Sunday, February 13, 2011

I'm Going to Italy!

Having spent 9 horrible days wondering if something was wrong with my baby, I did a lot of research. I read the stories of other mothers who had lost babies to try to prepare myself. I know it's morbid, and I'm only being publicly honest about it now because I know everything is ok, but I thought my baby might die. (BTW, yelling at me when I say something negative does not keep me from thinking the thoughts, it only keeps me from sharing them with you). NTDs can range from a barely noticeable birth defect, to a baby born unconscious, blind, deaf and dying in mom's arms. Thinking I might have to deliver a baby that was going to die was what changed my mind about finding out the sex. I know I gave a bunch of other reasons for it in my last blog, but that's not the whole truth. I didn't wanna hear good news, "It's a ____!" with bad news, "Now say goodbye." Anyway, while I was doing my research, I came across this story written by Emily Perl Kingsley, the mother of a disabled child and it brought me lots of comfort for a few days.

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

I feel so much relief knowing that I'm going to see Italy! But having to wonder if I'd end up in Holland or even some place worse, and getting to know these girls who did, it's really opened my eyes and made me appreciate how lucky I am. I was talking to my brother the other day. I think of him as the voice of reason in our family. I was telling him about all of the decisions I have to make and how everyone is putting their ten cents in and pulling me in different directions and he said, as if the answer was obvious, "This baby is a blessing to our family and we need to see it as such" So basically he's saying let's not get our panties twisted over whether we find out the sex, whether we use boob or formula, what we name the baby or what high chair we pick out. Let's just be happy that we have a healthy baby. Maybe the answer really is that simple.

Now that you know Baby Cramer is perfect as can be, let me tell you a little about our day in Traverse City. First we met with a genetic counselor who went over our test results WAY better than the OBs. She said my AFP amount was 2.52 the first time. The cutoff for some labs is 2.2 and other labs is 2.5. So it wasn't 2.5 times the normal amount like I was told. Also, it went down to 2.34 for my second test. If a baby has a NTD, the amount continues to go up, it never goes down. Hearing these things from my Dr would have saved me 9 days of worrying! Ugh, if I wasn't so happy about baby being ok I would totally be pissed at Petoskey.

After the genetics counselor we went in for our U/S with a really nice tech. She showed us everything! Baby was moving around like crazy and tech never once huffed, puffed or sighed. When it was time for the naughty bits she had us look away while she printed up the pic to put in an envelope.

The high-risk specialist came in during the scan. He was very nice, personable, patient and most importantly, he was confident. He said, with absolute certainty, you're going to Italy. (He didn't really say that but you know what I mean) There was a student in there, too, and the Dr showed her on the screen, "This is what the skull should look like. This is what the brain should look like." My baby was used to teach a student what a perfect baby looks like!

After his diagnosis he talked to me a little about the test I took. He said the only reason to take that test is if I would abort a baby with Down's Syndrome. They can see NTDs and other chromosomal abnormalities on the U/S so a blood test is unnecessary. The test is only useful for assessing chances of Down's and even after you find out your chances you still have to risk miscarriage with an amnio or spend 5 months not knowing. So unless you'd have a late-term abortion (and we wouldn't), there's no reason to have that test. Why didn't my doctors explain this to me?!?!?!? I'm pretty pissed about this whole mess and the awful week I had that could have easily been prevented but I guess it's a lesson learned. The important thing is that baby is healthy and now, after 5.5 months, I can finally enjoy my pregnancy and get ready for this baby! No more tests and no more stress!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Italy is great, and I'm glad you will be there soon.. I think every mother worries to a point through out the pregnancy that everything will be ok.. your def not the only one.. I'm glad I didn't get that test done when they asked, I would have been a wreak.. either way I would still have a baby in my arms... hope everything from here out goes smoothly for u.. :)