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Is a Healthy Baby Too Much to Ask For?

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Is a Healthy Baby Too Much to Ask For

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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13 Replies to “Is a Healthy Baby Too Much to Ask For”

  1. Oh I am so sorry for what a trying time this has been for you, which has to be tainting the joy I know you feel in being pregnant. Just hang in there. Please keep us posted and let us know the results of your testing.

    1. Thanks Jamie, it is a shame that it can’t be a more relaxed “happier” time for us, I guess all we can do is hang in there as you say. Will keep updated on the tests, thanks 🙂

  2. What a stressful time for you both. You seem to be doing the most important thing and that is talking about it especially with those who can sympathise and understand that you don’t need advise, just love and acceptance. My heart goes out to you. ?

    1. Thanks Alida, I appreciate you thinking of us. Talking it out does seem to help, and I’ve recently found a support group where there are thousands of others in similar situations, so while it is awful to know this affects so many people, it is helpful to know we’re not alone. Appreciate you saying that we don’t need advice (it seems people are so willing to give it… lol) xxx

  3. I am so sorry for the startling news. I have been in your shoes and know just how draining it can be. Take it in baby steps. Day by day you will get through this. I am praying your results come out with good news! HUGS!

  4. Oh my goodness that would be such scary news, I can understand why you’d be upset over it. I guess just take it day by day, but if you want to feel sad you should allow yourself to feel that way. These are hard decisions to be faced with.

  5. Thank you for being so open and honest with the struggles and emotions you are going through. I am so sorry that you received this news. I love that your spouse is comforting to you and knows what to do to try and help you navigate your thoughts and emotions. He is definitely a keeper.

  6. I’m so sorry for all the stress and anxiety this is causing you. My first pregnancy was filled with infections and sickness, so I just wanted everything to be “normal” for the second time. It wasn’t. I got pregnant with twins, and at my 12 week scan, thought there was a genetic abnormality. We had the CVS done, and waiting for those results was awful. We did NOT end up with any genetic abnormalities, however, we still had other complications resulting from the twin pregnancy. Anyways, I’m just sharing this because I can totally relate to being worried even with really good odds. The pregnancy hormones don’t help. But know that I’m thinking of you and sending good thoughts for a wonderful, complication free pregnancy.

  7. We went through this with Eloise, so i fully empathise with you. Its horrible. Nothing can be said to bring anyy comfort so im just sending you hugs, love, light and positive thoughts x

  8. I had many of these thoughts and feeling with my last child as an older Mum. I had the amnio to give me peace of mind if all was Ok and to prepare me if not. Luckily all was well.
    After thinking of all those things – I just decided it was a leap of faith. I can’t think of anything to say that will be of much help but am wishing all the very best for you. xoxo

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