Me and Jonas were having lunch, one week after the CVS. He came back from university and told me 'Well, no news is good news no?'. I told him to keep this until next week.
In fact, no news is good news, bad news arrive always early. And that day was our early.
My mum received the call in the morning, I used her number for any medical contact I needed, because I still didn't have an Italian simcard.
She arrived after we had lunch, I was still in my pajama, as for any day after the CVS.
'I received the call from Catania dear.' Started crying. 'She has down syndrome.'
Jonas wasn't understanding. Then wasn't believing. He didn't even seem sad. He was just repeating 'How can this be? We are too young, this is not possible'. Then 'Maybe it's the proteins I took for sport? Or the go kart accident during the summer?' Oh love, this all was not our fault. And this all makes me even angrier.
My journey into grief started exactly at this point, because I knew what our choice would have been since we started testing.
This doesn't mean I didn't doubt, or I wasn't killed by the thought of keeping my baby at all costs, her costs. Remembering that bringing her to this world meant doing it at her costs, her pain since the beginning of her life, held me from going mad and regretting my choice.
My feelings alternated from longing death, total despair, hate, feeling stolen from myself, my dreams, my baby, my future and from all the things I was picturing myself doing with my baby. I never felt so much hate in my life and I could never think to be able to feel so angry. My body was shaking and cracking under this deep and boiling rage. It was not possible this was happening to us. I hated everybody for being helpless, I hated everybody happy because my happiness was denied in the most delicate part of my soul, I hated all the mothers, the happy ones, the unhappy ones, those asking for money on the streets but with healthy babies always filling their wombs, those who smoked, got drugged and still had their born babies with them. I hated everybody who wanted me outside the bed. I didn't hate god, because I didn't feel a thing. There was nothing coming back to me, not a word, a thought, a sign of comfort. I prefer this way, because god would be the one I would hate the most.
We had our appointment with the gynecologist at the end of the same week. We entered the room, me and my mum.
'I'm sorry for the news. Do you have the complete report from the CVS?' I gave it to him.
'Ah, complete random trisomy 21. Well, at least it's not related to something genetical. Do you know about the procedure? They will induce your labour with some 'candles..' me 'prostaglandins?' him 'yes, prostaglandins... and the contractions will start and all the products of pregnancy will be expulsed'. Yes, I knew. 'But I won't be caring for you for the procedure because I'm a conscientious objector. I already passed your case to another gynae, the only not conscientious objector of the hospital'.
In Italy 7 over 10 doctors are conscientious objectors..(pro-life gynae refusing medical treatment in case of abortion for any reason, in theory, based on their believes). Reasons for their choices, we soon discovered were mostly convenience reasons rather than ethical reasons.
Our gynaecologist had the opportunity to tell us at the first scan this information, after we expressed how important for us was prenatal testing for us to make an informed choice.
He didn't, he took his nice and clean 80 euro for the visit, kept silence and 'passed the case' in the most difficult time of our life. This is medical care.
He continued saying I should meet on Saturday morning with the psychologist of the hospital because abortion in my case was allowed from the Italian law just because 'threatening to my mental health'.
I started making questions about specific things I already searched carefully. Just wanted to test him.
He was vague, clearly not up to date with research and answering like if I wasn't able to understand or I shouldn't dare to ask.
'What are the risks of the procedure for my personal health and for future pregnancies?' I asked as well, 'Nothing, we do everything you don't have to worry about anything'. And me 'For any procedure there is a risk, I'm asking for legit information'. Super pissed him answered 'NO, I said there is nothing to worry, the risk may be slight, 1% why do you have to be so negative?!'. Shocked I said 'I am the 0.0006% with my daughter, YOU weren't almost letting me test for her. The 1% is nothing for you, something for me. I was asking for the risks. I've seen...' Started making a list of the risks with the induction and D&E I searched about. He kept talking no sense. I decided to stop and change question. 'I want only to clarify I want to spend as much time as I want with my daughter, hold her and having my partner with me all the time.'
And him 'Why should you want to do something like that?! It's not a nice THING to see. We always advise not to see IT, but you can do what you want'. I was completely shocked and crying, disgusted this shit was claiming himself a pro-life. My mum told him that 'nice' is something very relative and 'nice' is always a mother's baby. He told me my partner couldn't stay with me because we would have been in the postnatal ward and women don't want a male presence around. Right.
I had so many other questions in my list, but it was all so pointless at that point. We said bye and we left, hoping not to see him again.
Ida Saoirse Scherer,
our first baby girl, who was born and died at 16+5 weeks on the 30th November 2017.
Resources about Termination for Medical Reasons
Sister-friend Emily writing for her first son Amari Regan (Fragile X Syndrome)
Katrina's blog for her second daughter April Rey (Trisomy 13)