Even though I was healthy and my family didn’t have a history of significant genetic diseases, I chose to undergo genetic testing when I was pregnant. I grilled my doctor, read all the paperwork, scoured the internet for information, and made sure my husband and I knew everything possible about various procedures. Still, there were things I wasn’t ready for when I had an amniocentesis about halfway through my pregnancy. Reading about the procedure and actually experiencing it are vastly different things.
My doctor was indifferent about my decision to get amniocentesis. I was right on the cusp of being considered “advanced maternal age,” and amniocentesis was routinely advised for pregnant women over 35, when I was having my first kid about 10 years ago. I tried to read the room when I was asking him questions about the procedure. For example, was he hinting I should do it, or was he confident my fetus was not at risk for developing genetic abnormalities? Opting for genetic testing is an extremely personal choice, to be sure, and the Type A side of me needed to know everything there was to know about my future baby… except the gender. That I didn’t want to have preconceived notions about, but I did want to prepare, with as much time as possible, for the possibility that my future child might need extended and/or specific care.
Even with all the research on genetic testing I did, though, showing up on the actual day of my amniocentesis did not fill me with confidence. I was nervous. I had doubts about what I was trying to find out. I questioned my need to know everything, like I could possibly control it all. I couldn’t. It was just one of the many things I wasn’t ready for when I had amniocentesis. Here are some of the other things: