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WOW. Talk about starting your day off with a tough question. I did not vote because I really am not sure what I would do and I suspect that I would not know unless faced with the situation.
Sorry i can't help (other than praying you are not faced with such a choice).

My gut feeling would be only if incompatible with life. But, unless I was in the situation I guess I cant say for sure.

Downs for instance can be very mild or very severe. It could come with only minor learning difficulties - or you could have the heart problems and other problems. You wouldnt know the severity from an early scan would you?

Also, like you I have 2 kiddies already. You have to think not just of you, Marko and the baby - but Kate and Adam too. If you dont terminate and there are severe problems after the baby is born it will obviously affect them too.

I know not all things can be seen with a scan/test, so you cant guarantee a healthy baby, but you'd have to look at the impact the baby would have on your life if there were a disorder of some kind. One of you may have to give up work. Or spend long spells in hospital. On paper these sound like superficial reasons to terminate - but I firmly believe you have to do what is best for the entire family, not just for one baby.

So yes, I probably would terminate if the baby had a chromosomal disorder. I wouldnt like myself very much but thats my gut feeling.

If I offend anyone with my comment - my apologies - I do not mean to be offensive or insensitive.

My brother has a little girl - she is 9 years old. She was born with tuberous sclerocious (spelling?). Physically you cannot see anything is wrong with her but mentally she is still on nappies, cannot speak, needs 24-hour care as she does not understand danger and therefore will just walk into a pool, or accross the road etc. (like a 1-year old child). Her brain will never fully develop and allow her to understand or speak etc. because in the regions of her brain which controls "intelligence", speech, there are hard nodules/calcifications and dead brain cells cannot be repaired. She is my brothers absolute life. The last 9 years of my bother/sis-inlaw's life has been a living hell, even if they would NEVER admit it. Financially they will never be able to be secure because in South Africa "good" private homes for such children are very, very expensive. She goes to Camphill in Hermanus and receives wonderful care at exhorborant costs which are never going to go away. Holidays and weekends they look after her themselves and are on 24-hour duty. She also gets epileptic fits. I sometimes wonder it it would not be better for God to come and take his little angle to a place where she can understand and be "healed".

Your optimism is what keeps me coming back here...

Of course you wouldn't make such a decision based on a poll, but for what it's worth, I chose "only if the condition was incompatible with life," and even if that was the case, I'd probably have to get at least 3 agreeing professional opinions before I'd do anything.

My friend thought, on Tuesday, that her daughter (4 months old) needed a heart transplant. After a doctor's appointment on Wednesday, it turns out that she just needs open heart surgery ("just" - Ha. Ok, still a HUGE deal, but not nearly as bad as a transplant).

So, doctors are wrong. Frequently. And I'd hate to make a life or death decision without being absolutely sure of the diagnosis (how can you ever be sure)?

Then you read blogs about people whose babies had life-threatening conditions before birth, and were born just fine and lived. And you read about families who decided that if the only chance at life their baby had was in-utero, then they were going to allow her to live out the duration of her natural life....

I don't know. I really just don't know. I wouldn't terminate for Down's. But Down's is kind of the tip of the iceberg, in terms of genetic atypicalities.

Whatever happens, you'll do your best. That's all that you can do.

I predict LN7 is doing just fine.

I wish that you could stop worrying and just enjoy your pregnancy (ha, with the zits and awkward clothes and everything), but I understand why that's hard. Do you think, after the scan, that you'll be able to relax?

We found out at 12 weeks into a pregnancy (after IVF)that the baby had Downs and chose to terminate. I felt sad at having to make the choice and sometimes wonder what she would have been like but ultimately I don't really regret the choice.

I was already put in your exact position. Thank whomever, I didn't have to make this choice. When you have twins, your resources...financial, time, etc...are already stretched and divided. I thought that having another baby was enough of a strain on the relationship I had with my boys as it was without having a child who would take up everything I had. If it was my first, last, and only pregnancy I would feel differently. Of course, no matter what the scans say I could have had difficulties with the pregnancy or birth that left us with a severely disabled child, but I couldn't knowingly put the boys through it...if that makes any sense. It is such a tough thing to even think about it. I wouldn't want to go back to 12 weeks if you paid me. I will be thinking about you every day and praying you don't have to make that choice... if the prayers of an agnostic/Pagan mean anything :)

I know, without a doubt, that I would terminate. And I'd probably feel like shit for the rest of my life about it, but I know that I cannot handle that in my life. I am unstable enough as it is, and I know that I would be a piss poor mother to an 'atypical' child. So yes, I would terminate.

Does that make me a terrible, selfish person?

Using a cleanser with salicylic acid has really helped my skin, which went to shit b/c of stress and a move to a hot, steamy climate. I'm still trying to find an anti-aging potion I can use at night without my face exploding into zits; I've got a shipment of assorted skin goos on the way to me now. If anything works, I will let you (and the world) know.

Thinking good thoughts for you and Lucky.

My definition of "incompatible with life" isn't necessarily the same as the doctors. My second son was born with congenital heart defencts that if picked up earlier in the pregnancy would have led to the termination discussion. Because they weren't picked up until around 33-34 weeks the discussion never happened and he has turned out (mostly) fine. I know chromosomal stuff is different but if it's the nuchal translucency test vs the CVS I would go with the CVS because it won't give you a false positive unlike the NT which may give you a positive for something that is surgically correctable like a heart defect.

I voted "other", because I think there's a lot of space between "atypical" and "incompatible with life". I definitely would terminate if the fetus had a condition that was incompatible with life. I probably wouldn't terminate with Down Syndrome (when I was pregnant with my daughter, I was "screen positive" for DS on the blood test and had amnio at 18+ weeks. We had decided not to terminate regardless of the diagnosis at that point, but 18 weeks is different from 12, so even though I strongly suspect that I would make the same decision at 12, I can't be sure). If it was somewhere in between in terms of severity, I don't know what I would do. I think it's really impossible to know how you would feel until you're in that situation.

I had the unglow with my son, very much so. He tried to destroy me, I think hahaha. J/k... maybe.

Can you buy something like the Desert Essence Blemish Touch Stick with tea tree oil? My husband and I both swear by it. It zaps pimples and shrinks them away to nothing better than salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, and it doesn't dry or irritate the skin. Mind you, it stings like hell when applied to irritated skin, but the stinging is temporary and then the skin is happier.

I would need to terminate for my own health even if it were a healthy fetus, so don't ask me about the other question. We had a scare nine years ago and thought Ben might be more likely to have Down syndrome, but I hadn't thought I'd terminate for that. Something like trisomy 13 or anencephaly, though, I couldn't have carried the pregnancy to term. Not after infertility.

I voted yes, and here's why. I'm 40, if I got PG right this minute, I'd be 41 when a child was born. Assuming that child had down's syndrome or another severe disability, his/her care will fall to my older child sooner rather than later should my husband and I pass away. I do not want to risk placing that burden on my son as a young man.

I know that some cases of down's are mild, and the individual can live independently. But I grew up knowing my great aunt, who had severe down's and could not talk and could barely feed herself. She was alo violent, which I know is atypical for down's, but her behavior was often frightening, and she injured several members of the family. She lived into her 60s, and for most of her life, she lived with my great-grandmother, who luckily lived to be 96. But then my great aunt spent the last decade of her life in an institution because there was no one to care for her. It was very sad.

A friend of mine had to make this very difficult decision at 16 weeks. Nucal fold, nose bone, etc were all fine on the scan. As she was 41 at the time she decided to have an amnio. Unfortunately the results were 98% that she would have a downs baby. She decided to terminate. It was the hardest decision she had ever made. But, she made it knowing that she was not that young anymore, and that here two boys would have to carry this very heavy burden. Not only that, statistically 89% of all marriages fail when an "a-typical" child comes into play.

She immidiately had her tubes tied, so that she would never be confronted with this situation again. But she still feels that she made the right choice.

I personally would terminate, as I believe I am not strong enough to carry such a heavy burden. 9 weeks of my baby being in the N.I.C.U was enough for my.

"Thankfully" due to early stages of cervical cancer, I had to have my uterus and cervix removed, and hence will never be in that situation.

Holding thumbs that all will be fine.

I also did not vote on you poll. I seriously don't know what I would do when faced with that decision.

My husband and I have discussed it when we discussed having children and I know he would rather terminate (even for Downs) but I just don't think I could. One of his friends has a daughter with Downs and he says this has taken over their whole lives and he could not deal with that. I have, on the other hand met a number of parents of Downs chidren and ALL of them as have said their child is the absolute joy of thier lives. Hard work - yes, but then what children aren't in their own ways.

If the result was "incompatible with life" - as a commentator above mentioned I would probably want quite a few "second opinions" before I made any decision.

I voted that annoying "other", with this qualification:

If the baby was very likely to die upon birth, or before, because of something like missing organs, severely deformed, etc., I might terminate. If it were some of the more severe trisomies, where the baby can live a few months but not longer, I probably would not. If it were a Downs condition, I would not.

I just had a post-40 baby, so I had to consider all of these things. I chose not to test, except for sonograms. I am deeply grateful that he is a healthy baby.

I understand this is sensitive, and what I think I can handle is not what others think they can handle. I suspect we can ALL handle more than we think we could, though (especially those of us that get our strength from something greater than ourselves).

How often have we heard parents say that their atypical child, or the child they only had for a short time, is the greatest joy of their lives? I would not want to miss out on that by terminating, when the chance for some life is there.

I would never choose to terminate with the excuse of, "An atypical child would be too much for our family." I think I can sum up that I would choose to terminate if it meant I was sparing the child a painful death out in the world.

i voted 'never', because that is how i feel now, but i have thanfully never been in that situation. i think this is possibly the most difficult decision one can ever face!

personally i feel GOD has a plan for our lives, and that may include having a 'challenging' child. but hey, as i say, i have never been there... thank GOD.

one thing i do know, is that one can NEVER judge anyone else's choice. i pray you may never have to make this choice too.

I would terminate, for any condition that was not repairable, like a minor heart defect, etc...but it would be very very difficult. I did make the incredibly difficult decision to terminate for a trisomy 18 diagnosis at 21 weeks, but we had no idea until just after 18 weeks, and the nuchal test didn't exist back then, so it might be easier to do it earlier. I know that seeing the baby move so vigorously and knowing that the nuchal was small was very very reassuring in subsequent pregnancies. (A baby that shows vigorous movement is highly unlikely to have a chromsomal diagnosis.)

I do worry that some women are not informed by their Doctors that an atypical diagnosis isn't just about the babies health, but about their own. You see, a baby with a birth defect also means a placenta with a defect, (since they all come from the same defective group of cells originally) and that can affect the likelihood of developing pre-e, blood clots, placental tearing and bleeding, and possible strokes and other health issues with the mom.

Many women believe those risks are worth it for a baby with problems, and might carry the pregnancy to term anyway, but some cannot take the risk, and informed consent really is critical to making the decision. In that case, I really hope the OB in question would engage in extra monitoring to the woman's placenta, and not just the fetus, and possibly prescribe heparin and baby aspirin to prevent clotting, and perhaps vaginal progesterone to lower inflammation.

I say this because I know one woman personally whose baby was diagnosed with a bad nuchal, but the baby passed the amnio perfectly. Much later on in the pregnancy an ultrasound discovered that the baby did have some problems, a genetic condition that could not be picked up by amnio, but nonetheless was extremely serious. She opted not to terminate because noone could tell her for sure what was going on, but was never told that her life might be at risk, even after she went blind in eye. The Docs kept telling her that it unrelated! Meanwhile, it wasn't...they have now spent thousands on health care costs for their disabled daughter, and my friends sight is just returning.

Anyway, my point is not to scare you Tertia, only to say that these decisions are complicated, it isn't just about the health of the baby, and only you can make them for yourself. Whatever you decide, you know that I'll be here for you.

I personally am horrified when people terminate for Downs and other mild genetic disorders. CHeck out my friend's blog www.pennybecker.blogspot.com about their child with Downs. while it has been difficult she is an incredible kid and I'm sure they can't imagine life without her--
When there is no way the disorder will be compatible with life-- I do understand early induction-- and birth-- but to treat a life in any other way but dignity and gentleness and respect is wrong and very difficult for me personally..

I know one couple who terminated their pregnancy with downs at like 22 weeks-- and had a public funeral and everything--I was and am appalled-- the child didn't have to die-- they did it---

I voted "terminate if not compatible" but I think I'm changing my mind on that. I'm a religious person but this really has nothing to do with that, for me. I think I would want to know that I cared for and nurtured my baby during his/her time on this earth. As his/her mommy, I would want to know that I had done everything possible to make my baby feel safe and loved while I had him/her with me. I wouldn't expect everyone else to feel the same way so I'm definitely not judging. I just know that I when I thought my first baby was dying inside me (miscarriage at 12 weeks), it gave me comfort to know that my baby only ever knew warmth and protection. I don't think I could terminate for that reason.

I good friend of mine had a baby stillborn at 21 weeks with anencephaly. (I'm sure I spelled that wrong.) Anyway, I think the fact that she got to hold her baby and see him was a great comfort to her - knowing that all her actions towards little T were to hold him/love him/protect him. Yes he died before he was born, but that didn't mean he wasn't her son.

I don't know, really, because I've never been in that situation. But I think this is how I would go.

I'm praying that LN7 is very healthy!

I terminated a pregnancy at 14 weeks for downs, based on NT and blood work. We had a long discussion with the head of the genetics dept. at a hospital here. Downs can be mild or it can be severe, some later testing can show more about what heart problems might be there. The severe part scared me. I didn't want to do CVS due to the possibility of miscarriage. It was heartbreaking but we didn't feel that we had the resources financially and otherwise to deal with this, our first pregnancy.
I have known two people who've had a downs syndrome child. The first one was a surprise, as my friend had no testing whatsoever (it was her third child) Her daughter was not severely affected (I don't remember the terminology) and she has been a source of joy and delight for the whole family. She is a great, happy little girl. The second family are friends of a friend. They knew that they were having a downs syndrome child (also a girl) and they did additional testing etc. This baby (their first child) was born with severe heart problems, they spent all their time in and out of hospital with her, and sadly she died of complications after heart surgery, at five years old. That couple has since split up.
It is a very difficult decision to make but it's a highly personal one. I believe that we made the right decision for our family...Do we have regrets? Yes.
But we test for a reason..To find out more and sometimes to make choices.
But I'm not a fan of CVS. BTW
Just my two cents.

Hi Tertia,

Everyone has to make their own choices. But I would love to share my story (but this is too small a space.) But I did not do the CVS (with my quad pregnancy) because of the risk. But knowing I wouldn't reduce anyway I figured why do it. At the nuchal folds scan baby A was given a 1 in 10 chance of having down syndrome.

I was scared to death. Knowing I could never deal with any issues like that I was terribly worried. But I also (personal beliefs) wouldn't terminate so I waited. At all the following scans there were no markers, we had a fetal echo and all was well. We felt a huge relief.

After having the babies at 26 wks, and Anna (baby A) being the healthiest we were thrilled. After James passed away the doctors came and said that Anna's tests were back (what tests?we didn't even know about them---with 4 sick kids I guess it wasn't a priority) but they confirmed she had down syndrome.

At first I cried but then I walked to her isolette and realized that nothing had changed. She was still my baby girl that was a week old. Nothing changed from the day before when I didn't know to that time.

And now, at age 5, she truly truly is the light of my life. She is a gift directly from God and I wouldn't change anything about her. She is so perfect and so beautiful that sometimes I cry just knowing that I was so scared. I know everyone says that special needs children are a gift and we all just nod our heads. But after having Anna I "know" what they mean. It is a mommy love so deep its beautiful.

If this was your diagnosis and you were struggling with the decision, ask me. I would love to tell you more. But I don't want infringe on your right to a decision. Just if you are unsure.

I have chosen "incompatible with Life" as I hope that is the option I would chose in that situation but I am not sure I would really be that brave.

My own mother was advised to terminate both her pregnacies (myself and my brother) due to her own ill health and she refused which personally I am extremly glad off. I would like to believe I would be as strong as her.

But I could also never judge anyone who made a different decision.

Oh Tertia you have me confused!

Good Luck to you and LN7!!

My husband and I have 3 children - want to guess how many are special needs? Our eldest has autism, yet for all the frustration she is truely wondeful. Middle child is the easiest - Tourettes'. Lots of OCD, nothing that can't be dealt with. Our youngest is the hard one. We know *something* is wrong, we just have no clue what or how severe it will end up being. Older children adapt, and do it quite well, and honestly speaking, it wil probably be good for your twins if you have another child to obsess over, (Okay, that sounded really crappy, but I honestly mean it in a nice way - you have stated several times that you think you might be an over the top/over protective parent. With younger children in the mix that becomes harder - I found it really helped to mellow my parenting style.) As for the divorce rates - very, very true and good point. But my husband and I and still married. Just because the odds are against it does not mean it will happen.

That being said - if the condition was incompatable with life and/or would lead to a short and painful life I would terminate immediately. I'm just trying to point out thay "bad" isn't always really that way. (and for the record, I am pro-choice. Whatever decision you (or anyone else) makes is *your* decision. I just wanted to point out that bad can be rather okay.)

Before I knew it would be *so* hard to get pregnant, I would have voted "yes" without much thinking. I used to tell myself I'm not someone to raise a child with (severe) disabilities.

But... now that it took ivf/icsi and our only frozen embryo to have our healthy daughter (3 weeks old today!), I'm not that sure anymore. We had my blood tested and a specialized ultrasound at 12 weeks, and the results on trisomy 13/18/21 were not good.

However, they were not *that* bad (a chance of 1:200 for Down) and we decided not to have any conclusive testing done. I was too attached to this little person on screen by then...

I'm sorry you are having "unglow." I too, never glowed during pregnancy. Meet people who say they never felt better when pregnant, and all I can do is shake my head, because clearly, our gene pools are very different.

As to the poll...I just couldn't end a pregnancy.

You do know this will be more contraversial than your USA political post don't you? LOL

No, I wouldn't abort. I'm a Christian, and I have faith in God that He will do what is best for me. But aborting, I feel like I would take away a chance for a miracle. And, I leave the choices of life and death up to God. I don't feel it's my place to choose for another.

Thinking positive thoughts for you and your wee one. I hate this time in a pregnancy because there is no way to keep your mind focused on anything other than the worry. I hope Marko and the twins are doing their best to try to keep you distracted from it and smiling.

I chose other becasue at this point, without having yet had a child I would carry the child and pray for miracle regardless of the results of the scan. However, if I already had children, I would have to take into account the severity of the condition, the toll the pregnancy would take on my mothering, and the toll it would take on family resources. If the condition were incompatible with life I would probably chose to terminate. I would mourn the same at 13 weeks as at 23 weeks, but if that is going to be the outcome regardless, I would choose to take the fewest risks possible with my body for the sake of my other children.

I have been in this position--twice. I have a balanced reciprocal translocation of two of my chromosomes. It means I am normal, but two chromosomes have swapped material. However, when a carrier makes egg or sperm, the haploid gamete (egg or sperm) can have extra and/or missing chromosomal material. In many cases, failure occurs at fertilization, if not then, then at implantation, or later resulting in miscarriage. But sometimes, these embryos hang on to be diagnosed at CVS or amnio and people have to choose whether to terminate. Some would make it to birth and die shortly thereafter and some would live near normal lifespans with their disabilities. My mother is a carrier and my sister was born with an "unbalanced" form of the rearrangement. I knew what it would be like to raise a disabled child. For a myriad of reasons, she wasn't the "light of my parent's lives" or anything close. I'd like to believe I could be a better, more giving and self-less parent than they were, but I don't know.

So, the first time I got pregnant, we had CVS and were diagnosed with a boy with the same chromosomal issue as my sister. He also had a (presumably fluke) large deletion on another chromosome that was known to hold a lot of important genetic information. We chose to terminate at 11 weeks. We don't know if he would've lived or not--the doctor's didn't speculate about the deletion.

The second time I got pregnant, we "knew" something was wrong from the beginning. At a 5.5 week ultrasound, the gestational sac was irregular, too large for dates, and seemed to be collapsing (even though the fetal pole measured right on). I expected to miscarry at any moment for weeks. I had an ultrasound scan with the CVS at 10 weeks and the doctor's opinion from the ultrasound was that the baby wouldn't make it past the second trimester. He had a very large cystic hygroma going all the way down his back and spine, advanced fetal hydrops in all body cavities including the heart and brain cavities and general edema. We assumed he had the same chromosomal issue as our first baby and my sister and decided to terminate again. I don't want to give any impression that either of these decisions was easy. It was full of turmoil and questioning. It's easy to report it factually now because it was years ago. The CVS results ended up being a surprise--that boy had Down's syndrome.

I am not a person that can leave my fate up to, well, fate. I do not believe that "God won't give you more than you can handle". I have seen lots of people given more than they can handle and I have seen the fall out of that--broken families (including my family of origin), escapism through drugs and alcohol, loss of faith and hope in life and, sometimes, suicide. I can't tell you how many people I have seen that came to the "termination for medical reasons" board on babycenter (under the old bb system). That couldn't believe they were there--that it had happened to them and how they never thought they would terminate for any reason, let alone non-lethal ones; how they had condemend people in the past for doign what they were about to or just did. You can't always know what you would do until you have a for sure diagnosis and it's happening to YOU.

If anyone is interested (and not condemning me to hell for my choices), I did get my happy ending. I had 2 non-carrier, healthy children and I don't regret what I did to get to where I am. Different choices wouldn't have given me these 2 particular boys, and that is something that I can't imagine.

Voted yes. I consider all members of my family when making that type of decision. I've seen too many families break up because of the enormous emotional and financial stress of a special needs child. I had to make that decision when testing CVS testing came back with my last pregnancy showing a Trisomy 18 baby. Another factor to consider is how your body can physically handle it. If the pregnancy is one that is incompatible with life, at my age-43, do I want to go ahead with the pregnancy, knowing that the baby will die, and risk something going wrong during the pregnancy that will prevent me from having another, hopefully healthy, child later? Or have something go wrong and have to have a hysterectomy or bleed out? No thanks. I certainly would have to be as certain as possible about the diagnosis (by amnio or CVS instead of just an ultrasound scan). And, yes, I believe that we should do our best to lead a good life and make the right choices according to whatever higher power you believe in, or if there is no higher power you follow, then just pure personal ethics, but we are just human and have to somehow come to grips with and live with our decisions.

I think you have to be brutally honest about what you want - and what your partner wants, and what you can handle. I had an amnio when I was pregnant for a reason. I knew what was best for myself and my partner.

Voted yes. I consider all members of my family when making that type of decision. I've seen too many families break up because of the enormous emotional and financial stress of a special needs child. I had to make that decision when testing CVS testing came back with my last pregnancy showing a Trisomy 18 baby. Another factor to consider is how your body can physically handle it. If the pregnancy is one that is incompatible with life, at my age-43, do I want to go ahead with the pregnancy, knowing that the baby will die, and risk something going wrong during the pregnancy that will prevent me from having another, hopefully healthy, child later? Or have something go wrong and have to have a hysterectomy or bleed out? No thanks. I certainly would have to be as certain as possible about the diagnosis (by amnio or CVS instead of just an ultrasound scan). And, yes, I believe that we should do our best to lead a good life and make the right choices according to whatever higher power you believe in, or if there is no higher power you follow, then just pure personal ethics, but we are just human and have to somehow come to grips with and live with our decisions.

This is one of those decisions you don't really have an honest answer for until you've faced it.

I haven't faced it, per se. I do know that in my initial triple screen with Rosebud they came back with a possibility of down's, which then lead me to an amnio. Even asking for the amnio was hard, because it meant that I was going to be confronting myself with the information, which would then lead to the question of whether or not I'd keep her.

Fortunately, it all turned out wonderfully - and my daughter is entirely healthy.

However - if things had gone the other way? I don't really know. I voted that I'd terminate if the problems were incompatible with life, because that much I know for certain. I'd never risk bringing a child into this world who would only know pain at best, or nothing at worst.

But if it was someone who would have some impairments? I just can't say. I've never been there, and wouldn't want to speculate. It's too painful.

Strikes me that you're crossing a bridge you haven't come to yet. I can't answer that question, because I've never been in that situation, and I don't think you can know what you'll do until you're there. I don't think you achieve anything, except driving yourself nuts, by going over all the scenarios in your head when you don't even know whether this will be an issue for you. My best answer to your question: Breathe and focus on the present moment.

Was your CVS rescheduled or is it still on for the 27th?

I believe that everyone needs to evaluate their definition of 'atypical' and choose accordingly. I also believe that everyone has the right to make their choice -- whether to terminate or not to terminate -- and that nobody should be forced into either decision.

Would I terminate? Yes, once I had come to terms with whatever the "atypical" condition was.

(For statistical purposes, I am the mother of one 27-year-old daughter; no fertility issues.)

Strange - I was just talking to Scott about this this morning. To be completely honest, the thought of terminating for any reason other than the condition is life-threatening to the baby or the mother really freaks me out - as in: I can't stop thinking about the baby and wondering whether the scans and tests were accurate and whether his/her life really would have been as bad as the doctors predict.

First off, I am thrilled for you about lucky #7. :)

As for the poll, I could never terminate a pregnancy.

I always thought I'd terminate for conditions like Down's (broad spectrum of possible disabilities) but then, when offered an amnio for my +35 pregnancy, I decided to do the non-invasive screening and that's that. I don't do guilt very well, I've found out, and the guilt of hurting a child I'm supposed to protect, which has a decent chance at a good quality of life, would probably haunt me forever. I totally get others who've made different choices, but that is me. Incompatible with life I'd terminate without blinking an eye - I see no sense in making anything suffer needlessly.

I don't make any judgments about what other women decide -- it's far too personal to say "should" and "shouldn't" about this kind of heart-rending decision.

For myself, I think I would NOT terminate for "milder" atypical situations where there is a reasonable chance of meaningful life for the child. For me, this includes Downs and others. For other situations, including no brain developing (a friend of mine had this) or nearly-assured death in infancy, I would choose an early termination. For me, there would be no point in continuing if there was no chance of a meaningful life.

May I start off by saying - your pregnancy, your choice!
However, I have to say, please read the latest post on my blog. I am a Physio, and am currently working in a special needs school for severely physically and/or mentally handicapped children!
I cry EVERYDAY! I cry out of frustration, I cry for the desperation of these children and their families, I cry because they cry during treatment!
It is tough! And yet - I still get to come home everyday to my healthy, happy, active children!
Could I live with it 24/7??I really don't know!
That's a question that you have to answer for yourself!
But - with your history of miscarriage, I have a feeling that this baby is 100% healthy and is going to steal your heart!

I voted NEVER. God does not make mistakes and I would feel that I should give that child a chance. Miracles do happen...just ask MckMamma...www.mycharmingkids.net!

There is a reason that this child has been created that transcends any logic or belief. Please don't doubt the ability of the human body to repair and heal itself.

And even if something were to appear chromosomallly abnormal, barring risk to your own life, and considering what you've gone through in pursuit of a child, do you think you should at least allow nature to run it's course? What I've seen repeatedly when it comes to prognosis is children who are still alive who, according to the supposed experts should have died long, long ago. Take my God-sister Elizabeth who is in 8th grade and 14 years old, who was born with 25% of her brain and bones so brittle that only a faint grey outline shows on xrays, in addition to MANY other complications. When she was three, her mother was called and they asked her how Elizabeth died, when Elizabeth was in the other room napping. She was the first child with her conditions to survive, however several have since.

My friends, Brenda and Steve, adopted a sibling group of three brothers. One of whom is a brittle diabetic, one of whom has fetal alcohol effects and one of whom has an extreme case of fetal alcohol syndrome and was neglected so severely that at age 10 months, his adoptive family was told he would never live to be a year. When he lived to be a year, they were told he would never crawl or walk and then when he crawled or walked they were told he would never be able to feed himself or potty train. Today, Markus is at Kindergarten and has done all the things the doctors said he would never do. . . and many more. He's a happy, well-adjusted child who has bonded with his family and denied prognosis with a vengeance.

There are countless other situations with which I've personally been involved and subsequently learned that a medical prognosis is just a guess. And people, even educated, can be incorrect.

I would not give birth to a child who was more than likely to suffer through a short life filled with medical intervention and then die. Other than that I would probably go ahead and have the baby and do the best I could do with the child.

One thing you always have to consider is who will take care of this person as an adult, when you are gone? For serious genetic diseases this is a huge consideration. I had a friend who was pregnant with a girl who had Turners syndrome which causes an inability to do simple math, various physical deformities and some other problems. These girls are very loving and highly maternalistic (it's an xy problem). She was first diagnosed via amnio then had to wait for a fetal blood sample to be sure it was the baby and not the placenta (she was 20 weeks at that point). The tests showed that 50% of the baby's cells were impacted which meant she would be profoundly retarded (or so my friend thought). Because she was in her 40s and her husband was in his 50s she terminated, not wanting a 30 year old to be put on public assistance. Her husband was also a major douchebag and she soon divorced him. I think that weighed in.

So anyhow - life in adulthood is another consideration.

I believe my friend opted for amnio over CVS because she was afraid of the possible damage from CVS but that left her waiting until 20 weeks to terminate. It was a hard, hard thing to do. I'm not a big fan of CVS but in your shoes I think I'd go that way so that I knew sooner rather than later.

It is such a personal decision that involves so many factors. I made the decision last year to terminate a perfectly healthy fetus, something I never thought I would do. After years of fertility I became pregnant with triplets with a toddler at home. It never should have happen. They were three crap eggs and the cycle never should have worked, let alone so well. As a single mom, with one at home and quite sure my body would have difficulty with a twin pregnancy, I made the difficult decision to reduce. As it was, the twins were born prematurely at 29 weeks. I'm certain that if I had not reduced, I would have not had any live babies or they would have very severe life long issues if they had made it. I told very few people. Most I told did support my decision. A few didn't. The only persons decision was mine. I made it. I have no regrets. It was the best for me and my family. I know this in my heart. If the child was my one and only, I know I couldn't have made the decision. Anyway, good luck to you on it. I hope it becomes a non-issue after the testing, but if not, you will make the best decision for you and your family. Deb

A few months ago, I might have. Watching this video changed my mind.

Get your tissues - it's beautiful and life changing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=th6Njr-qkq0

My husband and I were faced with this horrible scenario at five months along in my pregnancy, as a result of an atypical quad screening.

We would not have terminated for Downs Syndrome but the condition we were warned of was Trisomy 18, SLOS or Kallman's syndrome. After genetic counseling, a level two ultrasound, amnio & many days of not knowing that damn near killed me...we were fortunate enough to not have to make this decision. The doctor's called and as it turned out the situation we were facing with my now 8 month old son was DRY SKIN.

The amnio was risky (as they are) and I certainly wouldn't have done it had I known that dry skin was what we would come back with. But I can say with some certainty that if the baby had come back positive for Trisomy 18 or SLOS we would probably have terminated the pregnancy.

I voted "yes".
I think parenting "normal" children is hard enough - physically, psychologically & financially.
I know what my limitations are & I am definitely not cut out to care for a special needs child.
I believe when faced with a decision as enormous as this you have to be true to yourself & not be swayed or influenced by anybody else's opinion or experience, because at the end of the day you, and you alone are the one left "holding the baby", in every sense of the word. And you are the only one who truly knows if it's something you can handle - or not.

I used to think that yes, I would terminate. In my first pregnancy, I think I might have. I am on a second now, and my screen's next week, and so this question has been on my mind, too. Now I don't know. Having had a child makes the reality of the developing life much more real, somehow. I think I probably would if the problems were really severe, incompatible with life or perhaps causing a life-long vegetable state, that sort of thing. Otherwise, I just don't know--and I hope neither of us will have to find out.

Pregnancy, for me, is a miserable, miserable state. I am not infertile but I know enough to be grateful that I am. However, I get sick and exhausted, then by the time that's over I'm getting larger and uncomfortable. My sleep is terribly disrupted, I get zitty, etc. etc. I know they say each pregnancy is different but so far this one is just ... worse. And then I got a virus from my son and I've been sick for two weeks now, still feel like I've been run over by a steamroller. So what I'm saying is--I hear ya. I honestly don't know if I could do this again.

I have high hopes for LN7! Thinking good thoughts for you.

Julie thanks so much for sharing your very personal story. I agree so much with your comment about the "anything you can't handle" part.

I would have to look at the particulars very closely. I wouldn't terminate for just any abnormality but this is where every individual's medical information and advice becomes so important.

Of course you are not going to have to consider these questions, I am certain of that.
That said, I answered the non-helpful "Other", as there are too many variables to consider when those circumstances are present. Sorry!

My personal conviction that a Creator is definitely present also includes that 'God' gave us intellect for a reason and leads me to use that reason in combination with my moral rudder.

No matter how heart-breaking it would be, I decided that if we had a child, while an embryo or fetus, that could be definitively or almost certainly be experiencing futile suffering or would do so as the pregancy went on, I would terminate. Of course, doctors will do these procedures in ways which are the fastest and least painful to a fetus, and I would obsessively demand that be the case, but of utmost importance would be to spare eventual, inevitable and futile suffering on the part of the child or the fetus.

I grew up playing with a boy with Down syndrome; his parents were multiple-adoptive and extremely light-hearted, devoted people. That is not the norm; we all have different resources and abilities. Your current children and the mental health of both their parents are paramount. I believe that your previous children are "home" with each other and should anything go awry, any future babes will be there with them.

After multiple losses and I.F., many women do choose to stop the process when it is bringing or will bring even more suffering to their family. I also say this as a psychiatric professional who loves and enjoys as much as possible the great variety of humanness presented to me in lives which face incredible challenges.

I am about 14 weeks and have a serious case of the unglow and fatness too. Ugh. I was surprised to see your poll because my husband and I were laying in bed last night talking about the same subject. I am pro-choice and believe everyone needs to make the choice based on their situation. That being said, I think I would only terminate if the condition was incompatible with life. My first son was found to have markers for Down's on ultrasound (he ended up being fine) and I would have kept him either way. My second pregnancy was complicated with infertility and I had the "we would recommend selective reduction if all the eggs are fertilized" talk but none of those cycles ended in ONE baby, much less three or more. I don't know what I would have done had the situation been different.

I am sorry you are feeling the "unglow."

I checked 'never,' simply because I have heard too many stories of people getting a 'false positive' on possible conditions such as Down's. And, even when there is no false positive, I think the stats are presented to us in a misleading way, many times.

At any rate, I hope that all this is for naught and that your test results will give you no room for worry.

Hi Tertia - long, LONG time reader, first time poster.

My husband and I faced that decision seven years ago. We do an 18 - 20 week scan here in Ontario, Canada and we were told that our baby had a condition incompatible with life (trisomy 18/anencephaly) and we chose to induce.

It was a very tough decision. We sought a second opinion at a bigger health center, with more testing, and the results were the same. Her condition was severe; nothing past the brain stem had developed (which still allowed heart and lung function).

Our experience was excrutiating. I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy. I am glad however, that I was given the choice to induce early, as opposed to facing another three months of pregnancy.

We underwent genetic testing afterward, only to discover neither of us had a pre-condition. Today we have two beautiful daughters - almost six, and almost one.

Hugs to you on your journey!!

I am shocked that people would terminate a child with Downs - shocked and very very saddened. I have never and probably never will be faced with the decision on whether to terminate or not, but for right now I would say only if the child was not going to live and even then I would need multiple Dr's opinions.

I want first to say, you are a brave and honest woman for posing the question.

The answer requires an unvarnished look within and an acknowledgement of one's own strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities, as well as a look outwards towards the needs of those other family members already present.

My best friend is a shining example of how to parent a special-needs child in addition to other children. Another good friend acknowledged personal limitations and discomfort with the unknown of genetic disorders, and chose not to continue a mosaic trisomy pregnancy. Both have my full support for their difficult decisions they have faced.

What would I do? I voted that I would terminate. Is that in fact what I would do in reality instead of theoretically? I'm not sure. The needs of my family as it now stands (including three children, my husband, and myself) would be paramount in my decision, though. I may be hung out to dry for saying it, but in the words of Spock in Star Trek, sometimes the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.

However things go, you have my good wishes for you and all your family.

I have terminated twice for T21 (down syndrome). I caution you against saying its "mild" -- not to my friend who has a 22 year old son in diapers who has the vocabulary of a 2 year old. Not to my friend who has a brother who though living "on his own" has been accused of raping another woman with Down syndrome and is over 100lbs over weight and can't safely use a stove to make dinner...or another friend whose brother was mentally retarded (mild) due to a birth injury who disapeared from the half way house he was living in and they think he is either dead or homeless...a 4 or 5 year old with DS is still managable...a 25 year old is a very different story.

as much as I love your blog, and the many discussions you start -- this one, I have to say, really does not belong.

If you have not been in the situation where you have been given definative news from either amnio OR CVS (not the maybe/percentage/etc that turns out OK) you have NO IDEA what you will do. I am sorry you just don't. So, if you've been there, you know. IF you have not, count your blessings, over and over and over.

I think everyone is different and has a different situation. I would not judge someone for doing something I wouldn't. I am firmly pro-choice.

For my choice, I wouldn't terminate. Even with the best science, they are never 100% certain, even with an "incompatible with life" diagnosis. I wouldn't take that chance.

I'm planning to do the first trimester (non-invasive) screening though. But not so I could chose to terminate. If I found out I was carrying a special needs child, I would want as much leadup time as possible to research, to get into support groups and be prepared.

I voted that I would terminate. I have three older kids (20, 19 and 17) and a two-and-a-half year old. I don't think I have the emotional or mental (never mind financial) reserves to cope with a special needs child. I would also be concerned regarding the repercussions on my other children - I would not want to leave the burden of care to them. (It's a worry I have discussed with other parents who have an age gap of almost a generation between their kids - already there is the knowledge that at some point we will not be around any more, and we want to ensure that the toddler will never be a burden to her siblings). I would also worry about the time, attention and financial resources that would be taken away from my youngest daughter, if I decided to have another baby, and the baby turned out to be special needs.)

I'm praying that you will not be faced with this decision.

My friend Kelli had a sonogram at 8 weeks and they told her that she was going to have to terminate the pregnancy. She did not, and at her 16 week sonogram, they told her that her pregnancy would not go to full term and that her baby had downs syndrome, a heart condition and was going to die before or shortly after birth, she did not terminate her pregnancy.

Just before her due date, she had another scan, the doctors told her that her child probably didn't have downs, but was probably going to need heart surgery after birth.

She gave birth to a perfectly healthy little boy three weeks ago. There is nothing wrong with him and he does not need any surgery.

I know that her story is exceptional (either a miraculous healing or a bunch of very inept doctors), but knowing her story, I don't think I could terminate if I was told that there was something wrong with the baby. I don't judge others who do, because it's a VERY personal decision. I had to have surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy, so I would never ever judge a woman who had to terminate for whatever reason she needed to (and I'm a happy clappy Christian).

Tertia~ I have read you blog for a long, long time but have never posted. Evidence of the fact that you have, and continue to touch people all over the world (I am one of the newly proud Americans again! yes, we have returned to the Village)

I will be forever amazed by your sense of humor, your wit, your openness, dedication to others and bravery to ask yes, even the tough questions. So, whatever comments you get, believe in those great things about yourself.

I as well voted for the tough 'other'. I have thought about this question many times, in both my pregnancies (both are healthy) and in life. I truly cannot say what I would do unless put in that position. If there was no hope for my child, or they would suffer severely the choice for me is clear. I also know that I don't think I would be strong enough to handle a child with severe special needs. Does it make me any less of a person? absolutely not. It makes me who I am. I truly don't think there is anything selfish in that. At the end of the day I look in the mirror knowing who I am, knowing I have to reconcile my decisions with my Higher Power. Nobody else's.

Also, to the person who stated this question doesn't belong on Tertia's blog: for God's sake, its her blog. If you don't like it, neither read it nor respond. Quite frankly, I am glad there are people out there who are not afraid to ask the tough questions and respond honestly.

So to you Tertia, I say carry on sister. Be who you are, ask your thoughtful questions, but above all, enjoy this time. Know that good thoughts are coming to you and LN7.

I'm not a mother yet, but I am a neonatal intensive care nurse , and we see many babies who were incorrectly diagnosed through fetal screening (cvs, amnio, etc). Or the defects they have are not as severe as the docs predicted. This doesn't happen all the time, and we do briefly see the babies with chromosomal or other issues that are incompatible with life. However, the tests seem to come back positive for downs,etc. more often than the child presents with it. I know this probably does not help your decision making process all that much - but I am just hoping and praying you don't even have to think about that decision and LN7 is growing beautifully.

I voted Yes but you know what? I'm not sure. Before I had the boys I think I would not have terminated unless it was life-threatening. But the boys are so challenging and always fighting to get attention as it is. With one more baby, it might be harder. With a special needs baby, I think they would really lose a lot of our attention. And since they have always had to share time with parents, it just seems unfair to them to have another child with problems that would mean we would have to give the boys even LESS time.

But again, I'm not sure. I'm not pregnant and I think being pregnant and making that decision might be a completely different story. In any case, I hope you don't have to make that kind of decision.

Oh, Tertia, I can't help but wonder why the question.

It's hard to know for sure what anyone would do, but in just going with the hypothetical, I wouldn't terminate. I just don't really feel like that would be a decision that should really be in my hands. Yes, I am a Christian - but don't take that in the stereotypical, holier than thou way.I just believe that God has his hand on everything, and our family would be chosen for that child for a reason. Again, I just mean that for ME, I would take things as they come and not use a medical intervention.

That said, part of being pro-choice is to allow that choice. What's right for me isn't necessarily right for you (or whomever we are hypothetically talking about). There are all kinds of factors to consider - finances, emotional support, access to medical care, the ramifications for the rest of the family. There are so many factors that are subjective - and no one way to decide this issue for all. Is that a cop-out? (I didn't vote either). It's just such a tough question.

I didn't have any testing done with either of my pregnancies and wouldn't have it any other way. I would never terminate a pregnancy for any reason whatsoever, so I didn't want to know what they were saying "might" be wrong.

I must say, I am quite curious why people even believe they have the right to kill their unborn baby. You would murder a baby with a beating heart because they may be an inconvenience to your lifestyle?

Granted, I have never been faced with this choice. But here's the thing: we all think we're not cut out for something that seems "too hard". And for some of us, that is true, and we will never be faced with such because we WOULDN'T be able to handle it. But then there are those of us who believe we couldn't ever handle something such as a child with special needs, but then our child is born "imperfect" as ever and we realize that despite the difficulty we deal with day in and day out that this was our purpose. We are not given more than we can handle.

I voted yes.

15, or even 10, years ago my answer may have been different. I had an uncle with Down Syndrome, very high functioning- he couldn't live independantly, but he was very lucky and didn't have any of the other physical problems that can affect those with DS.

Until he developed Alzheimer's- it's just being learned now that those with DS are at a higher risk for Alzheimer's, due to the trisomy 21. I watched as my high-functioning uncle lost his cognitive abilities little by little. I watched as my father and his sisters, all in their 60's and 70's and with their own health issues, struggled to care for him in their homes. I cried when he finally had to be placed in a care facility when he finally lost bladder and bowel control, the ability to speak, and awareness of his family and surroundings. I mourned 6 months later when he died at the age of 61 of heart failure, surrounded by his family. The burden placed on my dad and his sisters was incredible, heartbreaking, and horrible.

I'm 40. If I have a child, it will likely only be one. So if I choose to continue a pregnancy where the child has DS (the 'mildest' of problems), who will care for that child when I am gone? My dad and his family willingly took on the burden of their brother- but my child will have no siblings; I saw the difficulties they had as my uncle aged (and they did too)- their brother who was only supposed to live to the age of 12.

What life will that child have when I am gone? Left to the care of strangers, in a nursing facility or group home, when he/she has only known loving family?

I have never been pregnant but am currently ttc. My husband & I have been on the same page since the first day the children discussions arose. We will terminate with any abnormalities. We both have very strong opinions on raising children with physical &/or mental disabilities, and fortunately we agree with each other. We have both have extensive interactions & living with people with downs, epilepsy (severe) & other conditions to know that with our modern technology of being able to know so many factors in advance, we agree to terminate in the event that it arises. This doesn't mean that it wouldn't be heart breaking or devastating, but ultimately the correct choice for us.

Good luck with your decision.

I voted the annoying other as well. I just couldn't decide what I would do. I have never been one to judge. Based on the hell that I have been through this year my level of compassion for those in terrible situations has elevated. I became pregnant for the first time with triplets after 2 years of infertility. At my 7 week ultrasound we were told one of the embryos didn't look good. We prepared ourselves for twins and thought I would lose one of them. At my 9 week scan the embryo that didn't look well had split into identical twins who shared everything (placenta and amniotic sac). A high risk pregnancy just became even more high risk, especially for me. We "chose" to reduce the identical twins, so I had a better chance of carrying the pregnancy to terms. I use the term "chose" loosely because we really didn't have a choice after seeing 4 different doctors who gave the same risks. It was a very tough situation, but we were doing what was best for me and the two babies that were not sharing a sac. At 18 weeks my water broke and one of the sacs had a complete rupture. Our options were not good since I was only 18 weeks. We were told it was probably caused by a low grade infection, possibly from the reduction. I loss both babies due to an emergency D&E because the level of infection was so high and my life was at risk.

I don't believe in fate and I don't believe this was God's plan for me. We don't regret our decision to reduce the pregnancy to twins, because at the time it was the right thing to do. We are trying to get pregnant again and I often wonder what we would do if we were told something was "atypical" with the baby, especially after everything we have been through. I used to work for a Down syndrome organization and I had the opportunity to meet a lot of great kids and parents. I want to believe I wouldn't terminate due to Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), or if the baby was born "atypical", but I honestly can't say for sure. I do believe that everyone makes decisions that are best for them and their family and that's all anyone can really do. Unless you are in the situation there should be no judgement. Unless I am in the situation I really cannot say what I would do for sure.

I hope your scan gives you some peace of mind. I know you will make the right decision for you and your family. I think you have proven that.

I voted never... We've only lost one baby and we didn't even know until we were in the middle of it. We've also never had to make that choice, so perhaps my vote was harsh... The only thing that's ever come close was a suspected ectopic pregnancy in which my doctors were urging me to terminate, and I refused. It turned out to be a fluid-filled cyst that burst on its own, but during the few days of waiting to be sure, I knew I couldn't do it. I just figured whatever would be, would be...

Good luck at your 12 week scan! We just hit 15 weeks today, and I go in next week... It's neat that we're only a few weeks apart!

I walked through the gates of infertility hell nine years ago. It has really colored my view of things and has made me value life than I ever imagined it would. I just don't think that I could do it. When I was pregnant with my daugher (through DE), we declined the tests, because we decided that we wouldn't terminate. It's a tough decision that I wouldn't wish on anyone.

i voted Yes. for me at my age 41, i'd have to look at the care of an atypical child as I age. I have healthy twins but even if i didn't i would terminate

I immediately checked Never on the poll in my knee-jerk reaction. Raised very pro-life and very Christian, I could never imagine myself terminating a life my husband and I made together. But I certainly have changed some of my childhood beliefs. As I thought about it deeper, I realized there is a lot more to consider.
I love my husband to death, but I don't know that he would handle an atypical child real well. He needs a lot of coaching with our 20 month perfectly normal daughter! And I would still have to consider how carrying an incompatible with life pregnancy would affect our family life. So, I still vote never, but realizing it would require a lot of conversations, soul searching, and considering all sides and extenuating circumstances, with the option of changing my mind. Plus, I would never 100% trust the doctor's diagnosis until I saw it in the live (or not) child myself. I have certainly become a lot more 'live and let live' with other people as I've matured, and I surely think I'm a better person for it. I respect everyone's else choices here.

Having gotten a very bad NT screening result recently, we thought about this a good deal. By the way, we ultimately chose to do CVS at a research hospital, because CVS miscarriage rates are very practitioner-specific, and the more a doctor does it, the safer it is. The MD who did the CVS had been doing them for over 10 years and had a miscarriage rate from doing the procedure slightly lower than amnio rates of miscarriage. Very nice guy. So in combination with the FSH, we got our good results back two days after the CVS, before I was even 13 weeks pregnant.

We are close friends with a couple who are both neonatalogists and had an existing relationship with a genetic counselor. Although we were not sure what we would have done with a Down Syndrome diagnosis before the NT screen, we were sure after talking to them that we would terminate for that or any other serious chromosomal condition. They told us, and I have no reason to doubt them, that about 1/3 of pregnancies diagnosed as DS end up stillborn, and about another 1/3 make it to delivery but are so deformed that they die in the NICU, and their suffering is intense. It's only in the remaining 1/3 who get to come home that you hear people talking about whether their DS baby has a "mild" or "severe" case. Parents of DS kids who are alive at home have already gotten extraordinarily lucky. And DS is the best of all possible trisomies. Virtually everyone who reports a happily-ever-after story with most of these chromosomal disorders either got a positive screen and didn't get a definitive diagnosis (thus the claims that "they said he had whatever but he's normal!"), or has a kid with partial trisomy and doesn't realize how different that is than full trisomy.

When those odds were explained to us, we realized we couldn't live with ourselves if we kept a pregnancy that was more likely than not to result in enormous suffering for the baby. The neonatalogists said that overall searing-regret honors went to the parents whose kids died in the Level-3 NICU in horrible pain after they had rejected termination for what they had believed would be a manageable problem, usually after talking to various DS parents who didn't realize how lucky they were just to have a living child after that diagnosis, and that these parents were traumatized beyond belief. We felt very fortunate that our baby ultimately had a normal chromosome count, and I no longer believe that god or the universe won't give people anything they can't handle.

I voted Yes. My husband and I were told at 18 weeks after the Quad test that I was at 1:153 for having a child with DS, we chose to have an amnio. It was the hardest gut wrenching decision that my husband and I had to come to in regards to whether we would terminate depending on the result of the amnio. We would've opted to terminate. I've seen high functioning Down Syndrome and then I've seen some very low functioning, severely disabled Down Syndrome children and there are no guarantees.

Ultimately, I received the call at work that I had a perfectly healthy baby boy.

After 11 years of trying with no fertility treatments, he is and will be my only pregnancy and I love and would've loved him for eternity.

It is not for anyone else to judge my decisions. My relationship with God is mine and it's personal and I have very strong beliefs, but it is between me and God. Not to get all happy clappy Christian, but I prayed and found comfort in my decision, so maybe God was ok with my decision. I don't know, and the truth of the matter is none of us truly know.

Oh, Tertia, I do hope this discussion proves entirely academic when it comes to LN7. I put yes, but I'm not really sure and don't think I'd know until I was "there." I don't think I'd have put that for my first, but now that I have one, knowing how much caring just for him exhausts me (though I am inordinately grateful I get to do so), and then thinking about what my marriage would survive and how having an atypical child would affect the child I already have ... well, here's hoping I never have to decide. I can't say I would, but nor can I rule it out.

Yes and Down Syndrome is at the top of my list of things I would terminate for. Ditto to the commenter about who spoke of not wanting to bring a child into the world who would never be capable of caring for themselves. Others will make different choices, but this is the only one my husband and I would feel comfortable with.

Very Lucky - do you have any evidence for the figures you've quoted? Particularly the 30% 'deformed' one?

AFAIK approximately 40% of DS affected conceptions are spontaneously lost before term. The major cause of premature death of babies surviving is congenital heart defects. Of babies without CHD well over 90% survive the first year and 80% reach 30 years. Babies with CHD do less well, although their prognosis is improving - about 80% survive the first year. I have never seen any evidence for "1/3 make it to delivery but are so deformed that they die in the NICU, and their suffering is intense".

The outcome for people with DS is continually improving, most lead full, long & happy lives. I find it extremely sad that attitudes are still stuck in the 60s & 70s when children with DS didn't even get their medical needs met, let alone their social and educational needs.

I would ask women faced with making a decision to about their pregnancy with a baby affected with DS to at least examine the reality; consider talking to parents raising these children rather than reacting out of ignorance and fear.

I would also ask parents thinking about prenatal testing to examine their attitudes to 'difference' - only a tiny proportion of all the conditions which may affect your child are detectable parentally. Your baby is far more likely to be affected with cerebral palsy for example than trisomy 13/18 etc

I chose other, so I could be specific: I would not terminate unless continuing the pregnancy would end my life. I have four children already and they need their mother.

I have terminated for less reason than you describe.
(Actually no reason other than the fact that I was not ready to have a child.)

Sorry if this offends anyone.

I voted never. When I fell pregnant at 37 we made the choice to not run any tests. Our sons soul had chosen us to be it's guardians in his life and I don't believe I have the right to choose whether he lives or dies. The only right I have is to be the best parent I can be during my lifetime to my son. I know for myself I couldn't live with myself if I had terminated a pregnancy, the guilt would destroy me.

I have to admit I can't answer this question. Its very thought provoking and so much that I don't think I could truthfully answer unless I was in this situation and had more information about the condition. We just had our embryo transfer today and I'm hoping so much that one or more of these three embryos stick, I don't know what I would do if there was a problem.

I voted other.

Years ago, I would only have terminated due to defects that were incompatible with life, if even then.

At this point, assuming I could get pregnant (which I can't) and there were any atypical results, I would terminate. It sounds selfish, perhaps so. However my choosing to raise a child with issues does not obligate my children to parent their sibling should something happen to me. My kids have been through too much to ask that of them.

My living children already have enough to deal with and bringing another child who would take time and resources away from them is also unfair. I'd put my already born children first. As hard as it would be, as much as it would grieve me, I would choose them over an unborn child.

I don't know. I didn't do amnio with my son, so I'm pretty sure I'd continue the pg whatever the outcome. But, I'm 43 and my fear of this sort of decision is about 98% of why I only have one kid. So, I'd say I'm conflicted. I'm guessing it's one of those things you only know when it happens what you'll actually do.

Have you read www.mycharmingkids.net?
She was given a death sentence for her 4th baby at 24 weeks due to an untreatable heart condition. Last week he was born full term and 100% HEALTHY. Would have been so tragic to have terminated.
I wonder sometimes about the faith placed in amnio/cvs. While it can provide reassurance the baby doesn't have xy or z, what about the many, many things it can't screen for? What about the accident or illness that could happen to our healthy children, leaving them in a condition that we would terminate a pregnancy over? I had a friend who said she wouldn't want 'extraordinary measures' taken to save the life of her baby at birth, but would want them taken over her older kids. I just didn't get it.
I hope, hope, hope this isn't an issue for you, Tertia.

Oh, and I agree with Kermit.

Depends on the prognosis. A loving wonderful mostly healthy child with down syndrome. No, I would carry to term and come to terms. A child who could never care for themselves. Absolutely. With anguish.

I didn't vote because I honestly don't know what I would do. I suspect I wouldn't terminate because I don't think I have the kind of strength needed for that decision.

But then, I didn't want to vote never, because then it sounds like I think no pregnancy should be terminated and that isn't the case at all, I just don't think it is something *I* could do.

Thirty years ago I had a daughter with anencephaly. I was not diagnosed until we were slightly past 32 weeks. My doctors tried valiantly to induce as I had a huge excess of amniotic/cerebrospinal fluid from the fetus. That condition can cause uterine rupture. The induction would not work, so I was sent home to wait for my much wanted baby to be born and die. It was the most traumatic experience of my life. Fortunately, I only had to wait four days. I had a difficult delivery with placental separation and hemorrhage, followed by a uterine infection. I didn't get to see my baby, let alone hold her. Thank Deity-of-Choice that things are different now.

When I had my subsequent pregnancies (numbers 8 and 10), you can be damned sure I had amnios with CVS for both. No way in hell would I ever go through that nightmarish hell again. I would not hesitate to terminate. Fortunately, I have two healthy strapping young men who are all grown up now. I still miss my little girl, who had her 30th birthday November 1.

Tertia, you baby will be gorgeous and divine. I just know it.

Ah well,

I can't throw stones of any kind from THIS ivory tower....

Afer battling IF I was so greatful to be pregnant the first time that it never occurred to me that anything would be wrong. I worried about miscarriage like a fiend, but didn't think of the in-between stuff.

Then my baby girl turned out to be missing most of her skull and brain. That's about as incompatible with extrauterine (but horrifyingly not intrauterine- I could have taken her to term, felt her kick, all of that stuff and THEN delivered a dead baby) life as it gets.

I terminated the pregnancy. Now THAT's something I never thought I'd have to do and I'll never feel precisely good about it. I'll feel crap about it for as long as I live. But I was stuck with only two bad choices, and either way the baby would die.

In a way, there really was no choice.....

J

wow, what a range of comments and answers. such deep thinkers we women are, and no-one is making these heart-searing decisions lightly.

a few years ago, after 6 pregnancies with two surviving children i would have said i would never terminate.

now, i just don't know what i would do until i actually faced it.

i hope for your sake that this is a choice you will not need to make - because being who you are, any such decision will rip you apart, regardless of the way you choose to go. i think that the ability to choose is cruel, because we are so tied to these little people before they are conceived. it is a decision that should be beyond those of us who actually carry them inside of ourselves. we are the mothers, not the life givers or life takers.

number 7 - you better be hellishly healthy (altho by your mom's symptoms, you already are - YAY!). your mom deserves a robust and manic baby with no real issues and a serious attachment to her perfectly perky breasts, and a penchant for pooing in every darned nappy.

xxx

First of all, I want to point out that risks associated with CVS are very ow. And the non intrusive tests are not fully accurate. A friend was told her baby was fine but when she insisted on an amnio, they found out he had trysomy 18 and she had an abortion. I made up my mind I would too when I was a teen. I was in catholic school and our Latin teacher, who was an abbot, kept giving us pro-life articles. One day, the article was about parents of severely handicapped children, who wanted to change the law so that those babies could be left to die during the first few days of their life. The parents pushing for the law loved their children but taking care of them had taken over their life, and they were worried about their future too. It was so hard on them, they did not wish this on anyone else. This article shook me to the core. I know families with special needs children who grew up to be special needs adults. Those children are loved, but taking care of them is all consuming. Siblings are ignored and feel guilty about the situation. Once said to me "I am living my life as fully as I can because my brother (who was mentally 6 months old) will never do it". I was horrified by the Palin story, because no media would say that ultimately parents make a choice that affect everyone: their other kids, their couple, their extended family, but also the society at large (facilities, therapists, etc. are paid by taxpayers). I had a reduction when one of my embryos split into 3 identical triplets. My health, my pregnancy, and the health of my babies were at risk. I now have a healthy singleton (I was pregnant with quads, but had to reduce all of the triplets because they were all connected to the same placenta). It was an horrible decision to make but I am at peace with it. What is my husband had ended up with a severely handicapped wife (I was at risk for lots of complications), and a couple of special needs kids? I also did a CVS for my singleton. The nuchal showed he was at high risk for Down. We were devastated but agreed we would abort if he had chromosomal abnormalities (it was our 3rd ivf cycle). I hate that most people who judge me never had to go through what I went through. I saw a lot of bloggers against testing, and willing to have a down child, change their minds when tests showed an increased risk for it.

I forgot: for your skin, I recommend the Clinique Clarifying Lotion and their acne products. I also love the MD skincare daily face peel (you can use it once a week). It really heps with the breakouts.

Well, at this point in my life, I would probably terminate a *healthy* accidental pregnancy, just because I don't want to push my luck with another c-section (doctor told me to stop at 2, and I went for a third).

When I was pregnant the last time, at age 37, I had prenatal testing. My husband wanted to terminate if it found ANY problem -- but I told him I would only terminate depending on what they told me about the likely quality of the baby's life.

Would he/she be profoundly disabled, and suffer from horrible medical problems? Or would he/she have a chance at some kind of happy, though compromised, existance? I wouldn't have necessarily terminated for Down's alone -- I would have had a Down's baby against my husband's wishes (possibly ending my marriage) depending on the overall prognosis, because I know many lovely children with Down's. But severe Down's combined with other problems? I would have leaned toward terminating, depending on the kind of life the baby was expected to have.

And of course I would have sought MULTIPLE opinions -- I have a friend in Japan who terminated very late in her pregnancy on the strong advice of her OB/GYN, and the autopsy revealed a perfectly normal little boy who was only a bit on the small side.

Thank god, my pregnancies and babies were normal, and hopefully my kids will continue to be so.

Oops, meant to say, hopefully YOU AND YOUR KIDS will be so!

Hi Tertia.

I hear a lot of people here talk about not wanting to do the CVS. However, the CVS and the amnio are the only diagnostic tests, these are yes/no tests, not probabilities, they will not give false positives. I would say to any friend of mine who is considering abortion based on blood work and NT: before terminating a possibly healthy baby, consider genetic testing.

To the Jennifer with premature ruprupture of membranes in her twin pregnancy: have you ever seen the pROM website? www.kanalen.org/prom I too prommed at 18 weeks. I was told to terminate because Kyra wouldnt' survive. She did survive, but many don't. Regardless, there is a mailing list and the support is amazing, especially when you are considering TTC after PROM, they can give you great tips! Hope you don't mind me telling you this!

Anne

I am very pro-choice, but for me, personally, I would not terminate a pregnancy for a child who had the ability to live outside the womb. If I was carrying a fetus that could not live outside of me and would suffer, I might have to terminate, but that would be a decision I couldn't possibly make until I was in the situation.

But if the baby had anything from Down's Syndrome, to a very severe physical disability, I would definitely choose to continue the pregnancy. I have a mentally and physically disabled uncle who has lived with my grandparents since his birth (he's 57 now), so, while I realize that disabilities can require more time and effort in caring for someone, I also know that the benefits far outweigh the extra time/energy/effort. And I also believe disabled people lead completely full and productive lives and have as great a shot at happiness as anyone else.

I've got to give almost every single commentator props for keeping it civil! That's very reassuring, because usually these types of discussions get ugly fast.

I think it's very important that we have these discussions, though, because otherwise it's too easy to think in black and white. Thanks, T, for hosting!

So, good on ya, ya'll!

hi tertia - i'm glad you asked this question - i wanted to comment when you mentioned you were having a cvs - which is quite invasive and carries its own (small) risk of miscarriage. I was surprised that you would take even such a small risk on a pregnancy that is so rare and precious for you. I'm not questioning your judgment to do so - but truly curious what your thought process is.

for myself, if I should find myself pregnant with an "atypical" fetus/baby, I think that I wouldn't abort unless it was truly incompatible with life. And even then I'm not sure. I feel like I would consider it a gift, really a gift, to meet and hold my baby even if I knew they wouldn't live long.

Children are so much their own people - and we can never know which of them will be our greatest blessings and bring us the most joy... even those that are with us for just a short time... and it's not always the smartest ones or the fastest ones that are the dearest to us... it may be that the "slow" one is the kindest or most loving (and of course, every sociopath was also once someone's beautiful "perfect" baby...) -- you just can't know from the genetic makeup what kind of soul they will be or what they will bring to the family.

for all the stories you hear about "special needs" kids breaking families apart, I've also known families that grew closer, or older brothers & sisters who grew to be very mature, protective, and kind on account of taking care of their disabled siblings. And became wonderful adults with a very generous spirit.

And just as we hope that our dear ones will love us and cherish us even when we are dumb, or ugly, or old :) that we should do the same for them... and not reject a child on account of a very shallow measure of their soul and their worth as a human being...

I voted 'only if incompatible with life' but am sure my husband might have more to say on that. Having worked with individuals with all sorts of mental and physical disabilities this is a tough one for me.

For one I know that a LOT of disabled individuals lead stimulating and fulfilling lives, probably 75% of those I have met and worked with.

I have also worked with people who have no idea of a fulfilling life who are ruled by only the most basic instincts. And those who are as mentioned can very violent who live very, very sheltered lives.

Others live lives full of pain with little fulfillment.

It is such a tough call Tertia. It really is.

If it were me and I learned the news that baby had XX% chance of being born with XX I would research the hell out of the supposed affliction and decide from there.

But you know, nothing is black or white. Ever.

Hi Tertia! I'm delurking to post my two cents. I always find these types of polls fascinating because it always seemed based on the mothers who are 'not' atypical.
I was born with a pretty severe physical disability. It in no way affects my brain or really my ability to function in day to day life but its something that has haunted me since I was old enough to remember. The endless nights of crying, not having friends, being told that I would have to work twice as hard as anyone else to be on the same playing field... It took its toll. In one month I turn 22 years old and honestly I still haven't entirely gotten over the scars of my past. There are still days when I think about the prejudice I will always have to face and it makes me feel so incredibly hopeless. There really are no words.
I couldn't vote in your poll because I'm reading this on my blackberry but my answer is absolutely yes I would. Because as much as it would hurt I could not willingly put another human being, much less my own child, through the pain of what I have suffered and will continue to endure until the day I die. It seems incredibly selfish to me to ask such strength from someone. Being different is not easy. It hurts and makes everything so very difficult. I've fought through hell and high water to get where I am today and if given the chance? I would go back in time and have my mother make a different decision. I know that life is never easy but there are times when the thought of fighting for respect for even just another second makes me cry.

I know that this is ramblyish and sounds vaguely suicidal, but its not. I'm happy. As long as I can avoid looking in the mirror for too long. :) anyway, that's my two cents.

Love your blog!

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