Saturday, December 17, 2011

Decisions made, decisions delayed

Since this pregnancy is entirely unplanned, and given that M and I have operated for the past 6 years under the assumption that accidental pregnancy was impossible and that I'm not the get-married-make-babies type anyway, it was necessary that we have a serious talk.

I told him that, after some thought, and after seeing the reality of the baby on the ultrasound screen, I wanted to proceed with the pregnancy -- but only if it is healthy.  I also told him that if I have a choice as to whether or not to terminate the pregnancy, so does he. I don't want to be a single-parent, and if he's not on-board, I'm considerably less eager to have the baby. I don't want him to feel trapped into parenthood. I'd never want to force that on anyone. There are enough unwanted children in the world already...

He said that if I wanted to have the baby then he was inclined to agree, provided that the fetus doesn't have any birth defects like Down's Syndrome. He has an uncle who developed mental retardation due to environmental factors in early childhood, and though he loves his uncle, he has difficulty relating to an adult child, and so he can't imagine bringing a child into the world with that sort of disability if it can be prevented beforehand. In choosing to have a child with a serious disability, parents aren't just choosing to take on the added burden for themselves, they are choosing it for their family members as well. The child, he knows from personal experience, becomes a responsibility for entire family to care for -- not just the parents. Now that his grandmother is incapacitated with Alzheimer's, his uncle has moved in with his mother after failed attempts to place him with assisted living and foster families -- a move that has altered her life and that of her family in very fundamental ways.

I'm no Sarah Palin, and I certainly don't have her financial resources. I'm not up to raising a Down's baby.  The lifestyle changes I'm going to have to make will be difficult enough as it is. I've scheduled a genetic counseling appointment and then on January 3rd an amniocentesis test. We've agreed that if the tests all come back clear, we're having a baby.

It is good to have agreed on something, but it also leaves us hanging for a few more weeks. It takes 10 to 14 days for the cells from the amniotic fluid to be cultured and grown and for the genetic test results to come back.

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