Tuesday, August 11, 2009

so for now...we're going to sleep on it...


I'll just begin by saying that today was the day that we had scheduled the amnio. At 1pm.

The 'waiting' we had been enduring for the past 3 weeks would now come to an end in about 24 hours when we got the preliminary results from our amniocentesis (it's called a FISH (Flourescent in suto Hybridization) analaysis that would have let us know with a 90% accuracy rate whether or not our baby did, in fact, have Down's syndrome....and this information would hold us over until we got the final results of the amnio in 10-14 days.

However- what we thought was to be our destiny for today...was not. It actually turned out to be much better.

(And I am going to try to share it with you as best as I can remember for I am having difficulty remembering all the details and the order in which everything happened.)

We arrived at the doctors office almost right on time. I signed in and the girl at the front desk gave me some consent forms to sign. I had brought with me a list of questions to ask the doctor before the procedure, but after reading through the forms, most of my questions were answered. I was happy to have my questions answered...and the answers were the ones that I had wanted.

After about 10 minutes, the door opened to the waiting room and my name was called. My stomach dropped a little. I felt as if I got up in slow motion. I took a deep breath and told myself it was ok...that this would be over soon...that I could do it.

Once in our room- the sonographer technician came in to do an ultrasound and get the measurements of the baby before the perinatologist came in. She walked us through everything that she was looking at as she did it. All of the measurements were within normal limits. She is actually measuring a week ahead...weighing in at about 8 ounces. Her heart rate was at 133 which is also within the normal range. She told us that she saw no markers for Down's syndrome, but that the doctor would be in shortly to do another scan.

A few minutes later, the doctor walked in. Although we had scheduled the amnio for today...he came in talking to us about the results of the screen and almost acting as if we needed to talk through it all...and then we would decide whether or not an amnio would be the best thing for us. We really appreciated this. This is what we needed.

So he continues with letting us know once again that our test did come out that our baby has an increased risk for Down's syndrome which was 1/276...which is about 0.3% chance. Yes- you are reading that correctly...it is a 0.3% chance. (when I wrote about the results of our early screen 3 weeks ago- I wrote that there was a 3% chance...and after a few days- I started doing the math and realized that it was not 3% but 0.3%... and that I must have misunderstood the girl {who was not a doctor} who had called with the early screen results).

So with a 0.3% chance that our baby will have Down's syndrome....there is a 99.7% chance that she does not.

He did another sonogram and confirmed that he also did not see any markers for Down's. He said that he was not trying to talk us out of having an amnio...that he could do it today...that I had plenty of amniotic fluid and he would be able to perform the procedure no problem. But that in our case...with the risk still being considerably low....he didn't want us to come home and 2 days later regret our decision.

He said that "statistics are just that....statistics." They offer no answers. And that the only reason we 'qualified' for the opportunity to have an amnio was because our odds of having a baby with Down's is a little higher than the risk of a complication in an amnio....but that it didn't mean that we had 'bad' odds.

We were listening intently, but were almost at a loss for words. We were there for the amnio...for the answers. And now- here we are...and you're telling us that maybe we don't need this invasive procedure?

He must have seen the uncertainty of what to do in our faces.

He asked us if knowing whether or not the baby had Down's syndrome would effect what we would do with the pregnancy...and we said no...that we were mostly doing it for an answer...and so that if she was Down's...that we would be better prepared. He said that if we were planning to possibly terminate if she had Down's, then he would go ahead and suggest that we should probably have the amnio today. But that if it wouldn't change the outcome...then maybe we should not.

And in the midst of all of this he also said, "Now- with all of this being said...there is a baby that will be born with Down's. And there will be a baby that will miscarry due to an amnio."

Basically- he was saying that there are just no guarantees. But really- in life...when is there ever a guarantee?? (other than God- because he is a guarantee...but as far as circumstances in life...we never know what the future holds)

He then asked us if he could give us some advice. I said, "Pleeease!" Afterall- this doesn't happen to me everyday...not ever has this happened to me before...and laying on that table...looking at my baby on the screen...and hearing the doctor's comforting words that she could still be ok....I wanted needed the advice.

He said, "Do this for me. Go home today. Think about it. And if you get home and sleep on it and wake up the next day or Thursday and decide that it's just horrible not knowing for sure...then call back and I'll do the amnio. And we'll get you in that day or the next. And if they tell you at the front that they can't fit you in...then tell them to come get me and I'll make it happen. I would just rather you go home and think about it rather than make the decision while laying here on this table where it's a little more difficult to make the decision."

With tears in my eyes I said, "Ok." It was a relief. Truly.

He did say that he wanted to follow up in 4 weeks with a fetal echocardiogram...which is a detailed sonogram of the baby's heart. Hopefully everything will be fine...but I am thankful for the follow up. (as I had mentioned in the first post about the Ultrascreen...sometimes a thick nuchal fold can be a marker not only for Down's, but possible heart defects)

When Geoff and I left we talked about it all on the way home. We both agreed and are 99% sure (and I'm trying to be funny here...) that we are not going to have the amnio. The deal is- we have a peace right now. We know that nothing is certain. We know that our baby could still have Down's syndrome. Even with the great ultrasound today...our odds are the same now as they were yesterday. But we also know that our baby could be fine...and we know that doing this amnio could end in a way that we would not want.

But we are going to do what the doctor suggested. We're going to sleep on it. We want to continue to have this peace. We want to pray about it. We want to be excited about the pregnancy and the new baby that we have been blessed with. An emotion that we have, honestly, not felt in a while about the pregnancy.

Geoff and I also initially said to each other after we left the doctor's office how we wish we would have just talked to the doctor 3 weeks ago...that maybe we wouldn't have worried as much as we have... and maybe not have gone through this, quite literal, emotional roller coaster. But honestly- I believe that this all happened for a reason. I can only speculate, but He knows the true reason and I am comforted in that. I truly feel that I have grown so much in the past few weeks...seen things in a new light...and have been humbled.

We are so thankful for all of our friends and family who have supported us in this time and who I know will still be there for us. I have truly felt the prayers and they mean so much...more than I could ever give justice to in words.

We are thankful for a caring doctor...that took the time to explain this all to us...that did not rush us into making a hasty decision...and didn't just do a procedure for the sake of doing the procedure...which in essence...really would have been more money in his pocket. A doctor that listened to and was willing to do what we wanted...not what he wanted.

And most importantly, we are thankful that God has given us this peace in our hearts for the time being, for we know that no matter what happens, whether she has Down's or not, we will love her and be the best parents that we can be.

6 comments:

Viv said...

Well, I was afraid that someone had may have needlessly, unknowingly petrified you both with these odds. I think 'sleeping in it' was the best idea yet. God has his plan and you will all work through that plan but truly believe in my heart that this baby is a miracle as they all are...Love you all.

Heather said...

That Dr. was truly a blessing. It can be difficult to find someone who takes so much time and care for patients. You and Geoff will be such wonderful parents to this little girl and she will be so lucky to have such a wonderful family to love her.

Julia said...

As much as it stinks to worry needlessly, it does put it all in perspective! I learn the most from those times. Parker will be a great big sister and she can teach the little girl to stay away from the slide that dumps water!!

Matt and Amy said...

This was such an emotional read...I can only imagine you and geoff hearing this. Matt and I continue to keep all 3 of you in our prayers and know thatthis baby couldn't be coming to more loving, nurturing, and caring parents. I love you all, and baby number 2. :)

Anonymous said...

I am so pleased with your decision
God is so good and He knows who and
what about it all. Tears are running down my checks. I do love
you so much, all of you.
Anxious to see you on Saturday
Granny

Sweetest Girl in the World said...

Marla - reading this post took me back to my pregnancy a bit. I know the rollercoaster you were on - I live it daily, quite frankly. But, whatever road lies ahead of you, know that it's the one that was paved specifically for you. God has a way of turning your life upside down in away that works out for you.
I'm so relieved to hear that you guys left the office feeling a sense of comfort.
You guys are in my thoughts and prayers.

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