Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Prenatal Tests, and What They Cannot Tell You

The Sweet Moments!

          We are definitely living in a time of rapid medical advances, with a well-funded quest to extend and "improve" lives, and provide significantly more detailed genetic information on an individual, even long before they are due to be born.   Incredible!  These tests can pick up the more common chromosomal trisomies, such as T13, T18, and T21, and the less common ones, such as Chromosomes 22, 16, along with select chromosomal regions,  including 22q, 15q, 11q, 8q, 5p, 4p, and 1p.  Since Luke was born, I've had several pregnant friends  ask me if I would recommend genetic testing for their pregnancy. We ourselves did not choose genetic testing, and his markers were found via ultrasound.  As much as we loved to be prepared, I tell parents to tread carefully, and do not consider unless they feel completely grounded in their faith. Yes, it is so nice to prepare for changes in life, but when faced with a decision on whether one wants to open their life to that change, particularly while receiving negative pressure from some of the medical community, it puts young (and more seasoned) parents in a very difficult position. 

        As we just rounded the corner from world down syndrome day on March 21st, and our sweet baby boy is approaching one year of age, I've been reflecting on how our lives have changed since that ultrasound at my 18th week of pregnancy.  My conclusion is this:  #1 you can become very educated about the third copy of a particular chromosome, or any genetic diagnosis for that matter, in a very short matter of time.  #2. You can educate yourself with every fact under the sun, read every trisomy blog and every possible real-life scenario, but in the end, God is going to allow our/their life to play out as God intends it.  #3.  If you follow His lead, Love and support is going to come from every direction, if your eyes are open to it, and if your heart allows it.  #4.  The positive test results that a doctor gives you account for only a minuscule portion of your child.  Those test results cannot show you the amazing personality your child will have, the uniqueness of his or her physical characteristics (Luke's amazing baby blue eyes and silky soft skin), all of his or her sweet little idiosyncrasies that you will start to learn within their first month of life, and all of the amazing memories that you are going to make together.  If only those tests came with a short film strip of what your future with that child would look like.  But Ultrasounds and genetic tests cannot show you how beautiful and bright your future will be with your child, regardless of the child's diagnosis.  They can only break it down in medical terms how your child is not going to be "typically" complete.  This is a fact. This is a fact that is more important than the facts that the scientists will give you regarding your child's chromosomal makeup.  

        It just has to be a journey of trust until you hold your sweet baby in your arms for the first time.  And isn't that true for our own daily lives? We ourselves are on a journey of trust, where we often falsely think we have so much control over our life.  None of us have any idea as to when God will call us home, or what our obstacles will be. God is constantly pruning us, his branches, to seek his ways.  We just have to sit back and enjoy this journey, follow his lead, and trust.  And that is my prayer today, for myself, my husband, our children, and all those around us. That we can completely surrender to Him every living day that we are here.  That we can completely trust in His plan, and die to ourselves and our own will.  And if that means that we need to crumple up our hand-drawn and methodically planned out road of our journey for life, and instead dial into His GPS, than so be it!  The journey will be beautiful!  I promise!