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To be upset with my DH about this?

(53 Posts)
TinaWilliams Mon 30-May-11 22:32:21

Ok - I will start off by saying that this will undoubtedly be a sensitive topic for many, and I will try and be as sensitive as poss when telling the tale....

I am 11 weeks pregnant with my first baby at 34, and we are going in for our dating scan next week. During the booking appointment, the midwife asked if we had thought about Down's Syndrome screening. I reported that I had read something about it, and that I wasn't sure. I was fairly sure that I didn't want to go as far as having an amnioscentisis as I didn't see the point in introducing a risk (however small) of miscarriage unless we are going to abort if the test is positive.

DH pipes up with "well - we would, wouldn't we?"

Went home and have both done some research and naturally thought about it a lot and the bottom line is, I want my baby regardless and will love it regardless. I don't want to go through an abortion if (and I know that it is a very small chance) that there is something wrong. Spoke to DH last night to tell him that I dont want to carry out the screening and he got all huffy about me "not respecting his wishes too" blah blah blah and that "it was obvious that I was going to do whatever the hell I liked so there was no point in him taking any further part in any discussion" followed by "Just dont expect me to hang around for the consequences"

Naturally, he apologised and didn't mean it, but I have been left with rather a bad taste in my mouth about the whole thing.

So, AIBU to refuse the screening if that is what DH really wants? And the thing is, now that he has said those things - even if he really didn't mean them - I am wavering in my resolve! I know that it makes me weak, and I hate myself for it, but I am just not sure that I could do this by myself if it comes to it. I am now torn between what I think is the right thing to do, and the fear of losing my husband and the father of my child over it. HELP!!!

BTW, havng just read over all this, I am aware that I have made him sound like a complete A-hole. I have, of course, synopsised all the conversations that we have had into a concise post which does nothing for making him sound reasonable. I also think that rather than being an unfeeling pig, DH is just frightened about the unknown - he has no knowledge or experience of kids with special needs - and he has a tendency to shy away from things that he cant rationalise for himself.

Punkatheart Mon 30-May-11 22:36:06

He is frightened. An honest but brutal reaction to a situation in which he feels insecure. But of course you know he handled it insensitively.

Do what you feel you should. No one else can decide for you.

PaisleyLeaf Mon 30-May-11 22:36:15

He doesn't sound like an a-hole to me. Just a bit ignorant re Downs perhaps. You see it a lot on posts here, and chatting with people etc. It's a fear of something they're not actually understanding that well. You're right about it being to with him having no knowledge/experience.

alizee Mon 30-May-11 22:39:40

that's a pretty harsh thing to say but i know where you're coming from. i know it's not the same thing but as an example first time i brought up the idea of home birth my dh point blank said no, he was very frightened and it took a lot of explaining but he came around eventually. i think you need to have a serious chat and present some facts to him.
YANBU for being upset ((hugs))

Onceamai Mon 30-May-11 22:40:08

Have the screening tests; it is probable that everything will be OK and this won't be a problem. If it isn't OK that's the time to talk about it and decide, together, what you need to do. At present this is hypothetical and you dont' know how you will feel if it becomes other than hypothetical.

squashycreech Mon 30-May-11 22:41:53

He sounds scared, you're right and no wonder. It is a scary thought, especially if he has no experience of Downs. And you don't sound weak at all, it sounds like you care about his feelings alongside your own.

Can't advise though - think you need to sit down and chat.

atswimtwolengths Mon 30-May-11 22:41:55

I would rather know in advance if I was going to have a disabled child. I'd need the time to prepare myself and do some research.

I think women can't have it both ways - we can't expect men to be equally involved and then say we're making a unilateral decision on something which will have an immense impact on both parents' lives.

youarekidding Mon 30-May-11 22:42:43

Well I have to say as I read your post I immediatly thought your DH was reacting that way for the exact reasons you've stated in your last paragraph.

I know that doesn't help much, sorry.

I guess ultimatly you have the final decision as its your body, but you need to discuss at what point you'd consider further tests. If I'm right a blood test gives the risk of DS? If it comes back 1 in 3 chance you may change your mind but if its 1 in 300 your DH might.

I think you need to talk more about why you both feel the way you do not just how you feel.

Congratulations BTW. grin

Henwelly Mon 30-May-11 22:42:46

I had a very similer discussion with my DP. We decided to not speak about it until we knew if that outcome was likely.

Also this is your first baby and I do believe that men have a completely different way of looking at whats coming up, mothers have their baby from the moment we know we are pregnant and fathers (I think this is more so with the first) dont really have their babies till they are here - does that make sense?

In which case you are already completely protective, loving your baby whatever, programmed, whereas men are still thinking about your lives and how this affects you as a couple, how you would cope etc.

Im not sure I have conveyed this very well but I really wouldnt worry unless you are faced with these tests.

FutureNannyOgg Mon 30-May-11 22:43:33

I'd have the screening, best case, you find out you are low risk and the pressure is off. If not, well you can deal with it as it comes, but screening doesn't mean you have to accept amnio if they offer.

PotteringAlong Mon 30-May-11 22:43:39

If it was up to me I would've had no screening at all, but DH wanted to have some preparation so we had the nuchal fold test at our 12 week scan. That's completely non-invasive and came back as a 1in 50000 risk si, thank god, we didn't gave to consider any further.

Could you meet half way with the non-invasive and then see where you go from there?

FWIW I would've been furious with DH if he'd said that to me and I'm a prope silent stewer so I'd been fuming for weeks but you do need to have a proper chat about it

PotteringAlong Mon 30-May-11 22:44:31

Ooh, 2 cross posts!

CoffeeDodger Mon 30-May-11 22:45:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Henwelly Mon 30-May-11 22:46:05

by these tests I mean ammniocentisis (sp).
Are you still having the non-invasive blood test and nuchal scans?

I would have them and then hopefully there is no issue.

FabbyChic Mon 30-May-11 22:46:13

I think you should accept the tests that are safe and offer no change of causing a miscarriage. I myself would want to know if I was carry a child that was not 100% healthy, in order that I could come to terms with it and be aware of exactly how things will be when it is born.

I had my youngest 18 years ago and I have to say that had the baby been deformed in any way (don't mean to be offensive) I would have aborted.

One of my reasons would have been who would look after my child when I died.

pollyblue Mon 30-May-11 22:47:35

I refused amnio tests during both my pregnancies as I knew I wouldn't abort if the baby had Downs, and DH felt the same. My Mum tried to persuade me to have the test, so I could "do something about it" if the test came back positive. I was upset by her attitude, which I think really just came from her ignorance of Downs - she's from a generation who had little contact with Downs children as it was quite common for them to be raised in institutions.

Is there a compromise you could reach? Maybe agree to the amnio, if your DH feels very strongly that he would like to know, but on the understanding that an abortion, for you, is an absolute no-no? But, should the test be positive, you'll have time to research and prepare?

This might not be the right time to mention it, and please check this out yourself, but in the last few years research was carried out on the accuracy of amnio testing, and it was found that it is not always 100%, and there have been cases of false positive results.

TransatlanticCityGirl Mon 30-May-11 22:49:01

I can see why you are upset. However, I also can understand your partners point of view.
The basic screening test carries no risk to your baby, and if it were important to my DH to know, I would have it. If the risk is high and you are offered an amnio, then you have some talking to do.

At your age it's more likely to come back as low risk anyway.

MumblingRagDoll Mon 30-May-11 22:51:04

I refused the tests too....I think you are understandably pee'd off but your DH is afraid....I think you should move on....dont get them done....it is your body....

FabbyChicDowns Syndrome does NOT mean a child is "deformed" Wtf??

pollyblue Mon 30-May-11 22:51:39

Sorry, just re-read your post - I thought you were only talking about amnio testing, but it sounds like you've not had nuchal fold etc done? That's easily checkable in a scan.

microserf Mon 30-May-11 22:51:44

If you do have the screening, you don't have to do the amnio. You can refuse any test you want. An issue close to my heart after being basically bullied into an amnio for dc1 and having complications afterwards. I had the screening for dc2, but was determined to decline any amnio or cvs. Luckily dc2 decided not to be high risk!

It is very much a deeply personal decision. My DH really wanted to know if there were problems. We negotiated for a long time before reaching the decisions I set out above. Give him some time - it is a frightening thing to confront for the first time.

FabbyChic Mon 30-May-11 22:52:45

I know downs syndrome doesnt mean a child is deformed, I couldnt think of the right words. Sorry. I have a friend with a downs child, he is now 20 he cannot ever live on his own.

microserf Mon 30-May-11 22:53:49

PS - post above not 100% clear. I would definitely have the non invasive tests. It is not just Downs they are checking for. Once you get the results, you can decide what to do.

bosch Mon 30-May-11 22:53:56

I had screening with ds1 and 2 though like you had no intention of amnioscentisis or abortion. Was only when I was pg with ds3 that dh actually realised how strongly I felt about that. So he said he didn't want to know the risk factor and fret about the baby for the whole pg, he asked me to agree not to have the screening/blood tests. Meant that (at 38/39) I fretted the whole pg about not knowing one way or another the likelihood of any problems.

Like us, you need to talk some more, and accept that maybe neither of your positions is completely rational? I took the view that I wanted to be able to prepare myself if there was a high risk of downs. He completely accepted that he couldn't 'make' me have an abortion, but also didn't want to worry about something that might never happen...

DS3 fine btw!

Oh, and I had ds1 at 34 - do I recall that you have a fundamentally v low risk of downs at that age? (i have v bad memory, may not be right)... And congrats!

TinaWilliams Mon 30-May-11 23:00:31

Hi all, and thank you for all your well-balanced and reasoned advice!

CoffeeDodger, it sounds like the stupidest thing ever to say but; No, we never did talk about what we would do if our baby had any kind of disability. We always assumed everything would be fine.

I completely respect everyone's decision to do what is right for them and their family, and I am actually pro-choice, but my reasons for not wanting to know are thus:

1) Down's Syndrome is a condition which undoubtedly causes life difficulties, but this is not to say that it is not a life worth living.

2) The risk of having a baby with the syndrome increases with maternal age, and I will never be as young as I am now!

3) What if our baby had a condition that you cant screen for? And therefore couldn't terminate? What if he/she had a hole in the heart, or Autism, or something else that would change our parenting experience entirely from that which we expect? Would he leave me then too?

4) Even if I have the non-invasive tests, which are fair enough, I still want my baby, but the knowledge of an elevated risk will spoil my pregnancy.

Ultimately, if we dont find a common solution sometime in the next week, either I will have screening tests which I dont feel comfortable with, or DH will feel that his feelings are being railroaded.

PacificDogwood Mon 30-May-11 23:01:26

This is a gross generalisation, but here goes anyway: for men the baby is often not as 'real' as for the expecting woman until there is movement/bump/an actual baby. It may well be easier for your DH to consider terminating a pregnancy than it is for you IYKWIM.
Also, there are other arguments for screening tests: some people feel the need to be reassured all is well or to prepare themselves if all is NOT well.

Your DH does not sound like an unkind/unfeeling kind of man at all. He is scared and worried, probably for your DC and you.

My DH and I were forced to discuss all these issues in some detail when it emerged after several MCs that I carried a genetic problem that gave us a 1:4 chance of conceiving a child with trisomie 13 or 14. I did have CVS x4 with no problems. Having the tests was entirely my choice as there are far more worrying things that can affect a pregnancy than Down's.

Bottom line I think is that having screening or diagnostic tests or not is your decision. Yes, both of your baby, but your body. Keep talking to each other.

Good luck smile.

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