Wednesday, April 29, 2009

9-month checkup and other stuff

Finn had his 9-month well baby visit this morning (a little late, as he's almost 10 months now!). It really was uneventful. His weight and height are both in the 50th percentile on the Ds charts (even though he's lost several ounces over the last week, I suspect from being sick). He's still got this nasty cough, although it's slowly getting better, but all in all the doc deemed him "great!" The most newsworthy item is that I told the ped how we have ben denied a consult with an OT twice now through Regional Center because of all the budget cuts, etc., and that Finn is still not eating solids, so he is going to get a referral to an OT for us via our insurance company - woot! Of course that will mean a co-pay, but whatever. All I want is a consult at this point - I'm not even saying he actually needs regular OT right now. I just want a professional to assess his feeding issues and tell me what to do to get him to eat.


I also wanted to elaborate on that last post, about how Finn's diagnosis was delivered to us.

I've said many, many times that I'm glad we didn't know about his diagnosis until after he was born, and I still really mean that. What is ironic, though, is that he was the only one of my pregnancies during which I chose not to do any prenatal screenings (except a 20-week u/s, which didn't reveal any anomalies). I did the screenings with all my other pregnancies: AFP screening with the first two, and the first trimester screening (nuchal-translucency u/s + accompanying bloodwork) with the twins and Lilah. Honestly, the only reason I didn't do any prenatal screenings with Finn was because I did 100% midwife prenatal care, and to do any screenings would have been a pain in the arse and expensive to boot (on top of the 100% out-of-pocket cost of the midwife). Although Lilah was also born at home, I did dual care (seeing an OB and my mw) through the first half of my pregnancy due to bleeding early on, so I did the screenings with that pregnancy.

So, where am I going with this? What Megan said in her comment touched a nerve with me, because like she said, I think when I did do prental screenings, it was always with some unconscious arrogance. I did the screenings fully expecting everything to come out "normal." I just couldn't fathom anything different, you know? That stuff happens to other people (har har - I could say that about so many things that have come to bite me in the ass). So I went through the motions and did the screenings because that's what you're encouraged to do. And I didn't do the screenings with Finn, and turned out he has Ds. But I'm glad I didn't know beforehand, I really, really am - for many reasons, mostly just knowing myself and what a freak I can be and how it would have cast a dark cloud over the rest of my pregnancy.

Anyway, the fact is, if I want to be completely honest with myself and everyone else, I have to at least ask myself what I would have done had I found out prenatally. I would like to think that I would not have chosen to terminate, but it's easy to sit here and say that in hindsight and when I was never actually faced with making such a decision. I've always considered myself to be pro-choice, but also I have never been able to imagine myself terminating a pregnancy. I waited too long and had to try too hard to get pregnant the first time, I love being pregnant too much, and I get attached to that fetus too early to imagine that I'd ever be able to rid myself of one.


I wonder how I would have reacted had I received a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome and then given a bleak outlook for my child. What if I wasn't given any resources? Or what if I was given outdated information about Down syndrome? What if I was actually faced with the choice? What if my doctor said to me, "If you choose to terminate, you must decide within the next two weeks," thereby putting the burden of an actual choice on my shoulders? What if I read that the termination rate for prenatally diagnosed cases of Ds was 90%?

These are things that I was never faced with, but many women are.

I don't know exactly what my point is, except to say that I don't know what it's like to receive a prenatal diagnosis and be faced with making a decision about embracing or rejecting my baby.


Tausha said...

We didn't know beforehand and for me that was a good thing or I would of been a freak the whole pregnancy. For religious reasons I wouldn't of terminated even if I would of known, plus I hear the tests aren't 100% accurate but it is a tough thing to think about especially if they had alot of issues that they would of found in utero and you knew their life would of been really tough. I guess I just think that everyone has reasons to why they do what they do and think what they think and I try not to judge. It's a hard question for any parent to face, terminate or not? When we had our perionatal ultrasound at 35 weeks and the Doctor told us he had no stomach and would probably die within an hour and that we should start thinking about life saving procedures and whether we want to try and save him or just let him die I was speechless. I thought I have no IDEA????? I still to this day don't know what I would of done if we had to face that. I am just so grateful that he came out healthy and that he only had T21 and we didn't have to make that decision. Life throws lots of curve balls doesn't it. :-)

sheree said...

I also denied any testing this go around which was pretty weird considering I did it with my first and there was really no real reason as to "why" I didn't want the test. I just denied it that day in the doctors office, plain and simple.

I just wanted to say I really appreciate this post. I am with you 100%. I have read many blogs from mother's with chromosomally enhanced babies and all of them are like "it wouldn't have changed anything..." It makes me sad because I am not strong enough to admit I could have said the same thing. I can't be sure I would have absolutely terminated but would have been a tough decision for me. And for that, I am so grateful I didn't know.

NOW, if and when I have another baby the decision to terminate a pregnancy based on a diagnosis of down syndrome would be a no-brainer. It's just not a big deal. At all. 17 months ago, it would have been a HUGE deal. If I knew then what I know now...


Thanks for sharing!

Mel said...

Regarding OT etc, have you checked out the Downsed website? It is based in the UK but has all sorts of free resources to use with our kids, including developmental checklists etc. Well worth a look.

Chrystal said...

I am so with you on that. Never in a million years did I ever think that anything could make me get an abortion. And never in a million years did I ever think that I would be "the one" who would have to make such a choice.

Good thing I didn't have to.

Chrystal said...

BTW, Malea has stopped eating and it's stressing me the hell out. I so feel your pain.