We couldn't be happier! :)
Now, for the heavy stuff... I am not really sure how to approach this. I decided to make this public via my blog simply because it's a lot to explain and once is easier than a million times. First, I want to say thank you to some of my friends who noticed something was not "right" with me. I truly appreciate having people in my life that care so much for me and my well being that, despite my best efforts to hide it, they can tell my mind is racing with emotions. Also a thanks to those of you who were here for me and didn't even realize that I needed it.
I guess the best place to start is the beginning, so I will do just that. I will walk you through the past few weeks as we lived it.
February 8th: I went in for my normal routine check up. At that point I was far enough along to get the Quad Screen test done if we chose to do so. I actually had not thought about it for this pregnancy and Jeff and I had not really discussed if we wanted to do it. Even so, I opted to have it done. We did it with Avery so I knew Jeff would reason that we would have the same pros and cons for this pregnancy. Now, I know that a lot of people choose not to do it, but we like to have it done to prepare us for anything that may go wrong during or after the pregnancy. We did know that the outcome of the test would in NO WAY determine if we would keep the baby; we would love this baby just as much no matter what the outcome. Knowledge and preparation are very important to us, that's all. As Jeff likes to put it, those who say "ignorance is bliss" are ignorant!
February 21: At this point I had really forgotten about the screening test. I knew that no news was good news and I had not heard from the doc so I just put it in the back of my mind, I guess. Out of the blue I got a call at 11:00am from a nurse at my OBGYN's office. She proceeds to tell me that my Quad Screen results came back positive for Downs Syndrome. Lets just say that I didn't hear much of what she had to say after that. In fact, that's all she really said besides that she was scheduling me for a specialist and wanted to make sure I had a car to get there. Really??!! You are telling me my baby has Downs and you are worried about if I have a car or not??!! I really thought I was dreaming at this point. After we hung up I pretty much had a nervous breakdown. I've never felt like that before. One minute I was putting Avery down for a nap and getting some lunch ready while I turned on House Hunters. The next minute I am scared to death for the life of my unborn child. Sitting here reliving that moment is really pretty rough; I don't think I can really explain in words how I felt. It makes you realize how precious good heath is and how fast one phone call can change your life! I immediately called Jeff and he jumped up and left work to come be with me. After a while I somewhat calmed down enough to call the office back. I really wanted a better explanation and maybe a little better "bed-side manner" than what I got the first time. I know they may see this all the time, but for a mom that has NO medical knowledge, that's quite a load to drop on someone. At that point I insisted on coming in to talk to my doctor in person for some explanation.
Jeff and I preceded to Google. Yes, we Googled. lol What else could we do? I needed some answers. (Let me just say that I am no doctor myself, so I can only give limited details on most of this and what I can give you could be a little off. I'll do my best.) We found out that what the nurse had told me was not exactly true. The Quad Screen is just that, a screening not a diagnostic test. We knew this going in to it, but not to the detail that we do now. It tests your specific probability of the baby having the certain diseases against the "normal" probability. At this point I wanted to know what "normal" was versus my numbers.
February 24th: I went in to see my doc. Since he is not a genetic specialist he could not give me a lot of details but he could assure me that this happens all the time and 99% of the time it comes back with no problems. He was able to tell me that the "normal" probability for a woman my age would be 1/1011 (this number seems to vary slightly basis every doctor I talk to and read from) for a baby to be born with Downs. My numbers came back being 1/163. This freaked me out since it is such a big raise in percentage but he was able to comfort me a bit by letting me know that he sees numbers this high, and much higher, all of the time and he has never delivered a baby with DS. After I left that appointment I felt better in some ways but still felt very uneasy.
I scheduled the specialist for March 7th. This was a bummer because we were supposed to find out the sex of the baby with my OB then, but I wanted to go see the specialist asap! So, we moved the appointment to March 9th with hopes that we could find out the sex with during the ultrasound with the specialist.
March 7th: As you can see we were able to find out that we are having a girl :). They did an ultrasound and took lots of measurements of 10 physical features that are classic signs for DS. Some of these were a large space between the big toe and second toe, extra fluid in the kidneys, heart defects, a flattened nasal cavity, nuchal thickness (skin fold behind the neck), the length of the humerus and femur bones, etc. Everything was measuring great! He was unable to do some tests on the heart since baby was laying in a bad position, but other than that he seemed to feel good about the results. He adjusted our probability from 1/163 to about 1/300 and felt very sure that there was nothing wrong. He said that the cut off number for them to have people come see him in the first place is 1/270 so he feels like we are past that. He also explained that doing these ultrasound tests are good but can only give a 60% correct reading at best. The next step would be to do Amniocentesis, if we choose. This procedure would be to stick a large needle into my stomach and extract amniotic fluid. This would give us a 100% positive/negative result; however, the risk for a miscarriage is as high as 1/300. I knew going in that this would be an option and knew that since there was even a slight chance of miscarriage I really did not want to do it. I didnt feel like it was worth it. After he said that the chance for miscarriage is just as high (or low, depending on how you look at it) as our chances of having DS, what's the point? Especially since we know that the results will not change if we keep the baby or not. Yes, it would be nice to know 100% either way, but to us we feel strong enough being aware that there is a chance it could happen and getting prepared but hoping and praying for the best.
I felt a lot better leaving that appointment. We go see him again on March 30 to repeat the tests when the baby is bigger. I feel like we finally have some closure after the past few weeks. Now, we can mentally, spiritually, physically prepare (and in any other way you can think of). We will continue to pray for a healthy baby but I have peace after so much prayer already that this baby is a blessing no matter how many chromosomes she has. The Lord sends us children as a gift to raise to love him. No child is perfect; no person is perfect. He sends these special children to parents that he knows are strong enough to overcome the worldly difficulties and learn from the unconditional love these type of children offer. I have read so many mommy blogs of DS children and the one thing I can really take away from all of them is that it seems that raising a DS child is no different than another child. Yes, it takes them longer to catch on to things and in some cases they need life long assistance, but they are the most loving people you will ever meet.
I do believe that this time is a test for me. Whether our little girl has Downs or not, I believe God is teaching me patience, unconditional love, to have faith like a child, understanding, and not to worry. So, I have to step back from here and put it all it God's hands. After all, it never was in my hands, was it?
Matthew 6:25 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.