Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Snuff out the worry

So this parenting thing is already proving to be quite a challenge in terms of tough decisions that need to be made. I got a call from the doc yesterday that our nuchal translucency screening came back abnormal. Based solely on age, most 32 year old women would have a 1 in 435 chance of having a child with downs syndrome. And while the baby's measurements during the ultrasound were good, my blood work came back with abnormalities. The doc said that my stats are now that of a 41 year old or our child has a 1 in 86 chance of having downs syndrome.

But these are just the results of the screen and false positives (frankly a misleading term since we are talking about a screen and not an actual test) are common. The tough decision though is where to go from here? The doctor warned us before we started the screening process that if we were to get a positive result from the screen, it was unlikely we would get off this ride without further testing. So we can decide to proceed with further testing, a CVS or a amniocentesis, which are both invasive tests and have a low risk of causing miscarriage. Or we can do nothing and simply live with the heightened risk.

The question I have to ask myself is what would we want to do if the amniocentesis came back with a positive result? Would we want to abort like 90% of parents that get a positive result? Would we still proceed with the pregnancy? I can say that my instinct tells me I would choose to keep the child, but it's not my decision alone. And I think this would prove to be a more difficult decision based in reality than it is hypothetically. We all want to think we would do the "right" thing, but do we really have the courage to do it?

As of right now, I do not want to proceed with further testing and Dave seems to be in agreement. We live with the heightened risk and snuff out the worry. Who knew the path was going to split on us this early and we'd have to start picking our way through the maze. At least the idea of picking out the "perfect" baby gear now seems so inconsequential. In that sense, I am very thankful to god for giving us some perspective.

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