Friday, December 14, 2012
I just want to acknowledge that writing this post was difficult. I've re-read it several times and have considered not publishing it. I don't feel proud of myself when I admit that one of the reasons we opted for genetic screening this time around is that having a second baby is going to push us to capacity.
But I can only be who I am. I am always striving to grow and evolve as a person, but I am who I am. As someone who publishes my thoughts in a public forum, I feel it is my obligation to share those thoughts honestly.
Thank you, Dear Universe, for another opportunity to bring new life into this world.
The results from our nuchal screening came back all clear!
As I signed in for my appointment, I asked clarifying questions about what our insurance would cover. She said, "Well, you have AMA, so the chances are good that it will be covered." I responded with, "I don't have AMA; I have Blue Cross Blue Shield."
She clarified, "AMA means 'Advanced Maternal Age.'"
Oh. Then I remembered that the doctors count how old you'll be when you deliver the baby, not how old you are when you conceive.
The risk for abnormalities skyrockets after the age of 35. I wish that weren't the case. I wish our minds could take the lead on when our best time for fertility is, based on where we are in life. Staring at the statistics with the genetic counselor was very, very frightening.
With Henry, we opted not to do any testing. Even though I completely support a woman's right to choose, I didn't think I could bring myself to "choose" what kind of baby could live and what kind of baby could die (especially because our bodies are so good at deciding for us, which is why the rate of miscarriage is so high).
A good friend of mine followed the same path. I remember hearing that she was getting screened with the second baby (when she hadn't for the first). I remember being struck my what felt like unfairness. Why was the first baby going to be accepted no matter what but the second baby had to be screened?
And then I was in the same position. And I understood better.
Bringing a second baby into our family is going to push us to the very edge of our capacity. Matt and I struggled for the first 16 months of Henry's life to get the joy the outweigh the difficulty. We are not kidding ourselves about how hard it will be the second time around. Of course some things will be easier (we won't second guess ourselves so much, we won't worry about as many things, etc.), but we'll have to meet the baby's needs alongside a toddler's needs (and our needs!).
There is so much that is out of our control. Even thinking about all the possible things that could go wrong on a given day and change our lives forever overwhelms me. So this time around, screening felt like one piece that was in our control.
We did not reach our decision lightly. It involved lots of conversations with lots of different friends and family members. It involved lots of research.
I think it's one of those things we need to talk about more. We need to bring it out of the shadows. I know it's hard to do because the risk for judgement and condemnation is so high.
But it's one of those major life decisions we face. The lack of conversation around it makes it even more isolating and lonely.
I am counting my lucky stars that we got the best possible outcome. We opted for the earliest screen (which can have false positives which leads to more worry/stress/weeks of waiting) and we got the best possible news. I am flooded with gratitude.
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