I remember standing in the middle of Target when I got the phone call from my ob-gyn that the results of my amnio were in—and my baby was going to be fine.
I may or may not have then burst into tears and hugged the total stranger standing next to me.
Ok, I did. But let's face it—waiting for the results of prenatal testing is no joke.
Just ask San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith, who opened up in a blog post over the weekend about his wife Chanel's pregnancy scare. The 27-year-old explained that prenatal testing had revealed that their unborn son—who they already call Kameron—had a one in 25 chance of being born with Trisomy 18, a chromosomal abnormality that causes severe developmental delays and even death.
Many babies with Trisomy 18 don't survive past the second or third trimester. So the couple went in for another, more intensive round of testing, preliminary results of which increased the odds that the baby had Trisomy 18 to one in 10.
"The first thing you do as a concerned parent is Google everything," wrote Torrey, who already has a 2-year-old son named TJ. "I later found out that it makes things worse. You start to think you are a doctor, and it increases your anxiety and level of uncertainty with each click. I told my wife to stop looking up things."
Easy to say, hard to do, right?
Torrey said Chanel struggled with the news at first, but then dug down deep and displayed a great deal of courage. "I noticed this strength about her," he wrote. "She proved that she could handle anything. Suddenly we were able to talk about what we would do with this situation knowing that her life, as well as the baby's, could be at risk. It was easily the hardest conversation I've ever been a part of. What do you do? Do you go forward knowing the outcome will be a miscarriage or death shortly after birth all while putting your life in danger? Or do you terminate the pregnancy?"
Tough questions, all of them. And ones that the couple would not, thankfully, have to answer. Because when the final test results came back, they learned that their baby didn't actually have Trisomy 18.
"It was the best phone call I/we have ever received," Smith wrote. "We are excited to know that our child has a shot at life and nothing else even matters."
On Twitter, Torrey said he went back and forth about writing the blog post, but that "it came down to realizing many people are in your shoes but they don't talk about it."
True story. All of which just begs the question: How much prenatal testing is too much?
The fact is, prenatal testing isn't mandatory. "If you feel fine and you're hoping the baby is fine, you can just not do it," Laura Riley, M.D., director of labor and delivery at Massachusetts General Hospital, told Self.com. In fact, while women over 35 are often given (or at least offered) invasive tests like amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS), Dr. Riley says it's "typically not a good idea to go that route unless something has been found to be wrong with the fetus" because both tests carry the risk of miscarriage.
Other experts says prenatal screening is important for many reasons—not the least of which is putting parents' minds at ease.
I probably fall more in the camp of "wanting to know" rather than "not knowing." But what about you? Share your story!