Friday, June 24, 2011

I Think I'll Pass on That Needle in My Belly, Thanks.

If you've ever been pregnant and had your care done through an OB office, you've probably been offered the option of genetics testing in the first trimester. While for some women and families this is an important step in preparing for a new baby, it was not a step I was anxious to take...and so I opted out of it.

Throughout my life an important theme I've seemed to learn and work with is rolling with the punches. I've learned that things rarely go as planned, and there's nothing you can do but go with the flow when things don't work your way. While it's something I've often found frustrating and a lesson I've struggled to learn (out of my own stubbornness and need to plan things centuries in advance), it's a concept I've actually chosen to work with in starting my family.

As I mentioned before, I'm a planner. Ask anyone who knows me well...I like to know what's happening, when, where, why, what's the backup plan and who's going to be there. It's a quality that has suited me well when it came to planning things like Student Government events in college, parties galore (especially my wedding) and even billboard decorating in my pre-school classroom. Yes, I'm the girl that needs a plan....except when it comes to my kids apparently.

When the topic of genetics testing came up at my first few appointments, I knew right away I was going to refuse the option. For someone who is such a planner, I even surprised myself with this one. I've decided that if there is going to be some issue or exceptionality with my child, we will deal with it as it comes. I don't want to be worrying about those things, or stressing about them while I'm pregnant. And while some may feel that genetics testing will help them be more prepared for a child with exceptional needs, I feel that the testing, for me at least, would be more of a stressor and a set-back. I want to enjoy my pregnancy and enjoy getting to know my baby without worrying about results from tests that aren't always accurate. I'd rather roll with the punches.

Besides, some of that testing is scarily invasive. Among the testing options I was offered, one testing strategy suggested that if abnormal results were found, an amniocentesis would be performed to further analyze my baby. Call me crazy but the idea of having a giant needle stuck in my belly, that could potentially poke my child if not done correctly, is not so appealing. In fact, I find it down right scary.

And then there's always the ever pleasant false-positive results that so many women experience. Again, call me crazy but I'd rather not spend my pregnancy worrying about an abnormality that I'm being told my child has, only for my baby to be born perfectly fine. I think I'd much rather have the least-stressful pregnancy possible, with the least amount of worry possible (other than the worries you already experience in pregnancy), and handle things as they come. For me at least, not stressing over those things, I think, is helping to keep myself and my baby happy and healthy.

Genetics testing is a personal decision, and while it's right for some families (and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that), it's just not right for mine. I think I'll pass on having that needle stuck in my belly, thanks.


  1. Go you! I wish I got to pass on some of it, because it is SO expensive & time consuming, but with my history of congenital defects (I was born with heart defects) I don't really get to opt out the same way people with "healthy" backgrounds do. I didn't do anything invasive though, because I am scared of needles and yeah the possibility of them hurting baby was scary!

  2. I felt the same way, and I knew that no matter what the tests revealed (or didn't), that we'd love and welcome any baby into our home. Yes, I understand passing on the needle!