When I was pregnant with my oldest I was a nervous wreck. I don't know if it was because it was my first pregnancy or if it's because I'm an anxious person anyway. I had all the prenatal testing done and I remember it not even being a question for me because I just wanted to know. I was one of those mothers who always said "I just want a healthy baby." That phrase has a whole different meaning to me now. I remember waiting for the call about the results of my blood tests and hearing the words that everything was fine. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. The moment I got pregnant with Camden I felt that there was something different from the very beginning but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. The doctor asked me if I wanted to get all the prenatal testing done and I immediately said "no." I didn't even think about it. I never even discussed it with my husband. This was extremely out of my character because I am a planner. I like to be prepared in all situations. At the time I just felt like I didn't need to have it done and I had no idea why. I have always had the mentality that I would keep my baby no matter what. End. Of. Story.
Shortly after Camden was born I started reading that the abortion rate for those with a diagnosis of Down syndrome was high. At one point I read it was 90% and other places I read it was closer to 70%. I'm not sure what the accurate number is today, but I know it's still pretty high. I've read numerous articles and have seen several discussions on the topic of prenatal testing. I don't chime in or participate only because I always felt like I didn't have a place. How could I advise a mother or say their decision is wrong when I haven't had to make that choice before. I don't want to judge anyone for the choices that they make. However, I feel a lot of the time the choice of abortion is made because one is misinformed, given negative information, or given no information at all and of course we want to change that. Before Camden was born I did not know much about Down syndrome. I only knew what I had learned through school and during my nursing career. I didn't know anybody that had Ds and I didn't have any friends or family that knew anybody that had Ds. In a sense, I was clueless. I'm sure that's how a lot of mothers feel when they get that prenatal diagnosis. I imagine it's an extremely scary time for them. Most of my mom friends did receive a prenatal diagnosis and they made the decision to keep their sweet bundle of joy. Several still went through the process of grief, but they always knew they would bring their baby into this world. I don't know what that's like because I haven't been in their shoes, but again I feel I would have kept my baby regardless.
After saying all of that, I can't stop thinking about a conversation I had with the hubby a few months ago. We were on a date night (a very rare occasion) and I randomly brought up my pregnancy. I don't know where it came from, but I think it was something that has always been on my mind and I was too scared to ask. I asked him straight out "if we knew that Camden had Down Syndrome would you have asked me to abort?" He looked at me and simply said "probably...yes." My eyes filled up with tears and I felt a little stab through my heart. All I could think was "thank God we didn't know." That was the end of the conversation and we never talked about it again. Now I know why I didn't have any testing done.
What is the point of this? I really don't know. Maybe I just felt the need to get this all off my chest because I've been carrying it around for a while. I'm horrified at the thought that we could have possibly chosen not to keep Camden. I'm ashamed. It makes me cry everytime I think about it. I didn't want my friends and family to hate us or judge us. Maybe it's because I'm trying to find my place in this whole prenatal testing thing. I want to be an advocate, a resource, and to be helpful the best way I know how. Most of all I want other moms to know that I was almost in your shoes. I could have been in that position of making a very difficult choice. If you were to ask my husband now he will tell you a million times over that he would have kept this boy no matter what after knowing what we know now. We are blessed beyond measure. Our life is still full of challenges, but the joy and the love far outweigh any challenge that could ever come. We could not even try to imagine our lives without Cam. That's what I want to tell other moms.