“There were so many statistics...I was never given hope”
It was the last thing I thought I would hear..."your baby tested positive for Down Syndrome". My initial thought was that it was all just one big mistake. As time went by and reality began sinking in, I started asking myself -why me?..what did I do to deserve this? How did I disappoint God? was I not kind enough? or did I not show enough gratitude for the things that I already had in life? what was it? I wanted there to be an answer, an explanation, something that would justify these results and eventually make things better. I didn't know much about Down Syndrome nor did I know that Down Syndrome is the most common chromosomal condition diagnosed in the United States. The truth is that each year, about 6,000 babies born in the United States have Down Syndrome. This means that Down Syndrome occurs in about 1 in every 700 babies. When I heard about these numbers, it sounded like numbers to a lottery that I didn't want to join. The truth is, these numbers were real and I was already part of that lottery. It is a lottery only for a chosen few and little did I know then that I was a winner.
Looking back on that moment in my life, I remember clearly how scared I was. I also remember the robotic and unsympathetic way that the genetic counselor and doctors spoke to me about my test results. The feeling of excitement and joy that my husband and I had for this baby had vanished with one test, one phone call, and nothing but worst case scenarios. The news was like a blow to our stomachs. I realized months later that the way I was given my test results was not the same for everyone. Despite how I may have felt about their delivery, my medical team was not unprofessional, in fact, they were only doing their job, even if it included being emotionally deficient.
Today, there's much debate about how medical staff should give parents a Down Syndrome diagnosis. There hasn't been an official or better protocol for them to follow when giving these test results. I wish my experience would've been different because I was given my diagnosis with no hope. People don't realize how important hope is until you are found in what seems like a hopeless situation. Having hope is wanting an outcome that will make your life better in some way. Hope can help make a tough situation more bearable but also can help us to envision a better future. My doctors didn't give me that hope. It's sad to say but the people who I relied on for hope, only gave me breakdowns of worse case scenarios and sad predictions of my child's future. It was heartbreaking and I grieved for my unborn child at night, and cried myself to sleep for weeks. As days and weeks passed, the more I cried, the more my baby began to speak to me. There were no words, just a feeling. Only an expecting mother knows this feeling. A feeling that this little person growing inside of me is mines and the love and connection that we have is ours. My baby was telling me that he deserved a chance and if anyone was going to give it to him, it would be me. Despite all of my fears, I tried not to focus on the diagnosis. I chose to put my baby's health and real future in God's hands. I made a choice and that choice was LOVE.