Introducing Harley, my neighbor's cat & regular officemate
Okay, now that I've entertained & informed you & probably forced that song into your head for days, I actually have some serious stuff to talk to you about. And no, it's not more talk about waxing - I think we've all had enough about that for a lifetime.
So, a couple of weeks ago we had an ultrasound done on our new little bun in the oven. It's called a nuchal translucency test that measures different aspects of the fetus & with the results of that plus a particular blood test, it works out what the chances are of the little on having various chromosomal issues. It turns out that our little guy or gal is high risk for down syndrome. Obviously not news that any family wants to hear & I spent a good couple of days crying & moping & feeling like an all-around shit as you do.
We are incredibly lucky to have an awesome GP who gave me the results & she directed us immediately to a local doctor who is also awesome who handles a lot of difficult issues with pregnancy. He's the kind of awesome who manages to fit you in on the same day even though he has about a gazillion other patients & manages to be patient & kind & understanding & go over questions that you didn't even know you had. I'm going to spare you the details because it kills me a little bit to talk about it all but we are quite possibility the most well-informed people on earth about these chromosomal headaches, especially Marcel who has been googling his brains out to find out everything he can.
Every woman who has these tests done is given their "chances" of the abnormalities being in their child. We were given a 1 in 46 chance of our baby having down syndrome. In comparison a friend of ours was 1 in 4,200 or something like that with one child & about 1 in 5,000 for the other! Yikes. I know it sounds a bit dire & that's how I saw it the first few days but the more we talk to doctors & other families who have gone through this we are able to put it in better perspective. We're feeling quite positive at the moment & we have been given nothing but encouragement every step along the way.
The specialist we saw let us know that since the "bad" result came from my blood test instead of the baby's measurements, it's a higher chance of being a false positive than if it were the other way around & we've heard countless stories from others who were 1 in 10 risk or even 1 in 2 & were fine so that's great to hear. All in all it doesn't actually change our personal chances as we know what our exact risk is but it's good to hear. Our GP was incredibly kind as I boo-hoo'ed in her office about how while we're in 1 in 46 of being affected, we are 45 in 46 of being healthy. But some family does have to be that 1, unfortunately.
It's funny how the littlest things give you the most comfort. I've been very shaky & withdrawn about the whole situation - I apologize sincerely for those of you who have had emails or calls ignored or who have wondered why I seem to have disappeared - & always found myself coming back to the theory of someone has to be that one, which I couldn't shake. I hate to even admit where I found my source of perspective because I don't like to admit how much I enjoy The Big Bang Theory but there is an old episode of that show where Penny & Leonard are trying to decide if they should date & Sheldon explains the story of Shrodinger's Cat to Penny. They summed it up in very basic terms & I am going to trim it down even further so then will provide a link to the real explanation & please don't tell me if I have it completely wrong! Basically the theory is of a cat that is put in a sealed box (I think it's just a theory, I don't think they actually did this). Because you can't tell what the heck's going on in there, it is safe to consider the cat both alive & dead because you're right either way until you open that box. Ya know? Anyway, so I took from that it's perfectly okay for me to go ahead with this pregnancy, treating it as if the baby is perfectly healthy. Because it is. This child is 100% healthy until the doctor says that it's not. Then we'll deal with that if it comes to that.
I'm obviously not tap-dancing down the street asking strangers to pat my baby bump or anything like that but it's helping me not curl up into a ball on the couch. Most importantly & the whole point of this post is that we're having an amniocentesis tomorrow, which will settle everything & let the cat out of the box if you will. Because we're feeling optimistic, we're excited & anxious to get this done so we can get on with our lives & start celebrating this pregnancy. It's sad because at the very beginning we were so shocked that I was pregnant that it was hard to process, then once we accepted it & were happy, we became cautious because the miscarriage risk is so high (20% in Australia) for the first trimester. Once we were past that & announced it on facebook like the schmuck that I am, we find this out the very next day. We haven't been able to be enthusiastic & make grand plans for this kiddo yet & we really can't wait to do that! Luckily, the results only take 2-3 days so I'll obviously let you knows guy as soon as we process it ourselves but pray for us until then if you don't mind.
Hilariously, the doctor who refers people for amnios all day every day is sending us to the only place he sends women for these things. The best place in all of Sydney for amnio - where they have the best reputation, the lowest rate of miscarriage risk & somehow they do it almost painlessly. Where is it? At the Adventist hospital The San in Wahroonga, directly across the street from Marcel's office!!! He has lunch there all the time & I worked in the nursing roster office for a few months between Nat Geo & RGM. Another high five for the good old Adventist health system!
And just to be extra annoying, our appointment is at 9.30am tomorrow (Weds here), which is 7.30pm Eastern time in America, 6.30pm Central. If you happen to catch that time, think of us if you don't mind because we'll be a bit nervous & I'll have a giant needle going into my stomach. Yahoo.
And now just to make sure we don't end on a bummer note, I bring you more Kids, Incorporated featuring the stellar Jennifer Love Hewitt (or just Love Hewitt as she was known then). Actually, this may be way more of a bummer than anything I have ever known on earth.