Monday, April 27, 2009

Part Two: My Own Little Miracle.

To catch up or refresh your memory here is Part 1.

Over the next few days, I felt such sadness. I had many talks with God. What was it he wanted from me? What did he see in me that told him I could handle this? Was he sure? Was this why I had been so compelled to get a degree in, gulp, school psychology?

The joy of my pregnancy started to ooze out. The excitement I had once felt was being replaced with a dullness, and a longing to go back to the time I was blissfully unaware. I crawled in bed one night and finally let it all out. I grieved for what I perceived I may never see my baby be able to do one day. And as I let each little thought go, a new one started to replace it. How was I so sure that if I had a healthy child, I would be guaranteed any of these things? There were no guarantees, no promises for easy walks through life. What if I was putting so much on what I wouldn't have, that I was missing out on what I did have? I still had a baby. I was pregnant. A pregnancy that had take me three years to achieve. What happened to the joy that used to bring me? I also couldn't help but remember Ruth's words, "every baby is a miracle."

As I thought of each little thing, I began to build on them, this base of acceptance I was creating. It was tiny and fragile, but it was better than the free-fall of thoughts that I had been in before.

A week trudged by slowly. I awoke with resolve and a scratchy throat the morning of the "big stick." I had spent my week reading up on the tests and some of the possibilities the tests were trying to either rule out or diagnose. But it still felt so foreign to me. I couldn't believe the woman responsible for teaching her patients about "denial" was swallowing a mighty dose of it herself.

We already knew we did not want to find out the sex of the baby. The ultrasound tech was brisk and business-like. She carefully explained what she was looking for, what measurements she was taking and what some of the "soft markers" for Down Syndrome were. But I could hardly hear her. I was so focused on needing to just see the baby. I verified for myself, head, torso, arms, fingers, legs and feet. After the baby performed numerous somersaults and flips for us, the radiologist came in to view for himself. He looked for the longest time before he spoke. He could not tell us definitively one way or the other, if he thought the baby had Down Syndrome, but he could say he didn't see any obvious signs of some of the other things we were concerned with.

He caught me off guard with his first question. "What do you plan to do if you find out this fetus has a medical condition such as Down Syndrome?" I was confused by what he was asking us. I sort of gave him a helpless look and said "nothing." We would just love this baby, I mean we already do." He then asked " Are you certain you want to have the amniocentesis? Do you know the risks to possibly aborting a perfectly healthy fetus, if I don't get a good stick with the needle?" Uhhhhhh... I stammered. By this time my throat was on fire, I was hot and tired of laying on my back and he wanted to quiz me?

Thank goodness Rick, who had remained silent to this point, stepped in. He said, "Does the risk of us having a baby with down syndrome outweigh the risk of it being healthy? And therefore the risk of the amnio is worth taking for the information we may get from it? What are the statistics and what do they mean? If you were us what would you do? And that is when the doctor said, "if it were me, since you have already decided to have this baby, why risk the amnio? I will still do it if you want me to. But I think you stand a better chance of aborting a perfectly healthy fetus, than you do of having a baby with down syndrome."

In that moment, my burning desire "to know," disappeared. Gone. I was completely and utterly at peace, with not knowing. I may still have been in denial, but I no longer felt burdened by the possibility of what was to come. It was a little surreal and its somewhat difficult to put into words. I just didn't feel compelled to know.

However, Dr. Johnson was not amused. For being 4'11 and all of 100 pounds, you did not want to see her get her dander up! Oh, I riled her up good. She paced, she sputtered, she threw a fit. Didn't I realize my afp test result was the LOWEST score she had ever seen? Hadn't I been told that? No, I calmly told her. "Yes," she repeated, "in all of my 17 years as an OB, yours was the lowest." Didn't we need to know?

I told her I only needed to know one thing, could she deliver a baby with down syndrome? Yes, she could and she had, twice before. And I think when she saw that I wasn't being swayed by her, she started to relax. She pulled up a chair and then noticed my flushed face. She felt my forehead and as she did I mentioned my throat. She took one look at it and took a throat culture. When the rapid result came back as positive for strep throat she came in and hugged me. Then she apologized. She had jumped to the conclusion I would want to know and admittedly, she realized, not knowing was okay to. She promised in the future she would have this talk with her patients BEFORE they went to have any tests done.

I don't know that Rick or I ever looked back after that visit. I had no more ultrasounds, no more tests. I just went back to having normal doctor appointments. We didn't even talk about it. Or share it with very many people. I don't think we were trying to hide anything, we just didn't know anything very concrete to tell anyone. I had also started to realize, this baby didn't deserve any less of me. So I went back to pouring myself into mothering this little person inside of me and in no time I was feeling the elation of kicks and somersaults again.

With my due date looming, May 14th, (Mother's Day) I went in May 10th for my last check-up. I had hit the uncomfortable phase finally and was having shooting pains from the pressure on my sciatic nerve. Dr. Johnson proposed an induction for the next day. She chuckled when I mentioned a birth plan and said "Murphy's Law tends to interfere quite a bit when it comes to plans and births." but she would follow my wishes to the best of her ability.

We arrived early for our induction. Dr. Johnson came in to break my water. She took the "crochet hook" instrument and proceeded to make the tiniest opening. I felt the warmth slowly trickle out and as I looked down I heard Dr. Johnson. Oh Sh@#! She exclaimed. Let me tell you, when your very kind and well-mannered doctor swears, you know two things... something just went wrong and your birth plan more than likely just flew out the window... to be continued...

(I am not intentionally dragging this out, but as fate would have it, I have a scratchy sore throat and cough and have been resting as much as possible :)

12 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness woman, you know how to write a cliff hanger!!!!
    First ~ this just brought me to tears. I could feel the vulnerability you must have been feeling. And handling all of this while sick with strep... this just triples the impact.
    Second ~ I'm still crying...love your writing and I feel I know you a little better this morning. Wish I was there to give you a hug and say: I'm glad you're you.
    Feel better friend...rest, rest, rest...and I can not wait until the next chapter.

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  2. Wow, I was enthralled form start to finish. You are a lovely soul truly. On my latest post I direct people to a blog about a beautiful love story. Its kind of similar to your post in a roundabout way - different ending possibly but you will appreciate it I think. Great writing by the way!!

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  3. Lilly, I was just there and left her a comment!! Thanks for sending us over there, and I agree :) And thank you for your sweet and kind words!

    Robin, I'm so touched by you sharing your thoughts with me. If you are able to know my heart through this I am honored and pray that one day the boys will know my heart as well through these stories about them :)

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  4. You are a very talented writer! I am hooked in more ways than one!~

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  5. Missy, I don't even know what to say to such sweetness :) But thank you :) And I sure hope you don't manage to "top" your own post for today!

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  6. Vicky! I was glued to every word from start to finish and I can't believe I have to wait! What a great writer! But I DEFINITELY want you to take care of yourself and get well first. I'll try not to be whiny. :)

    This is a beautiful testimony to God's peace for you. And how WONDERFUL that your husband was there and knew what to ask!

    Can't wait for the rest but, well, yes I can. Get well, friend.

    ((((hugs))))) to you!

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  7. Thanks for reducing me to tears. At first I was just following the link you had left to learn more about you.

    Then I just sank into this post, feeling with you as the denial fog lifted so slightly. Guessing the decision that was looming on your horizon. Reaching out to you as you were confronted with “Do you know the risks...” So very please when Rick welcomed your (as in the both of you) baby over the socially accepted ‘norm’, no matter what. Warmed by your acceptance of not needing to know.

    Wonderful post.

    Angela is nine weeks pregnant with her first child, she is 38 and I am closer to 53 than I’d like. We also face this decision, we apparently are a higher risk, but we have already decided. Like you we will not allow any risk that might take our baby away from us, and when s/he is born we will cherish her/him regardless.

    And thank you in a quick lesson of how to write a cliff-hanger. :)

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  8. I also agree with your decision.
    It is so difficult to make.
    I think an older person makes better decisions than younger people. You know there has been a lot of progress with Downs Syndrome.They are truly GodS miracles in that they give you a lot of joy and never leave you.You never know in life what you yourself may need one day.It's like life leads you and puts everything into perspective for you. I read a book called Johnny got his gun, an anti war story. After that I alway asked myself the question. If something like this happened to my husband, would I still love him? My answer was yes, so I knew I was marrying the right man.You love people for their soul because the soul shines and shows you who they really are.Once you know a person this way,nothing else matters. :)This applies even more to the baby in your womb You are in it together. You fight for the right to life and health together.The baby feels your love before even being born.

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  9. Andy, Welcome! Congratulations on your wonderful news. What an exciting time this is in your life. So glad to hear you've already had the important talks about this new little life you've created. Just enjoy this most special time!

    Thank you for your thoughtful and kind comments. I look forward to perusing your blog some more :)

    A.L.L., I would agree with you that the baby feels your love from very early on. And that the benefit of having children at an older age is simply that you have had a little more experience. Although, as you can see, I certainly still had a lot to learn!

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  10. I followed you from Robin Rane's blog. Can't believe you're going to make us wait for the rest of the story!! I'm feeling this with you--we lost a fullterm baby born with anencephaly. Believe me. I'm waiting for the rest of the story....

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  11. Julie, I know what a special friend you are to Robin and I am honored to have you show up here :) I am saddened to hear of your loss and the heartbreak you have known. I'm working on the rest and hope to have it ready soon :)

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  12. The first baby is always the one you learn on no matter how smart you are unless you work with babies 24/7. and even then, they are all so different.
    One Malay Mom had a baby, also by C Section, that must have been at least 20 pounds and I'm not kiddin.
    It was triple the size of all the rest of them in the nursery.
    When it cried, it was the loudest and I remember thinking to myself, if it was mine, I don't think I could have listened to it cry at home.
    I would need help. I felt so sorry for that poor woman and hoped she had someone to give her down time and I'm good with babies.
    One thing I learned with my first baby who had colic.He didn't know how to fart. Thats why he had so much gas. So maybe by spreading the cheeks a little bit, you can let the gas come out and then have a happy baby at home that will also give you peace and joy.
    My second one didn't take time at all to fart and he scared me because I never heard my first one do it lol But I learned 15 years later.
    That was our premarital agreement to have one every 15 years lol

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