Getting Our Prenatal Down Syndrome Diagnosis… The First Time

I’ll never forget that phone call. It changed my life forever. I honestly don’t remember her exact words, because all I heard was, “Down Syndrome.” I had been waiting for a phone call from our geneticist to confirm our 10 week, unborn baby was a girl who had Turner’s Syndrome. Those were the markers that were seen on the ultrasound, that is what I had researched the past agonizing week while we waited for our Panorama test results, that is what I prepared myself for; a baby girl with Turner’s Syndrome.

Surely, God would never give me a baby with Down Syndrome. He knew me, so He knew better than that. He knew I wasn’t strong enough and didn’t have enough patience. I spent so much time praying that week while we waited, that our baby didn’t have Down Syndrome simply because I didn’t think I could give them what they needed if they did. So, when I heard, “It’s a boy,” all my planning for Turner’s Syndrome went out the window since it only affects girls. For a moment, I thought my prayers for a perfectly healthy, “normal” baby had come true. Surely my baby couldn’t have Down Syndrome. All they saw on the ultrasound was the extra fluid. That can mean nothing, right? I was only 26 after all, and only older women have babies with Down syndrome. Then, she said it, “Down Syndrome.” It was followed by the disclaimers about how the tests aren’t 100% accurate, and it could be wrong, but when coupled with the ultrasound, it was pretty likely he had Down Syndrome. We scheduled appointments, and she said she was sorry. I waited until I hung up to start crying. One very short phone call changed my life forever.

It took a few days for it to really sink in that I was going to have a child with special needs. I contacted our local Down Syndrome association, and was very encouraged by them. They were the first people (aside from family) to tell me congratulations, to not act as though this was the worst news we could have possibly gotten. I remember being scared, but loving our little boy no less. He was still my son. My precious, little gift whom God had chosen me to have. It wasn’t until our first ultrasound after our diagnosis that I truly embraced the diagnosis though.

I was about 12 weeks pregnant with Wyatt at that point, and the ultrasound didn’t show any improvements. There was still a lot of fluid under Wyatt’s skin and surrounding his organs. His prognosis was not good, we knew that, but when our specialist suggested aborting because of the Down Syndrome and fluid, it felt like a blow to the stomach. He was not seeing the same thing I was on that ultrasound screen, and it broke my heart. I saw a beautiful baby boy, crafted together by an awesome God who makes no mistakes, but he saw a diagnosis and fluid. It was in that moment I realized I had no time to be upset about his diagnosis, I had no time to wonder, “why me?” If I wasn’t fully committed to protecting Wyatt, no one else would be either. I adamantly told our doctor that was absolutely not an option for us, and we were told we should come back in 4 weeks, sooner, if we wanted to, but it wouldn’t really make a difference.

We had ultrasounds every 2 weeks from that point on, really just for my own sanity, until at 17 weeks no heartbeat was found. Wyatt James Yeary was born sleeping on March 7th, 2016.

He was our first little glimpse into the Down Syndrome community, and when he passed I realized how sad I was that we weren’t going to get to experience a deeper relationship with the people we had already come to know. We had no idea, we would get that opportunity just one year later.

I will post our second diagnosis story next week!

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