Do you remember a time when any decision you ever made only affected you? What to have for dinner? What to do next weekend? Where to go on vacation? Even what to buy at the store?
I can remember if I close my eyes really, really hard.
It’s a fleeting memory at best. Something hazy, like a dream that I might be remembering. Then again, it could just be someone else’s life that I once heard about.
Even before I got pregnant with C I was already thinking of myself as more than just an individual whose actions only impacted herself. I watched what I ate to make sure I built up my folic acid reserves and on the day I learned that licorice could be bad for fertility I walked away from that favorite treat without a glance back.
It made me feel like a mom to already be making those decisions.
But nothing compared to the day that I got the results of C’s Nuchal Translucency test.
I’d walked into that ultrasound room confident that everything would be peachy. That the test was nothing more than a routine screening that would show that my baby was as perfect as I knew her to be.
And then it wasn’t. In fact, it wasn’t conclusive either way.
So they did some blood work to try to see if they could decipher more.
And that came back to say that there was a 1/160 chance that my baby had Down Syndrome.
I went home that day and had the hardest conversation I ever had with my husband. The whole “What if the Amnio shows that the baby does have Down Syndrome? What do we do then?” debate.
You’d think that it’s a conversation that we would have had before getting pregnant. But, what can I say, we were cocky. We never thought our baby wouldn’t be “perfect.” I also assumed my husband would be 100% on the same page as me.
My baby, our baby… would be who he or she was. We’d love her or him as is. No questions asked.
I was thinking like a mom already. This baby in my womb was part of me already. In my mind, simply by getting pregnant I had pledged myself over to caring for her and loving her at no matter what cost to me.
M was more rational. He figured we had a set amount of resources – financial and emotional – and we could opt to give them all to one special needs child, or we could opt to save them for a larger family.
I think it was the first time we’d ever been at odds over anything. It floored me. And we never did agree on the issue. Instead we tacitly decided to wait until we had to make a decision.
We tried to do the Amnio a week early, but my uterus contracted when the needle went in and they had to pull it out again. When they tried again they couldn’t get enough fluid.
I went back a week later, two days before Thanksgiving, for a third attempt. I don’t remember much about the pain of the injection. I do remember driving all the way to Lake Tahoe that Wednesday, phone in hand, waiting for the call from the lab.
As the clock ticked slowly past 5pm and I realized we wouldn’t get the call before Monday I cried.
I wanted so badly be able to relax and just love the baby in my belly. I wanted to let myself be excited about her arrival. I wanted to go to work and yell on every rooftop that I was pregnant and proud of it.
That weekend, on Thanksgiving morning, I “popped.” We both realized it when M tried to hug me.
“This baby is already coming between us!” I quipped, instantly regretting my choice of words. At that moment I didn’t know, if it came down to it, if I’d be able to chose between my baby’s life and my husband’s desires.
Lucky for me, I never had to discover what I would have decided.
The genetic counselor called me at 7:30 that Monday morning. Knowing just how hard that wait must have been, she’d come in to work early to spare us any more wait. The baby was healthy. A healthy baby girl.
I put away the jacket I’d been hiding my bump under and dressed in maternity clothes that day. Then I went to work and shared my news with all my coworkers. M went to work and told his.
It’s still Bump Month! 8 bloggers and I have teamed up to spend a whole month talking about moms and babies. We’re going to share stories and wonderful companies who help us make it all look easy and fun. Stay tuned for more trips down memory lane to my long past pregnancies and infancies! Be sure to enter the killer giveaway! Read the other Bump Bloggers stories about when they first felt like a mom here.