The past week and a half has been a whirlwind of emotions and high-stakes decisions. As evidenced by the ultrasounds, you’re a small kid. Not off-the-charts small, but 4th percentile-small, which is almost off the charts! That being said, you are being compared to your Caucasian friends, so you will probably look smaller in comparison, but the doctors are still concerned enough to try and work out why that’s the case.
They rattled off a few potential reasons:
- the placenta has a high resistance to blood flow which makes it hard for you to absorb nutrients,
- there’s only one artery instead of two in the umbilical cord,
- you have an infection,
- it is chromosomal issue (potentially Trisomy 13, 18, or 21), or
- you could just be small.
As such, they did some more blood tests and offered your mother an amniocentesis, which is an invasive test where they insert a long needle into your mother’s belly to withdraw amniotic fluid. It’s a conclusive test for the Trisomy trinity, but carries a 0.5% – 1% risk of miscarriage. By itself, that number might seem small, but when that number is means losing you, it becomes a scary figure.
We went back and forth about it and although each of us had pro-life/pro-choice inclinations, those all seemed to fall away in our discussions. Any decision seemed like there was something wrong with it. We didn’t want to risk a miscarriage especially if it turns out you were healthy. On the other hand, we worried if you were born with Trisomy-21 for example, it’d be tough to put that on your plate, and in the event your mother and I prematurely pass away, who takes care of you? And selfishly speaking, I couldn’t stomach the thought of having you pass away before me from a chromosomal disease we could’ve pre-identified.
As with all difficult decisions, we still had to make a choice. In the end, your mother went through with the test. The idea of leaving you alone and unable to care for yourself was too disheartening.
Post-test, your mother requested I write a letter to you highlighting the top ten problems you have caused her since she started carrying you. She jests. I took this series of photos after her suggestion and I present them to you in the order they were taken. Clearly, your mother has no idea how to be mad or annoyed at you. Even her “angry” or “distressed” face has a half-smile in it except for the last picture. Neither of us are really sure what expression she was going for there.