Several women become mothers after months or even years of trying. I don’t fall into this category because Austin wasn’t planned…or perhaps I should say he arrived a few years premature. We found out we were expecting 3 weeks after I purchased my wedding dress. Ryan and I always knew we wanted kids, but we planned to wait a few years. I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him YOUR plans.” This phrase couldn’t hold more truth.
We are quickly approaching an anniversary. It was a year ago that we found out that the baby that was growing inside me was a little boy. It was also on this day that my OBGYN nurse took blood work for a Quad screening that I thought was “routine.” This test changed my entire pregnancy. I was never told that this test is completely optional and that a lot of women refuse this test due to false positives. The quad screen test is a maternal blood screening test that looks for four specific substances: AFP, hCG, Estriol and Inhibin-A. The results of this screening will tell if you’re at “high risk” for having a child with a Genetic Disorder based on the levels and your age. I knew when the nurse called me at work 3 days later that it couldn’t be good news. I felt my heart drop when she informed me that my Quad test came back abnormal and high risk for Down syndrome. Down syndrome. I had never thought about Down syndrome before…and why would I? I asked her what my chances were and she replied, “ 1 in 10,000.” She then went on to tell me that, “This office has never had a baby with Down syndrome based on a positive quad test. You’re young. You’ll be fine!” She referred me to a Perninatologist for a level 2 ultrasound. I went home and researched the quad test and noticed that false positives are common and most women go on to have perfectly healthy children. I also realized that my risk COULD NOT have been 1 in 10,000 because that's the complete opposite of high risk. Let’s just say it wasn’t the first time this particular nurse had no idea what she was talking about.
I had to wait a week before seeing the Perinatologist. It was the longest week of my life! It turns out, my chances were NOT 1 in 10,000. They were 1 in 105. The level 2 ultrasound only revealed that Austin had a thick nucal fold. Everything else looked normal. The Perinatologist gave me a 2% chance of Down syndrome and encouraged me to have an amniocentesis. I declined. I went back to see him a month later for a follow up. He said an amniocentesis would be a good idea so we could “go over our options.” The termination rate for a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome is 90%. I knew what he was getting at, but I stood my ground. I knew I would love Austin no matter what. I mean, he had fingers and toes…and really strong legs that kicked me. I could feel him squirming around. Down syndrome or not, he was meant to be mine. I tried to stay positive, but Down syndrome was always in the back of my head.
We didn’t plan this pregnancy and we certainly didn’t plan on having a baby with Down syndrome. We can thoroughly plan for the future, but ultimately we have no control over what happens. God gives you blessings you didn’t know you wanted. I’m at a point where I finally understand why God gave us a child with Down syndrome, even though we didn’t ask for one. Life is good. God is good.
P.S- We saw the Kidney doctor today for a follow up and there is NO obstruction. Austin's kidney function is great! He has a clean bill of health. We will go back in 6 months for a renal sonogram to make sure the swelling has resolved.
“For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
- Jeremiah 29:11