Sunday, 16 September 2012

A 1 in 200 Chance- My Journey to Acceptance

It was May 2010, and I was in Victoria visiting my parents and sister.  Mickey had gone back home to "The Hat" to go back to work.  I had left my two girls with my mom while I went shopping for some maternity clothes.  I was super excited as Old Navy had some really cute and affordable clothes.  So there I was walking into Old Navy so excited that my belly was growing and so looking forward to trying on some cute clothes.  I walked around a few times, and found nothing!!  So I asked the sales girl and she then informed me that Old Navy no longer sold maternity clothes except on line!!  I was soooo annoyed and disappointed!! As I started to walk out of the store looking and feeling extremely annoyed, my cell phone rang.  It was my hubby. I proceeded to inform him of the travesty that I had encountered.

Now I can't remember exactly word for word what my Hubby said to me next, but all I remember is that a nurse called about my triple marker screening blood test. It had come back positive. I now had a 1 in 200 chance of having a baby with Down Syndrome.   I was at a higher "risk" that the little miracle happily nestled inside my body was going to have chromosomal "abnormalities".

So here is where I hesitate continuing with my story.

I am ashamed of my reaction.

Simply put, I was devastated.

We had no definite answer yet I was reacting like we already knew for sure.

Even though I know it is a normal reaction, I still feel guilty.

"No!" I wept, "I already had a baby with Down Syndrome!  How is it possible I could have another baby with Down Syndrome?!"

My mind instantly rewinds back to 2007 when we got results back from the testing they did on the baby that I lost at 13 weeks gestation.  "The baby had Trisomy 21, Down Syndrome", is what my midwife
explained.   Back then, I really had no clue exactly what Down Syndrome even was.  I was shocked! I mean I wasn't even 30 yet!  My midwife then informed me that Down Syndrome happens when there are three chromosomes of the 21st chromosome instead of two (hence T21).

"Whew", I thought. 

Do not misunderstand. 

I was devastated, my hubby was devastated.  We lost our sweet precious little baby.  But a part of me felt like we had dodged a bullet.

I hate that I felt like that. Especially knowing what I know now.  I was just very ignorant and really had no clue.

So back to 2010:

There I am, leaving Old Navy, openly weeping as my world has been turned upside down once again.  I am face to face with the possibility of my sweet precious baby being different, being not at all what I had been planning.

Keep in mind, we had no definite answer.  My chances were 1 in 200. 

We had our regular 18 week ultrasound and the baby's measurements all came out "normal".


Baby Stella
There was a tiny hole of light found in the baby's heart.  Not a big deal based on the information sheet that was given to us.  However, this information sheet also suggested that this is a sign of a chromosomal abnormality.

My heart sinks.

We were at a cross roads.  Do we go to Calgary, get a more in depth ultrasound? Do we get an amnio?  I felt so unsure! I was torn, I couldn't stop crying, I wouldn't touch my belly. My poor sweet baby, when she kicked my heart ached. 

"Should we get another ultrasound?" I asked my hubby. 

"Why?", he asked.  So calm, so strong, so sure.  He just knew it would be ok.  That this baby was our baby and was loved no matter what.

I talked/cried to my mom on the phone. "I don't want people to stare at her, at us because she looks and acts different." "I don't want people to treat her differently or be mean to her. I'm so terrified that she will be sick all the time or what if she has a heart condition?"

I prayed to God. I don't go to church, but I do believe in God. So I prayed. I prayed to God begging, for our baby to be OK. And by OK, I meant to not have Down Syndrome.

Then one morning I woke up and felt calm, felt at peace and that no matter what the outcome, that this baby was ours and was wanted and loved so very much.

My pregnancy progressed, my belly grew, our baby kicked and I talked to her, rubbed my belly and just went on with life.  I read up on Down Syndrome and educated myself, to prepare myself, just in case.  Although at the time, in my heart I truly did not believe that our baby would be born with Down Syndrome. 

Photo by: Photography by Eiko

I had prayed to God asking Him for the baby to be ok and I think in a round about way He was trying to tell me that our baby would be OK AND that she would have Down Syndrome.

You see, for the rest of my pregnancy no matter where I went it seemed I always saw someone who was truly rockin their extra chromosome!   I went to the library with my girls and low and behold I picked up a children's board book.  It was titled "Kids Like Me Learn ABCs" and this book was filled with adorable babies and children who had Down Syndrome.  Another time in the summer my family and I went to a local summer fair.  As we were walking along, a couple sauntered past us.  They were just walking along, doing their own thing, enjoying the day....and they were both apart of the T21 club!
My mind already knew what my heart was not quite ready to accept.  That we were going to win the lottery.  That we were going to be the 1 (out of 200) that would get the chance to see the world in a totally different way.

My journey to acceptance had begun.

Big sister
Photo by: Photography by Eiko

Little, big sister
Photo by: Photography by Eiko

Kids Like me Learn ABCs book:
Triple Marker Screening Info:

Photography by Eiko:

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