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Marla Sokoloff’s Blog: My Second Trimester Scare

10/26/2011 at 09:00 AM ET
Courtesy Marla Sokoloff

Thanks for welcoming our newest celebrity blogger, Marla Sokoloff!

Since audiences first got to know her at age 12 as Gia on Full House, Sokoloff has had many memorable TV roles — Jody on Party of Five, Lucy on The Practice, Claire on Desperate Housewives – as well as turns on the big screen in Whatever It Takes, Dude, Where’s My Car? and Sugar & Spice.

Sokoloff, 30, also sings and plays guitar and released an album, Grateful, in 2005.

She wed her husband, music composer Alec Puro, in November 2009 and the couple — plus pup Coco Puro — make their home in Los Angeles. They expect their first child this winter.

You can find Marla, who’s now 25 weeks pregnant, on Twitter.

The moment I found out I was pregnant, I instantly felt different. Not physically different but mentally, I was in a newfound headspace. My brain was completely consumed with thoughts of BABY. (Let’s be honest — I had major baby brain way before that little stick told me I was pregnant!)

I knew our lives were going to change drastically, and I truly loved the thought of it. I walked around all day with a giant smile on my face, knowing I had this exciting secret.

The first four months were (thankfully) uneventful. I didn’t even have one second of morning sickness or nausea. I had the Preggie Pops and the Sea-Bands standing by, but they were never needed. (Ladies, don’t kill me — I have no idea how I got out of that one!)

I assumed the next few months were going to be filled with stretch mark and weight gain worries … when my pregnancy took a scary turn.

Around 17 weeks, I got a call from my doctor saying some of my second trimester blood work was looking a bit abnormal. Knowing that lots of women get a “false positive” on these tests, I tried to remain calm until further testing was done. (By calm, I mean hysterically crying until we got to the doctor’s office.)

The next morning, my husband and I sat in the genetic counselor’s office discussing our “options” if the test was in fact positive for a serious birth defect. They were throwing out everything from spina bifida to Down syndrome.

I was completely crushed. I was already so attached to my little girl. She has a name. I talk to her, I sing her songs … she has to be okay.

After a detailed ultrasound, our doctor recommended amniocentesis to investigate further. In that moment, I started to remember reading about amnios in all of my baby books. Wait — didn’t they say the needle was seven inches long?!

I squeezed my husband’s hand for dear life and prayed it would be over quickly. (The amnio wasn’t my favorite activity of all time — but I recommend closing your eyes and breathing as if labor has already started to ease the pain.)

As the nurse wiped the betadine off of my belly, I started to feel like I had been punched in the gut. My positive attitude that I tried so desperately to hold on to went flying out the window and was replaced with complete and utter fear.

The next few days were spent on the couch covered in tears. I literally couldn’t function. The thought of something being wrong with our baby was just too unbearable to even think about. The only thing in the world that I wanted was for this little girl to be okay. Nothing else mattered.

After 10 agonizing days, our amnio results came back showing a perfectly healthy little girl. The abnormal blood work was, in fact, a false positive. I took my first deep breath in almost two weeks and then returned to my oh-so-familiar state of hysterical crying. Only this time, they were happy tears.

Being pregnant has officially turned me into a worrywart. My first worry was, “Can I get pregnant?” The next was, “How can I keep baby safe in there?” The list can go on … if I allow it.

The complete lack of control hasn’t been easy for this control freak. Every day, I try my best to be calm and stay present — prenatal yoga has definitely helped me with that. I know that this little scare is just the first of many parent tests that we have coming our way!

Whenever I start to panic or veer off-track, I feel her little kick in my belly, and I know that’s her way of saying, “Mom relax … everything is going to be okay.”

Thanks for letting me share my story — would love to hear yours as well! Leave me a comment below (I’ve been reading them all!) or send me a Tweet @marlasok.

– Marla Sokoloff

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Showing 211 comments

J on

Oh my goodness! I’m glad everything is okay. :D

L on

I had the same scare and couldn’t go through with Amnio. Thankfully my daughter was born healthy. False positives are a nightmare…

JESS on

Wow! I would love to say I can’t imagine the fear you had, and the relief you felt when you found out your little girl is ok.

My daughter is 2 and I swear she scares me on almost a daily basis, but with so much love and laughter and that sparkle in her eyes, I know life can’t get much better. Best of luck to you and your family.

Steph on

I am so glad to hear that all is well with baby girl! The minute that parenthood journey begins…the worry begins….and I don’t think it ever goes away. There is always something to have a good worry about- hopefully you can just manage it well :)

meme on

I have heard of too many people getting false positives on these tests, so I opted not to have them done for my three pregnancies. Thank goodness I was blessed with healthy babies.

A false would surely add a lot of stress to a woman during her pregnancy.(which she doesn’t need) I am glad she got good results.

Mel on

I’m so glad to hear everything is ok.

When I was pregnant with my almost two year old, I was told that she may have down syndrome. My husband told me that it would be ok, and if she did have down syndrome, we would still love her and give her a wonderful life. No matter was she was still our little girl. My doctor suggested an amnio, but I didn’t want to risk it.

When I had my level 2 sonogram, the doctor said she was perfect. Nothing ever sounded so sweet. She will be two next week and is doing great. As all mothers know, she is your typical two year old….and I still love her. LOL!

Jessica on

Marla,

I know your worries. I had the same thing happen to me when I was pregnant with a girl. My results did not end well – my daughter ended having her brain outside her skull. That was the worst day of my life, except I was glad I did the testing so I knew at 19 weeks instead of 20 weeks later.

I had the same worries again when I became pregnant with a boy! Luckily my results this time were false, it was due to me bleeding throughout my pregnancy. I now have a healthy one year old son, who’s active as crazy.

Know that everything will be fine and if there is something wrong your body will tell you. Try and not worry (even though that’s easier said than done) because it does not do you any good.

I wish you the best of luck, and a healthy rest of your pregnancy.

Jess

Izzie's Mom on

I had the first trimester screen, which looks for similar markers as the one done in the second trimester.

We went through 3 weeks of absolute torture waiting to find out if our baby was okay due to abnormal bloodwork and ultrasound results.

Never have I been so scared in my whole life. I couldn’t eat, sleep, or think of anything else, other than is my baby going to be okay. I cried until there were no more tears in me. What a nightmare!

Luckily, after having a CVS (a test done earlier than an amnio) to determine if the babies chromosomes were normal, we found out everything was perfectly fine and that the baby was a girl! But the waiting was horrible, especially when they would tell you the results should be back in 7 days and it ends up being 10.

We were blessed that everything was okay, but they still wanted to do extra ultrasounds on her heart and all kinds of things just to be sure. Finally, we told them “ENOUGH!” with it and delivered a perfectly healthy baby girl.

Those screenings are not all they are cracked up to be. More often than not, they cause a lot of undue pain and suffering!

Kat on

I had to go through genetic testing when I was found to be a carrier for cystic fibrosis – that genetic counselor’s office was petrifying! The result seem to take years, and the doctors don’t seem to understand how much they are scaring you. Luckily (after a bunch of tests) we found my husband wasn’t, but I never feel like I failed someone so much in my life.

Over a year later we have the most beautiful healthy little girl about to celebrate her first birthday.

My dad is adopted from a state that sealed the records, so we know nothing about his background. I feel for my brother when he decides to start his family.

Jill on

I am so glad that everything turned out ok.

I have a beautiful two year old daughter, Addison, who is the light and love of all of our lives. I had a very high risk pregnancy and also developed gestational diabetes at six months. As someone who hates needles I never would have believed that I would be injecting myself twice a day for the duration of my pregnancy but I would have done anything for the health of my baby.

I cannot even tell you the joy and absolute love you will feel for your child-you think you know already just feeling her in your tummy but just wait until you hold her, until she calls you Momma, until she laughs…..it gets better everyday!! Best Wishes!!

Mom2TwinBoys on

I know exactly what you went through, as well. In my case, I was pregnant with twins. We just had our level 2 ultrasound and we found out that we were having boys. Just as our hopes were sky-high, the doctor announced that there appeared to be an issue with baby boy B (as they so lovingly called him).

As painful as the decision was, my husband and I opted to have a double-amnio. I was never in so much pain – physically or emotionally. We spent the next hour or so, meeting with the genetic counselor, having an unknown number of vials of blood drawn, crying and crying (and exhausting their supply of crappy doctor-office tissues). the next two weeks were AGONY.

When I got the good news that the tests all came back positive, I cried the same way I cried when I found out I was pregnant. My boys are 4 now and you’d never know that there was an ‘issue’.

Sarah on

I had a scare when i was pregnant and thought wow i can’t wait until the worry is over since when they are inside you how do you control how safe they are, must be easier when they are out surely…

yes and no…my son is almost 2 and i worry about everything but try to tell myself everyday to do the very best i can and hope that he grows into a healthy and happy man….

i must say that inbetween all the worry about moments that take your breath away or make your heart double in size so when it’s all added up in the end it makes for a wonderful ride that once you’ve gotten on you’ll never want to get off :)

enjoy your pregnancy…worries and all..you’ll actually miss that bump and those kicks once she’s born..crazy i know but it’s true

Kenzie on

I’m glad everything is ok :) I couldn’t even imagine having a scare like that.

My daughter is now 2 months and she is amazing!! i love her bunches. But all day I would constantly worry if she was ok in there, but she too would give me a kick to let me know “yep i’m ok take a chill pill mom” LOL

GOOD LUCK WITH EVERYTHING!!! :D

Lindsey on

Thank you for sharing your story! I know being pregnant is completely nerve wracking. Sharing your experiences with other moms is really helpful even after the baby is born. I hope you continue to blog after your little one arrives!

TJ on

Well, so glad everything is fine! But you will continue to worry even after they are born, even more so. With sleeping, teething, eating, various colors of poop, developmental stuff, it goes on and on. You never do stop worrying. That’s our job right? My mom says she still worries about me and I’m a little over 40! My son is 5 and he’s in school, that starts a whole new worry.

Believe it or not, the babyhood, toddlerhood and preschool years are the easiest and BEST times. Once they go to school, whole new world. And it goes by so darn fast! So enjoy those cuddle times, those sleepless nights, those toothless smiles and those slobbery kisses.

When you rock your baby at night, close your eyes and breath her in and imprint it in your mind. The first few weeks are hectic and it’s easy to miss those little sweet times. Try to stay calm and slow down. Take LOTS of pictures and videos. They change so much the first year and you will not believe it when your baby is a year old and then 2.

When you look back in a few years, you will realize it was all pretty easy. And you wil laugh at yourself when you worried about green poop or your baby not drinking exactly 4 ounces of milk.

Even when you freak out when your child is crying and you can’t figure out what to do, you will, you will. Have faith in yourself. You will learn it all. Give it some time.

I’ve loved each stage so far but I’m really not looking forward to the teen years. I wish there was a way to freeze time.

Lynne on

Hi Marla!

Since I’m an older mom (I was 41 when I got pregnant with my 4th child, 11 years after twins), we were advised to do the special screening. The ultrasounds and blood tests. Totally nerve racking since I didn’t have half of this stuff to deal with when I had my twins!

Although having all of those great ultrasound pictures (you don’t get that many in a “normal” pregnancy), it was a huge stresser, and expensive.

We had already decided that if anything was wrong with our baby girl, I was still going to have her, so we opted not to do the amnio as well. Emma Victoria was born perfect on January 23rd this year, and is such a great baby–even started walking already. So they give you worry when they’re in, and give you worry when they’re out-but it’s truly the best gig in town!!

Best of luck to you and your husband–you’ll do great!!

heyirish on

That’s exactly why I opted out of any of the testing with all three pregnancies. Any tests they could have given me would have shown a healthy baby when in fact my middle child has autism and my youngest had a congenital birthmark that had her riddled with complications and in the hospital for her first year of life.

I knew I wasn’t guaranteed’ “perfection” so I decided to just let it go and enjoy every minute of being pregnant.

Best of luck with the rest of the pregnancy! Can’t wait to hear what you name you’ve picked!

melissa on

I had the same thing happen to me. I was about as far along as you were and i got a false positive on the same test. I reacted like you did with all the hysterical crying except i was blaming myself and i was trying to not blame my boyfriend.

We had to see a genetic counselor as well and the lady was a total biotch. She said that there was a big chance that something was wrong with the baby and a small chance that everything is ok. So we got the detailed ultrasound and everything looked great. So they offered the amnio and i couldn’t do it. But they did another ultrasound when i was 34 weeks and everything looked great.

So we were so relieved and i gave birth to my beautiful healthy baby boy last month. My son is so amazing and i hope you get as lucky as me and get a super happy baby. I wish you the best of luck and all the happiness in the world.

Shannon on

How scary! Glad everything was OK after all.

JC on

I love how people read into all the horror stories about false positives than choose not to have any testing done when an issue might be able to be taken care of so the baby is healthy.

Harley on

Yikes! I’m glad everything turned out well!

@Jessica – I can’t even begin to imagine what you went through. You’re a brave woman to have chosen a 2nd pregnancy; I think I would have been too afraid. Very happy you have a healthy little boy!

Rebecca Jayne on

I had the exact same experience as you, and for that reason with my second pregnancy I decided to be proactive and request a CVS, which is similar to the Amnio but they can do it much earlier in the pregnancy. My first child was totally fine and so is my second, but with the second I didn’t have any of the stress.

Plus, that way you find out what you want to know BEFORE knowing the sex and having named and bonded with the pregnancy. Congratulations on your good results!

Monica on

I have 2 girls and did not do any of those tests with either pregnancy. One of my books said that like 60% of the positive results are false positives and that mostly those tests just scare moms and result in further invasive tests like amnio (which carries a risk of miscarriage). After I read that I said no way. My husband and I knew that we’d never terminate regardless so we didn’t need the additional worries.

My friend’s daughter did the test and tested positive for spina bifida. She had further tests (not amnio) and had to see a high risk OB and worried her whole pregnancy. She gave birth to a completely healthy boy in August. So all that extra worries for nothing!

So I always advise mothers that unless they plan to terminate if the results come back positive, save yourself the worries and skip the tests all together. That is why they are optional.

Diane on

I had scares with 3 out of 4 pregnancies and all were false positives. Sometimes it is great to have all this technology and sometimes when they come out wrong you have to question it.

Cindy on

I exactly know how you feel, I went thru the same exact thing with my second son. My first baby was born 7 weeks early and every day was a battle to get him to where he was supposed to be, but thankfully he pulled through although we wet through many scary moments.

Needless to say when I got pregnant again I was terrified that my baby would not make it to full term, but when my doctor told me about some abnormal blood work my heart just dropped to the floor, I was in complete shock and just felt so guilty, thinking it was my fault.

My Amniocentesis day came and I was just unbelievably scared, the waiting period was just pure torture.

Long story short, 2 weeks later my Doctor called and assured me my little baby boy was completely healthy. Now I have 2 beautiful healthy sons that are the light of my life : )

Nathansmommy on

I’m happy that your little girl is healthy. If the results had come back that she had some physical issues that would have been ok also. She is your daughter and the love you have for her would have remained the same :)

We opted out of having that testing done with our pregnancy. I had heard of the false positives and if we did get a positive result would we have done something different? Of course not! We welcomed our little boy in May and he is just the way he is supposed to be.

Congratulations to you! Enjoy this time. Looking back my pregnancy went by in a blink of an eye!

Maria Coan on

Welcome to the world of motherhood!! Congrats on a healthy baby!!

Nicole on

Becoming a Mommy brings the worry wart out in full force and unfortunately it only gets worse after they are born! But once you get out the the little baby stage and they trip or fall once or twice and don’t end up in the hospital you loosen up just a bit. :)

momof 3 on

I had to go through all of this with my first child. My quad screen showed a false positive for Trisomy 18, a condition where the baby usually dies during pregnancy or immediately after delivery. We went through genetic counseling and the amnio as well. It was the scariest time for us.

With my other two pregancies, I only allowed them to run the AFP (tests for neural tube defects) because it something they would need to know for a safe delivery.

Mandy on

Oh I’m so sorry you had to go through that but I’m glad everything is OK. There are a lot of false positives. Hoping you and your honey are doing fine now. Good luck!

kirsty on

We did not run the tests, we had false positives in our family and saw no point to them since we would not terminate in the first place. When our dr talked to use about them I asked what the point was of doing them and he said you could decide to terminate if there was something wrong but I said we had no plans for that so we did not go ahead with the tests.

Andrea on

Congrats on a healthy baby and easy pregnancy thus far!! While all my tests were always negative I also took time to worry because that’s what I do. Also, the ladies in my family have babies MUCH LATER than most women. My aunt had her first at 40 and her second at 45. My mom had me at 37 which today is nothing but a HUGE deal in 1978. My great grandmother had one at 43. Everyone of them, icluding myself turned out just fine.

I”m so thrilled for you guys and I hope she’s as gorgeous as you!

rachel on

I did the testing during pregnancy as i was going to be 35 at delivery and due to my backround. I tested as a carrier for sandhoff disease. Unlike some moms here, had my husband been a carrier& the baby positive, i would have terminated the pregnancy, but that is me. Luckily my husband was not a carrier, so there was no risk to my son. He is now 2& 1/2, healthy, beautiful and amazing.

I was grateful to have had all the information i needed to be informed & although it was incredibly stressful I would do it again. I only advise women to try to be screened for potential genetic issues before they ever get pregnant & that way they will truly know what could lie ahead. We all now we can’t plan for everything, but knowledge is power!

childadvocate on

I understand the fear of health problems during pregnancy for both mother and baby can be quite upsetting but I cringed at reading “something wrong with our baby”. What would have happened if she was born with Down Syndrome? Would you tell her there was something “wrong” with her? There are much more respsectful ways to speak about birth defects and disabilities and I recommend you read up on it before writing such offensive words that are probably being read by people living with some of the conditions you were so terrified of facing.

Cyn on

Oh my gosh! Thanks for sharing. I am 9 weeks pregnant with my second and I hope I have a smooth pregnancy like the first. God bless you and your baby.

Aimee Costello on

I am so happy your little girl is healthy! I went through the same thing with my daughter except her measurements was the red flag. She ended up passing away 4 hours after birth (she was 37 weeks and came herself!) on August 17, 2011. I miss her very much!!

Kat on

This was so reassuring and nice to read–especially since it has a happy ending! I am 18 weeks pregnant with my first child and am the biggest worrier of all. I constantly wonder if I am doing things right or if the baby is happy. I know I shouldn’t, but I depend on those little movements to remind me like you said, “It’s ok mom, relax!”

It helps to read about others experience that are going through exactly what you are. Thanks for sharing!

mommyto3 on

Congratulations! Just know it your job as a mommy to worry. We as women can’t help ourselves its natural. Thankfully I had 3 healthy babies but I was a nervous wreck thru all three pregnancies.

Ashley on

I had to go through the same thing after the first ultrasound came up with the “thickness of the neck” being too large. This relates to down syndrome. I was 12 weeks when they wanted me to go to a specialist because of it. I was a wreck. The specialist can not even see you til you are 16 weeks. So 4 weeks of worry later we finally went to the specialist. They did all the measurements and it looked as though everything was measuring normal again.

The doctor still recommended an amniocentesis because of the first ultrasound measurements. We went ahead and got it. We later got the news that everything was fine. It is nerve wrecking and I can not imagine anyone having to go through this, much less get results they were praying they would not get.

Leann on

I find it extremely sad that in this day & age spina bifida (and down’s) are treated like they are the worst thing in the world. My son has spina bifida. Outside of not being able to walk as well as the other kids and a few medical issues, he is just like any other kid.

Just because he had a birth defect does not mean he is not “okay”.

I wouldn’t trade for anything.

nodiscrimination on

childadvocate I am so happy you posted and that there are people like you out there!

I am also very offended by the comment that there is “something wrong” with a person who has Down Syndrome or Spina Bifida, etc. I know many other people who would also be offended. After all speaking this way is a form of discrimination.

There is a way to discuss this issue with respect to people living with these conditions – and to those who advocate for them.

I suggest checking out this PSA by Jane Lynch and Lauren Potter:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcst3ORXoVk

All that being said, I am happy your experiencing a healthy pregnancy! We all need to remember how blessed we are, no matter the circumstances we were born with.

ELC on

Wishing you and your family (plus new addition) a long and happy life together.

Halley on

I agree with Monica, the optional screenings just make people crazy! The rate of false positives are so high, we skipped them all together with both of my boys.

I do understand that fear though. When I was 19 weeks with my second son, they found that his heart was skipping beats. We had to see the neonatologist every week, and I was sure his heart would stop beating at any moment. I cried all the time, because I felt so helpless. I would see him on the sonogram every week and worried that his “funny” heartbeat was hurting him or making him weak and there was nothing I could do. It was awful.

The doctors said it was quite possible that he would grow out of it before birth and only a very small chance it would turn into something serious. Sure enough, by 26 weeks, he’d grown out of it, and had a normally beating heart. My smiley, beautiful, sweet hazel eyed boy was born totally healthy in July :)

I understand what you went through, and its awful, but the good news is, your baby is fine! I wish you many blessings and happiness for the journey ahead.

Pauline on

I understand the terror that goes through a person’s mind while they are worried about the health of an unborn child. My now-32mo daughter caused me terror more than once. I got that lovely little 2nd line just days before my 42nd birthday. And she was the first pregnancy I have carried to term.

I bled through my 1st trimester with no discernible reason available. The only upside, I got to see the baby’s heartbeat way earlier than I would have otherwise. They only did the U/S because I had so much bleeding they were sure I was miscarrying. I was not.

At 13.5weeks, I had an anaphylactic reaction, and had a very low blood-Oxygen level. I feared for the baby, but I was assured by the knowledgeable doctors that treated me that the baby would have more oxygen than myself, as the placenta gets greedy around that time. I also missed my early screening because of the reaction, I was on the wrong coast of the country. My high-risk OB was not pleased. She was also not pleased that I was not going to do any other screening than the ultrasounds, unless one of them showed a problem.

My 20wk U/S showed a healthy baby, and they kept showing healthy (I was high risk so had lots of them). I was put off work at 24 weeks (swelling in my feet/legs), and delivered 2 days prior to 38 weeks.

MissB is now 32 months, and just a joy to behold. There is no evidence in her that I suffered the reaction, had low Oxygen levels, etc. Her brain works very well, and we have to work to keep a step ahead of her. My husband and I fall in love with her more every day.

Thank you for sharing your journey, and I pray the rest of your pregnancy doesn’t cause you terror again! Health & Peace.

Laura on

Been a fan of yours for a long time. I’m so glad baby is ok and wish you all the best in your pregnancy and beyond. :-)

AK on

I was terrified through my pregnancy too. They kept seeing something on the ultra sound. They kept seeing a whiteness in the intestional area of the baby. There is a medical term for it but I cant think of it now- nor would I be able to spell it.

They did a genetic test on me and I came back postive for Cystic Fibrosis. Didnt know what it was- never seen it in my family. Then my husband went for a test- he came back negative. WHEW!! or so we thought. The ultra sound kept coming up with the whiteness. They gave my husband another test- a mouthwash test that tested more than the blood test. He came back positive for the Cystic Fibrosis gene. Our whole world sank.

It was time to do an amnio. That showed the baby did indeed have cystic fibrosis. The rest of the pregnancy was haunted with the “unknown”. They couldnt tell us what the baby was going to be like- it varies with different types of genes that are passed from the parents. She spent the first weeks of her life in the NICU. The whiteness was her first bowel movement and it did not pass within the first three days. They had to operate. I was beyond horrified when the doctor came in and told me.

She is a trooper and came through with flying colors. If you met her you wouldnt be able to tell she had any condition. As parents we must be very viligent with her care and we have to teach her the importance of keeping on it too.

If I could go back and get a “healthy” child would I do it- No I wouldnt change a thing. She is my angel and I believe God doesnt give us more than what we can handle. She is perfect and she is teaching me everyday.

So if you are pregnant and it starts to get scary- go with it- learn as much as you can and be supportive of your partner- you are in this together. In the end it is all worth it!!!

Jen in CA on

I had the same scare at 5 months. I went in for the genetic counseling, and a more in depth ultrasound. Our fears were relieved when the doctor put the ultrasound wand on my belly and we saw that there were TWO babies in there! Somehow one of them figured out how to hide when I had my THREE prior ultrasounds! After that the doctor re-ran the numbers based on twins and all was within range.

Congrats on your pregnancy Marla!

RE on

I HAD THE SAME THING WITH MY 3RD I HAD THE TEST AND WAS SCARED TO DEATH I WATCHED EVERYTHING I EVEN SEE MY LIL BOY GRAB THE NEEDLE THE DR SAID THAT WAS THE FIRST TIME HE EVER SAW THAT,BUT IT TURNED OUT FINE HES A VERY HEALTHY 16 YEAR OLD TODAY!!!!

Kris on

You dont know how many women have had the same scare, only to give birth to a healthy baby. Amniocentisis and the FSH test are risky and you can lose a perfectly healthy baby over it- not worth the risk if you want that child bad enough.

Sorry for the strong words but I have been TTC for over a year now; I am in my late 30′s and once I get that positive test I’m not going to do anything more intrusive than an ultrasound. I also would not terminate a pregnancy over Spina Bifida-my cousin has it, and the only thing she can’t do is walk without assistance. She is married, has kids, and lives a pretty full life despite her ‘disability.’

Meg on

I miscarried my first child last week at 11 weeks. I understand the fear and pain of losing a child first hand. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. SO SO happy her baby is okay!

Vanessa on

oh my, i almost cried just reading this.

my first pregnancy was a breeze, no sickness and my baby girl was healthy. my second pregancy, the same, but one i had our little man, we had a scare with a false positive reading on a newborn screening which TERRIFIED the both of us!

i completely understand what you went thru except we our baby was already born, so i can only imagine how you felt prior to being able to hold your little one in your arms. thankfully, it was not the case.

i’m sure your baby girl will turn out precious! enjoy every moment!! they grow up way too fast!!

Alicea on

Thanks for the update! I’m glad to see your little girl is doing well. I’m right behind you at 22 weeks. My little boy (first and conceived after 6 years of IVF) has given me many a scare so far. Abnormal bleeding through the first trimester, false positive testing for genetic disorders. Luckily his last U/S showed him growing right on schedule and perfectly healthy.

Still, I was a mess..until last week. I finally started to feel him kick. Now when I get a stressed (usually right before a Dr’s appt), my lil boy gives me a kick and I know it’s his way of telling me he is ok and thriving. Keep treasuring every moment of this pregnancy and best of luck to your family in the future!!

discrete on

I’m so glad it turned out well for you. But a word of caution to others. I had the amnio test and miscarried 3 days later. I lost my only son.

I cannot tell you how devasting that loss was. I don’t mean to scare, but it does happen.

Lisa on

I had my daughter when I was 39. I had a scare too w/ the lab work on a blood test. They told me there was a chance my daughter could have Down’s. They told me I could have amnio or not. I didn’t think I could go through it so I let myself worry for several weeks and just finally said, “What will be is what is meant to be.”

My daughter was born two weeks early and I have high blood pressure with her and I had gestational diabetes (don’t let people tell you that you can’t take blood from your thumb! lol). I learned how to take it from both sides of my fingers and to also only use two fingers each day (had to check 4 times a day!!) so that the other two would get get a break!

My daughter was smaller than what they thought she would be. She was 9 in May. She was born with a bilateral cleft lip and a slight cleft of the palate. She had surgery at 3 months on her lip and just had a bone graft procedure in August of this year. She handled it better than I did! She has one more procedure on her nose in a couple of years. Other than braces for all her dental problems with the cleft, she is a very bright A student who loves riding her bike, loves animals especially dogs, and loves dancing and music.

So, things truly worked out as they were meant to be and I wouldn’t trade her for anything in the world even with all we’ve been through.

Jerica on

Glad everything is ok!! Being a parent is scary and fun!!! :))

Jessica on

I am 32 weeks pregnant with my second daughter. At my 26 week checkup they told me that they saw something that looked slightly unusual on the ultrasound I had done 2 weeks prior. The doctor told me it was most likely nothing and to not worry, but how could I not. I cried everyday for a week until I went for 3d ultrasound. Luckily everything is fine and my littlest girl is perfectly normal. Best of luck to you and your little girl.

Anonymous on

What would be wrong with having a child with Down Syndrome? NOTHING!

Laura on

That same thing happenend to my sister a little over a year ago. At 22 weeks pregnant she was told her baby had down syndrome. Through an ultrasound many abnormalities were found. The next day she decided to go to a more known clinic, or a larger clinic and talked to a genetic counselor. They decided that no matter what they would keep this baby. Through a more extensive ultrasound the baby was found to be normal. I was only 6 weeks ahead of her in my pregnancy and it just felt too close to home. Thankfully her son is a healthy, thriving one year old now.

Melissa on

False positives are more common than I think many women realize before they go through it. So glad everything is o.k. We are also having a little girl (due in Jan). It’s been a roller coaster ride. Maybe this is life’s way of preparing us for raising children. It’s only the beginning I guess. Hang in there and lots of luck to you!

Lauren on

Marla, I have already so enjoyed reading your blog! I love that you are honest with your emotions and truly let the reader know what your thoughts are. I can’t wait until we find out what your little girl’s name is!

Jamie on

Although I don’t think Marla meant any harm, and I am very happy her child is healthy, I agree with @childadvocate. Topics such as disabilities and even amniocentesis should be handled sensitively and with extreme care.

Also, please remember that amnios don’t ensure a healthy baby. In other words, whenever you choose to become a mom, you also choose to take on the responsibility of tackling all sorts of complications that might occur with your children. We all want confirmation that our children will turn out OK, but no test can guarantee that!

stacy on

I completly understand my son has spina bifida and my whole world came crashing down when I was told the news. I had prenatal surgery with him at 23 weeks and he was born at 30 he had a rough start but he is so amazing and I wouldnt trade him for a perfect baby.

Jennifer on

I had the same exact thing happen to me and I am glad all worked out for you. It worked out as well for me with a CVS test and my son is a happy and healthy little guy. God is good. Enjoy your baby girl.

Wendy on

I’m happy you’re baby girl is okay. Babies change your life from the moment you know they are coming. Congratulations on your beautiful family.

legalbeagle on

To those who have lost newborns or have miscarried, my deepest sympathies. I have watched a dear friend go through miscarriages and then losing a newborn. I can’t begin to imagine the heartache and the pain! Please know that I would hug all of you if I could!

Susan on

I’m so glad you’re blogging, I love all your movies, you’re very relate-able ;)

I have two boys and each was born premature about 33 weeks,so I totally get the pregnancy worry. They are both totally happy and healthy, so try to relax, plan out everything you can to keep your control addiction busy, and remember that God will be there for you and your sweet little angel. Good luck… can’t wait to hear more!

Rachel on

I know exactly how you feel. I lost 3 before I got pregnant with my daughter. For some reason I knew it was going to be OK this time. Until she was 12 hours old and they put her in the NNICU. For about 24 hours I was terrified I would lose her. She’s 13 now and gives me the most joy and love I have ever experienced. And I worry constantly. Best wishes and blessings on your new journey!

Samantha on

My little sister is 18 and pregnant with her second child and going through this. Its very sad. The doctor is telling her if she doesnt miscarry the baby may only live a few hours if he is born. She is about 5 months pregnant and the baby has traits for three serious genetic diseases as well as heart defect and infection. And her body is breaking out in hives and she is having a rejection to the baby. I pray that my nephew will be strong and healthy and that god watches over him. Good luck with your baby. I hope my little sister gets some good news to. :)

Jenni Williams on

Thank you for sharing your story! I went through a false positive too. It was awful. I couldnt not do amnio because I was at high risk for premature rupture of membranes. Thankfully she is 5 weeks old now and healthy!

renodakota on

You’re never going to stop worrying :) I’m currently 39 weeks pregnant and find myself worrying every day about is the baby moving enough? After he’s born, I’ll find new worries, I’m sure. Parenthood is emotionally exhausting, and I haven’t even really begun the journey yet!

Jill on

I too had the same scare and had amnio. I was terrified. Thank goodness the results came back and everything was fine. My little girl is now 2 years old and is the smartest, funniest, kindest, warmest and most beautiful ray of sunshine in our lives. Her beauty radiates from within and she is the most precious little human being.

Ami on

I am happy everything is okay. I will pray for you.

Erica on

So glad to hear your baby girl is ok!

I also had a scare in the second trimester. I had a miscarriage with my first pregnancy so I was already a wreck. When I was pregnant with my son, who is now six months, I started bleeding early in the second trimester, right after I had finally told everyone the news.

I completely lost it but then had an ultrasound that confirmed everything was ok! I cried in the dr’s office as soon as I saw the heartbeat!

stacey - NEW MOM on

omg.. i know how you feel!!! i was dumb and did the genetic testing and not thinking anything of it (i already have a 6 year old daughter, and she was perfectly healthy) i get a phone call from my OB nurse saying i needed to come in and talk to the doctor IN A WEEK(!!) because my results showed i was a carried of spina bifida. (and i have OCD to top it off. nice.)

i cried for a week straight, thinking, OMG, i could pass something like that onto my unborn daughter. it’s just the thought of knowing you could be the cause of it. i ended up talking to the nurse a few times just to calm my nerves. i ended up going to a great maternal fetal medicine OB and come to find out, everything looked ok.

but i have to admit, up until my little Rylee was born Oct 3rd, and i saw for my own eyes she was ok, i stayed worried and concern. in the back of my mind up until her birth, i kept praying she was ok.

so i know how you feel. hang in there. and congrats chick.

Heather on

Glad to hear everything turned out well!

tryingforbabys on

Wow! I went through the same exact thing! I am so glad everything is OK! I Had to forgo some fertility treatments before getting pregnant and then I was put on bed rest 3 months in due to a tear in the placenta. Then came the blood work and I also had to have an Amnio but due to the tear it was little more “high risk”.

After 3 days of emotional agony I got the phone call telling me that my little girl was just fine. My pregnancy did not get easier after that unfortunately and the birth was even worse. Luckily we are both ok and she is a beautiful 6 month old baby and the love of my life. I too wrote a blog, who knew so many women have such complications?

Kanani on

Marla, I had the same scare as you, probably at the the same time that you did.

I’m currently 22 weeks pregnant with my second child and also had abnormal blood work with an increased chance for a baby with down syndrome. After an ultrasound that showed no soft markers for down syndrome, I still opted for the amnio. I also waited in agony (for 13 days, but who’s counting) until I received the amazing news that my son is perfectly healthy.

I’m glad to know I wasn’t alone on this journey. I wish you much luck and a healthy pregnancy and delivery!

Alison on

I am really happy that everything worked out well for your little girl, I am currently 20 weeks pregnant with my second son and there is nothing worse than not knowing what is going on in there! I had been waiting for my results from my quad screen the past couple of weeks and it is nerve wracking!

I have been reading some of the comments where parents aren’t doing some testing and in a way I agree, there were certain tests that I declined because for 1; I didn’t want to worry until the baby came out if I got a positive test result and 2; it wouldn’t change a thing, I would never terminate and I would still love my baby just the same.

I wish you continued happiness in life and hate you just a little bit for not having any morning sickness :)

Susie on

Good luck Marla! I never did those bloodwork screens out of the scare that you went through. I went through a really bad scare with #3, however, when my water broke at 28 weeks. After two normal pregnancies, I was hospitalized with PPROM, and ultimately gave birth to my beautiful baby girl Lorelai at 29 1/2 weeks gestation. Lorelai weighed 1 lb 14 oz, and spent 56 days in the hospital before she came home. She is just over 16 months old, and is walking, talking, and a perfect toddler- if a bit little. (She weights 17 lbs right now, and eats like there is no tomorrow. It’s all the crawling.) I wish you ll the best of luck, Marla!

Cathy on

So glad/relieved that the tests came back fine. I wasn’t so fortunate. My son, who was Heaven Born 9 years ago, was diagnosed with Trisome 18, a birth defect more severe and less common then Downs. When I first started to read your story, it so mirrored mine that I got chills. Again, so glad your little girl is fine. I hope you continue to have a great pregnancy.

Erin on

So glad everything is ok!

I, too, had the same false positive scare. We also did the amnio and we were so relieved when the doctor’s office called and said everything with our little girl was ok. But every time I went in for a checkup I could see on the chart the results of the initial (false) test so I never was able to really shake the thought of “what if…” We were blessed with an amazing and precious little girl. She is 2 now and the light and joy of our lives.

Rae on

Hi. Thanks for sharing this very intimate private time in your life. I am eight weeks tomorrow and I had the same fear of whether or not I had the ability to get pregnant. I found out I could when my husband and I tried and immediately I was thrilled and frightened all at once.

Since learning about certain things I have been freaked. Ive worried about defects, I have worried about being exposed to too much radiation from my cell phone and computer. Ive worried tons about deadly food illnesses. I cant seem to stop worrying. All I want is to have a healthy baby. I love my child more then anything and I havent even met her or him. I think it is amazing how much we can love our children before they have even physically developed all the way! It’s beautiful :)

I wish the best for you!

amyelizabethsmith on

How dreadful that she had to go through all that STRESS (which can harm a baby) just because of some damn docs. I know more people than I can count who have gone through the same thing. I say leave it to God and what is, will be. Blessings to her, she looks so beautiful.

I love my child with Down Syndrome on

Thank you Childadvocate for your comments. In my first pregnancy, I had the abnormal reading on my quad screening. My OB sent me to a Specialist OB where everything looks fine on the sonogram. The doctor told us we had a 2% chance of having a child with Down Syndrome. If we wanted 100% accuracy we would have to do an amino. After discussing with my husband, we decided not to do the amino. We did not want to risk doing any harm to the baby. The amino was not going to change anything for us.

At 37 weeks I gave birth to a beautiful healthy daughter who has Down Syndrome. I would not change anything about her because she is perfect. She is five years old now and she is an amazing big sister to her brother and sister.

Stacey on

we opted out of the screenings and tests….these stories are perfect examples of why. i personally know someone who was told her child had downs, her husband wanted her to abort, she refused and her child didn’t have any abnormality. this was back before there was so many ways to verify before birth….its horrible to think of all the children that weren’t born cuz of inaccurate tests. : (

JL on

I guess I’m not so much “offended” as I am saddened by the amount of people who panic at the thought of having a child with Downs.

Your baby is your baby, and you will love them no matter what.

Marla, I don’t think you mean to offend anybody; but it came across as a little shallow & hurtful to those of us who are touched by friends or family members with Downs. Would you have terminated if it turned out she had, in fact, had Down syndrome?

I’m going to suggest making a generous donation to Reece’s Rainbow. They advocate for international adoptions for orphans born with Down Syndrome & other children with special needs.

Jenny on

I love your story! Your one of my favorite actresses and such a great role model. Hope all goes well. :)

dawna on

I had 2 amnios and they are very painful in a weird kinda way. Anyways mine were at 8 months to check on lung development so I could deliver early due to blood clots in my leg and lungs. Its a scary situation and am happy to hear that your lil girl is healthy…. your tears of being scared were proof you will be a great mama

tracy on

I read almost all of these comments and I see that everyone seems to think that it is such a blessing NOT to have a child born with some difference, like Down syndrome. As a parent of a child with Down syndrome, I feel just as blessed by my son as I do with my typically developed children. Prenatal testing sometimes leads to parents choosing to end pregnancies for fear of having a child that is less than “perfect”. “Perfect” is not always better. I wish everyone was lucky enough to have a child like mine. Just saying. XXX

Dee on

Hate to be a buzzkill here, but false negatives happen, too.

But why would it matter anyway? If they did have something “wrong,” is that a reason to exterminate them? The sad truth is that over 90% of pregnancies with a diagnosis of Down syndrome are aborted. Why? It is mostly because of a lack of education and resources. The doctors don’t give you support group information or updated statistics on how more and more people with DS are getting married, living on their own, going to college, working, and living well into their 60′s. It is not a death sentence, but many act as if it is.

The sad thing is that with so many abortions, there may not be anyone left with DS or other disabilities. But do they deserve to die because they are imperfect? You can have a “normal” kid who ends up sick with cancer or becomes paralyzed, so they are not perfect either. But would you abort them before you even give them a chance to live? Certainly not.

And really, what is the systematic elimination of people because of a disability? The Nazi’s used “euthanasia” to rid the what they had called “life unworthy of life” (lebensunwertes Leben). Karl Binding and Alfred Hoche wrote of those with disabilities, and advocating “involuntary euthanasia”, they said: “Their life is absolutely pointless, but they do not regard it as being unbearable. They are a terrible, heavy burden upon their relatives and society as a whole. Their death would not create even the smallest gap–except perhaps in the feelings of their mothers or loyal nurses.”

As the mother of a daughter with Down syndrome, I full disagree, not just because I am her mom, but because I see a gorgeous, capable, intelligent little girl who loves her life and is just as deserving as any other human being to live it.

Please think of all of this next time anyone gets a diagnosis that something may be wrong with their baby. There is no reason to not give your child a chance. You never know what they can do or how much better of a person they can make you unless you give them life.

Kendall on

CHildAdvocate and NonDiscrimination: I did not EVER get the sense that Marla was in any way discriminating against or even offensive! The bottom line is, it takes a very brave woman to express her fears and experience in a public forum throughout her pregnancy and if the results had come back differently, I’m sure she would have taken us all through the emotions involved in that as well.

Of course you want your child to be healthy!! Mentally, physically, all of it! And everyone has the right to express that desire. This blog did not in any way scream discrimination–and I’m sure there are LOTS of women who are thankful for hearing this story as they can relate.

Everyone is entitled to their own experience and no one needs to be “taught a lesson” here. Perhaps we should all take a minute to calm down and read the blog for what it is, not what you have decided to read between the lines.

Sarah on

Childadvoctae and Nodiscrimination for activists of acceptance, I think you guys are being a little judgmental and putting words in Marla’s mouth. “Something wrong” could be anything from a minor problem to a condition serious condition that could lead to death. How would you word that better? Bottom line is that any negative news about your child’s health is earth-shattering, especially to a new mom.

A close friend of mine lost her baby and it was devastating. When she had tests early on similar to Marla’s, she was scared and sad something was wrong just the same. I think the opposite reaction would be quite odd. If my friend wrote in her blog that she was devastated when she got news from her doctor that there was “something wrong” would you criticize that too? I think every mom prays that their child comes out healthy and if that is not the case, of course you deal with it. However there is a grieving period. Have you talked to parents with Down Syndrome? They feel a range of emotions….sadness, shock, guilt, disbelief, fear.

In my personal experience there is an initial sadness that the child will have to face challenges that you wish they wouldn’t. I would assume most parents that have a child born with a disease or birth defect feel similarly when they first find out. That doesn’t mean you aren’t going to love the child with all of her heart and do everything you can for him/her. So I think Marla was just being honest and sharing her immediate emotions and you shouldn’t tear her down for that.

I appreciate the honesty. She seems like a smart, sweet woman and if she were to have a child with spina bifida or Down syndrome, I bet you she would love her to death and be a wonderful mom.

Marla, I am so happy to hear the good news and that you are having a healthy baby girl. Best wishes to you and your family.

AMc on

Your story is so amazing! I am 7 months pregnant, a teacher, and a constant control freak too! It is so hard to give up that control- I feel it each day. I just want my little boy here! :-) I am so glad everything is going well for you now- that is unimaginably scary.
<3 Aly

Kristen on

After reading this blog, I can somewhat identify, having had 3 miscarriages before my two healthy boys; however, this bothers me. I don’t understand why people would have an amniocentesis…which raises a risk of miscarriage drastically….to know whether or not their child had spina bifida, downs syndrome etc. Are you going to abort the child if it does? Because you don’t think it’s perfect? There are many people out there that would adopt a child with special needs in a heartbeat….and it kills me that people will go as far as creating harm to their unborn child to decide what to do about it. There are less invasive ways to diagnose many genetic abnormalities that do not pose such risk to a fetus.

Rachel on

I had the same scare too. The lab lost my first trimester blood and so we couldn’t do the test the doctor wanted, we had to do the less accurate one. By the time we realized that there was a problem with the blood it was too far along in the pregnancy to, as the doctor said “Do anything with the results” and I was high risk anyway.

We opted not to do it and we spent the last 3 months of my pregnancy not knowing if our little girl was okay. Luckily, she is 6 months now, perfect and beautiful but I was terrified every second of those 3 months.

aj on

For some reason with my second pregnancy i decided to do the prenatal labs, and it showed that there was a 50% chance our baby would be born with Down Syndrome. we opted not to do any further testing, because it didn’t matter to us and the risk involved with an amnio just wasnt worth it. We were monitered closely throughout the pregnancy because of potential problems baby could have.

When our son was born, we did find out that he had Down’s. He is one of the most amazing kids i have ever met, and is pure sunshine. I thank God everyday that I was chosen to be the mom to this special little boy. He is perfection.

Sheila on

And then they turn into teenagers! I was an older mom when I had my son but decided not to do any of the tests as I knew no matter what he was my son. Made it through the terrible twos, the preschool, elementary and middle school years. First three years of high school were great and then he has turned into a teenager with a car and an attitude. Enjoy these times. I tell my friends that it is a good day whent he goes to bed alive! I love my son dearly and would not have it any other way. I think the teenage years are hard for the parents so we get to the point where we want them to leave.

I am so glad everything turned out ok and you have a safe and well little girl. It will become the most rewarding thing you have ever done in your life even if there are times you want to kill them.

Rebecca on

Congratulations! I was and am a control freak and I even went to the extent of stopping exercise during my pregnancies incase it was too intense and something happened to the baby, good news is baby was fine but I was huge, not much fun taking all that weight off again. Like you said it’s just the beginning of manny worries and concerns of becoming a parent, it’s literally like watching your heart walk around on two legs.

Enjoy every minute of it.

Anne on

Had the same scare with my daughter. Amnio turned out fine and my daughter was born healthy and happy. That needle was crazy long wasn’t it?

Erin on

I was told after my screenings that I had a 1:64 chance that our baby had Down syndrome. It was scary and agonizing as we waited for our results after opting for a CVS. And now here we are a year and a half later with a “perfectly healthy” baby boy with Down syndrome. The tests really aren’t measured in positives or negatives rather than ratios. And if a doctor is delivering the results as such than that is unfortunate. I would do the screenings all over again because it helped us in gaining the right information in order to prepare for the birth of our beautiful and perfect baby boy!

Cheryl M on

So if something had, in fact, been wrong with her child she would have just murdered it? I felt like that’s what she was saying. Such a “Hollywood” thing. Remember people, just because a person isn’t “perfect” in the worldly sense, that life is PERFECT to the One Who created that life.

I am a mother to three wonderful and amazing children. I never even considered taking those “tests” because it would not have mattered to me in the least if something had been wrong with any of them. Life is life – it’s a gift no matter what. Plus, often amnios cause the miscarriage of perfectly healthy babies.

Guest on

Wow, this article turns my stomach. “Oh my gosh, I almost had to raise one of those terrible, disabled babies. I’m so glad nothing is WRONG and I don’t have to worry about something so awful.” Seriously? That is pretty naive. Sure. As parents we all want the very best, most perfect situation for our families. But there are so, so, so many worse things than your “scare.”

I gave birth to a full-term, 9 pound baby girl this year who only lived one day. Her pregnancy and delivery was the easiest of my 3 kids and all NICU test indicated she was physically perfect but for some reason just couldn’t make it on this Earth. We’ll probably never have an answer as to why. I would hands-down rather have her here and with spina bifida or down syndrome than parenting a headstone and having to explain to my older boys why their sister didn’t come home from the hospital or why she doesn’t need toys or her nursery anymore. And what an insult to all those who have special needs. And those who suffer from infertility? I’m sure they’d gladly raise a less-than-perfect baby, if they were given the chance.

I encourage all pregnant women to do research about the pros and cons of testing and interventions in their pregnancies. Ultrasounds, lab tests, amnios, etc don’t positively predict a healthy or unhealthy child.

And while I doubt you meant any true harm in your blog post, Marla, I hope you and some of your readers reconsider their thinking and realize what blessings they truly have. And yes, I’m aware that I also have so much to thankful for as well.

Sarah on

It’s great to hear that everything is okay! I have a 2 1/2 year old son and a 5 month old daughter, so I know what it’s like to worry all the time. It just means that you’ll be a great mother!

Penny on

Marla, I am so glad to hear your story has a happy ending. Our dear friends Bernie and Gerry have a very special story too, even though their experience didn’t turn out the same as yours. When Bernie found out that her precious little boy had spina bifida, she was given her options. She only said that this little boy was going to know how much his mom loved him. I truly believe that GOD blessed her and Gerry with this amazing little boy for a reason. He’s now three years old and sometimes makes you cry (like when he told his dad he wanted to run like other kids) and other times smile like crazy because he is so sweet and cute, he is here for a reason.

Kelsey on

I am happy that your baby is healthy and fine!

I did find it a little sad when you said “I was completely crushed. I was already so attached to my little girl. She had a name. . .” she still is your little girl that you’re attached to and she still has a name even if she was born with down syndrome, spina bifida, etc. It makes me sad to hear people say they would terminate their pregnancy just because their child would be born with a birth defect or how their child wouldn’t be “perfect”.

There is NO such thing as a perfect child. God wouldn’t give you something he knew you couldn’t handle. I understand raising a child with birth defects is hard and its a test of your parenting and who you are as a person, but children like that make your world so much better.

My uncle was born with Muscular Dystrophy and I wouldn’t be able to live my life without him in it. He’s my favorite uncle and he makes everything so much funnier. He’s the greatest uncle ever and I wouldn’t trade him for any “regular” uncle in the world!!!

Josephine on

I was told to abort my 2nd child because they thought I had both an embryo and a molar pregnancy. They told me I might get cancer and my baby either wouldn’t survive or would be severely mentally handicapped. I don’t believe abortion is an option and I left the office that day. I found a physician who is pro-life. He did additional screening and found nothing wrong in any way other than my placenta was splitting from the uterine wall and i had a clot of blood in that spot. I had a threatened miscarriage. I was put on progesterone suppositories till 2 weeks before delivery and the placenta reattached.

My girl is 3 years old and perfectly normal and even if she hadn’t been, we would have loved her just the same. Screening should be done so parents can prepare what steps to take for the care of their child, not to consider killing them because they may not measure up to our ideals. We are bombarded with “Accept me even though I’m different” from all sort of scenarios, so why can’t we accept that we may have handicapped children and be okay with it and just love them and take care of them?

caterina on

So glad all is well for you and that little angel. What a blessing. Man, why can’t they find a way to get around and fix those false positives!!!!! Take Care. Already a wonderful Mom.

Bridgett on

Marla, I had the exact same experience during my first pregnancy at age 30. Thankfully with the same results. My girl is almost seven now, beautiful and bright and the light of my life.

Thank you for sharing your story. You seem genuine and sweet, looking forward to reading more from you. Best wishes!

Mischa on

You never stop worrying when you’re a mum!

Both of my pregnancies were awesome, no issues. It’s only now my daughter is 2 years old and we’re going through the tests and therapy because it’s apparent there is an issue. So the fresk out for me is just delayed and will continue for the rest of our lives. (she has a life long condition).

I would like to say there is nothing ‘wrong’ with your baby if he/she happens to have Downs Syndrome, they are still yours and are beautiful just as the next child – but totally understand that when you are faced with the prospect for the first time, it does overwhelm you.

I am so glad everything was ok Marla :)

Patricia on

I’m mom to a “perfect” little boy who is the love of my life. He also happens to have Down Syndrome. I know that can seem scary at first but my husband and I both feel so blessed to have him -just as he is! He has taught us so much and brought so many amazing people into our life.

Don’t let the medical community scare you – just because a baby isn’t what they call perfect – doesn’t mean it’s not the perfect baby for you!

Helen on

A baby is a gift, regardless if he/she has Down Syndrom or any other condition!!!

Jody on

I have a child with down syndrome and he is healthy and perfect in every way. Don’t be scared of a down syndrome diagnosis..you don’t know what you are missing!

Monica on

I have loved you ever since your days on “Full House.” I even told your mom this when we took the UCLA Paralegal Training Program together many years ago!
I am so happy you are okay, and may you blessed with strength for the rest of your pregnancy and afterward. :)

holly on

I was worried for the entire 9 months that I was pregnant. After having a difficult time getting pregnant and resorting to IVF, it seemed like I kept getting scary lab results – one after the other, but everything was always “fine” and today I have a lovely, perfect, miraculous little boy who is 18 months old and everything I ever dreamed for in a child!

Try not to let the labs and doctors get you too worried…they have the ability to know way more these days than they have in the past, but there is good and bad with that! Enjoy your pregnancy, rest up because you won’t get much rest for the next several years! Congratulations!

me on

When I was 20 weeks pregnant I was told my son had “soft markers” for Down’s Syndrome. Of course I was upset initially, but as my husband pointed out, this is our baby and we and maybe God sent him to us because he knows we will give him a wonderful life. After suffering 3 prior miscarriages I opted not to have an amnio, it would not have changed a thing.

With close monitoring b/c of growth issues, I ended up in a c-section at 36 weeks. I delivered a healthy 4 pound baby boy! I was so overjoyed after all we had been through that my baby was healthy, it was 4 days after he was born that I finally asked the doctor if he had Down’s Syndrome.

When I heard his first cry and knew he was healthy, that was all I needed to know. It turns out he did not have Down’s, that was a shock to me b/c all the specialists were sure he did because of those soft markers. If we have another child I will not have any of those tests again, the worry is not worth it!

aurorajudekairilennonsmom on

i am so glad that things are ok now. my children are 7,6,1,and the baby will be a month old on saturday and i never stop worrying about them. there are moments that feel like being a parent is only for superheroes andits the hardest job in the world but its well worth it.

Kay on

before I was born, my doctors told my parents that I was to have down syndrome too, and asked if my parents wanted to ‘eliminate’ me, the baby. Turns out, I am a perfectly healthy 22 year old and the doctors were wrong. think of all the poor little babies that probably have been wrongly ‘eliminated’ because the doctors were wrong and because the babies parents didn’t want a ‘typical’ healthy child. Love YOUR baby no matter WHAT and forget what the doctors say/know.

They also said I had liver cancer when I was 3 years old, and I didn’t, so how DARE the doctors to say that your baby could be ill. Granted they have to, but most of the time they are SO WRONG about the diagnosis!

anonymous on

My son is 4 with spina bifida and is perfect to me. I understand the fear during pregnancy, but relief comes in knowing that you have a wonderful and loving child. I am in agreement with child advocate. I don’t think you can express thoughts about normalcy when you have not walked a mile in the shoes per se.

Sarah on

Thank Goodness you’re both OK! I am the same way, I get very consumed by it when things go wrong. And I cannot imagine it if a baby was involved. The relief must have been almost as overwhelming as the fear!! So glad you’re both well, and hope it’s smooth sailing from here!!

robin on

wow, im so sorry you had to endure all that stress and worry, and im so glad everything turned out fine!!

my doctors office offered all the genetic testing to me as well and i said no thanks, i worried about every little thing as it was and as a single woman pregnant with my first child(my daughter’s father and i separated before i found out i was pregnant) i definitely worried enough lol!…

i had a somewhat difficult pregnancy, horrible sickness until i was about 4 1/2 months along then had preterm labor at 24weeks and bed rest for 2months after that(which for about 3days was great, i slept and caught up on my TIVO, then i started to go stir crazy!)i couldnt do much of anything until i was 8 months along and by then i didnt want to do anything!

it was all worth it though, i have a happy, healthy, beautiful 7month old baby girl who is the jpy and love of my life… i hope the rest of your pregnancy is wonderfully uneventful and full of excitement and anticipation on the arrival of your baby!!

Megan on

You know, I really hate when they post the CBB bloggers on the PEOPLE.com homepage too. All these people who aren’t regular readers come in and spew their rhetoric and ruin a perfectly nice post.

Note to you all, especially Cheryl, Guest, et. al: Marla NEVER said she would terminate the pregnancy, that she wouldn’t want or care for her child if it had some form of disability, that it would be an issue if the false positive was not false in the end, etc. STOP putting words in her mouth.

People like you are the reason celebrities decide NOT to share – you ruin it for the rest of us who enjoy Marla’s blog and following along with her pregnancy as she goes through it.

Marla, thank you for sharing – I am so glad everything has ended up okay, and I hope the comment section on this blog has not turned you off from continuing to share your story. I think you’re a delight.

Anonymous on

What a relief! It is terrible that they scare us half to death with these false positives. You are warned but if it happens to you it’s another store. I am so glad everything came out ok, but 10 days is just torture!!!!

jenni on

When you become a mom, you never stop worrying, you just move on to worrying about different things. The trick is not to let your worrying get in the way of enjoying every precious day and every moment, because people always remark how fast kids grow up, but it’s true. One day you will be snuggling her in your arms, and in the blink of an eye she’ll be wanting you to drop her off at the mall to meet her friends. (and you have to park down the block, duh mom lol!) Enjoy it while it lasts and try not to worry TOO much :)

Rita on

These tests are hard to interpret. Just wanted to remind everyone that the blood test is just a screening test. It tells you what the chances are – like 1 in 300 or 1 in 20. It’s not a yes/no test so it’s not a false positive as much as ‘your pregnancy has a higher chance of spina bifida or a genetic problem than the average woman your age.’ You can do whatever you want with that information–amnio, ultrasound, etc.

Emma George on

Although I didn’t have any issues with my baby’s health while pregnant I can totally relate to the freakouts you have described. Can I get pregnant? Is everything ok? She hasn’t kicked very much today, is she alright? I panicked and panicked and panicked, and wished I had enjoyed my pregnancy more. She was perfectly healthy but the lack of control over the situation freaked me out!

I wish I could say my anxiety decreased after she was born. It hasn’t! But I have a perfectly healthy baby girl who at 10 months amazes me every day

Jen on

That is exactly the reason I declined any tests except for the ultrasounds. I’m a nurse, I know the false positive rate is ridiculously high. I am blessed with 4 healthy children. I had my 4th last year at 37. Faith is what got me through.

Icky on

My children were 12, almost 10, and 8 when I was pregnant with my youngest daughter. My first ob/gyn memory was filling out the paperwork. The first two questions:

1.) Is the mother over 35? (yes)
2.) Is the father over 50? (yes)

For some reason, that second question sent me into a state of giggles that brought tears to my eyes. My other kids were there as well and very embarrassed (two of them never went again). I also recall all the “Now that you are pregnant” pamphlets that were geared toward “older” parents. I never considered being 36 as “older”, but I guess it is when it comes to motherhood.

I was not as lucky as you – my first four months were filled with morning, noon and night sickness. As soon as that went away, the back aches started. I had massive heartburn and nothing helped. I made at least hourly trips to the bathroom (first trimester was more like two or three per hour) which was tricky as we only had one bathroom at the time. I had pelvic pain – always felt like someone was trying to pull my legs apart sideways.

Then the fun began. At noon on Tuesday, I was induced – five days after my due date. To make a long story short, forty and a half hours later, my daughter was born. We went home on Saturday. I had told my ob/gyn that she could be born on any day except my wedding anniversary. And guess what day she was born?!

But when I look back and I tell the story and people want to know how I did it (while working part-time and taking care of a special needs child), I just look at my seven-year-old and say, I did it for her. All the caffeine-free soda and non-alcoholic champagne and god-awful scrambled eggs and daily bananas were worth it in the end.

I wish you much luck and joy.

Christine on

HI Marla, I feel like I’ve grown up with you – watching you all thru middle & high school. Now we are both pregnant! Thank you for sharing your story.

After our miscarriage last year, it’s been hell trying again. And finally getting pregnant again turned out to be more bittersweet than I thought. I am so nervous about every twinge I feel (my bad habit is googling everything!) So it’s nice to hear somewhere share their fears, especially when left & right it seems everyone is having the “perfect” pregnancy.

Wishing you the best of luck :)

Lina on

Oh my goodness! My hubby and I are trying to get pregnant now. I’m already such a worrywart in my day-to-day life, I can’t imagine how stressed I’m going to be while pregnant and then with a baby. It’s comforting to know that most women also worry about their little ones and most babies turn out healthy. There’s risk involved in everything worth doing in life, right? I see my sister with her three beautiful, healthy kids, and I CANNOT WAIT to be a mommy:).

Congrats, Marla, and thanks for sharing your story. I know you’ll have a beautiful baby:)!!

Leslie on

Im glad you have a healthy baby girl.I remember when i went in for my check up! They found my son had a heart defect and have to have 3 surgeries after he was born. they did an amino to see if there was anything else he had but he only had the heart defect.. but hes soo healthy but you would never know

Stephanie on

I am 16 1/2 weeks pregnant and your blog means so much to me. I am having the same testing done this week and I am worried about the false positive. It is nice to feel that I am not alone in all my worries about my little boy that I am trying so hard to keep safe every second he is in my tummy.

Thank you for sharing your blog and I am so happy to hear everything is ok.

Susan Albert on

I am happy you and your baby are ok. I know how scared you were, because I had a scare back when I was pregnant.

TR on

That is why I didn’t go for the first screening. I heard of so many false positives, and I wouldn’t get an amnio anyway, so I figured why go through that stress? I probably would not get an abortion anyway (pro-choice, but not for me).

Nathan's Mom on

I had a scare early in my pregnancy with some pretty significant spotting. I am an older mommy (early 40s) and when that subsided and all was ok I had to think really hard if I wanted to go down the line of having any of the blood work done to test for abnormalities. I chose not to…. I just tried to take it on faith that, if after waiting sooo long to finally have my little one, it would be ok.

However I know that feeling of fear and worry and “please just let everything be ok.” Like you, from the instant I knew I was pregnant I loved my son. Everything turned out well for me and he is a wonderful healthy 8 month old.

I am glad to hear all turned well for you Marla – and you think you love your baby now – just wait til you see her, your heart will just break with happiness. Good Luck!

Melissa on

I understand the terror she felt. I was going to my prenatal appointment to see what we were having. I was 6 months pregnant. When I got all situated and ready to see what we were having, I watched the screen to see that blinking heartbeat. My heart sank when I didn’t see it. The doctor was “humph’ing” and had a concerned look. He told me not to worry and sent me to mammography for an internal ultra sound.

I sat in the waiting room waiting for those results for 2 long hours to only found out he passed away about 2 weeks prior. Hence the reason why I was so sick. I was becoming toxic. Devestating news, news you do not get over. Since then I have lost one more. Have I given up wanting/trying to have a baby? Yes, I gave up trying, but I will always want one. The mental pain you feel is intense and doesn’t just go away after a few weeks.

I am so happy that everything worked out for you and everyone else. I just wanted to share my story. I want you all to know, that even though your scares worked out, I understand that panic you feel. So, when you have your beautiful babies, be thankful and appreciative of them everyday!

Congratulations to all. I didn’t send this message to scare anyone, but I needed to vent my story

Mary Beth on

That happened to us with my son, who is now 18 months. It was SO scary and we actually decided to take our chances and NOT have an amnio done.

We were told that the chances of him having Trisomy 18 (which was what they were worried about) was about 1 in 300, but the chances of the amnio harming him were 1 in 250, so it didn’t make sense to take the bigger risk.

We had some follow up ultrasounds and everything seemed to be fine but the worry never left our minds for a minute, not until he came out perfectly okay!

I am relieved that your little girl is okay… I’m pregnant again now also, due in February with a girl, and thankfully everything has appeared perfectly normal this time around.

All the best to you and your family, and wishes for smooth sailing from here on in!


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VanessaFas on

This is why you can’t participate in those blood tests. They only have a 70% accuracy rate…which is not accurate enough! They told a friend of mine that her son would definitely be born with Down Syndrome, and that she and her husband should terminate (read: abort) the pregnancy. As a strong Catholic, and already a mother, she could not even consider it. Plus, she thought, What if they’re wrong? And they were. Her son was born 4 months later, perfectly healthy. She was scared, bullied, and agonized for nothing. These test don’t work to do anything but scare people into agreeing to abort their children. I have to wonder how many beautiful, healthy children have been terminated because of a ‘false positive’ such as this?

Lily on

So happy that everything turned out great. With my son I had the genetic testing and they told me 75% accuracy rate, I still worried about the other 25% and because I didn’t have a positive result I couldn’t have the amnio so I worried until I gave birth.

So when I had my daughter because of my age, I was 36, I could have a CVS which is 98% accuracy, so I decided that I would have this procedure, for me it was the best thing I could of done, I found out at 14 weeks I was having a girl and she was perfectly healthy, I was able to enjoy my whole pregnancy.

For some not knowing is bliss, for me I needed to know I want to be informed, I don’t want a surprise, I rather be informed and prepared.

Sabrina on

I went through the same thing at 20 weeks. It was the hardest 10 days of my life. No matter how strong you are, you feel so powerless when this happens.

Glad it turned out okay, and good luck with the remaining weeks. Enjoy!

Manda on

I am glad everything is ok! My pregnancies were pretty uneventful, but I understand worry all the same. I worry about everything, big or small.

My daughter had just been diagnosed with autism when my second daughter was born, and I was so worried that she would have it too. Sitting in the hospital after she was born, I was not the parent counting toes and fingers. I was examining her, trying to see if I could get her to make eye contact, which is kind of ridiculous for a newborn. Ha ha. I had her evaluated several times during her first year to see if she was on track. I had to wait a few years to be sure my younger daughter didn’t have it too, but the worrying never ends.

Even last night, one of them coughed a few times, and immediately I was saying to my husband, “Did that cough sound like she was gasping for breath? Is she still breathing?” (as I went over to her to make sure I could see her chest rising and falling)

I worry about everything. Right now my 6 year old doesn’t have any friends because we just moved. I wish I could go demand that kids be her friend, but I am not that crazy. lol. My hubby says I am overboard with my worrying, which may be true.

All I can say is that the mother and child relationship is like nothing else I have ever experienced. Enjoy every moment. They grow so so fast.

SB on

I can appreciate the fact that all parents-to-be want the best for their children, & that hearing something unexpected would certainly be scary.

However, as someone who was born with Spina Bifida, I also want to educate people that it’s not the end of the world if a child does in fact have a disability. I’m in my 30′s now, I live 100% independently, I drive, I have 2 college degrees and a career.

I don’t say that to brag, I say it because there are people who never consider that someone who.. gasp!… can’t walk would be able to accomplish these things. Yes, there are sometimes challenges, but honestly I find that my disability bothers me a lot less than it seems to bother other people who can see me only by comparing me to their own experiences.

I actually think it’s much easier to handle life with a disability when it DOES come in the form of a birth defect because you don’t miss what you’ve never had. You just learn to do things a little differently than most people, but you can absolutely still enjoy life. I suppose it’s a lot different when there’s the possibility that the defect would result in a baby that was not viable after birth, but conditions like Spina Bifida and Down Syndrome have such a wide range of possible outcomes.

I really hope (though I don’t think this happens often) that any decent doctor would present these positive outcome possibilities as well rather than just the doom and gloom.

Lara on

Been there done that–it is such a scary place to be! I had abnormal screening results with the first trimester screen. I had very high risk of a chromosome problem or severe heart defects. My CVS came back normal, but I had to continue seeing a high risk doctor for ultrasounds every month so he “could look for anything that could be wrong.” It was unbelievably stressful.

My daughter was born healthy and beautiful and is now a smart-mouthed 2 1/2 year old who we love more and more each day. Knowing what we went through, I did things very differently with pregnancy number 2 when it came to screenings–declining most of them. Congrats on your healthy girl. Relax and enjoy your pregnancy.

tessa on

My O.B. personally hated that specific test. It doesn’t give a “False Positive.” It gives a risk. 1 in 10, 1 in 30, 1 in 300 chance, etc. And like 90 percent of the time when someone has a higher chance of having a baby with an abnormality, they go through with the amnio, and everything is perfectly fine.

I would never have amnio done. Why? Because even if I found out my child was going to have an abnormality, I wouldn’t have an abortion.

I have two kids, and I chose not to even have the test with my second child. That test just stinks. You get a higher “likelyhood” ratio, and you spend months worrying for nothing. It’s a dumb test, and the amnio is riskier than the chance there is anything even wrong with the baby.

Kelley on

Thanks for sharing… glad to hear everything is ok with your little one.

And no worries on the lack of morning sickness – My sister and I have 5 kids between us & neither of us had it with any of our pregnancies.

My baby is a month old already, but I still follow the baby bloggers. Can’t wait to hear about the rest of your journey!

Amy on

Marla,
Thanks for your inspiring story. Let me start my back story. I had 3 miscarriages within the span of a year. My husband and I had been resigned to the fact that we may not have been blessed with a beautiful baby of our own. We found out that I had an infection in my uterus which was blocking our pregnancies and the reason for my miscarrigaes. After some antibiotics and prayer, we were happy and suprised to finally get pregnant.

I had open heart surgery at the age of 14 as I had a hole in my heart, so there were precautions and throughout my pregnancy. I was sent to a specialist for a more thorough ultrasound which could look at the heart and see if my baby would have the same issues as I did (as it can be hereditary). At that time the heart looked great, but there were some issues with how her brain was forming and the doctor also insisted that I have an Amnio. Having also heard about the Amnio, I was determined to have it done, but was scared to death that something would be wrong with my baby.

Luckily we too were lucky to find out that it wasn’t anything bad and by the time she would be born the issue would correct itself. I spent those days crying and worrying that something would happen to our little girl and I couldn’t bear the thought. Today she is a wonderfuly 2.5 year old princess. Keep the faith. We did and have the most beautiful little girl in the world.

melissa on

I am pregnant too with my first child and let me tell you I worry about everything. I just began my second trimester and am due at the end of April but everyday a new fear pops in my head.

Vanessa on

So happy to hear that everything is okay with the baby! You will make a wonderful mother!

yvonne on

I had a similar story. At 12 weeks, I had an ultrasound, I was 41 pregnant with my 4th child, one that was “unexpected”. I’m told I have nucal thickening and “no sign of a nasal bone”..likely down syndrome. You can imagine my shock, after all it took us a while to come to terms with even having this child, but once we did, it was all love from there.

I had a CVS test, they can do it earlier than an Amnio but it’s more risky. After lying around for days, like you, crying, I’m told its all OK. How I got through the next few months though as they continued to “look for a problem” I’ll never know. Still, here I am today, my wonderful son is now 8, and it was the best decision I ever made.

So, good luck with your impending little one, and don’t worry, it all works out !

Lisa on

I had the same kind of scare but we opted for a Level 2 ultrasound and weekly biophysical profiles instead of an amnio because our doc said amnios carried risks of fetal harm. In the end, everything turned out fine!

Glad to hear your story is a happy one! :)

Nikki on

I’m very happy things turned out okay with the baby.

My only question and I hope this does not offend anyone -which if I have to state that it probably will- What options were you weighing?

And if something had been abnormal- not wrong as you put it- what would you have done then? and what about the risk of an Amnio test resulting in a miscarriage?

I guess I don’t understand what your options would have been. An Abortion? or a possible misscarriage because you needed to know the results and would those results caused you to love your daughter any less?

I guess you would have already had a name to put on her headstone either way :(

terminated a child unable to live outside the womb on

The one thing I have learned is that no one can predict what they will do until they are faced with a certain situation.
I could not even think of a reason that would cause me to terminate a pregnancy before I found out our daughter’s diaphragm had not formed correctly.

We wanted to be prepared should something be wrong with our any of our babies so we elected to have an anmio – I was over 35 for all of pregnancies.

We elected to have an anmio rather than the earlier tests because we did not want to deal with the false negatives.

During the sonogram it was discovered that her internal organs were in her chest cavity. There was no chance that her lungs would form correctly. The condition was so severe that we did not qualify for an in utero surgery.

I am thankful that we discovered her condition at 16 weeks rather than later due to the amnio choice.

Please do not judge people who are disappointed to find out they may have a child with health or mental issues, who terminate pregnancies for any reason or who elect to have or not to have the prenatal tests.

It is all about personal choice and what is best for the individual families.

Devon on

As I was reading your story, I couldn’t help but have tears in my eyes. This exact thing happened to me when I was pregnant with my first child, a girl as well.

We found out that she could possibly have Down Syndrome. During our genetic counseling appt, they also suggested an amnio “to know for sure” that nothing was wrong. I was so scared, but needed to know.

I went in for the amnio (and the scary long needle) right before Thanksgiving of 2003. Because of the holiday it pushed back getting my results from 2 weeks to 4 weeks. I basically couldn’t function during those 4 weeks and was very depressed. I remember the day my doctor called me at work to tell me the good news….I couldn’t stop crying, but like you, they were happy tears!

Now my daughter is 7 1/2 and my son is 4 1/2. Good luck to you and your husband on the soon to be arrival of your baby girl!

lisa on

I know all too well the scare you went through. I had an u/s with my third baby at 10 weeks and it showed an increased nuchal fold and we went through the same terrifying experience you did (although I had a CVS). It is terrifying and scary and just awful to wonder what’s going on with your sweet baby. To hear scary terms thrown at you about the baby you are carrying and feeling kick… it is awful.

I wrote about my experience on my blog (I am not sure if I am allowed to post it but it is http://thebrighterside-lisa.blogspot.com/2011/02/finding-peace-among-pieces.html). Know you aren’t alone!

Wishing you a stress free rest of your pregnancy. It is an amazing time and before you know it she’ll be safe and sound in your arms. My sweet Willa is now 4 months old and perfectly healthy and happy.

Jr102 on

Marla: I am almost 8 weeks and have been suffering from morning/noon/night sickness. The sea bands have helped but not enough.

I can totally relate with the scares. I have had high blood pressure for a few years now (and was at a normal weight before suffering through a miscarriage). When I went for my write up they were sending me all these signals that I have to go to several doctors to control my blood pressure and do all these testing to make sure my baby is safe. I left in tears because I felt my body was betraying me. I’ve read more and more stories of woman going through the same thing, and worse, and it has KIND OF calmed me down. Whatever will be will be.

I’m such a control freak that I’ve lost control of my body and my mind at times. I guess it’s the “glory” of being pregnant! I can’t wait to see pictures of your healthy baby girl!

OBMama on

I’m an OB with 3 active little ones. My doc with the 1st one, when I was still a medical student, didn’t recommend testing if I wouldn’t “do anything about it (i.e. terminate)”.

Since then, I’ve learned that there are conditions that can require immediate treatment after delivery (e.g. cardiac defects common in babies with Down Syndrome) that may only be diagnosed as part of the work-up initiated by an abnormal serum screen. I opted to be tested in the last 2 pregnancies in order to have the information necessary to give them the best start.

Helping patients make these decisions, and the decision that follow abnormal testing, is part of my job. I don’t push one way or another, but there’s more to be gleaned from testing than simply whether or not to carry to term.

Nikki on

Those tests are why there is a 90% abortion rate of babies with Down Syndrome. How many of those angels were “false positives”??!! Makes me sick just thinking about it!

Monie on

Dee is obviously bitter and unhappy. Seriously, walking with that HUGE chip on your shoulder has got to be difficult… no?

Sheesh. Congratulations, Marla! I wish I could keep up with you some other way since I don’t tweet, but I’ll just keep looking you up on google, I guess….

And I hope you’re ready, because having a child is honestly THE best thing ever!

Nicole on

People act like having Down Syndrome is a great thing, ignoring that it is a chromosonal abnormality that confers cognitive impairment and a shorter life expentancy. There are a lot of challenges and limitations those with it face.

It’s not the worst diagnosis, and people with it aren’t any less human, but it’s not a good thing. Who would want it for their child?

Marla had every right to be worried, and she never said she’d terminate.

Layla on

I am glad that everything turned out okay.

This is exactly why I refuse any genetics tests during my pregnancies. I follow doctor’s orders and leave the rest to God. He hasn’t failed me yet.

steph-ann on

congratulations on your baby, and I’m glad everything is well. :)

Marla on

I lost a child at at about 18 weeks pregnant, I knew the sex and had a name picket out and everything. I am empathize with you. I am so glad she is okay. Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy :)

Jennelle on

It is wonderful to hear your little girl is healthy! Pregnancy is a beautiful thing, delivery of a healthy baby is amazing, and holding that miracle in your arms feels like a dream come true! No need to stress and enjoy your pregnancy. Best of luck with your pregnancy and delivery.

Bugsmum on

Hi Marla!

I’m so glad that your amnio results came back clear of abnormalities. I can imagine how scary that must have been for you and your hubby.

I’m mum to a happy healthy 3 1/2mth old baby girl. It took us 18mths to concieve her and from the day I saw that 2nd line appear on the test I adored her and worried for her. I wrote letters to her talking about my pregnancy, my fears and my relief when each scan and test showed a healthy wee girlie on board.

After working as a nurse in a high acuity paediatric ward (one step down from ICU) dealing with neurological, metobolic and endocrine specialities, I was very well aware of all that could go wrong. I’ve also seen both sides of the “screening” argument first hand. Parents who knew in advance vs parents who didn’t and the differences in coping and decision making and I wanted to know regardless of the outcome.

For those reading a novel between the lines, pull back a bit!! As amazing and precious EVERY child is, medically speaking there is something wrong with children born with conditions such as downs or spina bifida etc, it maybe something as relativly minor as increased risk of infection or something major requiring life saving interventions.

I’ve had to care for babies dying in the hours/days/weeks following birth because abnormalities went undetected due to parents choosing not to have antenatal screening done and life saving interventions couldn’t be carried out in time. For one family a simple c section would have prevented them losing a much longed for first child. He would have needed further interventions but he would have lived.

Best wishes for the rest of your pregnacy Marla, I’ll be following your future blogs with interest.

P.S The worry never stops! The first time Bug slept through the night I woke up with my heart in my throat thinking she was dead. I know there will be many more heart stopping moments to come, can’t wait lol.

joe on

Its sad that everyone is having these prenatal tests but has not been told by their OB what they mean. first the blood test is a screening test. There are no “false positives”. An abnormal test increases your risk above the risk based on your age. If the screen comes back as a 1 in 10 risk for down syndrome then your risk is still 9 in 10 that the baby is ok.

The test also screens for other conditions that are very serious and the baby usually dies. Everyone focuses on Down syndrome because they know about the condition, but they are other things that are important to know. If you had an abnormal test and your baby were normal consider yourself lucky. Don’t blame the test.

I had the test and had a baby with trisomy 18. Thankfully the test told me I was at increased risk so I could prepare myself for my baby to die.

Sonya on

Marla,
So glad to hear the news was good! Eleven years ago, my husband and I had the same exact scare! We also went through with the amnio and were relieved to find that our baby girl was healthy! It was an agonizing 10 days for us as well! Not something to have to go through with any pregnancy! Best wishes!

Sarah on

Oh my goodness. Poor you at having to wait 10 days to find out. I would’ve been a wreck too. Pregnancy can be so scary. You literally worry every day for 9 months and then breathe a long sigh of relief when your baby is born. Lucky you on having no morning sickness by the way.

Dee on

I had a rough pregnancy with plenty of scares (among them a low-lying placenta which caused bleeding throughout my pregnancy, I was told I tested positive for Hepatits C and HIV but, after further testing, those turned out to be false plus my daughter’s ultrasound showed soft markers for Down’s Syndrome) but I couldn’t go through with the amnio. My daughter was born a few weeks premature but perfectly healthy. I’m convinced the stress of constantly being told something was wrong caused the premature labor but who really knows?

I hope the rest of your pregnancy is fabulously uneventful! I can’t wait to see pictures of your little princess.

smiavs on

I don’t have kids yet, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be pregnant, (adoption has always been a stronger call for me) but if I ever am, an amnio will be a definite.

It’s about a great deal more than Down Syndrome or Spina Bifida. There are life saving procedures that can save children’s lives before they are ever born. There are much more serious conditions, like Trisomy 18, to think about.

For me, it’s just something on a list of things I’ll do (pre-natal vitamins, no caffeine, very limited alcohol, etc.) in order to ensure (as much as one can) the birth of a healthy child.

In any case, having an amnio doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be prepared for something like Down Syndrome. It doesn’t always show up in the test results.

I’m guessing those getting offended by the “something wrong” comment aren’t actually parents of differently-abled children. Or, if they are, they’re looking at the situation from a very different place, after falling in love with special needs child.

I imagine that as a parent-to-be, when one is told that there might be something out of the ordinary, the first feeling is “please don’t let there be anything wrong with my child,” and in reality, having a child with any complications does mean there is something wrong.

In time, a parent may find that the “something wrong” with their child is everything that’s right in the world, but in those first few moments, I doubt that’s the thought going through their head. Not if they’re being honest.

This is the most beautiful and honest thing I’ve ever read in that regard, so I’ll share it here: http://www.kellehampton.com/2010/01/nella-cordelia-birth-story.html

Beachymom on

I also had this happen. I did my testing, and my daughter came back with a higher chance of Down Syndrome. We went on to meet with a Genetic counselor and did another ultrasound, only to show that she also had markers for Down Syndrome. We ended up doing the amnio. I ended up leaking fluid and was on bed rest while I waited for the results. Everything came back good, and my daughter was born perfectly healthy.

When I was pregnant with my son, I did a nuchal translucency ultrasound early on to check for anything. Everything looked good and I decided to skip that blood testing. Unfortunately, I found out later in my pregnancy that my son had some brain abnormalities and we found out that he also has some Chromosomal abnormalities after he was born. I was told that if I found out about his medical problems earlier in my pregnancy, that I would have been encouraged to abort. Most Drs didn’t paint a good picture for my little guy and told me to prepare for the worst.

I can honestly say that my little man is a miracle. He does have some delays, but he is walking and talking when I was told that he may never do those things. I know how hard it is to go throw the scare and reality of the unknown, and wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But, the truth of the matter is that a child with some disabilities is not the end of the world and you would never imagine the joy that they can bring to your life as well.

Holiday on

Dee a couple weeks early is not considered premature. Premature is before 37 weeks. My daughter was 4.5 weeks early and was premature.

Nicole on

Congratulations….first of all. Second I can understand the scare and concern for the testing. But, personally I feel that there is not enough education out there about down syndrome. Being a pediatric nurse and mother of a child with down syndrome I realized that there are worse medical problems a child could have. Let’s face it there are a lot of false positive tests that come back…scary since they throw around abortion as the cure for all. Which in my eyes is a loss no matter how you look at it. I wouldn’t want to experience that at all.

I am very thankful for my beautiful, healthy and happy little boy. He has been the light in my life. I am blessed to have him and everything he brings to my life. I am grateful that god entrusted me and my husband to be the parents of this little man. Although there are some set backs…look at down the road we may not go through the typical problems in teen years that I may face with my very head strong daughter. No one knows what life has in store. You deal with everything as it comes. You just do the best you know how and enjoy everyday for what it is!

Vanessa on

Thank you for sharing your story and so glad to hear your child is healthy. I can’t speak for all the mothers with children of special needs, but many women are mothers to children with down syndrome and I don’t they look at their child today and classify them as having something “wrong” with them. Children with special needs are angels – just like that are “perfectly” healthy.

K on

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this story with everyone and holding nothing back.

I am 17 weeks and although I have not had to go through anything like this, I know what you mean about worrying about EVERYTHING! Its nice to know Im not the only one and its so nice for others who may be going through the same thing to know they are not the only ones!

Congrats on your baby girl! You will be an amazing momma bear!

Sian on

Oh, wow, We are going for that test next week, and i feel so much better hearing your story. i have heard about false positives before so, now I wont worry so much! I also tend to over worry with just about everything! Im a perfectionist so i have learned to just RELAX! :)

Catie on

Marla, thanks for sharing your story! I had a scare in my 2nd pregnancy. I was supposed to go to a specialist because my first daughter had a heart murmur, and since heart problems can be genetic, they wanted me to get a ultrasound of the baby’s heart. When I went in for this appointment, they told me I was a few weeks too early to get that ultrasound, but they found that my cervix was starting to dilate. I was put on bed rest for a week and told to come back. When I did, my cervix was still the same, so I was put on bed rest for the next 4 months!

At the time, I was scared out of my mind. I ended up getting put in the hospital for 6 1/2 weeks during that time…which was the hardest not being able to see my family every day. But, it was really a blessing in disguise because had I not gone to that appointment, I would have miscarried and my baby (now 5!) would not be here today.

Congratulations on your good news, and good luck with the remainder of your pregnancy and with your little girl when she gets here!

Mariah on

omg i had the same scare!!! i was having a really bad day when i got the call that my test came back posative..and nobody told me about this false posative stuff so i was freaking out and histerical…and all they told me was not to worry and be calm..i mean really? haha. anyways i had to do the detailed ultra sound and they found nothing out of the ordinary thank god! my little girl doesnt arrive until january but when she does i will be happy to greet her and her healthiness!

Kelly on

Hi Marla,

I have been there many times and I know how difficult it is to get through the day. My first pregnancy ended up with an amnio and they baby was not healthy. My little girl had triploidy and she ended up not making it past 20 weeks.

I now have three beautiful boys and everyone is perfectly healthy. Each pregnancy had a scare especially the last one because I had identical twin boys! Every time the stick was positive, I was a nervous wreck and each screening ended up being a false positive. All three of my boys are beautiful and completely healthy.

Enjoy your pregnancy and know that it is worth the nerves and worries!

Amy on

I am so glad to hear everything is ok! We had a scare when I was pregnant – they detected a heart defect in my little girl in utero.

They delivered her 6 weeks early and told us she’d have to undergo open heart surgery by the time she was 3 years old. The pediatric cardiologist told us that the defect wouldn’t ‘fix itself’, and he wanted to wait till she was a little older and stronger before performing the surgery.

When we went for her 3-year appointment with the cardiologist, the tests took a VERY long time, and I was hysterical. I just knew this was the day they would have to do the surgery. Miraculously, the heart defect they said could NEVER heal on its own was gone!

My sweet little girl is 4 1/2 yrs old now and perfectly healthy! I know those medical tests are so scary, but it sounds to me like your little girl is going to be a very strong little princess. What a blessing!

stacey on

I am 30 weeks pregnant and can relate all to well to the fears of a pregnancy scare. At 12 weeks along I started suddenly bleeding and cramping.

I will never forget calling my ob in the middle of the night and being told that if I was in fact having a miscarriage there was nothing they could do for my baby this early on, and that my baby’s best chance was for me to lay in bed, with my feet up, drink lots of water and come in, in the morning. That must have been the most terrifying night of my life. I was so sure that i was losing this precious life inside of me and couldn’t understand why know one was doing anything to help save it.

I had an extensive ultrasound done the next day that showed a uterine bleed that the doctors had no idea how I had got. I was told that just because my baby was alive now, didn’t mean i wouldn’t still lose her. I was but on bed-rest and continued to bleed for another 5 weeks. I prayed the entire time! And then, one day, it just stopped.

And now… I am eagerly looking forward to the arrival of my perfectly healthy baby girl, Grace. Yes, as in….Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound. I am praising God for the miracle of her life, and for his precious grace that he has shown me.

Janae on

Like many other posters, I also chose to decline the diagnostic blood work due to the high rate of false positives. If either of our babies were experiencing a severe birth defects the defects would likely be identified during the 20 anatomy scan. Other less obvious conditions using u/s, such as Down Syndrome, would not have changed the course of the pregnancy for us either way.

Congratulations on your baby girl! And lucky you for having no morning sickness – that’s awesome!

Britt on

So glad to hear your baby is healthy! All the advantages of modern medicine are great but I feel some of the screenings do more harm than good. With so many false positives I am surprised that they are used to prescribe more invasive tests…tests that could potential harm the baby!

Plus the amount of stress it puts on the pregnant woman is dangerous…high levels of stress hormone can have major effects on the fetus. These tests would only be helpful if there was something the physicians could do in-utero that could fix the problem. Most of the time even if they know there is something wrong they can’t help.

I would instead recommend trusting God to protect your baby and pregnancy and know that you will love your baby no matter the outcome :)

NoAdditives on

I’m pregnant with my third baby and couldn’t even allow myself to do the quad marker screening this time. I had it done with my first two and everything came back normal both times, but this time I was just too worried about the thought of an abnormal result.

My husband said that if we found out something was wrong he’d want to terminate the pregnancy and while I felt the same the first time around, I knew I wouldn’t be able to go through with it. I figured that if anything was wrong it would be found at the 20 week anatomy scan and by that time terminating wouldn’t be an option and we’d avoid the decision entirely. Not a terribly cool thing for a wife to do to a husband, but I couldn’t even think about discussing it with him.

Luckily, everything is just fine. This little girl couldn’t be more perfect. I can’t believe I only have 8 more weeks until I get to meet her!

lindsey on

At my 5 month ultrasound visit, after getting a what turned out to be a false-positive for Spina-Bifida, The Dr. noticed her brain ventricles were a little large, and I got an Amnio. Yes, they hurt like hell. After a week, the tests proved a healthy baby but the Dr wasnt so sure. We got a fetal MRI, which then proved that our baby had Hydrocephalus.

We had our daughter on Dec 28th, 2010 at 32 weeks. She then died on July 13th, 2011. Hydrocephalus cant be cured. It’s a fluke thing. I’m so so happy that your false positive and amnio experience was so much better then mine and I look forward to reading more about your miracle.

Marta on

I had a similar scare with my 2nd trimester blood work. Same heightened risk, visit to the genetic counselor, detailed ultrasound…yadda yadda yadda. No recommendation for amnio, and if they had, I wouldn’t have done it any way. What I got out of it is that if I ever get pregnant again, there’s no way in hell I’m doing the 2nd trimester screen. There’s enough to worry about when you’re pregnant, silly tests that aren’t conclusive anyway aren’t something else you need.

I’m glad baby girl’s A-okay & hope the rest of your pregnancy is uneventful & enjoyable!

Kayleigh on

Why would you all assume “something wrong” meant a child with Down’s Syndrome? Those tests cover far more than just that one specific diagnosis. Yes, Down’s Syndrome is on the list, but so are many, many far more serious conditions. Is there absolutely no possibility she was thinking of those diagnoses, ones that could even leave her child dead? It seems to me that you all are the ones being judgmental.

Ashley on

I’m so happy for you Marla! May God continue to bless you and your family….I bet you can’t wait to meet your little girl! Thank you for your blog, I got teary!!! Take care :)

Mil on

Glad the baby is healthy! I’m currently almost 15 weeks pregnant, and I worry like most preggo mothers. I personally would not do amnio because of the miscarriage risk (even if it were .1% it’s still too high for me!) and because we would love out baby no matter what, and killing my baby due to an “imperfection” is not an option. Also, in many cases there are false positives and it’s not easy to confirm until after birth.

I have nothing against the in-depth u/s that look for Down’s Syndrome or heart defects, since it can be helpful in many cases, but I would prefer to also enjoy my baby and pregnancy. Since I found out I was pregnant this baby was loved, and no matter what happens, or how the baby comes out, he/she will be beautiful and perfect in my eyes.

Isabel on

I am happy your baby is fine.
I had my daughter at 34 and when the blood test came back normal i didn’t questioned it,even the ultrasound looked normal. I found out about the false positives when it was too late and that my doctor’s beliefs betrayed me and gave away my freedom of choice. I had such a perfect happy pregnancy. I was so happy when i was pregnant that i trusted my doctor and when my baby girl was born i felt betrayed and the world came crashing down on me. She has down syndrome. And 7 years later i still feel the same way i did that day, i am crying as i write this. My life is over, i don’t know what tomorrow will be or ten years down the line for my daughter, it has destroyed my marriage, i have been dying to have more kids but even though i have a husband (who is never home) i am a single mom. So please don’t say that these kids are special angels. They suck the life out of you, and don’t get me wrong i love my daughter but had i had the choice,(abortion) today i would have a job (everything is about her,her needs) and maybe 3 kids. And there is no do-over,that special moment you have with your first kid i will never get it back.
So enjoy your pregnancy it is the most beautiful thing a woman can experience.
Isabel.

elizza on

Thanks for sharing your story! I am going through the same thing and just had my amnio yesterday. My friend found your story and passed this my way. I’m 17 weeks and my story of an off blood test was much like yours putting me at 29 in the catagory of a 45 year old which was crazy to me since everything on sano shows great. I did fish results so hopefully we’ll know prelimary results sooner then later. My Dr was pushing the array test that takes a deeper dive and can show more unexplainable results. We opted out but wondering if anyone else has had that test.

Casie on

I also had a 2nd trimester scare. . . and responded much the same as you–complete hysteria! My son had a 2 vessel umbilical cord. The possible problems were SCARY–note to self: DO NOT GOOGLE IT! I worried for months about Growth Restriction and heart/kidney defects (the most common problems), but chromosomal abnormalities were a possibility. After months of worrying, I had a completely healthy baby boy who, by the way, was 9lb 12oz–definitely NOT growth restricted! He is 6 months old and is growing and in perfect health! Congrats and enjoy your sweet baby girl!

Happy Mama on

This story suggests birth defects, or “something wrong” like DS or spina bifida as something so unbearingly agonizing and painful. As a young mother who also got upsetting test results from 1st and 2nd trimester blood screenings, and who deleivered a baby boy with Down Syndrome and a heart defect who underwent OHS at 8 wks old and who is the light of our lives, not to mention incredibly brave…It’s really not all doom and gloom.

Want to read something inspiring?
http://www.kellehampton.com

Jen on

I have 2 typical girls and 1 with Down syndrome. Wouldn’t change anything. Like a previous comment stated…it’s not all gloom and doom.

Amy on

Thanks for sharing your story! When I was about 18 weeks pregnant, my quad screen also came back abnormal. My doctor recommended a higher level ultrasound which we had to wait two agonizing weeks for. Turns out my AFP levels were high because I was carrying twins! They are now almost 4 1/2 years old. Good luck during the rest of your pregnancy!

Sondra on

I too had the false positive and because I was 35 at the time my midwife kept throwing out the option for abortion was closing in. I knew I would not have an abortion. I had 3 kids already and I was not about to go that route. My ultrasound tech actually opened his clinic on a Saturday to do a more thorough ultrasound to ease our worries. He even did this free of charge. I knew in my heart all was well, but when I started to think, I am 35 etc I was worried. All is well and she is a very healthy almost 4 y/o. I should have not worried so much because I usually have off tests, different side effects to meds, etc.

I am very happy that your test came back with the all clear. It is very scary and I think that letting others know it happens will benefit many women in the long run! Good luck with your bundle of joy.

Stephanie on

This is why I chose not to have those tests when I was pregnant both times. The false positive rate is way too high! I’m so glad that everything was okay! Baby girls truly are the best!

Macey on

Congratulations on such a wonderful pregnancy and the excitement of soon meeting your little bundle of joy! I, too, had such a wonderful and easy pregnancy!! I had my second three years ago, and that one was just as fabulous! I never in any of my pregnancies had a second of sickness and I think it has to do with your positive attitude and determination to make it the best experience!! You are gorgeous and will have a beautiful daughter soon! Congratulations and God Bless.

Jody on

I went through that very same issue with my son – no morning sickness, great first trimester – then WHAM! upside the head with a “screen positive” Down Syndrome possibility hanging over my head. From 14 weeks to 18 when we did the amnio I lived this constant fear of “what if”. My son is now 5 and very very smart! I learned a valuable lesson, I’m now pregnant with our second and I was able to take a step back and really absorb and thankfully, all the tests came back fine! I’m so glad your baby girl is fine, its such a stressful time as it is. These test can make you crazy but I understand the importance of them as well.

Danielle on

I had the same thing happen to me. I was told I had a 1 in 65 chance my daughter would be born with Downs syndrome which is extremely a high probability as opposed to what my age suggest. I did not have the amnio due to the risk associated with it. I waited the rest of my pregnancy not knowing whether the healthy child we were seeing on ultrasound was going to be a reality. It was horrible and the stress I think ultimately led to my complications. Luckily my daughter was born at 35 weeks due to complications and spent 12 days in the NICU but has no abnormalities. She is now a crazy 16 month old little girl!!!

Kathleen Cooper on

My doctor believed that my baby would have a cleft palet as a result of the ultra sound picture. I agonized over how she would look and had nightmares about her being teased . Well, thank God, my worry was all in vain. She was born perfect with a tiny button nose and perfectfully pouty lips. My daughter Logan is now 12 years old. She is perfect in every way and is the best thing I have ever done.

Alessandra on

It’s so cute to read your blog…I am glad everything is fine with the baby! You must know baby girls are stronger than baby boys…I’m studying to be a doc! But I do know it’s impossible to calm down when you are carrying a cargo so precious :) I’m still in the 1st step of the worries “Will I be able to get pregnant?”…it’s something that seems so far! I can’t wait to hold my future babies…that’s my biggest dream! That’s why I love celeb babies…it makes me dream!

I wish all the best for you and the tiny girl there ;) of course to the daddy too

Alessandra on

Reading other posts I would LOVE to tell everybody that she wasn’t saying Spina Bifida or Down Syndrome are hell or so…it’s normal, and for the most part, you are mothers, to want a baby to be fully healthy, not because it has to be perfect, a baby is always perfect to the eyes of his family, but because he will suffer in his life seeing that he/she can’t have a life like all the other people have. I could point 10000 examples among my family and friends. I will be a mother one day, hopefully soon, and when I’ll be expecting I’ll pray God to have an healthy baby, no more, HEALTHY for his/her life, not for me! My brother died 10 days after he was born in 1981 and my parents’ eyes are still inconsolable, he had a diaphragmatic hernia and doc couldn’t see it. I don’t want my baby to live 10 days full of things coming out of his body, filled with anesthetics to not feel the pain of a surgery he had when he was 1 hour old. I don’t want to take the risk for him to survive and have a surgery every year to fix the problem, to see him crying because he can’t play soccer or run as all the kids do…that’s my way to love a child, maybe it’s even her way so please. Respect her! She’s going to be a mom to a fully perfect baby! I don’t think you had been happy the baby had problems when you found out, hadn’t you? I don’t think so, her reaction was more than normal, I bet everybody would have it…the choice is something that comes after so….Marla CONGRATS AGAIN!

Crystal on

Marla,
Pregnancy can be so scarey (I am a mom to 4 boys and an angel). About 4 months after we lost our 2nd son to SIDS, we found out we were expecting again. I remember hitting the floor in the bathroom sobbing and shaking. I couldn’t physically move. Soon after my husband and our than 3 year old son walk in the door from work and preschool (I usually picked him up). My husband had such fear in his eyes when he came up stairs and saw me like that. Than he saw the pregnancy test laying on the counter and looked down at me and smiled. At that moment I knew it was meant to be and that it would be alright. 5 months later I started to head downstairs to let the dog in the house and all I really remember is that I suddenly felt odd. The next thing I knew I was coming too at the bottom of the stairs with the dog throwing herself at the window trying to come inside. Our 3 year old was sitting next to me with the phone. Long story short I ended up at the hospital and admitted for observation. In the morning they were in the process of releasing me (because they couldn’t see anything odd on the ultrasound) when another doctor came running in and said I was going into emergency surgery and our baby would be born prematurely. Come to find out my placenta was tearing and I was bleeding internally. They only knew because of my blood tests. In recovery I was told that me and the baby wouldn’t have lasted much longer. Well despite being born 8 1/2 weeks early, being on a ventilator and feeding tube, he came home in 5 days. The first 2 1/2 years we were walking on eggshells because he was constantly in and out of the PICU but today he is 5 years old and still scares me constantly.
While the scares of pregnancy will soon disappear the scares of motherhood will go on forever :)

Good luck with your little baby.

landocm on

Marla I think you are brave for sharing your controversial story. Good luck to you and your family!

These screening tests only tell you a probability for Down syndrome (DS), Trisomy 18 (T18) (sometimes Trisomy 13) and Spina bifida (SB). Trisomy 18 is usually lethal. The screening tests are to be used as decision making tools with regard to further testing. They are not meant to scare people, although they do. Sometimes these tests lead to further testing that picks up an entirely different disorder than the patient expects. If you feel that you would not want further testing like an amnio or CVS with regards to DS, T18 and SB then DECLINE the tests. They are optional. Take more responsibility for your healthcare. In America, no one can make you do something you do not want to do. Be informed! Genetic counselors help you with the information. They are indirect. Sometimes people are so scared they do not listen to what the health professional is saying. All they think they hear is “termination” when the health professional is actually talking about something different entirely. Termination is required to be offered as an option so a patient doesn’t come back and say they would have terminated had they known how it would be and sue. It doesn’t mean that the health professional wants you to do it. So take a breath, and listen, then make your own decisions. If you don’t want to hear anything that is informative or may be worrisome, then decline genetic counseling and decline further ultrasounds.

I have talked to many women who have children with special health care needs. Some families thrive with those children and their love increases. Other families are broken. I have met several delightful people with Down syndrome. I have also seen quite a few stillborns with Down syndrome. There is variability within the condition. There is always uncertainty with reproduction and parenthood.

Most babies are born “healthy”. I believe that people make decisions that are best for their families when they are fully informed.

Lori on

I never had these tests done. It is totally up to you. My first Dr. tried to make me feel bad about not having them. I knew that false positives were common. So why put myself through that?? If something was wrong with my baby that wouldn’t change the outcome. I would never terminate my pregnancy. It is hard enough worrying about having a healthy baby without adding some test that isn’t even accurate anyway. This poor woman worried herself to death for almost 2weeks before finding out that the baby was fine.

Maria on

Had the same scare with my first born. I understand completely how scared you must have been….. We chose not to do the amnio, and had a healthy baby boy who is now 5. When we got pregnant again with my daughter I chose not to do the tests. From what I have read, and what my OB told me at the time, there are many people who have false positives.

Karen on

I went through the same thing with my daughter. I had opted out of the blood work with my boys and wasn’t really sure why I did it with her. The amnio was terrible and uncomfortable. I couldn’t even look at the screen until my husband forced me. There was my little girl batting at the needle. She was born slightly premature but healthier than a full term and is problem free. (less her attitude!)

Ashley Harmon on

Maria, I’m very sorry for what you had to go through, but I completely understand. I went through all of that too! It so scary, you can’t even begin to explain to someone how you feel unless they have gone through it.

I, remember every second of it as if it just happened. I remember a nurse asking me if I was going to abort my little girl if the amino came back showing down syndrome or spinal biff. I look at her in such disqust and said NO and she said the why are you here if your not going to abort ! My answer her to was I need to be mentally and emotionally ready for whatever could happen. So , I did the test and the the 2 week wait after the test trying to be strong for my son and my family, but on the inside full of fear and sadness. Finally, got a call from Dr. Saying everything came back normal.

Still to this day even though my daughter came almost two months early and we spent over 35 days in nice, due to my placenta separating from my uterus which I still to do this believe the ammnio had something to with this. So be careful. They one thing I will say is all of it made me a stronger person and as a today, my 4 lb baby is now 5 and most beautiful little girl. I wouldn’t change it in a heart beat. Good luck to you and I hope from here on out everyday is nothing but good for you and baby. P.S. enjoy every minute because it does go by so fast like the blink of the eye !

k on

thanks for posting this! i am so glad everything is ok. this blog actually made my decision to opt of that testing to avoid stress and worry. turns out A LOT of women receive false positives with these things. so i decided to leave in Gods hands and avoid all together. but this really helped me! thanks for sharing!!!

KarenB on

So glad to hear all is OK. I had a terrible pregnancy with my second child. One complication after another, starting at 7.5 weeks. There was a lot of risk to me and the baby, and boy did I go through a lot – platelet transfusions, hospitalizations, injections, on and on. I won’t go into details.

The AFP is a SCREENING – not a TEST. Having the results can be extremely helpful, regardless of whether one would terminate. My results had me terrified of a neural tube defect. She did not have one – but those levels can also indicate an unhealthy placenta, which I did have. I was alerted to issues we COULD and DID address. We treated my low amniotic fluid. The docs knew to keep a close eye on my placenta. My daughter had to be delivered at 34 weeks when the placenta and amniotic sac started to break down. She was a totally healthy baby. But had they not known, and not been seeing me twice weekly, she would likely have died in utero. So I really want to caution women about letting false positives discourage them from getting the screening. Knowledge is power – something you can act on, from pre-natal care to birth arrangements to setting up services before the baby is born.

angela satorre on

Marla, I am so glad everything is going well. Good luck. When I was pregnant, I also had a scare in the very beginning. I had blood clots and during the first month I would bleed. The first day I bled, I remember being so hysterical and crying. Then it went away, and my pregnancy was normal for the most part until the last 2 weeks when my blood pressure started rising. However, I had to work during my pregnancy, 44 hours a week, in a retail job. So I would be so paranoid that I actually bought one of those portable Fetal doppler to hear the baby’s heartbeat every 3 hours or so. I would get scared because while I was working the baby rarely kicked, but I have since figured out that while I would be moving about during the day he would be sleeping and when I was asleep or trying to sleep he would be wide awake and kicking me so hard that it was hard to sleep. Wow! Just reading your blogs and everyone’s comments bring happy or sad tears depending on the nature to my eyes and it reminds me of how paranoid and scared I was for the full 9 months. Children are truly a blessing.

nataliia on

it is comforting, in a way, to read that other people worry too. I had a scary dream last night that I gave a birth to a baby now, which is 17 weeks along, and it was tiny in amniotic sack and probably not able to survive… the dream was so vivid, that I started to feel something wrong is happening with my baby for real! I even cried today, and wanted to buy a Doppler(like that would help) It feels so good to share my scary thoughts here, and it feels even better to read Marlas conclusive thoughts, that parenting means worrying in a way. First we worry to keep them safe in our womb, and than many new worries will come. So, our big next step is to make peace with our worries and to either to learn to live with them, or let them go. Get present, get grounded, find things to enjoy no matter what emotions life throws at you.

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