“Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you.” – Psalm 55:22
Well, one of these days, I’ll get back to writing about Luke, but at the moment, I’m consumed with my pregnancy. You see, following my last post I had my regular five-month visit to check on Grace, and my doctor came in and reported that my ultrasound had turned something up – Grace’s intestines had an abnormality.
He called it an echogenic bowel, and explained that this was something commonly linked to babies with cystic fibrosis. So there I was. I had shot my mouth off here and there about how I wanted any child that God would bless me with – healthy or sick – and now I was being tested. God was saying, “Let’s put some feet to that faith.”
I wish I could say I passed with flying colors, but I failed miserably. I had to wait a week to get back the blood test results that would tell for certain if cystic fibrosis was a concern, and until yesterday I was doing great – hardly even thinking about it. I was doing so well, in fact, that I got a little cocky and thought to myself, “I think I can handle looking this up on Google and just seeing what it’s all about.”
The Google trap was something I would fall into often in my early days as a spectrum parent. I would start googling things, thinking that it would make me feel better – that I would find the one thing that meant Luke would be alright – but that never happened. I always came away more distressed than before. I thought I had put Google panic behind me, but yesterday, I fell off the wagon.
One of the first things that came up was that echogenic bowel was not only a soft marker for cystic fibrosis, but also a host of other genetic disorders, including Down’s Syndrome. Alone, this information would not have shaken me. I’ve been down the road of soft markers before, and I know their purpose is generally to terrify pregnant women of healthy children.
On the other hand, the last time I went down this road was during my pregnancy with Luke. Luke had a soft marker for Down’s Syndrome in his heart, known as an EIF. Because no one can tell a spectrum parent what caused her child’s autism, there is a temptation to feel like EVERYTHING is a potential cause of autism. So looking back on my pregnancy with Luke, I always wondered if the EIF was an early warning sign. I even mentioned it to the clinician the day that Luke was diagnosed and he said, “Hmm. That’s very interesting,” which in my mind completely justified my theory that there is a connection.
So anyway, the moment I saw “soft marker for Down’s Syndrome,” my mind immediately jumped to “my baby has autism” and that was it. The Google panic began. I started googling, “autism link to Down’s Syndrome soft markers,” and spectrum mommy after spectrum mommy popped up affirming my theory. Before the day was over, I was broken.
Thankfully, as my dear friend the Happy Home Fairy reminded me, joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). I woke up today feeling somewhat embarrassed. Yes, I had totally overreacted. After all, if you search for something on Google, you will surely find at least a hundred people who agree with you, no matter what position you take. There are no scientific studies linking soft markers to autism, so it’s all pure conjecture.
Gratefully, God is so merciful that instead of correcting me for my lack of faith, he reassured me that Grace was fine when I received word that my genetic test had come back, and was negative for cystic fibrosis, and as for the risk of autism, we just have to wait and see.
So, dear mommies, just say no to internet research. Assurance is found in God – not on Google.