Several days later, my OB-GYN called to inform me that my Alpha-Fetoprotein test came back positive, and she was scheduling me to have an amniocentesis later in the week. My head was spinning. What the hell is alpha-fetoprotein? What does it mean? Is my baby going to be born with two heads? Seriously, what the hell??
She explained to me that this test is done to determine the possibility of birth defects in a fetus, and since mine came back positive, there is a possibility that the baby could have several issues, including Downs Syndrome. The urgency in her voice scared the piss out of me. Literally. She said that I absolutely NEEDED to go and have an amnio done to fully determine whether or not the baby I was carrying would have issues after delivery, and the reason it was so important that they schedule me, pretty much right then and there, was because I was at 18 weeks, and would only have 2 weeks to decide if I wanted to terminate the pregnancy, pending the outcome of the amnio.
Terminate the pregnancy.
End the pregnancy?
Get rid of the baby?
Commence the head spinning again. There I was, home alone with a year and a half old toddler, 18 weeks pregnant and my husband in Japan. He would be in Japan until after my 20 week mark. Termination never even crossed my mind. Why in the world would I terminate the pregnancy if there was an issue with my baby? And why in the WORLD would I go for an amniocentesis, even with the slightest risk of miscarriage, if my husband was out of the country? Reason was gone, my brain shut down, I couldn't think straight. I also had no way to reach my husband. He usually called me once a day, and had already done so that morning.
I told my OB NOT to schedule me for anything until I had a chance to speak with my husband. She argued that it was imperative to my pregnancy that I schedule this appointment ASAP. I argued back that there was no freaking way in hell I'd be going for an amnio without my husband by my side.
Time stood still.
The next day when my husband called, I told him all that my OB had told me. He asked what I wanted to do, and I told him that at that point in time, I wasn't going to consider terminating the pregnancy, no matter the outcome of the amnio. If we needed to go for genetic counseling, then so be it. If we needed to learn how to deal with a special needs child, then so be it. But I wasn't going to risk a miscarriage, and I did not want to do anything to put myself or the baby at risk until he was home.
The doctor, needless to say, was not happy, but she respected my wishes and scheduled my amnio for a date when my husband was home.
To make a long story short, I went for the amnio, husband by my side. And when they called us with the results a few days later, there was not a damn thing wrong with my baby. She was healthy, growing exactly as she should be, no Downs, no extra appendages, no genetic issues whatsoever.
So I ask you: is knowledge really power? Or is it a vehicle to drive you insane?
Had there been, God forbid, something wrong with my baby, we had several more months to learn about it, and deal with it. But scaring me into making a decision I wasn't ready to make on my own was not something I appreciated. Did I understand her reasoning? Yes, I did. But regardless of the outcome, I'd have carried that baby to term and loved her as best I could. I thank God she turned out happy and healthy.