When we found out I was pregnant, we were ecstatic. We wanted to do everything right; eat well, sleep a lot, ponder the sex, and its name. We had gone to a highly recommended doctor, asked all the right questions and giggled with glee at home over the thought of our soon-to-be offspring. I remember calling my dad and saying, “we passed the Downs Syndrome test. Thank God.” It wasn’t until a few weeks after that, that I received a message at work from our MD that we had a marker. I was confused. I immediately called my mom in a panic and cried. It couldn’t be real, but something inside told me I should be worried.
The doctor urged me to set up an amnio just to make sure. He assured us it was nothing and soft markers showed up all the time. They were always a mistake, someone else’s mistake. A 30-year-old healthy female would never give birth to a disabled child. It just wouldn’t happen. Not to us.
We got the chilling results of our tests on December 5, 2009. We were waiting for our hamburgers and fries when my husband’s phone lit up with the bad news. I was in such disbelief, but wanted to keep the baby. We cried and cried and found out it was a baby boy that night. The doctor said I would carry him well since I was so young. There would be no problem with the rest of the pregnancy except that he had Downs.
Young, naive, and worried about the future life of this child, we tormented ourselves for the next few weeks. We decided to get all the answers we could possibly get before the baby got any bigger. We prayed and cried and screamed and held one another for days. When we weren’t surfing the Internet for answers and solutions, we were calling centers, psychiatrists and hospitals to get more advice. Everyone tried to help. They cooked, cleaned for us and made things as comfortable as possible. In the end it came down to me and I decided to end all hope of that pregnancy on December 18, 2009.
I can’t even write what happened to me in the days and months following. The only thing that kept me alive was the love and support of my family and the prospect of eventually having another baby.
I got pregnant with our daughter 4 months after my termination. I told my husband I didn’t want to do invasive prenatal testing because I made the wrong decision last time. He didn’t agree. Even after our horrible experience, he wanted to know all the answers again. He felt very strongly about disabled children (and would have been more accepting of one this time) but didn’t want any surprises. I threatened him with divorce and listened to my heart. He backed off. After getting the non-invasive nuchal sonogram test, we were told our daughter had a 1 in 24 chance of also being Downs.
Our nightmare returned. How could this happen again only 4 months later? It had to be a mistake. But through faith and experience, I made sure I would not turn my back on another unborn child EVER. Our new, understanding doctor also suggested an amnio. He had me schedule it. I contemplated doing it just to know but I didn’t want to be faced with any decisions. I was afraid of myself. I just wanted to have this baby no matter what. Our daughter, our angel, was born perfectly healthy in January 2011.
This is such a brief synopsis of my story, our story, our heartache, our despair, our ‘why me.” We were broken by what happened. Our daughter is our angel who is here for a reason, but we suffer every day because we made the wrong decision and weren’t strong enough to take on what was presented to us. Now we must grieve inwardly and that is harder than anything.
We have found light in our new baby and in all that she does but we learned the most valuable lesson of all; always respect life.
I hope that women out there who are suffering with a poor prenatal diagnosis can see the light and know that the darkest days are the ones they are living. You can and will make it through. I wish I could have had the patience, faith and confidence to move forward back then. Now I will have to wait a lifetime to meet my son, but he’s in my heart every day.