My thoughts and emotions have been spiralling all over the place today. Today I read that an Australian couple chose to use a Thai surrogate to birth their baby conceived during IVF. The surrogate was actually carrying twins, a boy and a girl and four months into the pregnancy, it was discovered that the baby boy had Down syndrome. The Australian couple asked the surrogate to terminate the pregnancy but she refused. After the twins were born the couple took the girl home to Australia leaving the boy behind with the surrogate.
Compounding the whole situation is the fact that the baby has a congenital heart defect. Around half of all babies born with Down syndrome have a heart defect. It is quite common and, in Australia, it is quite easy to fix. The surgery, while major, is considered routine here with extremely good outcomes.
In Thailand however, this surrogate is unable to afford the operation. A vulnerable woman tempted by a dodgy surrogate agent to make some money to pay off debt, is now left with a child that is not hers, a child she had no plan to raise without the resources to provide for him. Without the operation, the baby will most likely die.
There are so many horrendous issues surrounding this story not least of which is the practice of using impoverished and exploited women to birth a baby on the cheap…
Telling the surrogate to abort the “unwanted” baby against her own religious and moral beliefs…
A dodgy surrogate agent refusing to pay the surrogate for the baby the couple didn’t take home…
The list of aspects to this story that breaks my heart goes on and on but the one part of this shitstorm that hits me the hardest is this…
My pregnancy was definitely a roller coaster of emotions where I questioned my resolve, my decisions and my sanity every time I got a new test result. But right from the beginning, all the way through till now, I had reasons why I didn’t want to test for Down Syndrome. This post is not about what I think everyone should do, it’s about what I did and how it helped me get through the turmoil of prenatal diagnosis. Even though there were ups and downs during those 9 months, by the time Wade was born, I was ready and happy and waiting there with open arms to meet him whether he had DS or not and if any of my thought processes help other women in similar circumstances then its achieved its purpose.
From the outset, I want to say that I am not fundamentally opposed to abortion. Everybody’s circumstances are different but I feel that we have a huge responsibility to think about it carefully and get as much information as possible. For me, it was important to “go there” in my mind on both sides of the argument. For me, considering all of my options and really thinking about it meant the right decision for me was so much clearer. As I contemplated my options, the right path to take kept leaping out at me. I chose to keep my baby and these are the reasons why.
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
So, post number 1. A blank canvas. An endless sea of blank white virtual paper in front of me……..
I am starting this blog when Wade is 14 months old. So finally, after the first year is over and maybe some of the lost brain cells that drained out with my breast milk are starting to return, I have got it up and running. So many things have happened up until now and more amazing, beautiful or frustrating crazy things are happening everyday. I want to tell the story from the beginning but I will also put in little stories of things that are happening right now.
Let’s start with my favourite photo of him at the moment.
I had wanted to have children for a very long time and when I met Mick and knew that he was “the one”, having kids was always in the front of my mind. There were things we needed to get done first like buy a house, get settled, plan a wedding and so on. It started to feel like it was never going to happen and I’m far too impatient for my own good. When I want something, I want it there and then. People always say that life is about the journey but mostly I thought that was crap. Once we finally got ourselves together to have a family, it took another 8 months of trying. I know this is actually a reasonably average time for it to take but I wanted kids so badly and every month that went by that I wasn’t pregnant, felt like torture. When I was young, I was constantly told about how easy it is to fall pregnant and you have to be vigilant!! Now, I want to get pregnant and apparently all the planets have to align while someone waves a red flag to the east or something before it will happen. I will admit to not being the loveliest person to be around during this time…. Continue reading