Wednesday, September 23, 2009
The Tour & Monsters
Tonight I toured the birthing center at the local hopspittle where the Jackster will be born. It was quite an awe inspiring moment to walk into the birthing room and see the warming table all decked out and waiting to receive a fresh baby. I won't be delivering in one of those rooms because I'm having another cesarean, but the table will be the same exact thing waiting to receive our pink, wet, wiggly Baby Boy. If all goes well and he isn't whisked off the the NICU right away. Yes, that's what I thought as I approached the warming table. This worry is killing me. Next the nurse giving the tour walked all of The Waddles down the hall to see a room we'd be in after delivery. While we walked, another older mom sidled up to me to ask if this my my first or last. She mentioned that she thought it was her last because she was 43. I said I was 44 and we engaged in a little joking commiseration about how much harder it was on our bodies at our ages. She seemed open and friendly so I asked if she'd had any prenatal testing. She got a look on her face like maybe I'd farted and said "Oh noooo! We would never do that!" Clearly, the only people who test are monsters. "We're Christians," she now said with a pinched face, "We don't do that!" I let the space increase between us and moved to the side and as others came between us I muttered "Oh." And for the remainder of the tour I stayed as far away from her as possible. The way she said those few words made me feel dirty. Her words made me feel unworthy. Unclean. Why I felt this way is beyond me. We are Christian. We opted to test. We braved The Hard News. I started researching right away to find out how to care for My Baby with Down syndrome. And I've stumbled upon stories that sometimes battered my soul. Some families who do prenatal testing are given devastating news. Their babies will not live. The few that do survive pregnancy will survive birth by a few hours at most. If you can stand having your heart broken, you can read about Sweet Little Eliot. Just seeing his picture while trying to create a link has me crying and feeling deep soul wrenching pain once again, and I didn't even read through the story this time. That family did indeed get devastating news. And they still chose to give their Dear Little Eliot a chance at life. Stories like theirs have made me come to know that Down syndrome is so totally doable. People who choose to test are not monsters. I don't know why that woman's words made me feel like filth, but in the end it just made me even more protective of My Sweet Spud.