Down Syndrome


We did the sequential blood screening for Down Syndrome and some other diseases and chromosomal abnormalities.The first test came back normal.  “Average” reading for risk of Down Syndrome for someone my age.The second test came back abnormal, for Down Syndrome.  My risk, for my age, should be 1:250.  It had jumped to 1:39.  All other results normal.

That is still only a 2.5% chance, but it got my attention.  I spoke several times with the genetics counselor, and eventually ended up meeting with her and a perinatologist.  Even if the test came back positive, there has to be an explanation for the hormone levels in my blood, they said.  The other explanation is how my placenta is functioning.  It may be “leaking,” which puts me at greater risk for pre-term labor.

No, I said.  I will not do an amnio.  I didn’t have to, they said.  There is a new blood test that is 99% accurate at detecting Down Syndrome.  It will tell me yes or no.  No probabilities.

I’ll do it.

That was last week.  Over the last week, I’ve had a lot of time to process this.  And, I’ve come to the conclusion that if this baby has Down Syndrome, it is a blessing.  We will have been chosen to care for a very special child.  It’s an honor.

To my surprise, not everyone feels that way.  In fact, over 80% of women who learn their child has Down Syndrome terminate the pregnancy.

That was not going to be us.  We would love this baby.  This baby would be perfect in God’s sight, and it would be a gift.

I just got the call.

99% this baby does not have Down Syndrome.

It’s strange to describe how I feel right now.  For the last week, I had pictured life with a child who has Down Syndrome.  And I had come to love this baby I feel kicking inside of me, picturing a baby with Down Syndrome.

Now, that’s gone.  I feel like there is this new or different baby inside of me now.  I don’t know what it looks like.  I don’t know if it’s a boy or girl (I was so tempted to ask, because they know from the blood results, but we’re keeping this a surprise to the end).  I know it does not (likely) have Down Syndrome, but I don’t know anything else.

I want to cry.  And I’m not sure why.


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