Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Quad Screen

You're going to start thinking I'm pregnant with my baby posts, but I swear, I'm not! (I'm just studying OB/GYN)

Ok, brief overview...there is a test women can get around 17 weeks of pregnancy that screens for chromosomal and fetal abnormalities. Based on the results, docs can tell if there is an increased risk of Down's syndrome, spina bifida, anencephaly (no head), etc... That being said, if the mom has an abnormal result that doesn't mean there truly is something abnormal, it just helps determine if more testing is needed.

I'm torn as to whether or not to get a quad screen when the time comes. I know Joe has mixed feelings about having a child with Down's, but I know I couldn't terminate the pregnancy just because of Down's. If our child had spina bifida, the quad screen would help us know if we need to take special precautions during the delivery, but ultrasound can help show things like that too. I think the only reason I would terminate the pregnancy is if the child had anencephaly because the child wouldn't be able to survive out of utero, but ultrasound also can show that.

My mom had a mentally retarded brother. I don't know his official "abnormality," but I know it was more than just Down's syndrome. Basically, I think he got all of the recessive genes my grandparents could ever pass on. I know it was hard for my grandparents and one of my most cherished conversations with my grandmother revolved around the difficulties of caring for my retarded uncle and her 7 other children. That being said, I think Tommy (my retarded uncle) brought a lot to my family and relatives and taught them a lot about themselves.

Please don't take this the wrong way, but I think "abnormal" individuals are essential to our society. "They" force society to leave their comfort zone, accept differences, and value "normal" things a little more. I write this not being a care-giver, but I still think as stressed and emotionally drained care-givers become, they love their child and don't regret the way things worked out.


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