I want to start this post by noting that if your heart is yearning for a child in any capacity, my heart is with you every day. I don’t know your pain, but I lift you up in my heart and hope that you feel joy and peace in some form today.
There is this beauty in the gift of time that can make one forget the pain of the past. When I think about my pregnancy with Regan, I remember it as an easy one. It was traumatic to say the least, but physically I felt great. This pregnancy has been so very different.
I can’t speak for other women, but it seems there is something about having Regan that has made me more cautious this time around. My awareness of the preciousness of life is heightened, and I now have a daily reminder that life is a gift to be treasured and not taken for granted. The first several weeks of my pregnancy were exciting but I was cautiously optimistic. Mitch and I waited a longer time before sharing our news, and my anxiety started to kick in quickly.
For those who aren’t aware, we (by chance more than anything) elected to do NIPT (non-invasive prenatal testing) with Regan. It’s a simply process by which they draw mom’s blood and can separate the DNA sequences to determine baby’s chances for chromosomal abnormalities/differences. This topic is highly controversial, as some argue that these screening tests increase a family’s decision to end their pregnancies. I’m going to share our perspective to shed light on the positive impact these screening tests can have. We had it with Regan and it allowed us to process information, transfer our prenatal care to CHOP, grieve, grow and learn about Down syndrome while we waited for our precious child. I believe these screening tests can be an opportunity for us to educate the parents-to-be on the reality of life with a child with Down syndrome, which is beautiful and full of joy!
I got a little off track there, but now you understand why we chose to do the NIPT screen again with baby 2. Between waiting to have the screening done (I had to be 11 weeks along before the screen is accurate), waiting for the screen results (it took 8 days for the results to come back), and processing the “what-ifs” in the meantime, my anxiety this pregnancy has been higher than I’d prefer. The screen came back “low risk” (their words, not mine) for any chromosomal difference. I was at ease, but I’d be lying if I said my anxiety has completely dissipated.
I don’t consider myself to be a high anxiety person, and maybe that’s why these feelings feel so out of character for me. I’ve spent some time wondering how I’d react if we have another child with special needs, and I think no one can be sure how they’d react to a situation until you live it. Regan has obviously opened our eyes and hearts and we know how much joy she’s brought to our family, but there is still a part of my heart that longs for a typical child, too. I feel guilty even saying that, but I hope y’all will understand what I mean. At least right now, that seems to be the new path we’re on (the typical child path, that is)! Whatever joy comes our way, we are ready to embrace it with open arms.