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Is a Healthy Baby Too Much to Ask For?
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I’ve spoken a fair few times about the stress I’ve experienced this pregnancy due to the possibility that we could experience another miscarriage.
I thought I was handling it fairly well, but I had noticed my anxiety increasing in the days leading up to each scan.
That was, until we got some news we just were not prepared for, when we met with a geneticist on Friday.
We had been referred for genetics counselling back in December (it took until May to get an appointment as we were referred through the public health system).
Our OB had told us that it was basically a “tick box” exercise in case we decided down the track that we wanted to do IVF.
Since we weren’t really keen on IVF anyway, we weren’t that fussed about it, but thought it couldn’t hurt just to tick that box in case we changed our minds about IVF at some stage.
We had previously been told that with each pregnancy we basically had a 50% change of a healthy full-term pregnancy, or 50% change of miscarriage.
Those odds weren’t ideal, but we accepted them as they were and felt comfortable enough that we could deal with the emotional aspect of recurrent miscarriage in the hopes of eventually hitting the jackpot, so the speak.
So, when we met with the geneticist on Friday, we weren’t exactly prepared for what he had to say.
He opened the meeting by explaining to us a bit about balanced chromosomal translocations, and acknowledged that even though we had already had 2 miscarriages, that based on Sam’s individual chromosomal profile that he would consider our chances of carrying full-term a bit more optimistic than the 50% odds we had previously been given.
We were feeling pretty happy about that, until he dropped the bomb shell…
Where he went on to tell us that he estimated we would have approximately a 10% chance with each pregnancy of an abnormality which had the potential to either result in late miscarriage, stillbirth, a baby that only survives for a few days outside of the womb, a child that survives but has severe disabilities, or a child with a learning difficulty.
He said that because I’m currently about 8 weeks pregnant, that he would recommend we opt for either a Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) which could be done between 11 and 13 weeks, or an amniocentesis, which could be done later on at around 15 weeks (each carry a slight change of causing miscarriage, with CVS at 1% and amniocentesis at about half a percent).
The geneticist then went on to say that if the test results revealed an abnormality that we would be given the option to terminate (so as you can imagine there are a whole heap of thoughts and emotions associated with that, which I think is really a post for another day).
He then went on to reassure us that we have a 90% change of everything being fine, and that we should feel optimistic about where we’re at.
I think we took all this in fairly well at the time, asked lots of sensible questions, and felt we understood what the geneticist was saying.
I could feel that I was “on edge” after the appointment, but luckily for me Sam spotted the Eagles store open on our way home and took me in to get a new hoodie (how awesome is he??).
So, that was a great distraction, for a few minutes at least…
After that, we had a bit of a chat in the car about our thoughts around the possibility of abnormalities and severe disability.
We didn’t make any decisions about what we would or wouldn’t do that day, but decided it would be worth opting for the CVS (knowing we could change our mind at any time) and decided to talk to our OB more about it on Monday.
Then, I got home and decided I should probably let my parents know the news.
I got on the phone to my Mum and started out with what I think was a fairly factual based conversation, until I started to talk about the chances of disability, at which point I realised I was actually pretty upset about this.
I remember saying to my Mum at the time that I felt as though I had just come to terms with the 50% chance of miscarriage stuff, and now there seemed to be a whole new bunch of issues to worry about.
I wasn’t so much worried about the test itself (when I thought about it, we were more likely to have a child with a disability than a miscarriage due to the test) I was just worried about the results, and then the kinds of decisions we would have to make after that.
I calmed down a little, but then of course Sam realised I was upset and spent a few minutes trying to comfort me before he had to rush off to his next set of meetings (this is pretty much the story of our lives, we always have a packed schedule when we get crappy news like this).
So, anyway I admitted defeat that day and spent most of the afternoon wallowing on the couch. It doesn’t happen to me that often, but every now and then I have day where I just have to shut off and not see anyone and just feel miserable.
I think it must be part of the grieving process in some way or other (for me at least) as I was fine to get up the next day, go to the gym, meet a friend for brunch, go to a show and out to dinner with Sam and chat about the whole issue again without getting upset.
It’s easy to say “just don’t think about it, everything will probably be fine” but it’s difficult to feel that way when our luck so far has suggested otherwise.
I don’t want you to think I’m being particularly pessimistic about the scenario, I’m just finding it difficult to pretend the chances of a problem occuring don’t exist.
Anyway, for now I guess all we can do is take each day as it comes, and hope for the best… who knows, we don’t even know what the outcome of our scan will be tomorrow, let alone whether we will even make it to the CVS in 3 or so weeks time.
I guess only time will tell.
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