We’re going with no on the quad marker. Vanessa was pretty against it, but she would have deferred to me. I was conflicted. There are so many unknowns in infertility, and I’ve become a real knowledge junkie, but knowledge isn’t ALWAYS power– just most of the time. I absolutely don’t want an amnio, but I know that if we get a poor result on the quad marker I’ll do the amnio. And I’ll be worried and resentful and feel, well, powerless. I’ve had plenty of that already.
I think I’ve convinced myself that we could love and parent a child with Down’s Syndrome. This has not been easy. Down’s would totally turn my vision of our future upsidedown. It would probably affect both of our careers, and it would completely change our retirement. But I worked with Down’s adults as a teenager, and they were all amazing individuals. I see happy Down’s children at the supermarket, in restaurants, at the mall. Most of the time, their parents look happy too. I think we could deal. I don’t know how much knowing ahead of time could prepare us for parenting a Down’s baby. It doesn’t seem like their care would be too vastly different from caring for an unaffected newborn.
As for the other trisomies– the ones where the baby is almost always stillborn or dies soon after birth: At this point in the pregnancy, the fetus is far enough along that I think a termination could be more traumatic for me than birthing a dead child. Vanessa reminds me we could have a perfectly healthy baby, and he could get away from us at the grocery store, stumble out into traffic, and get hit by a truck. She could be well until age 5 and then get a rare childhood cancer. It’s impossible to know everything you’re signing up for when you decide to become a parent. You just hold your breath and hope.
I finally buckled and rented a doppler. It got here on Thursday afternoon, and we’ve heard the heartbeat twice. Vanessa thinks it sounds like a train. I think it sounds like when we accidentally leave Max the cat outside, and he beats on the storm door until we let him back in. It’s thunderously loud and consistent. Hearing the heartbeat makes me eager to call this baby by his or her real name, which is something I’d actually been dreading. I’ve gotten very attached to the names we’ve chosen, and I’ve been afraid of giving one of them to somebody who might not be sticking around to be born. In 4-6 more weeks, we’ll be able to use that name, and I’m actually looking forward to it now.