Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Letter to My Friends and Family

As you probably already know, Semeon and I found out a few months ago that we are going to be adding a new little member to our family. Over the past few weeks we found out some both wonderful and surprising news that we wanted to share with our family and friends. First, we found out that we are expecting a GIRL! FINALLY after 6 years of being surrounded by nothing but boys mommy is getting her baby girl. Second, after months of various testing, we have also discovered that our baby girl has an extra chromosome (also called Down Syndrome.) Now, of course this initially came as a surprise and scare to us, as we were not familiar with Down Syndrome, the symptoms and what it does to a child. After two months of researching and learning everything I could, I soon realized that this is not a burden that has been placed on our laps, but a blessing we have received from God. Instead of thinking "why me," we truly feel that we have been chosen to care for this little angel coming into our lives. Now we know we have a journey ahead of us in the upcoming months, but we also know that we are surrounded by loving and supportive friends and family who will be there for us in case we stumble. So please, keep our little family and our little "blessing," Grace Symone, in your thoughts and prayers. We are very anxious for March 16, 2010 to get here so we can meet the newest family member, and start our new journey in life.

The Dickerson Family

The Journey Begins...

So our Journey began on July 4, 2009. We were home with a sick child for July 4th, and something told me I was pregnant. I hadn't even missed my period yet, but still I knew I was pregnant. I took a pregnancy test at home (you know the one you keep in the back of the bathroom for just in case purposes) well the second line came up very faint. So I thought it was broken. I sit down to watch TV, and a commercial comes on for First Response, that gurantees accurate results before you miss your period. IT'S A SIGN. I tell Semeon I need to run to the store (without explanation) and pick up my test, and with in 60 seconds it read PREGNANT in pink letters. OH GREAT! We weren't planning to have another kid, we thought we were done. But deep down, I am a little excited...maybe, just maybe, this is my Baby Girl.

A month passes and the beginning of August is here, and something scary happens. I start spotting. Now this has NEVER happened with any of my other pregnancies so I totally freak out. The doctor tells me not to worry too much. She would only be concerned if its bright red, or cramping involved which none of that happened. So I TRIED to remain calm. Well after 4 days fo this going on, calm was out the door. So I call the doctor and she asks me to come in. They do an ultrasound, and baby is doing just fine. She says if it continues then she will send me to radiologist for a more detailed ultrasound. So I am a little at ease, until a week later it is still going on, so I call the doctor and we make the appointment for the radiologits.

On August 20, 2009, I spend a wonderful hour visit with the radiologist. I get to see my baby on the ultrasound screen for a full hour as the radiologist takes a zillion pictures. I am loving it. She excuses herself to leave, comes back, takes more scans, prints them and leaves again. I am starting to get a bit worried but she comes back in and explains she found a small bleed nothing to be too worried about, and it should clear up on its own. Needless to say I am relieved and ready to go.

The next morning I receive a phone call from my doctor, she explains the bleed, but also tells me they have found something else. They measured the back of the babies neck, which is called a Nuchal Test, and its measuring to be thicker than normal. She then explained to me that this is a soft marker for down syndrome. Talk about mouth dropped to the floor. She then recommended that I take the 1st trimester screening test (which I previously declined) which will tell me if I am at risk of giving birth to a child with Down Syndrome. At this point, I am a nervous wreck so I decide to do the screening, which consists of blood work and level II ultrasound. Ultrasound goes fine, I ask the perinatal doctor if the measurement is really above average, and his response was "borderline." So I sit back for 2 weeks and wait for the results to come back.

Two weeks later I receive a phone call from my doctor. The results are in and I have been given a 1:6 chance of giving birth to a child with Down Syndrome. This ratio is normally 1:10,000....but NO...I am given 1:6!!! So there we are, Mid September, I am 14 weeks pregnant and I have to decide if I want to have an Amnio to determine if the baby has Down Syndrome or not. It's either risk having a miscarriage by the amnio, or spend another 26 weeks in constant worry because I don't know whats going on with my baby. After a few days of stress and worrying, and talking to the doctors and nurses, I decide to go forward with the amnio.

On September 29, my husband and grandparents accompany me to my appointment for my amnio. The doctor does an ultrasound, checks out my baby through and through. Tells me the great news that its a GIRL and then begins amnio procedure. (Of course, hubby leaves the room) My grandmother sits there holding my hand and within 60 seconds he tells me he is done. My grandmother and I look at each other and both say, thats it. I have had blood drawn that was worse and more painful than that. The doctor tells me stay off my feet for 24 hours, and that I should get my FISH results in 48 hours.

Honestly, before I even got the results I already knew. The night before I had the amnio I kept having a dream that the doctor told me, Felicia you are having a girl and she has Down Syndrome. I met another woman online earlier that week who was also given 1:6 chance for Down Syndrome, and she explained to me that if she found out the baby had DS she was going to terminate and try again. I knew that was never an option for me. I even realized that I wasn't praying for her not to have Down Syndrome. Just for her to be ok, and not have all the added heart and abdominal complications that comes with Down Syndrome. I told God, I could handle it. Me and this other lady found out our results at the same time. And I guess He knew who He could give this baby to. The other lady was one of the FIVE, and her child does not have Down Syndrome, and my baby was chosen to be the ONE.

So far Grace is healthy as can be, she has a good heart, abdomen, and femurs. These are the common problems that are associated with kids with Down Syndrome. (so much you can learn in a month's time) We go for another ultrasound on November 10, 2009, and should no more about our little one then. For now we just pray that everything continues to go well and she gets here SAFELY AND HEALTHY!