I write down this story with my beautiful 3 month old daughter asleep in my arms. As I approached my late thirties without yet finding the live of my life I decided to simply go ahead and have a child on my own.
With the help of a clinic and the support of my family I endured seven months of fertility treatments before finally conceiving. I was thrilled and had an easy pregnancy. As the blood tests looking for abnormality markers started coming in the risk for trisomy 21 (Down’s syndrome) started coming back higher and higher until at 17 weeks they were 1 in 4. With an heavy heart I endured an amniocentesis, and the results came back at 19 weeks…positive. I had read everything I could about what this meant and realized that the media portraits of people with downs only represented the highest functioning individuals, and that by choosing to continue the pregnancy I would probably condemn my Child to a life of pain and illness. Children with downs often have heart and intestinal abnormalities requiring extensive painful surgeries, are highly prone to blood disorders and cancer, and if they survive to adulthood invariably get early onset Alzheimer’s. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do but I decided that there was really only one humane choice. I grieved deeply, and exactly one year to the day I lost my first daughter I found out I was pregnant. I did IVF with chromosomal testing so I could be assured that lightning would not strike twice, and now have a beautiful daughter who is healthy and happy. I will never regret this decision, and I have yet to have anyone I choose to tell judge me. However I am sure there are those that would, but never judge someone unless you have walked a mile in their shoes, and I hope no one reading this ever has to do so.