Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Finally some truly good news!

So one of the parts that I left out of my last post was that as part of the prenatal testing, they did a genetic screening panel that tests to see whether I am a carrier of about 45 different genetic conditions.  When they called with the other results, the very low chances of Trisomies 13, 18, and 21 and that we are in fact looking at having yet another female in the house, they also told me that I am a carrier for a condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

The one advantage to genetic conditions (I guess advantage is the best word), is that both parents have to be carriers in order for there even to be a possibility of a child getting it.  If both parents are carriers, then there is a 25% chance that a child won't get either copy and would be completely unaffected.  There is a 50% chance that a child would get a copy from either parent and just be a carrier, but unaffected themselves, and a 25% chance that they would be afflicted by the condition.

The way I deal with things is by trying to inform myself.  I remembered my doctor listing that as one of the main things they test for and also that it was fairly rare, but I wanted to see exactly what it was.  Well, when I looked it up, I was devastated by what I found.  It's not a condition that's easy to live with and individuals typically don't survive past childhood when born with certain types.

I really couldn't believe that we were facing yet another possibility of a child with special needs. And even worse, with such a short-lived prognosis.   So I made the calls to the family letting them know the results and once again feeling like we couldn't just share good news; it seems so frequently to be tainted with possible bad news.  But that's what I had to try to keep in mind: the word "possible".  This was only even going to be a possibility if Tom was a carrier.

So he scheduled his appointment and went in last Thursday to get tested.  The entire time I kept thinking, well you don't hear about this very much (at least I never had) so it couldn't possibly be that common, right? Well, as it turns out, 1 out of every 33 Caucasians is a carrier.  And then my heart sank again.  The math person in me immediately began calculating the probability of such an event; and that didn't reassure me either.  They told Tom that the results would be back in 7-10 days, but that we could call earlier if we got antsy.  Well I was antsy right away! I really wasn't sure how I was going to handle another week of waiting; I mean I knew I had to, but I wasn't sure how that was going to be possible without making myself absolutely crazy.

I thought about the possibility all the time and tried to come to grips with what it would mean to our child and our family if she was affected by it.  It never made me feel any better.  And then a few days ago, after panicking for a while, I just felt like everything was fine with our baby.  The only problem was I didn't know if it was my intuition, or just wishful thinking.  I decided that it didn't matter what the reason was, as long as it made me feel better and less anxious.

By the time Monday rolled around I thought it might still be just a little too early to call, but asked Tom if he would try calling on Tuesday.  As it turned out, it wasn't necessary.  A little after 2:00 I got one of the best messages I could have received: Tom isn't a carrier.  I just about burst into tears.  I had to listen to the message multiple times to make sure I had heard correctly, and each time it said the same great thing.

I was finally able to share some truly good news, with no caveats and I feel like a huge weight has been lifted and that I can finally breathe and relax again.  When I was pregnant with Tera, I came to find out I was not a person who loved being pregnant.  I had an easy pregnancy and I didn't hate it by any means, but it wasn't the most fun I've ever had.  So I won't say that I'm just going to enjoy the rest of my pregnancy, but I will finally relax a little and at the very least, enjoy that I can eat some things I wouldn't normally, with a whole lot less guilt than usual :)

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