Many of you have seen on facebook or on my motherhood blog that our standard mid-pregnancy scans came back with some soft markers for Down Syndrome (on the heart, the kidneys, and the brain). It’s certainly been an emotional time over the last several weeks as we have processed the various possibilities, questioned the unknown, and landed on a steep learning curve about chromosomal anomalies and the ins and outs of various types of pregnancy screenings.
At this time we’ve had a few follow-up appointments, one of which was with a maternal and fetal specialist. (Thankfully the only one within a 17-hour drive of us is located at our home hospital here in Townsville!) He re-did the scans and was pleased to find that the markers on the kidneys and brain had absolved, so that was a very welcome development! He told us that those two markers disappearing doesn’t actually indicate a decreased risk of the baby having DS, explaining that these types of markers almost always dissolve before birth whether baby has DS or not. But even still, we took their disappearance as a good sign since it was very much an answer to prayer.
Although were given the option to have further testing (amniocentesis) to confirm or deny the presence of an anomaly, we turned it down due to the risk of miscarriage involved in such invasive testing at this stage in the pregnancy. Something that you may not know is that roughly 9 out of 10 women who find out they are carrying a baby with DS terminate the pregnancy. This number is staggering to us and we have never once questioned if this baby’s life would be any less precious due to an abnormality. We feel absolutely certain that he is a priceless and irreplaceable gift from God, no matter his number of chromosomes.
We now feel a quiet calm and an absolute peace about the health of our baby. If he is born without DS we will rejoice! If he is born with DS we will still rejoice that God has given us a precious son to love and care for…. and we will learn and adapt as needed.
Thank you so much for your prayers, your emails, and your little notes of encouragement during this time. We’ve felt very loved by family and friends around the world!!
Baby Boy is due on October 8th (I am 27 weeks along now) and we are narrowing down the list of names, although we’re still undecided. 🙂 Levi hasn’t a clue what’s going on, but he has started to notice that my belly sticks out a little more than it used to and he now says “baby” and gets excited about babies in photos and books. As hard as it is to imagine our little Levi being the “big one”, we know he’ll make a fantastic big brother.
Please note: I’ve gone into depth on my motherhood blog (The Mommyhood Memos) about the emotional journey of discovering all of this. If you’re interested in reading more of the story you can read it in these posts:
- Half-full and hopeful: How a doctors news about our baby is changing my life for the better
- Life at full throttle: How hardship and blessing are often intermixed… and the fact that I’m okay with that
- Strong and fragile, we will be okay: Why we chose to tell the world about our baby’s health while it was still yet to be know if he has Down Syndrome or not (This is the follow-up post after our visit with the specialist.)
On a practical note: How to help with the baby’s arrival
Since we already have most of the baby items we need (including a wardrobe full of cute baby boy clothes) there are only a few things we need to gather this time around. If you‘d like to help us prepare, here are some of the specifics we’re looking for:
- A fabulous double stroller that we can use with Levi and the new baby (they’ll be less than 20 months apart!), as well as for the new baby and perhaps another baby (or two?) down the track. 🙂 The one we’d like is the Baby Jogger City Select as it can be used with a newborn and a toddler (or two newborns/two toddlers) or used as just a single stroller. It’s so versatile and so perfect for our needs that we’re calling this one the “Dream Stroller”. It’s a pricey stroller, but we think with be worth it in the long run! Please let us know if you’d like to contribute toward this project.
- More cloth diapers. We use BumGenius cloth diapers with Levi and I’d like to add another 15 to our stash in order to be able to diaper two kids at once (and intermix the liners and inserts). These aren’t cheap either, but again we think they are worth it since they do save us big dollars in the long run.
- A new crib/cot mattress. I scored a second freebie crib/cot from our local Freecycle listings but it needs a new mattress. (Ryan will be repurposing it into a toddler bed for Levi.)
- A second camera for our baby monitor. (We have the Summer Infantino video monitor.)