Getting Our Prenatal Down Syndrome Diagnosis… The Second Time

We are fairly unique in that we have had two children with Down Syndrome. After Hannah was born, a geneticist from Nationwide Children’s Hospital (where she spent time in the NICU) came to talk with us, and she basically said some people are more prone to having children with Trisomy 21 than others. She presented it negatively, and had a poor bedside manner, but she did tell us there had been one study conducted with women who had more than one child with Down Syndrome, and they couldn’t conclusively find any reason for it. Since then, I’ve seen the theory that women who have a mutation of the MTHFR gene are more likely to have children with Down Syndrome, as well as miscarriages. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter, but people are usually surprised to find out that I’ve had more than one child with Down Syndrome.

After we lost Wyatt, we decided to let God have complete control over our fertility, so we weren’t trying for, or preventing pregnancy. Just 3 months after Wyatt was born, we found out I was pregnant with Hannah. We had previously decided that we were going to have the Panorama test done again simply to put our minds at ease. The Panorama test is one of many non-invasive genetic screening tests that can be done with a simple blood draw after 10 weeks. There is a lot of controversy surrounding them, but I am glad we had it done so that we could prepare for Hannah by getting connected with our local Down Syndrome association, as well as becoming educated about Down Syndrome.

I had the blood draw done at 10 weeks, and waited for a week to receive the results. When my OB called me, I was sure she was going to say the results came back normal. When she said we were having a little baby girl with Down Syndrome, I broke down immediately. I thought for sure it meant we were going to lose this baby too. As soon as I hung up the phone, I called my mom sobbing. I had peace about the diagnosis, but I was a wreck at the thought of potentially losing another baby.

Since the test results came back as high likelihood for Down Syndrome, we went in for an ultrasound the same week just to make sure everything looked normal. It was like our ultrasound with Wyatt all over again. They told us Hannah had hydrops fetalis (fluid under her skin and around her organs), and that we should expect her to pass in the next several weeks. We were told we could come back for a follow up ultrasound whenever we felt like it; the doctor didn’t do much to hide his certainty that she wouldn’t make it. We decided to go back  in two weeks, and in that short amount of time, everything changed. The fluid had decreased, and the doctor was optimistic that she would make it to full term.

She did just that, and Hannah Joy was born February 7, 2017 at 37 weeks. She’s our miracle rainbow baby! After 32 days in the NICU, we brought Hannah home, and she has changed our lives for the better ever since.

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