I felt sick with nerves going to the scan, even though we had already seen you at 9 weeks when you was a tiny bean. The early scan was more for peace of mind that there was a baby and they had a heartbeat, my partner booked it as a little birthday gift which was really special.
Going to the 12 week scan is a little surreal, you want to know that all this sickness, tiredness, lack of appetite is for a reason and that there is in fact a little babe growing with a heartbeat! So there you was on the screen looking so much bigger than the first time we saw you, we could clearly make out all the parts of your body. It blew my mind, I wish we had it on film so I could just re watch that every day and have that incredibly overwhelming feeling of seeing you. Even looking at your scan photo now brings tears to my eyes, I can’t quite believe you are ours. You was wriggling around so much, stretching out your little arms and legs, I didn’t even think you could do that! We was truly blown away. Then the scanner told us everything looks good, but you was showing a marker for Downs Syndrome. We was knocked for six.
I know for me the only thing you hope for going to any scan is a healthy baby, and to see that they have a heartbeat. Working with newborns and meeting new parents all the time I hear so many stories, good and bad, so I feel like now it’s my time I was more prepared for anything. But I never prepared myself for this.
We was taken into another room and sat with a midwife from the Foetal Medicine Department. We listened as the midwife told us that the screening showed you had “quite a large measurement” of fluid on the back of your neck, but that some babies had even larger measurements and were born without Downs Syndrome or some didn’t have it show up at all and were born with DS. I was to have a blood test and get the results back that afternoon on my odds of you being born with Downs Syndrome. I then understood why some people don’t have the screening at all, why would you want to put yourself through this stress and worry of do they, don’t they? I didn’t even think about it when I agreed to the screening, I just thought okay whatever you have to do, I’ve not done this before so I just assumed that everyone has the screening.
We left the hospital and I just broke down into tears, I didn’t even know how I was feeling but it hurt. I was confused and didn’t understand what this meant or why this was happening, but it wasn’t 100% accurate its “just a marker” they told us. I remember having all my friends and family texting me asking how it went and I couldn’t even bring myself to tell them, my heart felt broken.
I got a call later that day to hear that my odds of having a baby with Downs Syndrome was 1 in 6. Wow thats incredibly high odds. That rung in my ears. We was told if we wanted to be certain then we had two options. One of them is a blood test called a Harmony Test, this is 99% accurate that you have to book privately for and the other is an invasive, an Amniocentesis where a sample of the amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus is withdrawn through a needle inserted into the mother's uterus. The amniocentesis is 100% accurate, however there is a 1% chance of miscarriage, and that was a 1% I wasn’t willing to take or put myself through. So we went for the Harmony Test and made an appointment at the Fetal Medicine Centre at Harley Street, I had been recommended this place by a few clients anyway and then my midwife mentioned them so we booked there.
We was to go to our scan at Harley Street the following week, which I will blog about in my next post on our results.
At this stage I would like to point out my reasons for blogging such an intimate and personal matter. Firstly it’s a lot easier to talk about now at 19 weeks, although I still have my moments I break into a little cry when I tell people close to me. Weirdly I find telling people I have no emotional connection to a lot easier, mostly clients for that matter I can quite easily tell them but friends/family I suppose in a way I feel scared to tell. Secondly, I never in my wildest dreams considered that our little babe may have Downs Syndrome. I knew nothing about how or why they may have it, my only friend of knowledge was Google.
My Mum bless her done lots of reading right away and was calling me everyday with more information, which helped but at the same time you don’t want to hear it. You’re sick of hearing it and you just want it all to go away, you don’t want it to be true. At that time nobody mentioned termination, we will come to that later. In my mind no matter what the results were I was going ahead with my pregnancy. I had known about the baby since I was 4 weeks pregnant so for 8 weeks I was sick everyday, I struggled in the heat - no drinking during the World Cup or socialising for that matter I mean thats enough in itself without having to list the rest.
Pregnancy is a real mental battle and nobody talks about that until you are pregnant. You just got to believe that this little white stick with a blue line is telling you “yay you’re pregnant” and your there like okay what happens now? You start to change, mentally and maybe not so much physically but I could feel the changes starting to happen within my body. Maybe some are more in tune with their bodies than others, I know I am. So fast forward those first few months of sickness and lack of food - very unlike me - there you are at your 12 week scan and you’re heart is pounding because you want to know that baby is really there. Then you are given the news they could have DS and it feels like a punch in the face. I know this second point is super long, I do like to drift off subject so please bare with me. What I needed at that time most importantly was to know I wasn’t the only one. That we as a couple weren’t the only people going through this. I read a few blogs which I will list in my next post that really helped me start to accept the news. I just hope that by documenting our journey it helps someone in the same or similar situation not feel alone, and know its okay to feel sad about your baby when you should feel happy and that it’s not the end of the world. I also hope that by reading this a lot of you are educated on Downs Syndrome and I can turn quite a negatively portrayed subject into one that is in fact very positive and beautiful.