A little over two weeks later, at 7 weeks after conception I had another ultrasound. This machine wasn't as good as the other machine, so the images weren't as clear, but it was still clear to my husband and I. This was a human! Still, I had no idea the twists and turns which were in store for me.
I refused most of the prenatal tests which I was pressured to allow because I didn't want to be placed in a position where I was tempted to make a decision that I didn't want to make. That may sound dumb, but I knew that if there was something wrong, I would be pressured by family, friends and society in general to abort. To me not having to make the decision meant I couldn't make the wrong choice. Despite my best efforts, God had other plans.
17 weeks after conception, I had another ultrasound. This time there was no doubt. I watched him smile, purse his lips, and even scratch his head. This was when I discovered that this beautiful child was a boy. We named him immediately. A few days later we got devastating news: I needed to get a special ultrasound because there was a kidney deformity. I scheduled an appointment with the perinatologist and had another ultrasound. Once again I saw JP's beautiful features on the screen. Then we met with the doctor. He explained what was wrong and that it could correct itself or could be surgically repaired after birth, or even in utero if necessary. Then she began to tell us that this was a marker for Down Syndrome. She presented all sorts of statistics, then handed my pamphlets on abortion. "I'm going to step out while you decide what you want to do", she said. My husband and I just looked at each other, we both knew this baby was going to be born.
When the doctor returned we told her that we were not aborting. She said, "We can do it right now. You don't even have to come back. Let me explain to procedure to you and I'll give you a few more minutes." I said, "No, I am not getting an abortion". Then she said, Well, take the papers home, look them over, and call me back. Take your time, you don't have to decide today". My husband stood up, threw the pamphlets on the desk and said, "What part of this don't you get? No abortion! We already told you no. Don't ask us again. We aren't killing our baby!"
The doctor didn't get it because she repeated, "I understand that is how you feel now, but you can always change your mind." He said, "Don't worry we won't and we won't be back" and we stormed out of the office. The doctor and the staff seemed puzzled. I wondered how many people they had pressured into abortions they didn't want to have.
The craziest part of the story is that there was only a 5% chance of Down Syndrome. 5% chance! That means there was a 95% chance of everything being just fine.
JP was born 18 weeks later, and he was very sick. However, it didn't have anything to do with either Down Syndrome or his kidneys. It turned out that he had neither problem. JP was very sick because an overdose of Pitocin which was given to speed labor. JP was born without a heartbeat. The doctors worked frantically to resuscitate him. Ironic that they used the word resuscitation because that implies admission that he had been alive prior to birth. There was no ontological change which occurred during the birth process except the change from alive to dead and alive again. It was a traumatic week as I watched this little boy suffer attached to machines which kept him alive, countless tests, and simply being separated from him.
He survived everything without any damage. He is a beautiful, perfect, intelligent three year old who is sitting next to me right now trying to add to this post. I could have missed out on playing with trucks, sloppy kisses, tight hugs, and muddy shoes if I had listened to that doctor who was completely wrong both morally and medically.