During the final few months of pregnancy, my emotions were pretty steady. Even though we had decided not to find out for sure, we felt better prepared to assume that the baby did have Down Syndrome. That way, there would be nothing that we weren’t expecting. I was still planning to birth at the Birthing Centre and it was a requirement that we have the baby’s heart checked beforehand.
This was understandable. The Birthing Centre is for low risk pregnancies. Babies with DS are at a greater risk of heart conditions, most commonly a hole in the heart at birth. Approximately 40-50% of all children born with DS will have a congenital heart defect. Usually atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD) or ventricular septal defect (VSD). These either correct themselves or require surgery depending on the severity. If the baby had either of these, I would need to birth at another specialist hospital. I booked in for an Echocardiogram at around 28 weeks. Now I was nervous. The baby felt fine, everything felt fine, I felt fine, but every time I’d had a test or scan so far, I’d been given bad news. I knew a heart defect was treatable but I was already a mother and the thought of the baby suffering at all was tugging at my heart strings. This brought all the same negative emotions back up. Back on the roller coaster for another ride.
Before I start telling the story of my 20 week scan, I want to tell the story of what happens when I take Wade out in public. Today I went for breakfast at Marios’ in Fitzroy, where I used to work. If you want to know what the world looks like when everyone is smiling and happy….push a pram with Wade in it. Walking along the street with my happy bundle in his blue glasses who makes eye contact with almost everyone he sees, turns complete strangers into a gooey mess. Almost everyone smiles, some people comment, a few ask questions about the glasses, children giggle at him. Trying to walk along or do the shopping usually results in me having a few conversations with complete strangers, which is lovely. I sat in the front window and sat Wade on the bench so he can look out the window. Watching people’s faces light up as they walked past the window and lay eyes on him and smile, makes me realise how many days he brightened, if only for a minute.
There’s a language warning on this one because sometimes “golly gosh darn it” doesn’t convey the gravity of the situation!
The time between my 12 week and 20 week scan was spent mostly searching forums on the Internet trying to find examples of when test results meant nothing. I would swing wildly between positions of being completely at ease with the possibility of the baby having Down Syndrome then completely in denial about it. These things happen to other people and all that. Continue reading
Counting down the days to my 12 week ultrasound was excruciating. I was so excited to see my baby growing inside of me, I thought the day would never come.
After being called in, we were asked about the blood test and the dating scan. I told her that we hadn’t had either done as we did not want any Down Syndrome testing. And with that, I lay back and watched as my baby appeared on the screen. Just like that. As soon as she put the instrument against my belly, a little person appeared on the screen and I wept openly.
I watched through blurry eyes as she took this measurement and that measurement. Then the same measurement again…and again…and again. I was cooing and sighing and looking over to Mick with the look of wonderment at the miracle I was observing. The baby was kicking up a storm, wriggling and twisting all over the place.
Mick didn’t say much, and the sonographer didn’t say anything. Continue reading