Today I drove... alone... into the city. One of my least favorite things to do. I get nervous in the city - watching for fast moving cars while watching for street signs while sighing that I can't stop to talk to every homeless person... I just don't like it.
But know what my "most least" favorite thing to do is? Genetic counseling.
I drove down to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania today to meet with a highly esteemed genetic counselor. She had done her homework and looked at all of Gavin's genetic history ahead of time and was prepared to then hear mine during the appointment.
Do you know how many times I've had genetic counseling during a pregnancy? Many. You would think I would remember the answers to questions like: "How many times have you been pregnant?" or, my favorite, "How many miscarriages have you had?" For some reason, I freeze every time. I really should have it written down and laminated in my wallet - to pull out as a reference card. Maybe I could just hand it across the desk with my license and say "Here you go - you'll find all you need to know here."
I was at the hospital for hours. Between the counseling and the waiting for blood work and the actual blood test that will tell me in a week (maybe a little longer) if everything is okay with Project Hope. With just a single blood test, they can predict with up to 99% accuracy if there are any chromosomal abnormalities. And they will tell us the gender.
Even though this pregnancy was so, so unexpected - I am very excited to have this new life growing inside of me.
But it also fills me with a great amount of fear.
I will be honest with you - I'm not sure I can handle another heartbreak. It would seem like a cruel joke if something were to happen to this child between now and... well... I am old and gray and die of old age.
Seeing my history in black and white made it very real. I'm not at all worried about my age - at 43 my chance of having a child with Downs Syndrome or other Trisomies are not all that high. I can handle the statistics. I'm just worried that I will not be able to carry this child. If you were looking at my history in black and white like I did today... you'd understand why.
**Edited to add: I ONLY mentioned Downs Syndrome and other Trisomies because that is what the appointment and testing was about - checking for these genetic syndromes that I am at higher risk for because of my age. I was not implying that we would be upset or would terminate if we discovered any of these chromosomal abnormalities. As I have mentioned in previous entries, Gavin was not shown to have any issues in my prenatal testing with him - yet we endured a torturous silent delivery room. Ed and I do genetic testing so we can be emotionally, mentally, physically and perhaps financially prepared if there is an issue with our baby.**
We need to believe this baby born. We need to hold onto hope. It's all I've got.
I'm a crying mess tonight... but don't worry too much. I need to get this all out so I can get ready to start all over in the morning with a fresher, more positive outlook. (Well, I'll fake it 'till I make it, anyway.)
Thank you for loving our little family. All of us.