So there I was, 12 weeks pregnant, in for an "early risk assessment," which is a blood test and an ultrasound, intended to take the place of an amniocentesis, which I had ZERO interest in having. However, there is an additional step in the ERA that I was not aware of. Before the ultrasound or bloodtest, you are ushered in to see the "genetic counselor," a sanitized name for someone who basically scares the living daylights out of you. After taking a family history (no issues, either side) the counselor began to explain everything that could go wrong with the fetus. To illustrate her points, she matter-of-factly flipped through laminated pages in a booklet showing missing chromosomes. I was flabbergasted.
Stopping briefly on one page, she explained: "This child would not live."
"Why are you showing me this now? I haven't even been tested yet?" I pleaded.
"Well, we just want you to know what we are looking for," she said, totally unaware of how alarming her whole performance had been.
Spare me. It was a horrible hour, and when I retreated to the waiting room to be called in for the ultrasound, almost every woman I saw come out of the counselor's office had been reduced to tears. To make a long story short, my ultrasound showed a perfect fetus, my blood test was fine, and I was angry that I was put through that display for no good reason.
I vowed that I would have no more tests and was more sure than ever that I had to sign a home birth midwife.
Of course, there was just one more glitch: Despite spending hours on the phone with our blue chip health insurance plan, it did not appear that they would spend a dime to pay for a home birth. Unfortunately, they paid plenty for the ERA, which did nothing but elevate my blood pressure.