In August 2011 when I was 36 weeks pregnant with my second daughter, Chloe, my whole world fell apart. At a routine ultrasound, it was discovered that she had a serious heart defect that would require surgery. This was bad enough but upon further investigation, it turned out that this particular heart defect was common in babies with Down syndrome. This was a huge shock because I had come so far in what I thought was a normal, healthy pregnancy.
To confirm this diagnosis, I had an amniocentesis. Before the procedure, I was given another ultrasound, this time by an Obstetrician who again told me that there was nothing he could see to indicate that my baby had Down syndrome. I was relieved. Two days later however, the results of the amniocentesis came back and confirmed otherwise. Despite my low risk and all the ultrasounds being clear, my baby had Down syndrome.
I felt so many awful feelings at the time of Chloe’s diagnosis. The grief was indescribable and I found myself thinking, “What the hell?” If this had been discovered before 20 weeks, I would have been offered a termination but now that it was too late for that, I was instead handed information on Down syndrome and told that if I had to choose a disability for my child, this would be the one. That my baby would be beautiful and happy and loving and everything would be alright. This was so difficult to make sense of and my head was spinning!