Saturday, February 4, 2012

Feeling Chatty, Pt. 2

I had a pretty crappy day yesterday and, unfortunately it was related to my being pregnant. I must always first clarify that it's not baby related. My issues are emotional, not physical, and resulted from my having an appointment with someone that just plain didn't know how or feel like being compassionate at that moment. It was pretty bad, y'all.

And I've been reminded, yet again, that I really don't know enough about the wee babe to say whether he's ok or not. I just simply don't know. I'm waiting to see how things go. Which, ironically, was what I was planning to talk about next: my choices related to prenatal testing (PNT).

It's strange going from one pregnancy/child that was so heavily monitored to one that I'm just supposed to, based upon my own decisions, let be.

[We did not have a prenatal diagnosis with Playette, but she had decels in her heart rate that became evident when I went to the hospital for a high fever and ended up receiving twice-weekly non-stress tests and fluid checks throughout the third trimester.]

The last time I had a look at him (him? - I guess), the newbie, was almost three months ago. I'm just supposed to trust. I'm not sure how to do that, exactly. I mean, I've already been on the other side. Being surprised. That didn't work out well for me.

But before about a week ago, I was fine with this. So I do realize that I had a hand in this fate. I just never thought that I'd start freaking my freak near the end.

Am I afraid of Ds? No, not really. When you know better, you do better.

Would it kinda rock my world if he had it? Hell yes. Not like before, but Ds is not what I'm hoping for, honestly. I'd really like to give 46 chromos a try, if that's ok. I also know that that guarantees nothing.

I know that there are people in the world who are quite sure that they know my position on PNT. For some, the fact that I'm 35 and have already had a child with Ds is enough to make an assumption that of course I'd only be being responsible to seek more information. Or, you know, make sure that it didn't happen again.

And that's totally ok for some. I don't fault my fellow Ds mamas for requesting some peace-of-mind in the early (or later) days of their subsequent pregnancies. We're all part of a club that you just can't understand until you've been initiated. You're no longer naive, as much as you would like to be. You can't turn off the part of your brain that wants to remind you that things don't always work out the way you think they will. And you also have been exposed to a world where Ds is far from the worst thing you can ever conceive now get it when people call Ds "the Cadillac of disabilities."

I also don't give my friends that have chosen to adopt another child with Ds the side-eye. There's room for all of us and I can see why they love their babes to pieces.

Bottom line: I declined everything. So much so that I felt off going in for the 20-week ultrasound. I felt like, "If I didn't want to know anything, how does it make sense that I'm walking knowingly into a situation that could tell me something?" It felt hypocritical in a way. Like the two positions didn't match up.

Again, I'm just talking about my own personal situation. And I didn't start to question the ultrasound until maybe a day or two before it happened.

But I did it. We did it. And everything was "fine."

No follow-ups.

Strange. For me. I live in the land of See You Next Time.

And this time? There was no Next Time.

Which was good. But still strange.

Please also know that I believe that the 1% additional "risk" they offer to people like me, in addition to that associated with my "advanced maternal age", is a load of hooey. 1%...1 out of every 100. Not possible. I've heard of spontaneous, random Ds reoccurring biologically in a family, but it's far, far lower than 1% of the time.


That brings us full-circle to what I had been planning to talk about when I mentioned that "something really interesting happened...[and] it wouldn't be brought to my attention for many months."

You see, I read Alison's blog and she had mentioned conducting interviews with people as part of a research project that she was doing on PNT (she still is, by the way, in case you're interested).

I was all in. I am an open book. Pretty transparent, actually.

Our phone interview took place in July. Right before I got pregnant. So, while I was running my mouth, I had no idea what was about to happen.

She followed up with me in December, after I announced my pregnancy on this here blog. She asked me some questions and then...she asked if I was interested in hearing some of what I had said five months before.

Wow. The timing was

I couldn't resist. Here's the part of the interview that related to this topic:

I really honestly don’t even know what I would do if I was faced with that now, because it’s like I know just enough to be dangerous, but I don’t necessarily want another child with Down syndrome, but I also realize that it’s not the life change that I thought it was.

I’ve gone back and forth on what would I do? I don’t know that I would have a CVS or a triple screen or a quad screen because I still believe that they are—that there are a lot of unknowns and if I had the amnio, I don’t know—would it be for peace of mind? Or would it be—I don’t know what it would be for, and I would really need to know what I was doing it for before I did it. But I couldn’t imagine looking at my child and saying that I didn’t want another one like you.

I’m not na├»ve anymore, so walking into another pregnancy, a second one, or any subsequent pregnancies, I would be –I couldn’t just be happy-go-lucky about it because I would wonder. You know, there’s a million things that could go wrong. And Down syndrome—as much as they try to make it seem, at least for me, like the worst possible thing that could happen, it’s not. So, you know, did I just get off easy? I don’t know.

Full disclosure: I read this when she sent it to me over six weeks ago and then not again until I just pasted it here. Any similarities to what I wrote today are purely coincidental. It's not like my memory can be trusted, so this is just real stuff here, folks.

It's a complex set of emotions and thoughts, and run-on sentences and question marks come with the territory.

It's not just a black and white issue with me.

I wish it were sometimes.

I do feel very fortunate to have these thoughts documented though.

That, I do know.

And I love this little inside my big, brown belly to pieces. Regardless of anything, I can't wait to meet him.

Or her.


No guarantees.


Meg said...

I love him too.

Alison said...

I've been neglecting reading blogs for a few days--I'm so glad I checked yours first thing this morning!

I loved reading about your emotional journey here (and I'm sorry to use a goofy phrase like "emotional journey," but that's really what I mean). Thank you for being so generous that you're willing to share some of the in-process stuff. I think it can be so tempting to try to put forward the perfect face all the time, but pregnancy and parenthood and all of that is a MESS! And such a personal mess, too, as you are really clear about: it seems to me that you're sort of an activist, but you're not expecting anybody else to do things your way.

I'm sorry that you're having to deal with crappy people. Maybe other commenters can come up with effective responses to folks who say things like, "Well, you got tested, didn't you? How could you NOT get tested?"

LLPirate said...

My heart is still set on twins :) The littlest got my hopes up!!! Loved your post and your honesty...waiting is killing me.

Jennifer Horner said...

I am so happy for you and struck at how similar our circumstances are. I wanted to have the typical experience, which is why I got pregnant with Tommy. We declined PNT too, but then did the 20 week ultrasound. Everything was fine, but I was really emotional which I know is par for the course with being preggo, but I was a wreck a lot of the time. i have to tell you that there really is something about mamas and their boys. Tommy is a love bug and we are really close. Vivi and him are like twins, and actually Tommy is a little taller than her now since he's super tall for his age and Viv is small. It's pretty cute, and they are two peas in a pod. Malea is going to be such a great helper with him and love him to pieces!!! So excited for you, this really is magical time and i'm a bit jealous since T was my last babe!