Saturday, September 28, 2013

4 Years And No Regrets

This date: September 28th is a date I will always remember. September 28, 2009....exactly 4 years ago I was in the Perinatologist's office... lying in a cold, sterile room while the sonographer was performing a level 2 sonogram. It should have been an exciting time in my life. I should have felt overjoyed. However, I didn't feel any of these emotions. I kept trying to look at the sonographer's face for clues that something was “wrong” or “right” as she moved her cold wand over my 17 week pregnant belly. Much to my dismay, she had a good poker face. The only time I managed to crack a smile was when she confirmed that the baby I was carrying was “still a boy.”

I found out 2 weeks prior that I was having a boy at my regular OB's office. Oh, how I wished I could go back time to that moment of pure joy...anything to get me out of this nightmare. The sonographer told me that the Doctor would be in to see me in a moment and left. I closed my eyes and prayed...please God, don't let my baby have Down syndrome.

For those whom aren't familiar, a perinatologist is a “high risk” OB doctor. I was referred to this perinatologist by my regular OB because my Quad screen blood work came back as “high risk” for Down syndrome.

The perinatologist came in and informed me that my baby had what is referred to as a “thick nucal fold.” This is also referred to as a “soft marker” for Down syndrome. There are several soft markers for Down syndrome. However, some fetuses have numerous soft markers and end up being born perfectly healthy and typical. The only way to find out “for sure” would be to have an amniocentesis. Of course, the doctor said “now would be the best time because you still have time and options.” I didn't know this then, but I do know now that 90% of babies with a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome are aborted.

“Based on your blood work, which came back as a 1 and 102 chance for Down syndrome and the thick nucal fold, I would say there's a total 2% chance your baby has Down syndrome.”

I told myself a 2% chance was relatively low. I also made the decision that an amniocentesis would NOT change the outcome of my pregnancy. I was also scared. But I knew termination was not an option. How could I terminate this sweet boy that I could not only see moving on a screen, but feel moving in my womb? My choice not to have an amniocentesis was the right choice for ME. Not all women who have a prenatal diagnosis via amniocentesis do so because they plan on aborting. I simply made this choice based on the fact that I was going to continue my pregnancy no matter what.

I'M SO GRATEFUL THAT I DID! The perinatologist's office is next door to Austin's Pediatrician. Every time we pass that office, I have the crazy urge to go in there and tell that doctor how amazing Austin is....and that I wouldn't change ANYTHING about many lives he's many people look at Down syndrome differently after spending time with him. Most of all, I want to tell him I'm so glad I didn't follow his “expert medical advice.” 

Words cannot describe how thankful I am for this little boy. Statistically speaking, Austin is one of the “lucky ones.” While we didn't technically have a prenatal diagnosis- we knew it was a possibility. I don't look at Austin as “lucky” though. In fact, we are the lucky ones...blessed beyond belief by this wonderful little boy who constantly amazes us.

I'm so glad I chose AUSTIN!