Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 19

Today is an anniversary for me.  One year ago today I had my first and only ultrasound of Tera.  Of course, one of the reasons we were excited about the ultrasound was to find out if she was going to be a Tera.  Tom had felt all along, even before I got pregnant actually, that our first baby would be a girl.  I have to say, for those first four months I really didn't get a feeling either way.  I really didn't have a preference on gender, but if I was being forced to choose, I suppose I kind of hoped it was a girl because I wanted to be able to have the same relationship with my daughter as I have with my mom. 

My doctor, who is kind of old school, only does one ultrasound during the pregnancy unless there is cause for more.  So where most women get one at 8 weeks, I did not.  I had so many people around me that couldn't believe I only got one, but for some reason, it really didn't bother me.  I took the whole day off of work because my ultrasound was in the morning and then my checkup wasn't until the afternoon so I figured I would just enjoy the day.  I was able to sleep in, and then excitedly head into the office to see what exactly it was I was carrying.  When the technician put the wand on my stomach, we could see the baby doing flips and turning and moving like crazy.  Ironically, I had just felt her move for the first time the night before.  He asked if I'd had orange juice that morning because that supposedly makes babies move more.  I had not.  It was so amazing to see how active she was.  Unfortunately, she was so active he was not able to get a great picture of her, but was able to tell us that she was definitely a girl.  We kept staring at the screen wondering what in the world he was seeing, but he was pretty confident; we were going to have a daughter.  I was very excited, Tom was characteristically, well, Tom. 

We left the office and Tom had to go back to work and I began calling family and telling them.  Everyone was so excited.  I had seen my little girl with all the parts she was supposed to have and very active.  She seemed perfectly healthy.  Fast forward 5 months when we got the diagnosis and things started to occur to me. We were told she had 3 holes in her heart, one of which was fairly large and could require surgery.  I just kept thinking, how could that not have been seen on the ultrasound? I started reading about these "soft markers".  Physical traits that can indicate DS, but are not proof of it.  And again I wondered, why couldn't they see any of that?

One of the questions that comes up most often from strangers is, did we know ahead of time? And we say no and sometimes they ask, would you find out if you had to do it all over again, and I say no.  We both went into my pregnancy knowing we were not going to do any testing (I second guessed myself once, but we still decided against it) because it wouldn't change anything. If there was something wrong, we would both, but obviously I more than Tom, be so stressed for the rest of the pregnancy, that I could risk the babies health that way.  In hindsight, I'm still glad we didn't know anything.  I am a very anxious person and it would not have been good for me or the baby.  And ultimately, what I think of most is, I know I would have researched the hell out of it and I would have come across more scary information than reassuring information and probably would have assumed all the worst things that can afflict people with DS, were going to happen to her.  Instead, we had a pretty healthy little girl.  The largest of the holes in her heart that they were worried about, closed on its own before we left the hospital.  She didn't have any GI problems. Her feeding wasn't ideal, but it wasn't critical.  She didn't need supplemental oxygen.  But I would have worried about all of these things had I known before she was born.

We are still in the stages of discussing any future children, but have both already decided we would do testing the second time around. As I said, I wouldn't change how we handled it the first time, but I don't think either one of us can handle not knowing what could happen when we know the possibilities now. 

So one year ago today I wondered what she would be like, and today I still wonder that.  But now I have an idea and that has made me more excited than ever to see what the next stage will bring. 

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