnancy? My OB wholeheartedly agreed with me and that was that, then proceeded to make a note in my file that we discussed it and I turned it down. So excuse you, Ms. I don’t pay attention to the patient’s file. Second, THAT CONVERSATION COULD HAVE BEEN STARTED DIFFERENTLY. I was immediately thrown into such shock that I wasn’t even able to properly defend myself or my doctor before she continued on with why she brought it up.
Apparently the ultrasound showed a “soft marker” of a bright bowel spot that could indicate Down Syndrome (or another chromosomal abnormality, or an infection, or the baby swallowed some blood, OR LITERALLY NOTHING) so I needed to get the test done (and the other tests to rule out infection, etc etc). She informed me that it “could” be nothing and everything “might” normal on the next ultrasound but she was ordering all of the tests and she “highly encouraged” me to take them. I took my baby’s ultrasound pictures and numbly walked to the lab to get my blood drawn, holding my husband’s hand in shock.
Then I went home, climbed into the shower, laid on the floor, and sobbed. And sobbed some more. My husband came in, took his uniform top off, and held my hand as I cried. No one wants to hear there might be something wrong with their baby and she said it in such a nonchalant way that I felt broken.
Here is where I’ll insert some disclaimers. I am not saying that I would not love this baby with all of my heart and raise her to be the very best and most capable person she could be. If she comes out with any disability in any form or develops one later in life, I will be there to help her through every step. I am her mother, end of discussion. But damnit, I don’t want her life to start off already difficult. I want her to have every chance NOW, not later. It broke my heart with the knowledge her life might immediately start off on the “negative” side instead of at 0, that she would have to work harder just to be where she would be without a disability. This isn’t about ME. It’s about her. Her life. She’s who is important. I will spend every waking moment making her life meaningful no matter what. I just her life to be easy. And who doesn’t? Who would WANT their child to have a hard life? They WANT their child and love that baby with their entire soul. They don’t WANT that innocent baby to have to push themselves just to be even. Does that make sense? I hope it does. I hope I don’t offend anyone, or make anyone think I think less of a child who has a disability of any kind because I don’t and I never will.
Two days after my appointment, my heartbreak turned into anger. I accepted the slight increase in her chance of having Down Syndrome and I got MAD at that doctor for her behavior in that appointment. So I sent my OB an email voicing my displeasure, to put it nicely. I asked her to please keep a lookout for my results and to call me when they’re available because I was fairly certain I would rip that woman’s head off over the phone if she called me. One week later, my doctor called with the results, saying that all the tests were negative. I am not at an increased risk of having a baby with Down Syndrome (the hospital’s cut off score is 1/270) nor did I have any infections. While this was a huge relief, that result is why I didn’t want to have the test done in the first place. What does it tell me? Literally nothing about the baby already inside of me. My result could be 1 in 2 and she could still be just fine. I won’t know unless I do the very expensive blood test that tests the baby’s DNA floating around in my blood (that my hospital doesn’t offer unless you’re at a HIGH risk) or an amniocentesis which I refuse to do.
There is always a chance my baby girl will have Down Syndrome when she’s born. And that’s fine. Her father and I love her completely now and we will for always. The only positive that came out of this was we sat down and did research on Down Syndrome more thoroughly as a couple (I graduated with my BS in Psychology so I already know quite a bit about Down Syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities. Now I have a more intimate understanding of it as a mother.) We are ready for anything Lilyian wants to throw at us and we will grow with everything she has to offer.
Side note. I have a 3D face picture of my angel but..uh.. she was face planted against the placenta, as you can see here. So.. when the tech tried to “strip” away some of the flesh, she kinda sorta looked like a Chuckie doll? My husband says if she comes out looking like that, at least she won’t need a Halloween costume next year. It was BAD! But still adorable. My little horror film baby. I’m asking for new pictures at my ultrasound on Monday, pictures I feel good sharing with family members that won’t give them nightmares. Oh, trust me, I’m KEEPING the current pictures. They may be creepy but I love them anyways.