Last week a friend of mine had her third baby. I went to bed that night thinking about how just 10 months ago I was in the hospital having delivered Gigi. I think back on those first days and feel that it was probably the best of my three birth experiences. How can that be if that was the delivery of the baby with Down syndrome? My perception would definitely be different if I had not known prenatally.
Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT), sometimes referred to as Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening (NIPS), is a relatively new blood test that a pregnant mom can take early in her pregnancy, as early as 10 weeks. This test screens for three major trisomies (Trisomy 21 – Down syndrome, Trisomy 13 – Patau Syndrome, and Trisomy 18 – Edward’s Syndrome) as well as some sex chromosomal abnormalities with extremely high accuracy. They come under the names MaterniT21, Verifi, Panorama and Harmony.
The topic of conversation in my moms groups has come up a number of times regarding whether or not we knew prenatally that the baby had Down syndrome and if we were glad we knew or would rather have just found out at birth. Some moms say they are glad they found out at birth because they felt they would have worried their pregnancy away. I’m happy the way it happened for me, knowing ahead of time. Here are 4 reasons:
- I had time to prepare. I was able to spend countless hours educating myself through books, internet research, and speaking with our pediatrician.
- It gave me time to research doctors. We are lucky to have access to 2 Down syndrome clinics in our city and we had meetings with the doctors at both.
- It allowed me early entry into an exclusive club. I found and joined online groups, mostly via Facebook, where there were other experienced moms or expectant moms that first and foremost gave me endless words of encouragement and told me things were going to be ok.
- I got all of the grieving out of the way. By the time the baby was born the grieving was long gone. To have found out on the day of the birth that my baby had Down syndrome would have been devastating for me and taken all of the joy away. Since no other prenatal ultrasounds showed no indicators of Down syndrome, I really wouldn’t have known.
I’m so thankful I took that test.
Click the link below to see a list of more blogs posting for Down syndrome awareness…
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