A sad start to 2015 for our family

So 2015 started off on a sad note for us.

Initial excitement

Excited, we went off to the Fetal Assessment Centre in Claremont, Cape Town on  9 January for the first 3D scan of our second child.

We walked into the consultation room, thinking that maybe today we would find out the gender of our child.

Bad news and uncertainty

Instead, we received only bad news and were plunged into uncertainty. The baby, a girl, is active and moving around, with her limbs intact, but she has all the markers for Down Syndrome, which includes water behind the neck, no nose bone and seemingly a heart defect. The protein marker in my blood work for Down Syndrome is also slightly elevated.

Already devastated, I immediately underwent the next screening test.

Next steps

So the next step was to take the rather painful Chorionic Villus sampling test. A needle was pressed through my abdomen, after I was given a local anaesthetic, which doesn’t seem to help much, to collect some of the placenta cells.

The placenta has the same genetic makeup as the baby, so this test would tell us with certainty if the baby has Down Syndrome.

Risk of miscarriage

There is an increased risk of miscarriage, but with all the genetic markers already present in our other tests, we had no option but to take this one.

Results

So I just received the results, which confirms a diagnosis of Down’s Syndrome with a heart defect. At least I wasn’t expecting any good news and had already prepared for the worst.

Termination

It is a sad fact that now we will have to kill our daughter. It is especially difficult to do after already seeing her alive on the scan.

This seems to be the only option:

  • A baby with Down Syndrome might not even survive the duration of the pregnancy.
  • We don’t have the time or financial resources to look after a severely ill and disabled child. I also need to work to contribute to the household budget.
  • I do not want to doom a child to a life of hardship.
  • It won’t be fair on my son, as most of my attention will be taken away from him.
  • Who will look after her one day when my husband and I are gone? It is also not a burden I would want to place on my son.

Sad decision

So, although it is a sad decision, in my mind it will be in the best interest of everyone to terminate this pregnancy.

And it has made me appreciate my healthy child even more.

My journey as a writer

I’m still trying to find my feet as a writer in 2015.

My journey as a writer has been exhilarating and confusing at times. I find myself interested in too many things – writing novels, short stories, editing, translation – and unable to specialise.

MY WRITING JOURNEY IN 2014

During 2014 my writing journey evolved in a new direction, as I started writing and managing the blog, www.workingmother.com

The blog was born out of the web writing course that is offered by the SA Writers’ College. At the beginning it was an experiment and I wasn’t always too sure of my purpose.

I’m still new to the world of writing non-fiction. I’m used to writing short stories and I was initially surprised that blogging has managed to draw me in at all.

The blog got me writing again after giving birth to my son. I had been working on a novel while pregnant, but ended up losing motivation and inspiration, especially when I went back to work after maternity leave.

Writing the blog has made me realise that writing is a part of me and that I get cranky if I don’t it for too long. It is a way to express my victories and frustrations.

My unique and crazy little man has also provided me with many topics to blog about. 😛

THE JOURNEY STARTED LONG AGO 

My journey as a writer started even before I had enough words to express myself properly. It may be hard to believe now, but I actually struggled with reading and writing as a child.

  • The artist 

Looking back at my childhood, it is clear that I’ve always had the desire to express myself, but in the beginning I was more of an artist than a writer.

My parents still have small books that I compiled as a creative 6-year old, that consist mainly of pictures and the random word. 😛

  • Shared creativity

As children, my sister and I used to draw characters, cut them out and develop comprehensive storylines around them. These innocent stories, often based on children’s books that I was reading at the time, could probably have filled several books.

  • Imaginary worlds

Our descent into imaginary worlds was probably also encouraged by the fact that we grew up in a flat/apartment and had to find ways to amuse ourselves. Playing outside whenever we wanted was simply not an option.

  • Teenaged years

After the age of 14, my attempts became more serious. As my writing talent grew, my skills as an artist sadly stagnated. Our moody art teacher who was only interested in teaching art history, probably also didn’t help.

  • Teacher influence

Teachers actually have a huge influence on the course of our lives. My English and Afrikaans language teachers were inspiring and motivational people. Their classes encouraged my love of writing and reading.

Writing was my way of expressing myself as a teenager and remaining emotionally alive.

  • Immersed in words

I was also a lazy teenager who had no love of homework. I was more interested in writing stories and reading books than worrying about homework. It was only during tertiary studies that I blossomed into a more responsible student.

  • Tertiary studies 

My Honours degree in English further encouraged my love of reading and writing. I’ve also completed a BA degree, diploma in Language Practice and several writing short courses, but nothing challenged me quite as much as this degree.

  • Work life 

I’ve been working as a Communications Specialist in the medical scheme industry for more than 10 years.

The nature of the projects in this field can be very dry at times, but I’ve managed to keep my love of reading and writing alive, through a variety of outside interests, such as writing my blog, short stories and several aborted attempts at writing a novel. :p

  • The masterpiece

I’m still positive that I will be successful at producing a novel one day, even if I may be 80 at the time. 😛

I believe when the time is right and I have gained the insight and skills, I will be able to finish this project.

I still need to find my feet as a writer and focus my interests. As a full time worker, and especially as a mother, I unfortunately have limited time to produce my masterpiece. But I’m confident that it will happen, maybe sooner than expected. 😛

Then my writing journey will be complete.  🙂

My 2015

After taking a Christmas break from work, blogging and anything remotely intellectual, I’m back at work.

Back to little sleep

The little man doesn’t like this idea of having to get up an hour and a half earlier than he had been used to for the last 3 weeks.

He looks at me bleary-eyed, before stumbling out of bed and running around screaming, waving his arms in the air.

This morning I further angered him, by not making sure that his bottle’s teat was on securely, thereby resulting in a milk shower and one sticky boy who had to be washed again.

Why?

My poor little man threw his head back and roared “why? why?”

*Sigh*

The plan for 2015

I have started thinking about what I want to achieve in 2015. The plan is to gain momentum towards working independently.

Hopefully, this will allow me to eventually organise my life better, cutting out a long commute and enjoying more family time.

Let me not give away all my ideas here…:P

On a personal level

I resolve not to worry about what people think about me and to do what I believe to be right for me and my family.

Hopefully the little man will one day be able to sleep a little longer. 😛 🙂