We made small talk with the doctor. He was funny. I thought I was relaxed, but when I started laughing a little too hard, I knew I was tense. Uncomfortable. Nervous. After all, the results from this test would tell us if this baby had Down syndrome too. Yet I was feeling positive. I've only heard of two cases where the parents had two or more children with Down syndrome. So we should be fine, right? Then again, our chances of having one child with Down syndrome were 1 in 8,021. Those are some huge odds. We were that one.
The test itself was quick and painless. It was similar to a pap with the clamps being the worst part. The best part was the prep before the procedure. They did a very thorough ultrasound, 3D and everything. They checked baby's length (almost 2 inches), both arms and legs, all the fingers and toes, right and left hemisphere of the brain, heart pumping at 163 beats per minute. Baby was asleep at first but suddenly woke and started dancing! What? Baby was moving it's arms and legs to the beat of a silent drum. Then turning and spinning, finally mooning us as if to say, "Leave me alone, I wanna sleep!" The ultrasound technician laughed. We all laughed. A little tear rolled down my cheek.
Miles was never this active on the ultrasounds. We saw him hiccup, cross and uncross his legs, suck his thumb....He was much less active, mostly just laying there when we visited him via ultrasound. When he was born, he was the same as most newborns. Sleepy. But he didn't just sleep, he barely moved. His skinny, hypotonic arms and legs didn't have the strength to lift on their own. He didn't cry. We didn't hear his cry until he was about four or five weeks old. He made little birdlike noises, we knew he had vocal chords. But no crying. And three months later, when most infants were starting to be quite active, lifting their heads, rolling onto their tummies, Miles was still just laying there. Unable to move without our help. But he was always watchful. From day one he had that laser eye focus. When he looked at me, he looked as if he could penetrate my soul. He'd stare at people, plants, things and in his head, something was computing. He can still do that to this day. Of course, now he's Mr. Curious and Mr. Active and Master Mischief. How far he's come along.
On our way out of the room I grabbed some crackers and juice they had in a basket. The procedure took just ten minutes, but the wait was nearly two hours. I was starving and ready for bed. Which is what I got. A delicious homemade chicken soup in bed as I now had bed rest for the next 24 hours. My guilt free staycation! I was looking forward to this part. I was not looking forward to the two and a half day wait for the results. That's exactly how long it took to get the results for Miles when he was born. I couldn't help but remember that horrible time in the hospital, taking care of my newborn, wanting to rejoice in his birth but feeling the overwhelming fear and anxiety that something might be wrong with him. Knowing in my heart that the result would be positive for Down syndrome, but wanting to believe that it was all just a big nightmare.
This time was different though. I was home, in my own comfortable bed. The food was good. I had a toddler cruising around and it didn't make me sad to look at him, it made me happy. He made me laugh with his energy and love. I was nervous waiting for the results, though in my heart I knew they would be negative for Ds. But still, the wait was killing me! I did everything possible to keep busy and not think about it. I read my book, did some writing, connected with friends, worked on the garden, played with Miles, zoned out on facebook, researched the news, but by Thursday morning I couldn't take it anymore. They should have called yesterday! I was starting to feel depressed, the anxiety was making me tense but I was told to do no exercise for a whole week. So now what? How do I cope with this? Then the call came at 9:11am. It was Kit, the genetic counselor we saw two weeks before the procedure. She was sweet and I heard elation in her voice.
"I have good news," she said.
Oh my God.....I exhale, "Please tell me!"
"The results came out negative for Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), Trisomy 18 and 9. And the gender chromosomes are all normal."
"What does that mean," a hint of fear in my voice.
"It means there's no extra X or Y chromosomes either. It's all good."
Silence. I am silently thanking God and the Universe and just taking it all in.
"Do you want to know the sex of your baby?", she asks.
"Miles is going to have a little sister. You're having a girl!"
"Oh wow! That's awesome! Thank You Thank You Thank You sooooo much Kit! This is the best news ever!"
I went on and on about how happy I was for her phone call. I was doing my nervous laughter thing again, but this time it was out of relief. My whole body was trembling as the tension I'd been feeling the last few weeks finally passed out of my body and onto the earth. She laughed and said she was happy too. She wished me a great day and hung up. And I sobbed. I sobbed as hard as when I found out Miles had Down syndrome. And though I was sobbing out of happiness, there was a tinge of grief in there. Grief for any negative thoughts I'd had in the past few weeks? Grief for the fact that Miles has Ds and his sister doesn't? Grief because I needed to hear the results so bad and now the wait is over? I don't know. I just allowed myself to go through it, to let it out because I certainly didn't want to call my husband while I was sobbing and give him the wrong impression!
So when I was good and done, I called Zach and simply said, "It's a girl! And she's fine!"
"It's a girl!", he repeated.
"Yes....and so far, so good!"
So far....so good. There are still so many hurdles to pass in the next six and a half months that for now I rejoice! This new journey will pose an infinite amount of challenges, fears and anxieties. But it will also bring so much love, joy, laughter, and excitement. And as with everything, it's about taking it one day at a time. That's it, simple as pie.
Miles is gonna be a big brother!!!