Friday 18 March 2011

Numbers game

I've noticed over the last few weeks that I've become something of a statistician. For someone who lost interest in Maths as soon as I'd taken my GCSE (somehow a year early, so 18 years ago!) this is rather a turn-up for the books. But even before the Boy and I became pregnant, I was aware what lay ahead was something of a numbers game - and even after just a little reading my brain was swimming with fascinating facts such as '95 per cent of couples become pregnant within their first year of trying' and 'there are only three or four days of the month that you can conceive'.

And the numbers game has got worse since I found out I was pregnant. I could quote you what the odds of a miscarriage are at almost every week of your pregnancy, an interesting specialist subject should I ever wish to apply for Mastermind...

I'm now eight weeks plus four, as they say, and the risk has dropped slightly but some sources still say it's one in five. Normally if I had a chance of being 80 per cent successful at something I'd be over the moon, but somehow now it's not enough and it seems easier to believe we'll fall into the 20 per cent that are so very unlucky. I think my 'glass half empty' psyche is having something of a field day just now - luckily I can ignore it most of the time!

The latest number to fall into my periphery is the odds of having a child with Down's Syndrome. I hadn't really contemplated when we started trying for a baby that we might have a child with disabilities or something wrong. I hadn't been able to look beyond falling pregnant in the first instance ('glass half empty' popping up again!).

As the weeks pass I look ahead to the 12 week scan which - if we get there - will involve the first test for Down's as the sonographer will measure the baby's nuchal thickness. I have to admit I'm a little bit nervous about this, and what a bad result for us might mean... but I think the Boy and I are strong enough to cross that bridge should we get to it.

And once again it's all about the numbers game - at 30 you have a one in 1,000 chance of having a baby with Down's, by 35 it's gone up to one in 350. So at 33 I guess my numbers are somewhere in the middle, around one in 500... and even for someone like me with that half-empty glass, those are good enough for me to keep this in perspective!

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