Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Hours Lost On Worrying
Just when I thought I was going to burst at the seams from all the uncertainty and worry that has plagued me these past few weeks, life adds another heavy load to my already heavy heart. I know I will not be given more than I can handle but between 9pm last night and noon today I was really starting to doubt that.
I was on the phone with our oldest having one of our bi-weekly phone calls(more on this in another post) and we were in such a deep conservation that I didn't even hear another call coming in. After I hung up with our son I looked down at my phone and noticed I had a missed call and a voicemail from my obstetrician. Having had some bloodwork done the week prior I knew it was about the results and called back immediately before even listening to the voicemail. If there was any chance there was still someone in the office at that hour I wanted to make sure I got them on the phone. All I got was the on call message center so I decided the only to do was listen to the voicemail, hoping it would give me enough information and reason for a phone call at such a late hour.
"Hi, this is Dr. Matty, I just wanted to speak with you about the results of your blood work. If you could please call tomorrow first thing that would be best, good evening."
I played that voicemail probably twenty times, trying to pick up on any clues I might have missed. Did the doctor sound concerned? Did he sound like it was just routine? Was that a hint of urgency I detected in his voice? I drove myself crazy listening and trying to decide what exactly the nature of the results were but finally I knew I had to stop and I would just have to wait to call in the morning.
I could not sleep a wink last night. My brain was running a marathon and my heart was gaining weight by the hour.
The doctor's office open at 8am this morning and I called at exactly 8am. I may have even been dialing at 7:59am and hitting the send button as soon as the new hour flipped over. The lady at reception could tell I was frantic so she sent me straight through to the doctor. Being hold was excruciating. When after ringing several times the voicemail picked up, I could barely utter my message my voice was cracking so much. Nothing to do now but wait for the doctor to call me back.
An hour and twelve minutes my phone was ringing and my phone display showed it was my obstetricians office. I had finally gotten myself to eat something but nearly spit it out when I saw the call come in. After nearly choking myself by trying to quickly swallow the bite I had just taken, I answered the phone gasping for breath. Finally I would I have my answer, or so I thought.
"Good morning, this Becca, Dr. Matty's nurse. Dr. Matty wanted me to call you and let you know that the results on your blood test came back abnormal and she needs you to come in this morning so she can discuss them with you."
"Can she just tell me over the phone so I don't have to wait?"
"No mam I am sorry, she insist on seeing you in person, can you be here at noon?"
I barely squeezed out a "sure, ok" before hanging up and nearly collapsing to the floor. Were the results soooo bad she had to see in me person?! What does this mean?! Is my baby ok?!
The rest of the morning was like a fog. I could barely get through my morning routine without being overcome with a sense of dread and worry. In the shower I just let it go, cried my eyes out and didn't hold back a tear or a sob. In the mirror I cleared away the fog from the glass and stared at myself, blood shot, swollen eyes, puffy face and obviously a heavy and breaking heart. I wondered, is this how I am going to look after I talk to the doctor in a few hours? Will the news break me down again and cause me to have another crying session?
At 11:45am my daughter and I arrived at the doctor's office. I told her I needed her to sit in the waiting room this time because I had to speak with the doctor privately. She seemed annoyed but thankfully didn't argue with me about it. I was called in almost immediately. The walk from the waiting room to the exam room seemed like it was a mile. Within a few minutes my obstetrician was in the room holding a large file of papers and pulling up a chair to mine. Oh my goodness this was it, she was going to tell me something horrible!
"Your quad screening we did last week to look for risk for some potential genetic conditions has come back and there were some abnormalities I want to speak with your about."
gulp...the knot in my throat was already forming
"...on the screening for neural tube defects such as spina bifida as well as the screening for Trisomy 18, you tested negative..."
Phew! That was good news, those were two of the "bigs" I was worried about, my heart got a little less heavy and the knot in my throat started to relax a bit. What did I test positive for though!?
"...you did however test positive on the screening for down syndrome."
Annnnd cue the emotion overload!
"....your risk ration is 1 in 93 chances of this baby having down syndrome. the normal range is considered is 1 in 270..."
Ok, down syndrome...that means my baby doesn't have some sort of genetic issue that usually causes early death or other horrible medical issues, that we know of anyway. I think I can deal with that. Breath breath....breath!
The rest of the visit with the doctor went well. I was able to swallow the knot in my throat away, I actually smiled a few times and the weight on my heart was mostly lifted.
As it turns out the blood work was just a screening. The results don't mean that my baby has a defect, just that there is a higher than normal risk that it might. It was also explained to me that of those with a positive for having a greater risk, only a very small percentage of those actually end up the defect. So really, odds were still in my favor, even if my baby's odds were slightly higher than the rest of the population.
Further invasive testing was offered and it didn't take me long to know that any test that held a small risk for miscarriage wasn't worth it, especially for something like down syndrome. We will love this baby no matter what. If the screening had shown a risk for a more serious condition that would require treatment in the womb or right after labor, I may have considered it because I want my child to have every chance possible. But as the doctor explained, with my results that simply was the case right now. In a few weeks I will have a extensive ultrasound to look for any "markers" of down syndrome and to check the overall health and development of our baby. IF something shows up on the ultrasound I can have a maternity 21 blood test where they test my blood to see if the baby does in fact have down syndrome. This test is only 90% accurate while the more invasive test are said to be 100% accurate, but for me 90% is enough.
Upon leaving the doctor's office I will admit I did feel a whole lot better. My heart is still a bit heavy but it has lightened significantly.
On the way home I kept asking myself, even in the results had been worse than they were, would the misery and emotional torture I put myself through this morning have changed a thing? The answer is obviously NO. Even though I know that now and knew that then, I still let worry creep in and steal apart an entire evening and morning. An evening where I could have been more engaged with my wonderful husband, a morning where I could have spent more time with my daughter, those opportunities are now gone.
I am not happy that I got abnormal results on my screening, I mean who would be..but I am thankful that it taught me a lesson on worry and how it steals your precious moments away. In the end there is nothing I can do about any of it. I just have to sit back and have faith that our baby will born healthy, whatever that means. I also have to realize that whatever turns out is exactly what is suppose to happen and in a small way that brings me some peace. I know I can't expect people to stop worrying but I would like to offer a bit of insight....worrying changes nothing except for the moments you waste on the act itself.