I wrote this article three years ago while I was pregnant with Hooligan #3, anxiously awaiting prenatal and genetic testing results. It was insanely nerve-wracking. For anyone out there who has experienced this or is currently feeling this way,
please know I am here for you and there is an entire Mommy tribe out there who will support you if you ever need it. (You can find this article and others like it published on Vocal.com)
Technology these days is quite incredible, especially when it comes to pregnancy, infertility and prenatal testing. However, living in a time where this technology can comb through every blood cell and chromosome, can be a blessing and a curse. My husband and I decided that our two rambunctious boys needed some company and opted to try for baby number three. I'm the type of person who can sneeze and get pregnant so this was the easiest part of our journey. That all being said, after having two healthy, fairly easy pregnancies and deliveries this time has been different from the beginning. Now that I'm 35 years old I'm considered a "geriatric pregnancy"... sounds nice doesn't it? Due to this situation, even though I'm a healthy, active, vegetarian mom, I needed a slew of tests to make sure my "high risk pregnancy" was healthy and normal. At 14 weeks along, my high risk OB calls and says that they noticed "a micro deletion on a chromosomal test" and I needed to come in to speak with a genetic counselor. My husband and I were a little worried but not overly concerned. After speaking with the genetic counselor we found out that this "micro deletion" could cause two different serious syndromes in our unborn child. This news was devastating. Not only because the unknown is so scary, but because we had to then wait two long weeks until I could take a more invasive test for 100% accurate results. After the pain and stress of the amniocentesis test, now we are in the other two week waiting period for the results.
This excruciating waiting period has made our family stronger in the face of uncertainty. Our friends and loved ones encourage us to stay positive and have been our pillars of strength and support. The worry and waiting go hand in hand. People keep saying things like, "You're stronger than you think," and, "If anyone can handle this it's you guys." While these reassuring words help ease some of the anxiety, it makes us feel the weight of all of this heavier than ever. Questions like, "Could we handle having a child with one of these syndromes?" Or "what effects would having a child with special needs have on our other children?" This is such a complex situation and when asking ourselves these questions it gives us a deeper appreciation for all of those families living with these challenging circumstances.
After leaving our meeting with the genetic counselor, my husband grabbed my hand and as we looked at each other we just cried. How could one minute something so exciting be so scary? How could we have two beautiful babies and surpass all of these grueling tests and now something may be wrong? To make matters even more complicated, we had just sent out our family holiday card with our pregnancy announcement on it. Our sons who are 5 and 3 are now noticing my growing belly and asking questions. My heart hurts thinking of what the unknown holds and which path we'll choose. Overall, I think the lesson I've learned from all of this is that everything in life is about waiting and worrying. The unknown is always scary and daunting before we finally get there or achieve what we are waiting for. All the feels that we're feeling are the day to day of being a parent, except now the results could effect the life of a child that isn't even here yet. Wait, worry, repeat has been my life since I became pregnant with my first child. This experience has made me understand on a deeper level how I as well as all parents are able to function on this vicious cycle of wait, worry, repeat because we have no other choice. Parenting is the epitome of having no control yet all the control at once. As my family and I continue to have hope for good results and wait for what seems like forever... I urge you to take a moment to commend yourself. As a parent or as a friend, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, husband, wife, whichever role you're in—you've experienced this cycle of waiting and worrying and supporting someone in some way through it all. Thanks to your support and patience we are able to keep going and repeat it all over again. For now, I'm going to wait, savor my blessings and try to worry less... but only time will tell how the repeat part of this cycle plays out for us.