Jenn Morgan Danny Drake

There are some necessary activities that you dislike and therefore put off. Like eating vegetables, they are always the last item on my plate, in hopes they will magically disappear. Or doing laundry - I have waited and waited, but the dirty clothes have not yet cleaned themselves. I also delayed my annual gynecologic checkup, as it is definitely not in my top ten yearly activities. The exam is a necessary evil, and since I cannot send a stunt double to take my place, I bit the bullet and scheduled my appointment.

While at work, dreading the appointment that was creeping closer and closer with each tick of the clock, I received an interesting and surprising email from my husband that distracted me from my current thoughts. My husband requested that I ask my doctor about the health risks for our baby if I were to have another child now versus if I waited another two years or so. You see, I am going to be ancient - 35 years old - in a few months. There is a delicate balance between the desire to provide our daughter with a sibling and our concern for potential birth defects with our increasing age.

My husband, who is a health care worker, tends to be very scientific by nature and has a thirst for data and projections. He is considering genetic counseling and pre-screening. I thought I passed his screening test the first time around by delivering a beautiful baby, but I guess you never can be too careful. I understand my husband's position in regards to baby number two -he wants to make an educated decision on when we should try to conceive based on facts and figures.

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I, on the other hand, am both very happy and busy with our daughter. My daily schedule leaves little room for downtime and I must admit, I have not given much thought to a second baby at this time. I know I eventually would like another child, I just haven't considered establishing a timeline like my husband has.

When I saw the doctor, I did my due diligence and asked about risk factors and genetic screening now that my husband has officially deemed me an old lady. My doctor informed me that while the birth defect risks increase a little, they are not so high that I should feel obligated to put a rush on any plans to expand our family. He told me that when his wife was expecting, they underwent the normally prenatal screenings, but did not partake in elaborate tests as they would be thankful for whatever baby God blessed them with.

When I was pregnant with Isabella, I experienced a very normal pregnancy until a month before her due date. The Friday before the Fourth of July, I went to what I expected to be a typical ultrasound. After the screening, my husband and I were called into the Physician's office to speak with him one-on-one. Trepidation immediately set in as my husband and I looked at each other in alarm with jaws dropped. The doctor was concerned about the volume of ambiotic fluid and there was talk about a variety of different causes, including birth defects. We were told not to worry, but I was a recluse all weekend. I was in shock and cried quite frequently in the days to follow. I knew that my husband and I would love our child no matter what the circumstance, but it was hard to hear after eight months of believing our baby to be healthy, that something could be wrong. In the weeks before I was induced, I went for frequent ultrasounds and screenings to be sure the baby was still well and progressing in my womb.

My fears were still not quelled when I heard the loud cry my baby girl let out when she entered the world. I analyzed her every move, and prayed that all of her tests came back normal. Thankfully, they did. Six months later when I saw Isabella twisting her wrists in what looked to be an odd fashion, I worried. At nine and a half months when she still would not crawl, I was concerned.

Isabella is thriving a year and a half later and now I just worry about other things. But I will never forget the uneasiness the last month of pregnancy brought simply because of what-ifs. My doctor offered to set my husband and I up with a genetic counselor, but if we are going to love whatever baby that God graces us with, why bear the burden of unnecessary anxiety? At this time, I think I will pass. I may change my mind later, but for now, Que Sera, Sera.



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