My Experience with Progenity Genetic Testing
I walked into the doctors office extremely nervous and excited to get my first ultrasound. It was a completely different experience than when I had my daughter Amirah. At 23 years old, I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I began bleeding about two weeks later. I was scared and unsure why this was happening. I went to the emergency room and after hearing her heart beat and being informed that I was high risk and could not have intercourse the entire first trimester, I felt a sense of relief. Knowing what your limits are when you are pregnant is scary, but far more helpful than finding out when it's too late. I am one of those women who has an extra amount of blood in their cervix, thus making me at a higher risk for a miscarriage.
I continued to work and teach dance class in NYC, but moved home when I was five months along with zero prenatal care. When I moved home I was barely accepted into a doctors office because of how far along I was with no prenatal care. I missed out on all of the early testing and was limited to ultrasounds and some blood work. Seven years later, I am pregnant with my second child and the entire experience can be labeled as overwhelming and anxiety inducing.
As I stated before, I didn't have any early prenatal testing with Amirah so I wasn't sure what all to expect this time around. I remember my sister and a few other people telling me that they opted out of the genetic testing. I decided to go ahead and do it because it offered an early gender reveal as well.
This is what I have learned from my experience with genetic testing.
1. You really need to talk to your partner about what you both want to do depending on the outcomes.
This may sound harsh. but it is a reality especially when you have doctors who will recommend options for you. My doctor told me he would terminate if he was me and my baby came back with 2 of the 3 mutations. He then said he would keep the baby if it had Down's syndrome but he wouldn't suggest I do it unless I was truly prepared.
Some may find this to be offensive, but it actually allowed my husband and I to have honest conversations. You need to be on the same page and be non judgmental if your partner doesn't want to do the same thing you do. It's a very scary thing to talk about because often we think we are one way until we are faced with certain obstacles ourselves. What I can tell you is that you need to do what is best for your family. Do not allow people to make you feel bad about deciding to terminate a pregnancy or deciding to keep a high risk baby. You have to think about quality of life for everyone involved, but ultimately it's your choice.
We were very blessed to discover we are having a healthy baby girl. Everything is on track as of now as far as her growth. If the results were different would we have decided to keep the pregnancy? I can't answer that question honestly with a Yes or No. We would have to take in all variables. I am not a religious person, so I don't have any looming guilt that I will be burning in hell if I make a choice that is best for me. What I do know is that I have a very deep connection with the creator and this universe. I listen, pray and meditate daily to stay connected to myself and what is for me. I would encourage everyone to make choices that are best for your body as a woman and your spiritual mind. Some people aren't comfortable with adoption and would rather have an abortion. Others would rather do the opposite. The reality is you have the right to decide what is going to make you a sane and healthy, functioning adult. You have to live with your own choices.
I went in to get a simple genetic testing done and I came home and had a two week spiritual journey about who I really was as a person and mother. I feel no guilt in considering all options if the results were going to be different and I never will. If you feel confident that you will keep your baby no matter what, I still recommend genetic testing. The benefit is being able to know what you are dealing with and the ways you can make you and your baby's life better. All is not lost. Early detection allows so many parents the opportunity to help their children advance beyond any medical diagnosis. So have faith in yourself and your choices and never feel shame in whatever you decide.