YAY! This was the Social Media post that we were going to send out once we saw our baby’s heartbeat and the stressful nightmare of the first trimester was over.
You probably noticed the past tense there.
We met “Sticky” (our appropriate nickname for our new baby – encouraging he or she to make it through the First Trimester) yesterday! We were overjoyed! He was jumping around like a jelly bean, just so cute! He had a perfect heartbeat! We love him so much!
Here he is! We think he’s a boy, but let’s be clear, we are not finding out for sure.
THEN! As I’m an old broad at 33 – we received the results of our Down syndrome Scan:
And we found out that for the Down syndrome Tri – something or whatever 21 – we scanned positive for further testing. Because our perfect little Sticky, has not quite developed his nose bone and I’m old!
Now, so you have the facts: They will not offer you extra scans if your odds of Down syndrome based on the evidence in the ultrasound + blood work = 1:300 odds of DS. Our odds are 1:277. So 99.6% Chance the baby is OK.
0.4 % CHANCE OF DOWN SYNDROME
Which is obviously the ONLY number we, as worried parents are focusing on.
We decided on doing a NEW test on the scene – the NIPT test. Its another screening test, so it doesn’t tell us for sure what is up – and it’s like $500 – but when you’re a parent, you understand. It claims to be about 99% accurate. So far what I’ve read ney-saying the NIPT test – isn’t supported by as much research. There is always a chance for a false positive. Which would suck either way – like if we’re like PHEW worry over and then find out at 18 weeks that we should have still been wasting away to nothing, bellies swelling with all of the cortisol we were stock piling due stress. Anyway – We are doing this test which basically says “yes” you are high risk or “no” you are not. From there we’ll decide on Amniocentesis or CVS.
Those are your facts.
I need to talk about my feelings here. So if you’re a science person, and you’re not really interested, you can check out here.
I am scared for my baby. My sweet sweet innocent little baby.
I’m scared for what it means if we get a negative result.
I’m scared of what people will think if we choose to terminate the pregnancy if our risk of Down Syndrome is too high.
I’m scared that if we do not terminate the pregnancy I will not be able to handle the demands that a child and adult with Down Syndrome have.
I’m scared about getting pregnant again. I’m scared about going through the First Trimester again.
I’m scared of the toll it will take on my sweet husband.
I feel so much love for my husband right now. We are each other’s rock and throughout this whole thing we have been there for each other. Understanding, Respect, Pride, Love, Protection. We know we have a partner in this. We have each other. It doesn’t make anything any easier, but it does – when you have someone that is right there with you experiencing everything with you as one – as a team.
I feel so much love for my Parents. Dad sent me the sweetest text message reminiscing about the time that he first met me on Ultrasound. He pointed out that we are blessed (yes it’s annoying when he uses blessed, but that’s just Dad, so…) to have technology, even when it isn’t all we want to hear. Suzanne has offered nothing but love and support and understanding. Like with my husband, I feel like we are not alone. We have support. We have people that will support us no matter what happens, no matter what decision we make. This love helps to take the edge of fear.
Technology – I love technology so much right now. I know that there are many criticisms of the move from face-to-face interactions to phone-to-phone. I understand that argument. However, in this circumstances, technology has allowed me to share my news, to reach out for comfort and support from friends and family near and far. To know that they are just a text message away. To know that just because their love is sent through ❤ instead of a real life hug, it’s still the same meaning. That is meaningful.
Friends. I feel so much love for my friends. For my “Mom” friends that have been through this before. I was nervous to send out notes asking for help, thinking, what if they judge me? What if they’re turned off by my baby that might not be perfect? (Ok, like crazy, right? – but you know?) All I received in return was love, support, kindness, understanding. What does that tell you? We are so blessed (thanks Dad) for the people that we have in our lives. This doesn’t make our decisions we have to make go away, but it does make us feel safe in our lives filled with people that love us that we do not have to go this alone. We do not have to hole up in our homes and wait with anxiety for the results.
Meditation has really been my savour in this. Don’t get me wrong, I cried hysterically, like Claire Danes on Homeland:
The SECOND we hit the elevator. Last night I felt like a zombie and medicated with Ice Cream. (I’m lactose, it was actually coconut milk gluten free cookie dough ice cream). Husband and I watched a bad movie until we were so tired we KNEW we couldn’t fight sleep if we tried.
I woke up and meditated. Today’s meditation was based on patience. Which is amazingly on point for what we need right now. These things take time. Patience seems unfair. Like jail for happiness. I have to WAIT to be HAPPY for my BABY. ALL I CAN DO IS WORRY UNTIL I HAVE THE RESULTS!
Meditation also focuses on the NOW. What is happening NOW. What can you do NOW. What are you feeling NOW. How can you cope NOW. What are you thinking NOW. This is essential as without meditation, I would be thinking about THEN THE BIG SCARY FUTURE FILLED WITH DOOM! By being able to focus on TODAY, I was able to function at WORK and tell our news without HYSTERICS. We were able to make the decision on the NIPT Test. I was able to avoid google-ing everything about Down Syndrome and the NIPT test online today and actually be productive at work. I was able to feel like ME. Me. In THIS SITUATION. NOW.
Second Coping: Cooking. I’ve been writing this blog post and simultaneously making delicious stew. This stew recipe is unreal. It’s on Yummly, go find it “Bison Stew” – I am not giving it up for free.
The chopping and simmering and sautéing are relaxing. I know that my body is too tired and to emotionally strained to hit the gym just now. This is something that I can do slowly, lovingly, alone (Husband is at a Spin class then Acupuncture tonight – I am grateful for this time to reflect alone and unwind from the emotional intensity of the last two days). I knew earlier today that I needed to blog this out, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to do so.
Third: Pride / Pats on the Back / Counselling Tools
You all know I am a therapy junkie. From therapy, I have tools. One of the tools I have applied in the last 24 hours was thought analyzation. Look at your thought. Scour it for any negative or nonfactual tidbits. Review how that thought is working for you. Think about how it serves you. Use this analyzation to almost “screen” thoughts for temptation of falling into hysteria. This has helped.
One thing: I recognize that there is a 99.6% chance sticky is OK. I realize that I am CHOOSING to focus on the 0.4%. I accept that fact. I accept the fact that the NIPT testing may not be conclusive. I accept the fact that I could wait until 18 weeks for another ultrasound. I accept the fact that I need to do this test to feel as though I am doing something proactive to help my baby, to help our psyche and to help us cope, process and deal with our current situation. And I am OK with that. No more thoughts required on that front.
Counting my blessings: In case you didn’t glean from the first year of posts – I totally had a booze dependency. I mean, like, I see that now. Pregnancy helps, because you can’t drink. One thing that I have learned in pregnancy, and no matter what happens, I am eternally grateful and forever changed: You do not “need” a drink to deal. I realized that after a stressful day, long day, I would crave a drink to unwind. I don’t actually have to do that. Do you know what’s better (for me)? Meditation. Meditation actually allows you the headspace, without the extra calories, hangover and shame spiral in the AM to clear your mind and to really deflate. Let’s be clear: I only meditate in the morning, however if I’m feeling stressed, I’ll just take some deep breaths, clear my mind. It’s like walking away from an argument and taking some deep breaths, letting your heart rate come down, before you say something you regret. Just with yourself and thinking. Anyway. It’s a big deal. I don’t need booze. I do miss wine though, and I’m excited for our new relationship after this baby is born – HEALTHY.
I have allowed myself to feel sadness. I have allowed myself to be down. To be truthful and communicate where I’m at. I did not feel today, like I needed to plaster on a happy face. I was calm, centred and allowed myself to feel the feelings that I was feeling. It helped today, in this blog, to post my post about my fears. Those are real fears. They are OK to have. They are just that fears. I have control over feeling fears. I do not have control on the outcome of the tests. That is the hardest part right now. I do not have to “think positive” I also do not have to “think negatively” – I just have to be here and do it and love my husband and love my friends and love my family, and most importantly, love my little sticky.
Thanks for listening.