know if this is the right place, beause though
>>I am terrified that my age will mean that there is something wrong with the child.<<
Ditto to everything the previous poster said, except to add that your age only means the likelihood of having a child with chromosomal abnormalities is somewhat higher, not that
Joan and Karen did such a great job expressing exactly what so many of us are experiencing at this point in our lives; the fears, the elation, the negative and POSITIVE experiences we encounter when sharing the big news, etc. I really can't add much more except maybe to share my story with you:
I am a 40 year old mom to 2; a five year old in vitro blessing and a 3 year old "bonus" baby (i.e. no medical intervention necessary). In addition, we have 5 little souls in heaven. I've been trying to create my family since I was 29 and for some reason, God, the Heavens, or fate just determined that I would be a better parent in my late 30s and early 40s than in my 20s! LOL
I'm one of the few Joan mentioned that actually TRIED to get pregnant after 40 and feel so very blessed to be in the position that I am in. Many of my girlfriends also have little ones (ages 5 and younger) who are in my age group so from my perspective having infants/toddlers/preschoolers at our age is not unique. I know that your circle of friends may certainly be different; perhaps everyone is done having babies; but regardless, please know that many women in our age are just beginning or finishing their families. Times have changed and in the public's eye you will not be an oddity.
Sometimes, our families surprise us. We think we know how they will react and it is the opposite of what we expected.
Recently, I learned that my blood work came back showing an elevated risk for Down Syndrome. I was crushed. Not b/c I thought I couldn't love and raise a DS kiddo, but b/c all I could think of was, "what did I do to my family (including extended family). What about my poor husband (who really only wanted 2 children) and Mary Catherine and Benjamin; they didn't ask for a special needs sibling. But then I realized that I was only projecting my own fears on the situation; my own prejudices/sterotypes. My husband (perhaps he's lying to me) is totally rolling with the idea that this little one might have DS. We haven't said anything to the 5 & 3 y.o. b/c I don't want to project any preconceived notions.
I was TERRIFIED to tell my mother; here it comes...the "I told you, you should have left well enough alone" speech. But I didn't get that at all. Instead I got compassion, rationality, and unconditional love. Of course, I haven't directly spoken to my father about this...for some reason I morph from 40 to age 10 around him and he's probably the one thinking "I told you so". But regardless, we are carrying this baby to term, declining any invasive testing (such as amnio) and moving forward with excitement and our plans. It was a dark 2 weeks around our house and I regret all the tears I cried in thinking that I had made a terrible mistake.
I'm sorry to ramble so, but I just wanted to share with you that we all have fears, bumps in the road, and issues we need to come to terms with. But the women on this board are phenomenal and are ready to hold your hand during the challenges and cheer you on during your triumphs.
We are here if you need us,
I'm glad you feel able to lean on us whenever you need to. It's true, the risks of chromosomal abnormalities are elevated for pregnant women over 40, however, even with the increased risk, the odds are still largely in our favor to have a healthy baby. As far as screening and/or testing for these abnormalities, there are a variety of options available. Many of the options are screenings as opposed to diagnostic tests which typically include blood tests (from both mother and father), ultra sounds which look for markers such as the nuchal fold behind the baby's neck as well as the size of the baby's nose (both of which can be markers for Down's Syndrome depending on their size), and a genetic/cultural background history from both Mom and Dad (some genetic diseases are more common in certain cultures). These screening simply better determine the odds of certain abnormalities. There are also two diagnostic tests available which identify chromosomal abnormalities, the CVS and the amniocentesis. The CVS is done a few weeks before the amnio can be done. I've never had a CVS although I believe it's increasing in popularity because it can be done weeks before the amnio can be done (so for women who would consider termination due to a chromosomal abnormality, they prefer getting results back sooner rather than later). Both tests also identify the gender of the baby (although you don't HAVE to receive those results if you don't want to). I had an amnio with my (now) two year old as well as with the baby I'm carrying now. For my husband and me, knowing what to expect at birth was very important to us. I don't know whether we would've terminated a baby with a chromosomal abnormality; I'd like to say for sure that we wouldn't, but I've never been in that situation so I really don't know. Regardless, to us, knowing was of the utmost importance to us. Since there is a very small risk of miscarrying as a result of either of these two tests, some women forego them completely. Again, for us, the benefit of knowing the baby's condition outweighed the risk of miscarriage. But just like deciding whether to undergo any testing at all, this is something that only each woman can decide what is "right" for her and her family/partner/spouse, etc..
There are several threads about this very subject in the "Questions and Concerns" section of this board. One is very recent but others contain a bunch more responses from women with differing perspectives and opinions. Again, no one's view is more "right" or "wrong" than another's, it's just a matter of what is best for them. I hope this gives you some background to what you're looking for. The only other thing I'll tell is that while the amnio isn't an excruciatingly painful procedure, it sure isn't fun. I think it's more painful than most women say it is, so maybe I just have a low threshold for pain, however, even knowing what to expect, I still chose to have one with this pregnancy. Best wishes to you. Please keep us posted on how you're doing.
You are processing a LOT right now -- and being scared is absolutely understandable.
Once again, I want to thank you all.