AUTHOR: Carolyn Savage | POSTED: June 10, 2014 | COMMENTS: 2 Comments
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Cell Free DNA test, Chromosomal Testing, Glass City Parent, Health & Safety, pregnancy,
I mean it seemed like a dream at the time. I’d just been given darn near the best news of my life…your baby is chromosomally typical…and before the genetic counselor hung up she said, “Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy!”
No one has ever said that to me before.
I guess that’s because I’ve never done any prenatal chromosomal testing before. Given my advanced maternal age, however it seemed prudent to get as much information as we could. If you read Inconceivable, you know I had an amnio done when I was 16 weeks pregnant with Logan. The purpose of the amnio was to get an exact DNA match to the his parents. We wanted to make sure we were handing over the child I was carrying to the correct people. Anways, you may recall it was not a pleasant experience. Therefore, I had no desire to lather, rinse and repeat. That’s why I was thrilled to learn there is a new test that can diagnose chromosomal abnormalities in a fetus and all it involves is a blood draw.
Enter the Cell Free DNA test. In simple terms, scientists have learned how to isolate placental DNA in a blood sample from the mother. By studying the placental DNA they can diagnose trisomy 13, 18 and 21 and determine gender. The test consisted of a simple blood draw and a ten day wait.
The wait was the most painful part of the process.
When the clock struck 5 pm this past Friday and I didn’t have the test results I was beside myself. It was the tenth day and in my head the results were supposed to have been in no later than that very moment. Imagine my relief when at 5:10 pm my phone showed an incoming call from Toledo Hospital. I could hardly breathe. When I heard the words, “totally normal” I burst into tears. Looking back on it, I don’t know what I was so worried about. After all, Sean and I are perfectly capable of parenting a child with a chromosomal abnormality. In fact, we would have welcomed him or her with open, loving arms. I think it must have been the mortality rates that come along with trisomy 13 and 18. I just couldn’t bear the thought of eventually losing this child. We’ve had enough loss.
Once I gathered myself the genetic counselor reminded me I’d told her I didn’t want to know the gender. I assured her that was still the case but impressed how important it was for my midwife to get the gender results ASAP. “You see, I signed a release so my midwife can call my baker. We’re going to do a reveal this weekend… with a cake. You know, blue frosting on the inside if it’s a boy; pink if it’s a girl. I want to find out with the rest of my family.” I thought I sounded stupid. Honestly, in that moment I didn’t care about the gender. This baby was healthy. That’s all that mattered. (More about our gender reveal here.)
She was happy to oblige and ended our conversation with a cheery, “Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy” –which stopped me cold in my tracks. Enjoying pregnancy is an oxymoron to me. My pregnancies are fraught with complications and worries. Is it even possible to enjoy my pregnancy?
I’ve thought a lot about that since Friday and decided I’m going to give it my best good college try. I’ve put away my doppler monitor promising only to search for his heartbeat once a week; I’ve committed to starting to look at little boy paint colors and decor for a nursery instead of being afraid of “jinxing it” by planning; and I’m going to talk about him without worrying that I’m getting too attached.
I’m going to count this chicken before he’s hatched.
That’s a new thing for me…and I think I kind of like it.
So there is no misinterpretation as to why we did the Cell Free DNA Test I feel the need to clarify. We really felt it was best to know if there were going to be any health complications before this child’s birth. We truly value the benefits of mental and emotional preparation when it comes to challenging medical and emotional challenges. Knowing would have allowed us to make the best plans for our son and ourselves prior to his delivery. If the results had come back positive for a chromosomal abnormality we would have stuck to our personal belief system, carried this child to term and welcomed him into this world as God made him. That is consistant with our personal belief system.
Key word – personal.