Wednesday, July 09, 2014

A Trip Down Memory Lane

It was this day last year that my life changed forever.

It began with a positive pregnancy test.

Two parallel lines.

Before my miscarriage those lines meant Joy.  Hope.  Life.

After my miscarriage those lines symbolized potential that was never meant to be.

I wanted to look at those two faint lines with unabashed, over the top, blissful happiness.  Instead I looked at these new lines with trepidation.

Was this real?  Would this baby be healthy?  Would this pregnancy stay?  Or would this be another loss.

We held our breath for weeks waiting for our first Doctors appointment.  We scheduled the appointment a little later in the pregnancy to be sure the baby would be big enough to have a heartbeat.

If it was going to have a heartbeat.

We could no longer take that as a given.

At our appointment on June 4th, 2013 a heartbeat was found.  And fingers.  And toes.  It was amazing.

But it did not end my anxiety.  We did not announce our pregnancy.  We waited.  Things still did not feel right.

I don't know if this is now the standard of care, or if this was a test they gave me because I am a Mother of a certain maternal age.  But on June 13th, 2013 they drew blood for some tests and they gave me another ultrasound where we saw a beautiful beating heart, but where they also took some body  measurements.  All the measurements were as expected, except one.  And I guess that one turned out to be very important.  They measured the fold on the back of her neck.  A nuchal translucency test.  And that teeny tiny fold was a teeny tiny bit too thick.  It was 4.0 mm.  This could mean something.  Or it could be nothing.

They told me they wanted me to get a level two ultrasound and meet with a geneticist.  They also told me they didn't want to do that until I was 18 weeks along.  They made an appointment for July 15th, 2013.

It was going to be a long month of waiting.

My first trimester ended.  And still, we did not announce our pregnancy.  I asked The Greatest why we weren't announcing to our friends and family.  He didn't have an answer.  I wanted to celebrate this life I held. Yet still, we held our secret.


They called me on June 27th, 2013 with the results of my blood test.  My hormone levels were not as expected.  My hcg was too high, and my papp-a levels were too low.  Truth be told, I don't even know what papp-a is. My hcg and papp-a levels were both expected to be a 1.  Instead my hcg was 5.25.  My papp-a was 1.34, but since they were expecting it to be an equivalent value to my hcg it was considered low.  Or at least that is my understanding of what was going on. These hormone levels were indicative of an abnormality with the fetus.  The specialist had gone from saying "We absolutely will not see her until she is 18 weeks along" to "We'll see her Monday."


I was scared.

It was a very long weekend waiting.

On July 1st, 2013 I had a level 2 ultrasound.  On this scan the nuchal fold was measuring within the normal range, but the scan found two "soft markers" that could indicate an chromosomal abnormality.  I was told that most trisomy disorders had been ruled out, but there was a greater than 1 in 10 chance that my baby had trisomy 21, better known as Down syndrome.  We were told we could  schedule an anmio for the following week (when I would be 16 weeks along), or I could have a blood test taken that day.  Either test offered us results in the same time frame.  I opted for the blood test, as it was less invasive.

Sidebar: the blood test is super cool.  There are several companies that offer this test under different "brand" names.  I had the MaterniT21.  They take the maternal blood and separate the fetal blood cells from the maternal blood.  From there they are able to count each and every chromosome to give a definitive diagnosis.  So very cool.  With absolutely no risk to the fetus.  Science is AWESOME.

So we went home and began our very long wait for the results.

During this time I developed an intense love/hate relationship with google.  I read every story I could find where things turned out fine.  And I read every story I could find where things ended badly.  Google was not my friend.  I tried to tell myself that if I was going to hang my heart on the odds I had to look at both sides of the statistics.  A one in ten chance that our baby had Down syndrome meant there was a 9 in 10 chance our baby did not.  Of course our chance was greater than one in ten.  But I didn't know what that meant.  Was it 9 in 10?  1 in 5?  1 in 3?  I figured it was 50/50 at this point.  Either our baby had Down syndrome or he/she didn't.  Because seriously, either he/she had it or she didn't.  Those really were our only two options.

It was a tough place to be.

We were expecting the results to take two weeks.

But they called us on July 9th 2013.

It was a Tuesday.

The Greatest had run to Lowes for a part he needed to fix our drip system and I was home with the children.

The name on caller i.d. was the office of the geneticist.

I thought I might throw up, but this was not a new sensation as I was still being held in the tight grip of morning sickness.

I went into the bathroom for privacy.  I did not want the children to over hear the conversation.  I desperately wished for The Greatest to be there with me.  I needed his support.  I needed his calming physical presence.  I needed to face this as part of a team.

Instead I heard the words alone.  Sitting on the sink.  Hiding from my children.

I was having a little girl.

And my little girl had Down Syndrome.

Just like that my world was forever changed.

It was if all the air had left that little room.

I did everything I could to stay composed on the phone.  But there really wasn't anything else to say.   It was a surprisingly short conversation.  The news had been delivered.  She told me to call anytime if I had any questions.  She might have told me to have a nice day.  Honestly what ever words she offered me were lost under that magnitude of the proclamation she had just delivered.

I was having a little girl.

And my little girl had Down Syndrome.

As I hung up the phone I collapsed on the floor of that tiny bathroom.  I sobbed.  And I sobbed.  The Greatest came home.  I could barely breath to speak the words.

I was having a little girl.

And she had Down syndrome.

I wish I had known then all the things I know now.  But this is already a very long dissertation.  So more on that later.  Soon.  -ish.


Vivianne said...

I can't imagine. Just sending you biggest, biggest hugs x

Tam said...

It's been a crazy year. Just passed my 1 year anniversary of being diagnosed with cancer. It is crazy how your entire life can be permanently altered by one conversation.