But then came the first trimester screenings, which my doctor recommended due to my 'advanced maternal age'. I turned 35 at the end of the first trimester. So OLD! Ha! I was at work when the nurse called to share my results. Probably not the best choice she ever made, but nonetheless I took the call standing in the lobby of the high school where I taught, with kids zipping past to get to class, breakfast or hug their friends, as she informed me that I was high risk for having a baby with a chromosomal disorder. In fact, it was a 1 in 8 chance, the highest given based on the test results, without knowing for sure. My heart sank. I stepped into a nearby office to call Scott (he was now teaching at a different HS). His first words to me were, "Baby, we can handle this." And he was right. Love is not based on chromosomes, and while I was saddened by the news, my love would not change. His approach to most things is to be as informed as possible and do your best based on what you know, so he started reading about the risk factors she had given me. By that evening he decided we should do an amniocentesis so we could know exactly what we were dealing with. I had already set up an appointment with the at risk doctor at our clinic.
When we got to the appointment he was so matter of fact about the numbers, risk factors involved and probabilities which we were grateful for, and while he gave us our "options", he never tried to push anything on us. Once we told him that the results would not change our plans, we moved forward with scheduling the procedure. If I remember correctly, we had one month. What a month that was. About half way through, Scott came home from work with an interesting story. He has bus duty at the end of every day, so he frequently talks to the middle and high school kids as they head to their bus. On this day, a girl he had never seen before came and stood next to him and said, "Hello". He looked down at her and saw right away she had downs syndrome. He said, "Hello, how are you?" She asked if he was a teacher at the HS, to which he said yes, he was. She informed him she was an 8th grader and hoped she'd get to be in his class the next year, then skipped away to get on the bus with a big grin on her face. While this was in no way at all related to anything else, he said a peace flooded him about our baby as he watched this girl so full of joy. Although he continued to look for her after that day, he never saw her again. He had no idea how it would go...would it be the 1 in 8 or turn out to be the 7 in 8 chance that everything would be fine? No idea, but having peace about it was comforting.
On a side note, I have a pacemaker. I got it in 2006 after flat lining during some testing to try to determine why I passed out so often, and had my whole life. One of the things that always caused me to pass out was having blood drawn, so naturally, needles are not my friend. You can imagine my excitement as they described the size of the needle used during an amniocentesis. (insert wide eyed, sarcastic face here) In case you don't know, during this procedure, a very long needle is inserted through the stomach and into the amniotic sac to draw fluids that would tell the doctors for sure of the chromosomal state of the baby. There are risks involved, including the possibility of miscarrying. I was petrified, but was willing to do it for the knowledge we hoped to gain about our baby. That is, until the date drew near. I will admit, I was scared to death.
Generally speaking, Scott and I talk everything inside out and backwards, but for some reason, had avoided talking much about this. The day came for the appointment and we headed to the doctors office. We thought they would take us right back to preform the procedure, but once we were back they said, first, we'd do another ultrasound. The ultrasound we had during the screening revealed about 9 of the 12 markers, so as she was moving the wand around my belly in silence we couldn't help but wonder what she was finding. When she finished she told us the doctor would have to review everything, but she saw none of the markers this time. 0 of the 12. We were still. That's really all I can remember...how still we sat there taking that information in. None of the markers were present now. And then I finally exhaled. The doctor came back in, confirming what she said, that none of the markers were present this time, but that if we were ready and still wanted to, we could continue with the procedure to solidify these findings. We asked him for a moment to talk it over in private.
I think we were both so worried what the other would think, but as soon as the door closed I blurted, "I don't want to do it. I haven't for 3 weeks." Scott said, "Oh good baby, I don't either. Why didn't you tell me?" Bottom line, I think we each thought we were doing it for the other, but for Scott, he had made his peace with either outcome so really didn't need to know. And for me, I couldn't get over this idea that I would have this test to see if anything was wrong and possibly miscarry a perfectly healthy baby. I hadn't slept in days carrying the thought of that with me. We were so relieved to call the doctor back in and tell him, "thanks, but no thanks." He agreed.
We still did not know for sure about the health of our baby, but no longer had the need to know. We moved forward in faith and optimism. The next 6 months were pregnancy heaven. The worst of my discomfort was a touch of heartburn in the final trimester. OH, and we found out we were having a boy! Another son.