“So you decided not to have the Down Syndrome screening test?” the midwife asked me.
“Um no.. I didn’t decide, I thought I’d already had it”.
“No, it says clearly here that I explained to you about having the test” she pointed down at my notes.
At my 16 week appointment I had a different midwife, one who was only in England for a while and back to the US a couple of weeks later.
“I thought it was one of the blood tests” I said.
“No, I clearly explained to you on our first meeting…” and this is all she said as she pointed out in the notes that the word ‘explained’ was written down.
It was now too late to have the test and she was on the defensive because my lack of knowledge may possibly have put her in an awkward position (legally?). She explained again to me about the screening tests, that they were accurate about 60 to 65% of the time and were likely to present many false positives. This means that the risk may be seen as high when in fact it is not. Serum screening is a blood test that screens for Down’s syndrome, usually at around 16 weeks of pregnancy. It measures three or four pregnancy-associated chemicals to assess the chances of having a baby with Down’s syndrome.
I mentioned that it wasn’t offered to me the last time I saw some one but she went back to pointing at the book so I just agreed with her when she asked if I would have declined it. It was too late now for anything of course and I felt like a horrible ‘almost’ mother. At some point I had given up finding out about the pregnancy and just let things happen. I figured that I would be told about anything I needed to know and was upset to be confronted with such an important thing passing me by.
I also realised yesterday that whilst I received my MATB 1 certificate, the all important bit of paper for my maternity leave, I didn’t get a claim form for the pregnancy grant. My fault again. Things are passing by so quickly.
My next appointment is in three weeks as they now get more frequent. Could be that it’s all starting to feel a little more real.