An Unexpected Ultrasound

I got off the phone with my doctor, I hadn't felt this scared in a while. "We are concerned about the baby's heart. It looks like there is a pocket of fluid or debris next to it. We've never seen anything like this before." My mind raced to the future of possible surgeries or complications at birth. I called Aaron and told him what they thought they saw in the ultrasound. He listened to me cry and fall apart.

After that phone call I wanted so badly to trust in God. I wrestled my thoughts and desperately sought after truth as my mind would wander into fear. I was comforted by Psalm 139 as I read about God knowing our baby intricately, more than we ever could. 

Then we waited.

We met with the ultrasound specialist after a week and a half of waiting. I took a deep breath as she squeezed warm gel onto my belly. I watched my baby move on screen. My eyes studied hers, then back on my baby, and back to hers. I wanted to see if she looked uneasy about anything. Then she asked why I was seeing her. I felt a little puzzled and asked if the records had been transferred over to her. She said no, all she had from them was that I had an older son with Down syndrome. I began to connect the dots. 

After twenty minutes of the uncomfortable feeling of my baby and placenta weighing down on my spine, the doctor walked in. She was determined to find something wrong with my baby. "So you have a son with Down syndrome? Have you had any testing with this baby? Have you had an amniocentesis?"

I proudly told her about Elias, and that we didn't want testing with him and we wouldn't with this baby either. 

"Well, I can't find anything wrong with the heart." I sighed with relief, "Oh good! So we can go now?" She acted like she didn't hear me. She seemed determined to find something. I watched her tilt her head and squint her eyes at the screen, looking at the heart, then the hands, then feet, then a 4D image of the face. She laughed to herself and said, "I guess I'm just trying to find something!" I could feel the blood rushing to my face. My protection for this baby and for Elias was at its peak. I pressed my lips together, trying to think before I would speak. "We just want to know if something is wrong with the heart, if the baby has Down syndrome we are okay with that."

The doctor left and came back with a paper for me to sign. "We just want to make sure that you don't want an amniocentisis. You can sign saying that you decline."

I pressed my pen against the paper, making sure the ink was dark. It was the only way I felt like I could make myself clear.

On the drive home I felt confused and angry. I realized something in that office. I wasn't heard. My love for my son with Down syndrome wasn't important. It was the facts that were important. I thought about the woman who would sit in that office after me and be scared by the facts. The cold, one-sided facts. Then testing. Then a choice.

Today I laid down with Elias while he was sleeping and pressed my life-filled belly against his back. His little brother kicked and pushed against him while he slept peacefully. I thought about how beautiful our imperfect family is. It is a love for God's plan that has given us such incredible joy. If we were to live in fear, we would never know what we have today.

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© 2014 Natalie Falls