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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Counsel Me

Did you know that I'm 35? Apparently it's not only ridiculous (says an aunt of mine), but extremely horrible to get pregnant after 35. I only sort of kid.

I had my first prenatal appointment with the Jelly Bean on the day before my birthday. Fourteen seconds after seeing the flicker of the tiny heartbeat on the screen, my doctor says, "Okay, let's talk about this magic birthday you're having tomorrow." I cringed. I knew what was coming. "You need to see a genetic counselor."

She then went on to tell all of the reasons I needed to see a genetic counselor and how it would only be to explain our options, not to help us make decisions one way or another.

I was devastated. I wanted to glow, just for a few minutes, because we'd been trying for a while. And we were so happy. But, no.

While she was talking to me, I was thinking, "What has changed in the past three years?" I was still healthy, a non-smoker, non-drinker ... I was still me. I know that my age is a risk factor for Down Syndrome, but what about other abnormalities, syndromes or ailments? I didn't find much else related to pregnancy after 35.

Then I thought, "So what? Why do I need to see this doctor? Will it change how I feel about the baby growing inside of me?" Emphatically NO! You see, I've changed. I'm not going to tell you what to think, or how to think, but let me explain what happened to me.

I used to work at rehabilitation hospital. While working there, I was a member of an ethics consortium. One of the things that really changed my heart was a member of this group: She's a physician with osteogenesis imperfecta. We talked about the elective abortions of babies who may or may not have been disabled. Strangely, most people in this group had little difficulty with abortion in general, but when it came to abortion because of disability, it seemed like eugenics. This started my wheels turning and added to my growing faith.

So, The Targo and I made an appointment to see this doctor, but I won't be getting amniocentesis. For me, none of it matters. It doesn't matter any more than it did three years ago, when I was pregnant at 32 and could have had a child with any myriad of problems, but didn't. I didn't for one second think of the "what ifs." Why? I'm not sure. Maybe it was gratitude for the opportunity to be a mom. Three years later, I feel the same way.


Kristabella said...


OMG! Congrats! I'm so happy for you guys!!

Swimming-duck said...

Congrats on the pregnancy. I missed that somehow! I know of several people who went through the process of amnio to be told there might be a problem only to be told weeks later that it was a false alarm and everything was fine. All that time spent wondering and worrying. I'm with you - what's it matter anyways. And yes, you should glow, despite your doctor's need to bring this up. Glow and enjoy!

AJU5's Mom said...

I always say no to the testing. It isn't going to change anything - I will love whatever baby God gives me. I MIGHT do something more if something showed up on the 20 week ultrasound, but that is about it - and that is just because some things are better to prepare for (like heart issues that will need medical help just after birth).

Breathe Gently said...

What would testing tell you, exactly? Just if there are any abnormalities? I don't know how I feel about that.

And also? You look better at 35 than I do at 25 and for that I hate you just a tiny bit. :P

Shannon said...

Marianne, you are amazing!