What follows is a tale without an ending. Heck, it doesn't even have a middle yet. If you want to get technical, all we can see is the cover of a closed book and right now, there's not even a title. There's just a fuzzy black and white picture of a baby roughly the size of a lime. No way to say for sure what's in those pages, hiding underneath that cover.
At least not for three long weeks. In three weeks, I will hold still while, if movies are even remotely factual - which I doubt, but this is my only frame of reference - some medical professional will use a nightmarishly large syringe to siphon out a sample of my amniotic fluid.
The needle? Doesn't bother me. I'd rather face a needle a day than relive this morning when I got the phone call saying that my maternal serum markers suggest a much higher probability of Down Syndrome than is normal. I'm ashamed to say I reacted to this news rather badly. I literally wailed. Wailed and made phone calls to the midwives... a geneticist... the insurance company.
And as I wailed between calls, there alone in my house, I heard the postman drop a package in our mudroom. A package that was, at that moment, a harsh reminder of the reality of the day.
Does any of this mean my baby has Down Syndrome? No. In fact, it doesn't mean much at all if 'meaning' has to do with certainty, hence my upcoming amniocentesis. We're not even at Page 1 of a story that could go in so many different directions. That's the most difficult part. I know that further testing wouldn't be everyone's next steps and I respect that. In my inner world, the certainty that can only come from counting chromosomes is vastly preferable to six months of daily worry.
And I know myself well enough to know that worry would be my life until the day I delivered.
I am telling myself - convincing myself? - that no matter what happens, it won't be the end of the world. No matter what happens, life will just keep moving forward like it always does, whether you're happy or sad, busy or bored.
This story? Regardless of how it plays out won't be more than a blip in a gigantic universe of possibilities.
But back to our current prologue. Later on in the day, I talked to family, a genetic counselor, more family, and my one friend who's not afraid to say "You know, this situation really sucks" or to bring up the fact that I've had more than my fair share of pregnancy issues. Prematurity, multiples, miscarriage, and now this, for those keeping count at home. I felt better.
A little better, anyway. So I opened that package. In it were some of the coolest maternity clothes I've ever seen, sent to me by a wonderful friend I've never met, with a beautiful card inside that simply read "Best wishes for you and the baby."
Still a reminder, but hours later, much less harsh.