Monday, August 18, 2008

The Question of Early Detection

In recent conversations, the subject of early detection of Ds or other chromosomal defects have come up and I wanted to discuss here our thoughts. As you know, Joy and I chose to have an amniocentesis in the first trimester following a blood test that revealed that there might be a problem with John. Since delivery, we have revisited this issue many times, mainly for the sake of communicating our experience to others.

As for the amniocentesis, I realize that there are a lot of couples that don't want to take that risk. After researching the prcedure and from our experience, we felt like much of the risk was determined by the clinician and his/her skill level which some are more experienced and skilled than others. It was important to us to seek out a clinician with a lot of experience and a low rate of miscarriage.

Time is important here as the thinking is that the fusion of the amnion membrane lowers the risk. We first went to get the amniocentesis performed at 13 weeks but after seeing on the ultrasound that the membrane was not fused, we asked the Doctor to wait. I say that we asked him to wait because he told us that he could find a place that was fused and go ahead. We decided to put it off until week 15. When we returned to his office at week 15, it had fused together so that we, along with the Dr. felt that it would be o.k. to proceed.

At the time, it was emotionally tough and proved to be a long pregnancy because there was a lot of emotions that surfaced and had to be dealt with. But in looking back, we are glad that we learned early in the pregnancy as compared to finding out at birth. Finding out early gave us an opportunity to adapt emotionally. After having John here, it would have been very difficult personally and on our marriage to have to adapt to this life AND caring for a new baby and 4 other kids.

One of the reasons that I share this with you is to encourage you to take more control of your healthcare in terms of asking questions. Sometimes healthcare providers assume more of a role as the sole decision-maker instead of a facilitator of healthcare. I am of the mindset that the more information an individual has, the more apt one is to make a good decision. So the next time you have to deal with a healthcare provider about an issue, you shouldn't be intimidated into not asking questions.


Anonymous said...

Jay and Joy,

This is a wonderful blog that you have developed! It was wonderful to read about John. If you need any thing, my email is I'd be happy to visit with you any time.

Mendi Crisler

Becky Arnold said...

I love hearing daily about John Austin. Thanks for keeping us updated, Jay. I love you guys and wish we could see you this weekend, but cheer for George for us. Love you all!