Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Testing for Down syndrome

I was not aware until recently that not all insurance companies paid for the triple or quad screen, apparently it was just covered for those who had a greater risk of at risk babies, due to maternal age etc. My insurance had paid for it with both of my pregnancies, thought I didn't have it with my first pregnancy. Anyhow now all insurance companies have to cover the cost of this test. The current statistic is that around 92% of couples who have a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome abort their baby. It makes me sick. After my quadscreen I was told that my baby had a 1 in 201 chance of having Down syndrome. That is a half of a percent. At my age, 25 at the time, my normal chances were 1 in 1200. After a level 2 ultrasound showed no markers for Down syndrome the doctor assured us that our baby was "normal." We could have opted for an amnio but the doctor told us there was a 1 in 200 chance of a miscarriage, which of course we didn't want to chance. I was angry after Ella was born that the doctors had been wrong, and wished that I had known that she had Down syndrome. But I now know that it was definitely best for me that I didn't know. I like to think of myself as a planner, like I HAD to know with both of my kids if they were a boy or a girl so I could prepare for them. So, here is what would have happened if I had known Ella had DS, I would have been on the Internet seeking information non-stop. I would have found all of the medical problems that she could have, and how incredibly delayed she could be. I would have been a wreck. Maybe I would have been better when she was actually born, but I doubt it. I also firmly believe that had I known Ella would have been born way more premature than she was since they told me she was premature because of my stress as it was.

I try not to pass judgement on those 92% who abort their babies, instead I just feel sorry for them. Maybe they see all of the medical problems their child could have and envision their futures as the only caretakers for their child.I think the problem is that most OB doctors do not
know what it is like to actually have a child with Down syndrome. I saw the pure surprise on my OB's face when she saw how wonderful Ella is. There just needs to be more information out there and more resources available prenatally as well as once the child is born. I have given permission to Ella's therapists to give my name and number out to anybody. I have also asked my OB to give my name and number out, though I highly doubt she would, she seems to be the type who would strongly discuss your options. I think that if people who are debating whether or not to keep their baby could see a real baby with Down syndrome, and see that she is just a baby would be better informed than if they just read all the problems they could have.

My feeling is this though, if you choose to have a baby, what makes it okay for you to abort that baby because it is not what you wanted. There is no perfect baby, except the one you have. Here is an article about DS testing http://www.sltrib.com/ci_6101963
These are shirts that you can personalize, available at http://www.reecesrainbow.com/takethehighroad.htm


RK said...

Excellent thoughts. It is also really bothersome to me that so many abort, and although I sometimes wish I had known so that the shock could have been dealt with before her birth, with all the circumstances as they were, I think God worked it out all just as it needed to be. I sometimes forget he's still smarter than me. :o)

Love the shirts too!

Melissa @ Banana Migraine said...

I struggle almost every day thinking about the percentage of babies that are aborted because of DS. It just tears me up.

Thank you for the link to the shirts - I'll have to order something.

Amy Flege said...

i so agree with you 100%!!! we didnt know mayson had Ds until after she was born but man do we feel blessed!

Laurie said...

I'm so grateful that I didn't know that my Chase had Ds before he was born. I honestly don't know what I would have done. I can't fault the mothers who choose abortion, but I'm glad that I didn't have that option, because he has been full of good surprises. I think it would have been more painful to live with the "what-ifs" than to go through the shock and frustration that his initial diagnosis brought.

Jamie (My kid has more chromosomes than yours!) said...

I was given this site by a woman with ECI. I also have a daughter with Down syndrome. She is 9 weeks old. We had no idea she had Ds because we did not have the testing done beforehand. I did not know until she was 2 hours old that there was even a possibility for it. I am glad I did not know, because as devastating as it was to find out afterward, I was able to move past it fairly quickly and be happy with things as they are. If I had known during pregnancy, I never would have aborted (I've read that statistic too and it makes me feel sick inside) but I'd have stressed, and worried, and made myself sick over it all.

Unknown said...

Wonderful post.

We 'knew' that our daughter would have Down syndrome....more in a spiritual sense, but we also had 'soft markers' but we declined the amnio to find out for sure, as she was our daughter.....exactly the way she was created.

I love the t-shirts you posted.

My heart aches to think that eugenics is very strong and active in our society.

Thank you for this post.....I enjoyed it greatly.