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Monday, August 06, 2007

Doctors and Lab Tests and Sonograms, Oh My!

Well, last week was stressful, and this week promises to be at least as much so. I took the triple screen last week, which I do know has a possibility of false positives. It came out showing higher than usual odds of my baby having Down Syndrome, so tomorrow I'm scheduled for a level II sonogram an hour and a half away. (Our medical facilities here in town are pretty limited. Everything out of the ordinary is out of town.)

I've never been worried about Down Syndrome before, even though my last two pregnancies were also past age 35. I declined the triple screen for them; but this time, I've had this nagging worry that I should at least be prepared for the possibility. It seems like everywhere I go online, I am seeing people discuss Down Syndrome, how they found out, and how they wouldn't trade their child for anything. I appreciate that sentiment, and if I have a child with Down Syndrome, I think I will feel the same way. But for now, not knowing, I am really hoping and praying that this child does not have any problems.

Partly, I'm selfish. We have two children over 18, one of them moved out. We've been married 4 1/2 years and have not been able to have a honeymoon, or even a weekend alone, since we married, because we are constantly surrounded by our blessings. I'll be the first to say every child is a blessing, but it would be nice to be able to spend time with my charming and patient husband sometimes, too, without it being interrupted by bickering, diapers, and "can I haves."

And let's face it: I'm 40 years old, arthritic, overweight, tired, and depressed. I love being a mother, but I would dearly love someday to retire from being a mommy. I want to be grandma; I want to turn bedrooms into offices and libraries, and to send children home for dinner. I want to have a guest bedroom that it's a treat for a child to sleep in. In other words, I dream of the day I can move on to the next stage of parenting: grandparenting. I would love to take a honeymoon, and as it is we might be able to do that for our 25th anniversary.

The thought of having a child who will likely never move out daunts me and haunts me. It isn't that I don't love my children, you know. But I've spent the past three years in the same three rooms almost constantly, listening to electronic toy computers singing the alphabet, in-depth discussions about the merits of one handheld gaming system over another, and demands that I choose sides in arguments over whether a child did nine minutes in the kitchen or ten. Most of my adult conversations have been limited to a half hour, over coffee, before Joel leaves for work. Is it so selfish that I just want to think that one day -- some day -- I will be able to have adult conversations on a regular basis?

I find myself looking forward to tomorrow, for that reason. Three hours in the car with a grownup, and not a single child to interrupt. A chance to see the baby in greater detail, probably to find out if it's a boy or a girl, and ease my mind or learn to adjust. One way or the other, it's better to know than to worry.

And perhaps selfishly, I pray.