Turns out I may have been prematurely optimistic in writing my last post about getting past the threat of a miscarriage and being able to enjoy this pregnancy.
Less than 24 hours after I wrote about how happy I was, everything came crashing down all at once. First of all, Will got kicked out of daycare. I won’t go into detail too much right now because that’s going to be a separate post all its own. But the bottom line is its for bullshit reasons and now we have to scramble to find a suitable/affordable daycare for Will in the next few days. No easy task and very stressful. It also doesn’t help that I’m sick as a dog right now.
But adding to that stress is we got a call from the diagnostic company that did MJ’s ultrasound on Wednesday. The doctor wants us back in this morning because he’s worried about a potential problem with the baby’s legs. Specifically they didn’t separate the entire time we were having the ultrasound done.
Look, I know what you’re going to say and I know you’re right. It’s probably nothing. Moms everywhere have told me they were dragged back to hospitals 2, 3 and even 4 times for possible problems and genetic defects from ultrasounds which turned out to be nothing. And later on this morning, I fully expect to be breathing a huge sigh of relief when we find out everything is OK.
But in the meantime, I’m human. And I can’t help but wonder, what if?
What if there’s something very wrong with this baby? Down’s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Cystic Fibrosis, or Sirenomelia (aka Mermaid Syndrome) where a newborn’s legs are fused together. Can you tell I took straight to Google after the doctor’s call? And yes, I’m jumping the gun here. But that’s not the point.
Every expectant parents has, at some point, wondered what would happen if their kid was born with some kind of defect. Hypothetically, let’s say we find out something is seriously wrong with this baby. And whatever it is he/she will be special needs. That baby will require a lifetime of special attention. Doctors visits, expensive medical procedures, specialized daycares and special schools. I’ve seen the amount of dedication, love and effort the parents of special needs kids put forth and it is EXTRAORDINARY. It’s also tough. Dealing with bureaucrats at all levels of government, advocating for your kid at every turn and being a professional squeaky wheel. If you need evidence of how unbelievable these parents are, just click on over to Tanis at the Redneck Mommy who is an absolutely amazing example of this.
But I’m not sure I’m that good of a person.
Seriously. The thought of having a special needs child terrifies me. In part because I can’t imagine what that child will go through over the years, but also because I can’t imagine that kind of lifelong struggle as a parent. I don’t think I’m emotionally prepared for that, and I’m definitely not financially ready for that kind of undertaking. So if something was really, really wrong, what would happen? Obviously MJ and I would need to talk, but terminating the pregnancy would be an option on the table. Which is terrifying in and of itself.
But then I think back to an event I covered last week at a school devoted to helping students with disabilities of all kinds. As a reporter I blended into the background and did my job, which is to observe. I saw these kids, happy as can be, in caps and gowns ready to earn diplomas. Some of them graduating from the modified high school, others from a program that gets older kids ready to lead a semi-independent life in the outside world. And then I saw their parents. Specifically I focused on one family gathered near the aisle preparing to watch their son walk to the graduation stage. They were obviously divorced because the mom had a guy and the dad had a woman. They were both welling up with tears. And then the dad glanced at his ex-wife with tears and a smile. He walked over to her and gave her this HUGE hug. She hugged him back and looked at him. They never said a word. They didn’t have to. I could see how long and hard a road it was to this day. Who knows, it may have even played into their divorce. But regardless, the pride and utter joy they were feeling at that particular moment was transcendent. Pure. And tangible. A mega payoff at the end of a seemingly endless journey.
I’ll admit, it moved me. And I thought about my unborn baby and what would happen if I was in a similar boat. And this made me think maybe I could do it.
Until I saw that tuition for this school is $68,000 a year.
Again, I know we’re not there yet and probably won’t be. But something like this makes you think and I barely slept last night. MJ is a wreck too. I’m just hoping as hard as possible that nothing is wrong, because while I don’t think I’m strong enough to be the parent of a special needs child, I may not be capable of making the other almost unthinkable decision either.
In the meantime I’m letting MJ drink some caffeine this morning so hopefully we can jolt the kid into moving around and get those legs separated. Now is no time to be proper kiddo.
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