17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

To Bond or not to Bond...to Keep or not to Keep...

I have only had babies in my twenties, so I haven't been faced with the amniocentesis decision (a test usually offered to pregnant women 35 and up, unless other reasons indicate it is necessary).

And to my best understanding, an amnio is done to determine birth defects or mental retardation and the sex of the baby. Knowing about a birth defect or a retardation would be so wonderful. I could attempt to prepare myself for this baby in a more specific way than if the baby was "healthy/normal".

During my last pregnancy, my midwives definitely spoke about amniocentesis as a test to determine whether or not you would take the baby to term. I found this a bit surprising, that that was the only context in which they spoke of it.

Today I met a woman who was pregnant with her third child. I could not tell by looking at her, she just volunteered it: "I have a 5-year-old, 3-year-old and third on the way...but I am getting my amnio this week so in the meantime I am trying not to get too attached."

I found this statement to be so strange. First of all, if you already have two children, what will that conversation be like when the amnio comes back abnormal and you decide to terminate? What if the amnio is abnormal, that means the child is unworthy of bonding/attachment? How do you knowingly carry a baby and purposely NOT bond with it until you are quite a ways through it?

I just did not understand exactly what she meant by that statement.

Do you?


  • Nope.

    I've never had an amnio either, but since I'll be 35 next month, if I have another baby (not in the plans) I suppose I would have to consider it.

    Consider the test- not terminating a pregnancy.

    With all three of my kids, we declined all of the routine tests they do to screen- for us, we knew it made no difference what the results were.

    I know there are women who feel differently, I don't invalidate thier p.o.v, I just can't relate.
    posted by Blogger tracy m at 9/04/2007 07:58:00 PM  

  • Times and Seasons recently had a guest poster discussing her experience adjusting with a downs syndrome baby, including interesting stats on prenatal testing, abortion, and other social and political issues with disability. check it out :)
    posted by Anonymous cchrissyy at 9/04/2007 09:23:00 PM  

  • I had an uncle with Down's, who didn't live past the age of two. I know, however, that my grandmother wished she had known beforehand because of the associated medical difficulties during and after labor--for the baby. She would have gone to a better-equipped hospital, etc.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 9/05/2007 09:55:00 AM  

  • "I am trying not to get too attached" just about broke my heart. Of course, for me, the only way to keep my sanity though pregnancy is to bond bond bond with that little parasite as soon as I know he/she is there. But I have a difficult time understanding aborting a child in almost all cases, anyway.

    I totally agree it's marvelous to know about any complications ahead of time. We found out at 21 weeks that my third baby has spina bifida. We got through so much of the angry, confusion, sadness, and mourning before he was even born (not that we didn't experience stuff like that after he was born, too), and it made dealing with all the details of hospital stays, doctors' visits, bills, etc a lot easier--we were a little more clear headed because we'd had time to get used to the idea.

    And we made sure that we were close to the right hospital when his due date approached, so that he would be just down a skywalk from my recovery room. I could touch him and nurse him and be there, instead of being twenty miles away in a different hospital.

    And, Kage, I've never heard of an amnio telling if you would take the baby to term. That's interesting! I do know they can do an amino to tell if the baby's lungs are developed enough to be born.
    posted by Blogger Keryn at 9/05/2007 11:35:00 AM  

  • From the little I've read on the internet, the amniocentesis test causes miscarriages approximately 5% of the time. That's the only guess I've got as to why someone wouldn't want to get too attached before having it.
    posted by Blogger kadusey at 9/05/2007 11:48:00 AM  

  • keryn, what I meant was that the midwives would say...get the amnio so that YOU can decide whether or not to take the baby to term....and kadusey, VERY good call...I hadn't thought of that...perhaps that is what she meant? But then I think I wouldn't take the risk then....and just skip the amnio (especially after having two "healthy/normal" children like she had).
    posted by Blogger Kage at 9/05/2007 12:07:00 PM  

  • Hi, I've watched your blog for the last few weeks and this post really got to me. I just recently had a baby and from the second I found out I was bonded with that little bean. If she was planning to terminate her pregnancy because of disability, I couldn't relate at all, but what an interesting comment to make.

    When my sister was pregnant with her first, the doctor started to get concerned because the baby was measuring oddly and they were worried about Downs Syndrome (She is a healthy little girl however). But when the risks were explained to her, she said they told her the chances of miscarriage went up about 50%. For my sister the decision to skip the amnio was simple, she planned to keep the baby either way, so she didn't want to risk it.
    posted by Blogger Tricia at 9/05/2007 01:11:00 PM  

  • When I was pregnant with DS I got the screening test that they offer in CA (do they do that everywhere?), that tests for possible problems like Downs. I'm like you Kage, I figured that if my child had an issue like that I would want to know so that I could prepare myself for that. I wouldn't want to know so that I could abort, that was certain. But I think that is a possibility for some people. How far along are you when you get an amnio? I think that is a strange comment to make. Maybe she's just bad at small talk or something?? I do sort of understand not getting too attached because I had a miscarriage and when I was finally pregnant with my first (after the miscarriage), I felt a little detached until I heard the heartbeat and reached that 12 week mark.
    posted by Blogger Beth at 9/05/2007 01:21:00 PM  

  • I'm pretty sure you can get an amnio through most of the pregnancy. When I was pregnant with my daughter, a doctor who was covering for my OBGYN and who I will never see again told me my baby had Trisomy 13 and said "you know that's fatal, right?" I firmly believe an OB should never say those words to a pregnant mom! After realizing the ramifications, I immediately felt I should get an amnio and scheduled it for the next day. I truly felt that if I needed to prepare to bury my newborn, I needed to know, despite the risk of miscarriage. The perinatologist (prenatal high-risk specialist) who was going to perform the amnio was surprised to see us there after looking at our previous ultrasound (the one that had prompted the first doctor's diagnosis) and did her own ultrasound first and declared my daughter in perfect health. I'm glad I went for the amnio to have the perinatologist ease my mind but I'm even more glad that I didn't have to have the amnio after all.

    sorry, that was longer than i meant it to be.
    posted by Blogger Liz&Meg at 9/05/2007 02:46:00 PM  

  • FWIW (seeing as I'm not a doctor nor do I play one on TV), I know you can have an amnio clear up until delivery, because we thought I'd have to have one in my 38th week to check the lungs. As it turned out, I didn't have one, but the number they gave me on the risk of miscarriage were more like 0.5% these days, because of guided needles and ultrasounds at the same time. (The other risk of a amnio, going into labor, is obviously different at 12 weeks than at 38 weeks.)
    posted by Blogger Keryn at 9/05/2007 05:10:00 PM  

  • I guess I am a little like this woman because I decidedly try to not become too attached to my babies until we have passed the monumental 1st trimester because I know how fragile those first 12 weeks can be. I guess I just try to protect myself emotionally.

    On a side note, my mom got pregnant with me at age 44. I remember her telling me that her doctor pushed her to get an amnio because of there wasa high risk that I would have Down Syndrome. She told him no thank you because the results didn't matter to her. For some reason I still find great comfort in her decision. It is a great example of the unconditional love of a mother.

    Still, I think I might have gotten an amnio in her situation just so I could prepare myself for an "abnormal" situation I might need to face in the future (like Kage said).
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 9/05/2007 09:59:00 PM  

  • I don't know if I would get an amnio to find out about possible defects, but I know it can be a great blessing, even if you're planning on keeping the baby no matter what.

    A friend of mine not too long ago had a baby who they discovered had some heart defects, etc, on an ultrasound. They did an amnio to find out if the problems they could see were caused by an underlying genetic defect. They were, and it's a defect that means that the baby usually only lives a few minutes after birth. Because they knew this, they had my parents wait in the hospital with their other kids while she was having the baby. He ended up living for 45 minutes, during which he received a name and a blessing, they got pictures, and all of his siblings got to hold and love him. If they hadn't known about the problems, they wouldn't have been prepared to make the most of his short life.
    posted by Anonymous Vada at 9/06/2007 01:51:00 PM  

  • I have had a miscarriage, (in fact stories from the Tales girls really helped me through it), and I find myself making comments about, 'not getting attached,' until after my ultrasound, or doctor's appointment, or whatever. I just worry something might be wrong and I know the ultrasound will show me if there is something.

    I know girls who have had abortions and the thing that strikes me the most is that they are JUST like we are; except they have been raised with a slightly different set of values. These are girls who value chastity, value God, and value family (and children). For whatever reason they feel compelled that they cannot carry this baby full-term. Becoming friends with these girls has really opened my eyes to people's different situations.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 9/07/2007 10:34:00 AM  

  • vada, that's the exact reason why I would want an amnio I think...unless the ultrasound alone could determine that. anon, thank you so much for your perspective. I agree with you. I think before meet someone who has had or has considered an abortion, one pictures some monster of a woman who would do that, but then you see that they are just like you, just have a different perspective, and it changes things doesn't it?
    posted by Blogger Kage at 9/07/2007 01:21:00 PM  

  • I have never had an amnio and I've always turned down the tests that would likely give me a "false alarm" that something was wrong- since there are more false positives with these tests. I am totally connected with my babies from day 1 of the pregnancy and especially when I feel that first kick. I have 3 healthy children, 1 child with major health issues, and I am pregnant w/ #5. We had NO IDEA our daughter had the health issues she had until after she was born- and I have to say, I am glad I didn't know. I would have worried myself to death over something I couldn't control. It was much easier to get the diagnosis while I was holding my baby girl after she was born. Either way, NOTHING would convince me to terminate--- and unfortunately, it seems as though those of us who feel this way are becoming the minority.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 9/09/2007 07:13:00 PM  

  • "From the little I've read on the internet, the amniocentesis test causes miscarriages approximately 5% of the time"

    Well, not really. It increases the normal risk of miscarriage by approximately .5% (so amnio-induced miscarriages are quite rare, much rarer than 5%)
    posted by Blogger Kristine at 9/11/2007 07:54:00 PM  

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