As Long as the Baby’s Healthy

Eleven weeks.

In the history of expecting parents being asked, “What are you hoping for- a boy or a girl?” the token answer is, “We’d kinda like a (gives preference), but really, as long as the baby’s healthy”.  And sometimes the word “normal” is added on to that sentence as well.  Healthy and normal.

But what if it’s not?  What if the baby isn’t healthy?  Or normal?

A few weeks ago for my wife’s 2nd appointment, we were quite unhappy with the way the nurses and office staff handled the whole process.  They didn’t explain what they were doing; they just take a lot of blood and at the end, said, “That’ll be $492.”

And then they assumed we also would want to do the test for Down’s Syndrome, which is an extra $400.  I understand that there are people out there who would try to sue their doctor for not telling them their unborn child has Down Syndrome.  I understand it’s a legal issue.  But the way there was this unspoken assumption that we would have an abortion if the child had Down’s Syndrome… really, really rubbed me the wrong way.  It was a very impersonal process.

Tomorrow we have another appointment. With a new doctor.  One that others have assured us will treat us like expectant parents.

Whatever state of health or normalcy this child is in, I am overly aware that this human life is a gift from God, a gift we are responsible for.  A gift, that we know, isn’t promised to arrive.  Part of being an expectant parent is knowing that something could go wrong and praying everyday that it doesn’t.  But still, if our child is born sub-par to medical standards, this is still the child God gave us.

By thinking these “what if?” thoughts out loud, it doesn’t jinx or bring upon a certain situation either way.  But I do feel a need to prepare myself for the both the best and the worst.

It’s seems a reoccurring theme in parenthood is the “not knowing”.  Saturated in hoping and praying.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:



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  1. by Phyllis Metallo

    On April 27, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Sorry you two had to go through all that. Hopefully the new doctor will suit you guys better. :)

  2. by Gina Shell

    On April 28, 2010 at 1:58 am

    I can’t wait to hear all about baby shell’s visit.

  3. by Crystal

    On April 28, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    I started feeling the same way about my gynecologist and the assumptions she made. I’m actually going to be switching to a local midwife for my future checkups. They do all the same things and she is much less jaded/assuming. Plus, I want to have a home birth (one day) and it will be easier to transition that way.

    Oh, and if you haven’t seen it yet, you guys definitely need to watch “The Business of Being Born.” I’d love to see a review. You can get it from Netflix.

  4. by nickshell1983

    On April 28, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Glad you know how we feel. “Jaded/assuming” is a good way of putting it. I’ve been tempted by The Business of Being Born when I see it advertised on Netflix. Tonight, What Dreams May Come will arrive. But I’ll make The Business of Being Born next on my cue for Netflix. Thanks!

  5. by Christi M

    On April 28, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    I’m glad you guys are switching to another doctor! I’ve also had wonderful experiences with my midwives. They tend to be more emotionally sensitive, and more informative.
    (Maybe you guys could look into midwifes in your area…?)

  6. by nickshell1983

    On April 28, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Yes, in fact, we just switched and had our first midwife first today :)

  7. by diana

    On April 28, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    i read somewhere that, unfortunately, approx 19/20 babies with downs are aborted, so that’s prob the reason they made such an assumption. if the 1st tri screening isn’t covered, it should be in the 2nd tri. you can decide not to know the results, but i personally think it’s not a bad idea to be emotionally/financially prepared if abnormalities are the case. two really touching blogs:
    a baby born w/ downs (no screening)
    a baby born with trisomy 13 (screened)

    PS we also have business of being born on our netflix. i’ve read a lot about it too. as people say, consider it one source of information… it can be persuasive, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. (sorry for such a long comment!)

  8. by Adrianne Smith

    On April 29, 2010 at 1:15 am

    Nick, I’m so excited to know our families are going through this at the same time. And to know we think very much alike!

  9. by nickshell1983

    On April 29, 2010 at 3:29 am

    I know it! I was thinking about you today. I’m telling ya, this is the year of the babies from people born in the Eighties :)

  10. by nickshell1983

    On April 29, 2010 at 3:34 am

    Diana, thank you so much for both of those links. I took time to read through them both- what a blessing to realize this situations, instead of just looking at them as scenarios.

  11. by Nick Shell

    On May 31, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Cyrus, I’m glad you stumbled upon it. Thank you for taking the time to let me know that you, a random stranger, enjoyed it. That’s cool of you :)