We got the news on Friday evening, around 6:30, from our genetic counselor that the amniocentesis came back negative for all three trisomies (13, 18, 21). Trisomy 21 is Down’s Syndrome, so this means you do not have Down’s Syndrome. It means we are only facing the surgical issues associated with duodenal atresia.
When we got the phone call with this news, I felt conflicting emotions. I know I told you I would be neither relieved or disappointed, but sometimes we can’t help the way we feel and I actually felt a little bit of both.
I don’t want you to struggle, and I am happy that you’ll be able to look forward to a life not impaired by a longterm disability. But I think my coping mechanism was to set it in my heart that you would have this struggle, so to hear otherwise I felt a bit lost as to what to say and do. It’s almost like a reverse reaction or something – kind of strange and unusual. Now that it’s been a few days since we’ve gotten the call, I’ve had some time to work through my reaction and these are my thoughts.
When I learned I was pregnant with you, I was excited but that excitement was tinged with some sadness at the thought of our family growing from three to four. Of course, this sadness was not reflective of my love for you by any stretch, and those feelings quickly faded so I’ve since chalked them up to pregnancy hormones and irrational thinking 😉 In those first couple months when I was so sick, I remember my constant prayer being that you would be healthy and protected because I had to take medication in order to function day-to-day. I felt incredible guilt over this. When I was pregnant with your brother, I powered through and only needed anti-nausea medication two times.
When we had the elective gender scan and nothing came up physically wrong, I felt a lot of relief. I know those thoughts were irrational – plenty of mamas need medication during their pregnancy to function and we’re lucky we live in a time where we can understand what’s safe and what isn’t.
You can imagine my guilt came back in full force when we got the call three weeks ago about the concern surrounding your stomach/intestines and bowel.
The geneticist we met with at the hospital assured your dad and me that this condition is not genetic, and that there was nothing I did or didn’t do to bring it about. I’ve been holding onto that truth as a reassurance, but I think to a degree I had convinced myself I had compromised your health to such a degree that you would be facing longterm issues. Baby girl, I thought I had set you up for a lifetime of struggling physically.
That certainly played a role in my reaction to the amnio news, but so did a certain prayer I had uttered multiple times these last several months. I prayed these same words with your brother – that I dedicate your life back to your creator, that I surrender your health and care to our God, that I accept your future – whatever it may be – and that I will do my best to support you as you search that future out, and that I will love you unconditionally. I prayed this prayer by myself but I know your dad has the same thoughts.
I would be lying if I said I don’t have a fear of challenge and tests. I don’t believe God punishes people, but I do believe that when you surrender and ask your life to be used, you open yourself up to exactly what you’ve asked and you don’t know how that will play out or what it means. This is the main reason I had accepted your amnio would likely come back positive. I thought this was the response to my prayer, which brought incredible guilt as well.
We have the answers, now, though. And as it turns out, the response is still a struggle – your surgery and recovery – but not to the degree it could have been. A measure of grace and mercy comes over this thing our family will walk through. We learned that duodenal atresia either happens, or it doesn’t, so the answer to my own personal guilt is that you had this before I had even begun to pray those words. Not that that brings me any relief, but sometimes having a fact you can grasp onto in the midst of uncertainty is some comfort.
So, now, I keep on keeping you safe until the day we meet face to face. And I keep on trying to focus on the day in front of me, and not worry too much about the future.
I’m so happy and blessed to be your mama, little girl.