July 25, 2012,
M.J. asks from Thousand Oaks, CA on July 23, 2012
1 In 11 Odds of Having a Child with down Syndrome and Scared
I just got my 1st trimester screening results back and I have a 1 in 11 chance of having a child with Down Syndrome (DS). I will be 40 when I have the baby, so I'm sure that didn't help my odds. My perinatalogist had me take the new MaterniT21 screening test, but I won't get the results for about 2 weeks, so in the meantime I am left to worry. Has anyone gone through this and either ended up with a child with DS or one who didn't have it? I have two older children (ages 4 and almost 2), so having a child with special needs might be a difficult addition (although they are both pretty high maintenance, and they don't have "special needs"), but I would NOT abort the baby. Please let me know if you have any words or advice or could please just say a prayer for us!
X.O. answers from Chicago on July 23, 2012
I am so happy to hear that you wouldn't abort your baby in either case. That is so rare, and I know so many families with children with Down's. One was born to a 20 year old mother, another to a 27 year old mother. No "risk factors," but it happened. Very few people (outside of their own family and close-knit circle of friends) were supportive or encouraging to them. They have such wonderful lives.
Whatever the results, your child is in good hands. If you need some encouragement during the next 2 weeks while you await the results, this page might be inspiring to you: http://www.idscforlife.org/ The International Down Syndrome Coalition
Prayers for your family!
ETA: Wow, Dana K, really? A woman tells us all up front that she would "NOT abort the baby," and you imply that she wouldn't be making a good decision? Unreal. The fact that such a high percentage of babies with Downs are aborted is TRAGIC, not something to be celebrated.
ETA2: Yes, I know 2 adults with Downs who live independently. One works at the child care center that my old gym operates. Another is someone I used to work with in the kitchen of a nursing home. This article might be inspirational to you: about a 26 yr old man with Downs who runs a restaurant - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/22/tim-harris_n_###...
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I.X. answers from Los Angeles on July 23, 2012
Nobody wants to face the unknown. But if your baby is Downs I just want to share that an acquaintance of mine with a downs baby wants to adopt more Downs babies. She said that much to their surprise he has been an incredible blessing.
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S.R. answers from El Paso on July 23, 2012
1 out of 11 translates to approximately a 9.1% chance that your child WILL have DS. Which also means that there is a 90.9% chance that your child WON'T.
That said, you will love that child no matter what it's situation may be. Could it be a struggle? Absolutely, but that doesn't mean you'll love him/her any less because of it. Be strong, and best wishes!
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F.W. answers from Washington DC on July 24, 2012
It is so easy for others to say "relax" but I can understand your concerns. Your child might not have DS but if it did and I was in your shoes I would maybe think that there are a lot worse things that a child could have. My reason is my brother has DS. He is the sweetest, kindest, happiest person I know. Everyone loves him as soon as they meet him. He has so many friends and a busy social life. He has won so many medals for swimming and trophies for bowling. I have taken him on vacation a few times and let me tell you it was easier than taking care of a kid or elderly person. He is so gentle and adores all his nieces and nephews who are also very protective of him. I have only ever seen him sad twice in his life and that was when he broke his arm and when he had to change schools. Just this year we celebrated his 40th Bday and it was amazing, the people who came and the wonderful things they said about him was very emotional.
So I hope everything goes well for you and whatever happens it will be a blessing. Oh and my mum had 4 of us my brother with DS being 2nd born and then she had my sister and I (twins) so it was 3 kids under 4 yrs old. Hard work sometimes but she wouldn't have changed a thing. :-)
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D.K. answers from Pittsburgh on July 23, 2012
I would have the amnio - no question. Actually I skipped the screening tests and had an amnio - I was 40 when DS was born. Screening tests tell you your risk is higher than average - but are only screening tests - not definitive diagnostics. The odds are still in your favor but 1 in 11 is a high risk in my mind. You would never get on a plane that had a 1 in 11 chance of crashing.
Since you have two children whose lives would be markedly affected if you have a trisomy baby - I would do a lot of additional research if your amnio shows trisomy. Down syndrome children can survive into their 40s nowadays (and despite having sunny dispositions they can have difficult and painful intestinal and heart complications). This child may well outlive you and leave your two and four year olds responsible for their sibling for life. This is certainly your choice - but not a decision I would impose on my child.
If your amniocentesis is positive for Down syndrome - what you do is your choice. But you should NOT feel pressured by opinions on this site. Between 87 and 98% of trisomy 21 pregnancies in this country are aborted. In Europe, the rate is at least 91%. Please do not let opinions here make you think that this choice would be unacceptable.
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J.S. answers from Hartford on July 23, 2012
Your child has a 91% chance based on this first initial screening that she WILL NOT have DS. These screenings are notoriously inaccurate and more frequently than not give false positives. The odds are highly in your favor of having a baby without DS.
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☆.A. answers from Pittsburgh on July 23, 2012
Well...I delivered my son at 39. After reading the screening "fine print" where they say a positive is not a guaranteed positive and a negative is not a guarantee negative, I chucked the paperwork and figured "Why bother" when it wouldn't give me an accurate result either way.
I also declined amnio, because for me, like you, abortion wasn't an option.
Relax. Breathe. Enjoy your pregnancy!
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V.W. answers from Jacksonville on July 23, 2012
I wish I could send you the picture I got from my niece today. She was posting pics of her little brother (he's 4) at the beach. He has DS. The youngest of 4 siblings (the older 3 are all girls: 1 going into 3rd yr of college, 1 starting college, and one 9th grader). My brother and my SIL have had some rough times, but not because of their little boy. Yes, there are often many and various challenges that can come along with having DS, but in many ways, they are just the same as any other little baby. Their son seemed to be a little more predisposed to catching colds, and he had reflux (lots of babies do). Other than that, just a little delayed developmentally with speech/communication. Physically, he is quite healthy. He goes to school now, too (specialized class).
His sisters all ADORE him. As do their friends. And he is absolutely the sweetest child. They absolutely consider him a HUGE blessing to their family.
The screening can give you pause and stress you out. But as someone pointed out, that means you have a 10 in 11 chance that your baby does not have DS. Even if your child does have DS, it won't be the end of the world. It might even open you up to a whole new world you wouldn't otherwise experience. Full of wonder and grace and blessing on a totally different level. Like visiting Holland instead of Italy.
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