October 22, 2014

The Darkest Days: The Three Options {Prenatal Down Syndrome Diagnosis}

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This is the fifth part of a series about finding out our unborn son has Down syndrome through an abnormal ultrasound and a Harmony blood test.  I wrote throughout the month and have kept every piece in tact so that it may help someone going through the same thing. Read part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here and Part 4 here

I have heard people describe the grieving process that happens after getting a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis as a time of “highs and lows”. For me, that wasn’t really the case. In the thick of it, I would describe my mental state as moments of feeling okay and moments of feeling extreme despair. I woke up every morning with our new reality hitting me all over again, Our son has down syndrome, Our lives will not be how we imagined. And the fears, Will he get made fun of? Will he ever be independent? and the biggest one: Will anyone love him?

But on one particular day, I experienced the high. Two days prior to my experience, during my nightly prayer, I prayed that God send my husband, Andy, an angel the next day. You see, as I was left to process my grief at home with my daughter and my mom, Andy still had to go to work every day to his brand new job. I just wanted him to have a moment of encouragement, of hope, of something good. The following evening he came home and said, “I met an angel today.” Andy had an extremely encouraging conversation with a patient about God’s will in our lives.

To be honest, if he hadn’t said those words, if he had just described the amazing man he had met, I probably would have forgotten that I had even prayed for an angel. What an affirmation of God’s love! I decided to ask God for yet another favor that night. I prayed that he give me a sign that would indicate whether or not our son had Down syndrome.

Since I already wrote about it, I won’t go into the details, but that’s the night I had the airplane dream. Andy woke me up before it was over, but I had a feeling that the dream was from God. That morning I went to an on-base bible study where I met a woman who told me that her cousin had an amniocentesis done that concluded her daughter had Down syndrome, and despite it being a diagnostic test, her daughter was born with no genetic issues. I was not certain that this would be the case for our son, but I felt the high start to come on. I was high on hope. I was high on God’s grace. I was high on our future.

I concluded that this was going to play out one of three ways.

1)   The amniocentesis comes back with good news, that our son does not have Down syndrome. I could tell people how even though my original doctor led us to believe that the Harmony test is 99.9% accurate, recent research suggests otherwise. I could tell them how he laid out two options for us, the first being abortion (he would not do an amnio with the Harmony results), even though these tests are NOT diagnostic. I could parents out there to reconsider. I could tell them about the woman whose Harmony test came back positive for Trisomy 18 (a fatal condition) and how she terminated the pregnancy and how she had additional tests run on her son and he did NOT have Trisomy 18. I would tell everyone I knew and maybe save some families some heartache and maybe even save some lives in the process.

2)   The amniocentesis comes back with bad news, that our son has Down syndrome. We would prepare for his life as if he has Down syndrome, but pray for a miracle. We would pray every day. We would ask others from all over the world to pray every day for a miracle. We would have so much faith in God’s ultimate power, that we ask him to do what most would find impossible, to change our son’s genetic code. And then he is born without Down syndrome. And we would shout it from every rooftop that God is a God of compassion, that He is a God of healing, that He is a God of miracles and our son would be living proof.

3)   Our son is born with Down syndrome. And despite God not answering our requests for healing, we will still show the world our faith. We will show them our faith by giving our son the absolute best life we possibly can. We won’t put limits on him because of his disability. We will encourage him to be his best and we will love him fiercely. We will pray that he “know Christ and makes Christ known” through his attitude, through his accomplishments and through his life.

I’m not in that high anymore, but I still believe in these options. I still believe in miracles. If God chooses not to perform a miracle through healing, then I believe he will perform miracles through our son’s life, through our lives. I believe.

 

This is the fifth part of a series about finding out our unborn son has Down syndrome through an abnormal ultrasound and a Harmony blood test.  I wrote throughout the month and have kept every piece in tact so that it may help someone going through the same thing. Read part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here and Part 4 here

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One thought on “The Darkest Days: The Three Options {Prenatal Down Syndrome Diagnosis}”

  1. Hi guys-I love your blog and facebook page. I am a gdaruate student at the University of Hartford for my Master’s in Prosthetics and Orthotics. I have a brother, Javier 38, and Lily 34, who have Downs and I am 30. We are from Puerto Rico originally, but have lived in the states for almost 25 years since our dad was in the Air Force. A young married couple, barely making ends meat with a bakery and 2 young DS kids under 9 had their life changed overnight. While this young man was at the dentist getting a root canal, his young wife went to visit her sister-in-law who was giving birth. By accident her mother went into the neighboring room, and apologized to the other mother to be. A week later the woman in the other room saw the young woman, her mother, and the sister-in-law at the hospital with the newborns. The older woman very young, single, and poor with 3 other children. She asked the young woman if she would take care of her new baby until she had resources to feed and care for her, and the woman accepted. Back at home, when the husband returned from the dentist and saw his wife with the baby he was shocked and told her that they couldn’t have another baby, it was just too much. But his wife fell instantly in love with the baby and he did too, and 6 months later I was adopted. I never grew up thinking my siblings were less than me and they treated me as if I was their blood sister, we love each other unconditionally, as it should be. And although I’m more of a mother to them, they have always and continue to teach me compassion, love, and faith everyday. I love them and they love me.

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