Friday, October 14, 2005

The Day before the Book Tour

The day before the book tour, Colin got up early and tried to ring Dr K’s office. He was going to clear it up as soon as possible, so we could stop worrying.
It took two hours to get through to Dr K’s office. We sat at the table eating breakfast and trying the phone. It was always engaged, or voicemail, or else they put you on hold for so long you had to hang up. It was a good breakfast, granola, raspberries, strawberries, coffee and orange juice. One or the other of us was always on the phone. It took so long I started to cheer up.
Eventually, Dominique from Dr K’s office took my call. She said, “Yes, your test results came back positive, do you want an amnio?”
I didn’t know what she was talking about.
I said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
She sounded impatient. “Your results have come back positive for Trisomy 18,” she said. “Do you want an amnio? And do you want genetic counselling?”
I still didn’t know what she was talking about.
“What do you mean?” I said, sounding strident.
She said the cut off for Trisomy 18 is 1 in 100, and your results came back 1 in 2. There was something triumphant about the way she said that: one in two.
I said, “Okay, I’ll have an amnio.”
I still didn’t know what she was talking about.
She wanted to know if I would have genetic counselling. I said, “No. Okay. I don’t know. What are you talking about?”
She said you have to wait 3 to 4 weeks for the amnio, and then another 3 weeks for the results. I said, “But then you could be …”
And she sounded triumphant again when she said, “I know! You could be 6 months pregnant before you get the results.” She insisted there was nothing she could do about that.
After the phone call I went to the hairdresser to get highlights. The internet chat rooms worry about highlights but conclude that they’re okay. The hairdresser was a beautiful young man from Halifax.
“That’s where I’m going tomorrow!” I said.
We agreed that we love Montreal but we miss the sea. I said I was looking forward to seeing the sea in Halifax. He told me to take a ferry trip. He made my hair blonde with semi-permanent red highlights.
Afterwards, I met Colin on the street in the sun. We went to Olive & Gourmando to get lunch for the sun, and Colin told me what he had found out about this Trisomy 18. He found it on the internet. Not knowing what it was was making me calm. It was just a word. It might be nothing. But now Colin knew what the word meant. He said these babies don’t make it, they’re usually stillborn, or else they die within a year and they’ve got all kinds of physical and mental problems. The black shadows were crossing my eyes again and I tilted backwards and Colin caught me. Next I was sitting down crying into Colin’s arms and a polite woman didn’t want to take our place in the queue.
We ate lunch in the sun by the river, and tried to be calm. One in two. That’s like 50/50. It’s a coin toss. It could be fine. It seemed to me it must be fine. Babies with Trisomy 18 are born with small heads, he said, also pointed ears, and two fingers crossed. They have club feet, bad hearts, they get seizures, there was a story of parents taking their baby outside to feel the wind on his face before he died. Sometimes they might live a few years and rarely they might make it to ten.
The next day I went to the airport to take the plane to Halifax, with cranberry juice, bottled water, chewing gum, Mentos, an orange, a banana, and a book called The Sunday Philosophy Club. When I arrived I wanted to see the sea, but there was Lisa Moore in the middle of the footpath with such a lovely smile, and I decided I would be all right.


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