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ChromoChallenges Jess Plummer FAQ Balanced Translocation BT

I remember the day I found out about my Balanced Translocation.

For three weeks at the Transfer Hospital, I’d stayed perched at my daughter’s bedside. Then one a-little-less-special but sunny day, a genetic counselor knocked on the door frame of her NICU room.

I was asked to follow, and was brought to an empty meeting room. There was a long oval table with three chairs. I sat in the chair at the far end. The GC sat in the chair to my left, where she delivered the news that my daughter had a version of Trisomy 18 and there was no way to know her outcomes.

I’d chuckled, because of course that was true. Of course MY daughter would have that. The white doctor coat looked surreal to me, like a shape just sitting in the room talking with a disembodied voice. All I could do was stare at the table, because looking her in the eye kept leading to me to tell her the different ways that it was what it was.

And then she threw in that I’d have an increased rate of miscarriage due to a difference in my 1st and 18th chromosomes. Four other genetic counselors at Local Hospital would later insist I was sterile and told me “not to bother” to have another child.

I laughed again, because of course I would have that difficulty. I’d always had a gut feeling that becoming a mother wouldn’t be the way I saw others achieve it. But it made the three early miscarriages I’d had a few years before that moment, and those I’ve had after then, make sense.

The thing that women and men who live with BT learn is that hope doesn’t die. Of course we’ll bother to try.

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