Thursday, October 13, 2011

Your Baby Might Have Down Syndrome

By Ellen Stumbo

        Two weeks after the level 2 ultrasound, I had a regular prenatal checkup. This time, Andy came along and Ellie stayed with a friend.  

I stepped on the scale to get my weight. I knew I had gained at least a couple of pounds. I moved the big weight to the 100 mark. Then I began moving the smaller weight along. To my surprise, it seemed I had gained 10 pounds in 2 weeks…make that 20…30…I stopped at the 90 mark, turned to face Andy with big round eyes and exclaimed.

“This thing is broken! There is no way I weigh 200 pounds!”

Andy had a big smile. Then he chuckled. Finally, he was laughing out loud.

“What is so funny?” I answered a little offended, “I do not weigh 200 pounds! Why would you la…”

His foot. Andy’s foot was on the scale. He had been putting his weight on his leg every time I tried to adjust the measurement. I got down and gave him a playful punch but I had to laugh too.

As we chuckled, Kim, my midwife, came into the room. She asked why we were laughing. After a quick explanation of the faulty scale and a couple extra laughs, we moved on to business. The change in tone from Kim felt eerie; like a premonition of something bad to come.

“How are you guys feeling about the level II ultrasound?” she asked.

“We feel great,” I responded.

She looked confused. “Didn’t they tell you?”

“All they told us is that the fluid around the heart is gone,” Andy replied.

Kim paused, took a deep breath, and looked from Andy to me. The concern in her face threw me into panic. The small, white room, closing in on us. I feared she’d say those words that had only been spoken in the sharing of my dream. It was only a dream. It had to be only a dream.

“Your baby might have Down syndrome,” she finally said.

My heart sank. I swallowed hard and looked at Andy. It struck me that despite this news, his eyes were peaceful. The only thing I knew for sure was that this was our baby girl and we would love her, even if she had an extra chromosome. All I could muster in reply to the midwife was, “It will be okay if she does.”

Just seconds before we had laughed about a silly prank over the scale. I wanted to go back to that moment. I wanted to laugh one more time. Yet, a blanket of fear covered me, warming me up, clinging to my skin.

I was upset the specialist had not mentioned the significant markers they had found for Down syndrome. Nevertheless, there was no need for an amniocentesis, just as he had said. I knew. I knew that my baby had Down syndrome. I had known it ever since that midnight dream.

Next: Surprised by Joy: Part 1

Don't miss:
Road Marker 321
My Body Is Cooking a Baby: Part 1
My Body Is Cooking a Baby: Part 2
My Body Is Cooking a Baby: Part 3
The Dream
Level 2 Ultrasound

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