Thursday, February 08, 2007

Long and Heavy

During the beginning of your second trimester, there is a blood test done on the mother that helps to measure hormone levels. It seems that these hormone levels can give a good indication of any issues that the baby might have. This is a pretty standard test though you can choose to not have it. Normally, if there is a false reading of any type, the next step would be an Amniocentesis.

Amniocentesis is scary. It has a 1 in 200 chance of causing a miscarriage. And as you know, anything that you do voluntarily that can cause a miscarriage is scary. It’s one of those tough decisions that you have to make and determine if the benefits of knowing the results of this test out weigh the risks involved. What a horrible decision to make.

The day I got the call from my doctor where she suggested, as gently as possible, that I get this test done, I was heart broken. Like literally I felt like my heart was breaking in half. I felt that hard pressing feeling in my stomach and I wanted nothing more then to go home so I could cry in peace (I was at work). I called my parents and told them about these test results and then snuggled in J’s lap and cried my heart out. I needed it. I needed to let it all out while he held on to me and hugged me. I think back on it and am so grateful that he was there to be the strong one. I feel badly that I couldn’t sit there and help him through it at all. I just couldn’t. I was too busy with my own misery. Even now, after 3 weeks which feel like a lifetime, my eyes still tear up thinking about it.

The risk wasn’t anything as common, and in J’s words, as “livable” as Down syndrome. It was the fear of a chromosome abnormality that ends in a fatality. Whether it’s in the womb or a couple of months after birth. Nothing can be done. It’s called Trisomy 18. Basically, we sat there as the doctor told us that I have a 1 in 27 chance (normal women my age have a 1 in 2400 chance) of having a baby with this condition and I would have to make “decisions” ASAP and therefore needed an Amnio. After that visit, I was completely numb. We made the decision to have the Amino and were able to schedule one for the next day. At that point, all I could do was be happy I didn’t have too long to think about it before having the procedure.

We wake up the next morning and J tries to tease me about something. I just look at him and say “not today hon.” I had stopped thinking of the Trisomy 18 at this point and started focusing on the Amnio. They were going to be sticking a needle in my uterus after all. From what I had read, they give you something to numb that part of your body. But I was more worried I would do something stupid in my nervousness. How can you not be nervous? There was one thing to look forward to though. Before the Amino we would get a sonogram of our baby. The first we’d have. Also, the sonogram would be a good indication of how much of a risk the baby was to have Trisomy 18 since it was a condition that was normally obvious on the sonogram.

We get there and not surprisingly, have to go through paperwork and waiting time galore. First we meet with someone called a Genetics Counselor. She goes over the actual procedure with us and tells us risks and problems with Trisomy 18. She was pleasantly surprised at how informed we were. Apparently, my doctor’s office is extremely caring and did more then most doctors do in explaining this condition to us in detail. She then gives me the news that there will be no numbing of the area the needle goes in. That the procedure itself is very fast but I would feel it all. The gravity of the “relaxing” I must do afterwards is greater then I thought. For 48 hours I must not strain myself too much nor must I carry anything over 10 pounds. J looks at me and jokingly says “I guess I’ll be carrying your purse out.” Cramping and discomfort are normal, but taking a Tylenol will help deal with it. Only concerns I will really need to have is major bleeding and major leaking of amniotic fluid.

We get to the room and I sit there staring up at the ceiling and notice dots on the ceiling tiles. J points out to me how this is perfect for me. I can count the dots on the ceiling in order to relax. I need to say this once again. I’m blessed to have him with me. He understands me in ways I never really thought he did. He accepts me and gives me what I need in ways I didn’t think I’d need. He was my rock. The nurse came in for the sonogram and to be honest, that’s when I got my first truly emotional happy moment in my life. There he was. My little baby. He was so good in that sonogram. He stretched out and showed us all his fingers. He turned over about 10 times through the whole thing giving us many many different angles. They could not find a single marker that indicated he had Trisomy 18. Everything looked beautifully normal.

The doctor then came in for the procedure and joked around some and the baby not sitting still and how I was going to have my hands full. Then he told me to make sure I was breathing normally through the whole thing. Not too deeply because my diaphragm would move too much and not hold my breath because that would tighten my muscles. I looked at J in panic. This was so much. What if I hurt my little baby boy (we had found out for sure by this time)? What if I moved by mistake or flinched too hard?

The procedure took exactly 25 seconds. I know because instead of counting dots, I counted the time the needle was in me. J was with me through the whole thing. And I don’t mean he was there. He was “with me”. With one hand he held my hand tightly. With the other he lovingly stroked my arm that was over my head through the procedure. He did everything he could to make sure I was comfortable and relaxed. I didn’t watch and I don’t know if he did. I didn’t think to ask. But I don’t know if I could have been any more comforted then I was by him and exactly what he did.

I did have some cramping right after that. It hurt to even pee. But it wasn’t too bad. I never needed to even take the Tylenol. As everyone can probably guess by this point, the results came back just fine. My baby is a considered a “normal baby boy” and there are no chromosome abnormalities to worry about in any way.

I wasn’t planning to write about this. It was too horrible when it first happened and the days we were waiting were positive, but still too scary. Once I got the results I realized I needed to write about it. I needed to make sure I wrote down into words the true horror of my fears for the true depth of my happiness to be understood. When I first told my mom about the results of the blood test, she was like “He’s just trying to scare you. Everything will be okay.” And my response to her was “If scaring is all it is, then I’ll thank God and the universe in general and be grateful that I have a healthy baby boy.” The horror is nothing compared to the gratitude I feel with the universe at this point. My baby is okay and he’s making his presence felt everyday. To me, those little prods and kicks are his way of saying “see, I’m okay.” They’re an affirmation of life. In the end, that is the most important thing.


Blogger moi said...

my heart was clutching through this entire post. I'm so happy for you, your healthy, busy, baby boy, and your incredibly understanding and supportive husband.

thank you for sharing.

1:13 PM  
Blogger snoochface said...

What a scare!! I'm so happy things turned out okay for you. I can't imagine what that must have been like. If this little guy is scaring you this much now, imagine what he'll do to you when he's 16. :)

10:03 AM  
Anonymous javi said...

Alhamdulillah - i had tears (and still do) streaming down my face the entire time i was reading your post. You are so truly blessed to have such an amazing husband and such great news about your baby boy. Thank God he's okay and from here onwards inshaAllah its all smooth sailing :) *hugs* i can't even imagine how everything must be for you but ya know.... you're my hero... i can't believe how strong you are while going through everything - i'd be such a wreck so easily by now in your shoes.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Onyx said...

Oh my Goddess -

I've been sick and not keeping up so this is the first time I saw thhis. I can imagine waht that would have been like with my daughter, I am so very very happy you have a happy, healthy little boy *hugs*

12:09 AM  
Blogger Kristie (J) said...

I'm so glad everything turned out well and like moi said - my heart was in my throat the entire time I was reading it.

8:47 PM  

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