As you can see, about a week ago a new logo appeared on this blog. 31 for 21. Well to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness month, those in the blogging community are taking part in this challenge to blog each and every day during the month of October to raise awareness of Down syndrome. So, I begin day 1 of my challenge...
In October of 2006 I began showing some very familiar symptoms. I was cranky, bloated, nauseous, and just feeling blah! I had that feeling I knew what those symptoms were, but I guess I was in denial. Keith persuaded me to get a pregnancy test. So, of course, I get five! I take one... positive, I take two... positive, I take three... positive. This continues until all five kits have been used. I'm so excited to be pregnant, but also concerned. Keith and I found out just a few months earlier that I was pregnant, and after sharing the good news with family, friends, and co-workers, that pregnancy didn't survive. That was one of the most difficult times of my life, so we decided to keep this little pregnancy a secret. For almost a whole month!
We soon begin prenatal visits with our OB. We have the first ultrasound to show that yes, we have a baby inside. Then, we did labs. Everything is looking great. After a few months the doctor asks if I want to screen for any genetic disorders. I, of course, said yes. I want to know if there's something wrong with my child (that was the old me). Everything came back normal. We had our 20 week ultrasound, which again was normal. Plus we found out... It's a girl! This pregnancy was much easier, medically, than my pregnancy with Aubrey. However, I did have morning sickness from day 1 to the end.
Keith and I felt comfortable that this pregnancy would be okay. We started sharing our exciting news with everyone! We couldn't wait for Aubrey to be a big sister. We went shopping for our little girl, picked out names for our little girl, decorated her nursery, and spent some extra time with Aubrey. We wanted her to enjoy her last few moments as an only child.
On Monday May 7th we arrived at the hospital for my scheduled cesarean. I went to triage where I visited family before the anticipated moment. I was soon wheeled into the operating room. Once I was prepped, Keith was able to join me. Dr. M started doing his job. It's so nice just laying there while someone else does all the hard work for you! Within minutes we heard the sweetest little cries. Bailey Mackenzie had finally entered our lives. She was beautiful!
Bailey was whisked away to get cleaned up and I went to recovery. Once I arrived in my room I couldn't wait to see her. However, while alone, I was greeted by the pediatrician and a nurse. They asked how I was doing, then they told me they feel Bailey may have Down syndrome. Honestly, I had no clue what they meant. I thought I was in the clear. We did all those tests, right? Aren't those 100%?
Bailey arrived soon after and I sat there holding her with tears flowing down my cheek. I examined her from head to toe, trying to see what the doctors and nurses saw. I also had the task of sharing this news with Keith. How am I supposed to tell him our child isn't perfect (old me again)? Well, he took the news fairly well. Not to say he didn't share a tear or two with me, but being the great man he is he found information for us. Information on Down syndrome.
Two weeks after Bailey's birth we received results from the labs showing that she does have Trisomy 21. I had already accepted that, and we were also preparing for her upcoming heart surgery. That, had become priority for me over Down syndrome. Within a few days after receiving her diagnoses Bailey went into heart failure. What had happened to my perfect life?
Now, just 17 months later, I wouldn't change anything about Bailey. Bailey IS perfect! She's beautiful, smart, energetic, and can manipulate anyone who comes into contact with her. Strangers first fall in love with her beautiful blond hair, then her almond shaped blue eyes, then they see her smile. You know... that smile that makes you melt.
91%-93% of pregnancies diagnosed prenatally with Down syndrome in the United States were terminated.