I’ve always heard about a “mother’s intuition” and even after having two kids, I wasn’t quite sure if I had one… maybe it was just because I had, luckily, never been placed into a situation where it was triggered. But once I found out I was pregnant with our third child I was immediately scared. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was beyond thrilled! I had been having baby fever and secretly been wanting to add onto our family for months by the time I found out.
It was Christmas Eve 2015. I had my suspicions that I could be pregnant, but like each month before, I would get ahead of myself: calculating the babies due date, planning out the next year in my head, and figuring out the perfect way to tell our family. So when this feeling came around, it really wasn’t any different than the months before.
I kept putting off buying a pregnancy test, because honestly I just didn’t want to deal with the disappointment. Then something came over me on Christmas Eve. I was a few days late and all I could think about, even surrounded by family, was how I just had to know…NOW!
After much convincing, I finally got my husband to agree to take me to the store to buy “one last thing before tomorrow.” He wasn’t too thrilled with the idea, thinking how packed the stores would be. Although, somehow I am (about 98% of the time) able to bat my eyes a certain way and our giant Hulk caves. This time was no different (;
When we got home, I waited for everyone to fall asleep and into the bathroom I crept. Sitting there waiting on the test felt like forever. I sat on my closet floor mindlessly reading the instructions, trying to pass time. When I looked at the test and read the “pregnant” verdict, I was ecstatic!! I spent the rest of the night devising tomorrow’s plan…
After everyone opened their gifts, I walked into the other room and yelled “Looks like Namer (our elf- yes unique name, that’s a blog post all in itself lol) left us one last gift!” I brought in three boxes: one for Ry, one for K, and one for Mommy & Daddy. As they opened their boxes together I recorded the response. Inside the children’s boxes were ear plugs (for the soon to be noisy nights) and inside Daddy’s box was the pregnancy test. I’m pretty sure my husband went up three octaves screaming “WHAAAAT?! Is this a joke???”
It was great.
I cried. He cried. We were so happy.
After those first few days of pure bliss, this dreadful feeling set it. I don’t even know if I can describe it, other than I felt like I knew something was going to go wrong. I was so scared I was going to lose the baby. All I could think about was how this was too good to be true. What did I do to deserve such a blessed life? A wonderful husband and two beautiful, healthy children- there was no way God could bless me even more than that, could he?
Weeks passed and I tried convincing myself that I was over reacting, but I still couldn’t shake this feeling.
At 12 week pregnant, we went for our usual genetics testing. I am not sure about other states or OB practices, but this has been a standard test for all of my pregnancies. This screening would test for many different things, genetic abnormalities, and also included an ultrasound.
I just tried focusing on how excited we were to be able to see our newest baby. When we saw our baby on the screen, everything seemed to fade away. We watched as the baby moved and moved all around. I jokingly said, “This baby better know it’s a third child- it is supposed to be calm for me!”
Of course, the blood work I sent in before our appointment didn’t make it in time, so we left and they told us that they would call us back with the results. As we left, the doctor said that everything looked good on the ultrasound and he didn’t see anything to be concerned about. After that I tried not to think much else about it.
Days passed and then the call came. I missed the call at first because I was at work, so after work I left my classroom (my room was used as P90X torture chamber for a few of my crazy co-workers who insisted on working out) and found a quiet place.
I don’t remember much from that call, except she started out by saying the numbers for the first test came back normal, which was great. Then she went on…
“but the numbers for the Trisomy 21 test was a little high. Based on this test, your baby has an increased risk for down syndrome.”
I just started crying. I knew it. This was it, this was what I had been scared of the entire time. I knew something was wrong.
The geneticist and my doctor kept trying to convince me that it was only a screening and many women get the same results as me and everything ends up being fine. But no matter how much they tried to convince me, or what anyone would say, I just knew the baby had down syndrome.
My husband and I decided to do the next non-invasive test, which would tell us with 98% accuracy if the baby did have down syndrome. We could have opted to do an amniocentesis, which would tell us 100%, but in case you are not familiar with that test- it requires the use of a GINORMOUS needle and runs the risk of miscarriage. 98% was good enough for us, even if the baby had down syndrome it didn’t change anything. We always knew that. It is our baby and will be however God intends for it to be.
After drawing blood for the next test, my doctor was still telling me that she was sure everything was fine, “People get these false alarms all the time.” I would just smile and nod, but I knew in my heart how the test would come back. And 10 days later our results were in.
I will never forget that call.
I was sitting outside of my daughter’s dance studio and the phone rang. The geneticist asked if I was with my husband, which I was not, and if I wanted to call her back when I was. Um, NO! I’ve been waiting so long to either confirm or deny my fears, there was no way I could put this off any longer!
She then went on to tell me that the results came in: they were 98% certain that the baby has down syndrome.
I froze and all I could do was tell myself, “I knew it.”
She then continues and tells me that with this type of genetic testing, they are able to tell the gender of the baby and asks if I would like to know. For many expecting mothers this is an easy answer: YES! But for me, I had always said that if we ever had a third child that I did not want to find out what it would be.
Being our third pregnancy, I felt that it wouldn’t be very exciting since we had been through it twice already and not knowing would just add to the anticipation of the baby’s birth – how silly of me!
But the moment she said the baby had down syndrome, I just felt like I wanted to know. I wanted to be able to connect with this baby again. I felt like I had just been handed a new child. The baby I had been dreaming of for 16 weeks was now gone. Everything about this pregnancy suddenly changed, everything was now different than my previous ones. Now I needed something to focus on, some good news that I could latch on to.
So, I hung up that phone call smiling through the tears, because not only did I now know that our baby (most likely) had down syndrome, but I also knew that our baby was a… girl (: (:
–Next blog post: telling my husband, our family, and close friends. And also finding out that our baby’s complicated journey wasn’t over yet.