Today I had one of those not fun doctor's appointment that we as women experience every year or two. You know, the wonderful pap smear. As the midwife walked in, sat down, and began asking how I was doing I was overcome with emotion as the memories of the last time I was in her office came flooding back.
It was just over two years ago. I was 32 weeks pregnant, but I looked as if I was carrying twins that were due any minute - and felt like it too. At about 20 weeks into my pregnancy I started developing a lot of amniotic fluid. When I say a lot - I mean A LOT! No one could figure out why I had so much. I had had the 20 week ultrasound that looked normal, and then another one at 24 weeks to see if they missed anything. At 32 weeks the midwives felt an urgency to do one more ultrasound to see how everything looked.
I had scheduled the appointment for a Friday afternoon, hoping I could run over on my lunch break, and be back to work before I was missed. Jason picked me up, and we headed to the clinic with no idea of how our lives would be changed in the next hour.
The ultrasound seemed pretty routine at first, but pretty quickly we noticed a change in our technician. She stopped talking and seemed to look at the screen more earnestly. The minutes ticked by in silence. Finally she was done, but before sending us back in to talk over the results with the midwife, she offered to do one of those cool 3D ultrasounds that allow you an almost picture quality glimpse of your baby. That's when we knew the ultrasound results wouldn't be good, but we gratefully accepted and were excited when we left the room with three little pictures of our baby girl's precious face.
Within a few minutes we were back with the midwife and she was gently breaking the news to us. In my memory it is all kind of blur once she began talking. I remember trying to take it all in, yet it all seemed so surreal. Somehow, the information that got across to us was that the reason I had so much fluid was because our baby had a "double bubble" meaning their was a blockage between her stomach and intestines (in Antalya's case it was more than a blockage - her intestines and stomach had never actually connected), and our baby had some heart defects. She would require surgery after she was born. And then she added that because our baby had these two defects there was a very high chance that our baby also had Down syndrome. Jason and I were both a little shocked. Although I had heard of Down syndrome I had never known anyone with it. What exactly did it mean? Then I remember the midwife telling us there was a waiting list of families wanting to adopt babies with Ds. I remember this because I couldn't figure out why she was throwing in that bit of information. Did she think we didn't want the baby? Was she trying to convince us that our baby was desirable? It still is almost baffling to me that that was the first thing I ever heard about Ds - there is a waiting list of families wanting to adopt these children.
She then explained that because of this information I was know classified as a "high risk pregnancy" and would have to transfer care to a perinatologist. And then our appointment was over. With tears in our eyes we parted, her wishing us luck with the delivery, and Jason and I feeling a world of uncertainty ahead of us.
After a quick lunch our lives were calling us back to reality. I returned to work, Jason returned to his studies, and the weekend past without us saying a word about our visit to anyone else. We knew we could, and would face the situation head on, and with as much courage as possible, but not until we had definite answers from a specialist - and that we knew would have to wait until the next week.
Looking back now, I am amazed that we managed to return to our "normal" routines, and somehow hide all our uncertainties and fears away. It was a strange few days - our reality as we had envisioned had been shattered, yet we still weren't quite sure what was actually coming our way.
The following weeks brought lots of decision, lots of answers, lots of hospital visits, and lots of prayers. When our angel was born six weeks later - we were prepared and excited to welcome her arrival. Her surgery to repair her stomach/intestines at two days old was successful, and after a quick 4 week stay in the NICU we brought home our happy, HEALTHY, little girl, who did happen to Down syndrome. I can't imagine our lives any different, and in fact if I could go back to that day at the midwife clinic, and somehow change the results of that ultrasound - I WOULDN'T.
As a result of "that day" I believe I have come to love more deeply, pray with more faith, and trust more completely in the will of the Lord.