Waiting for Amniocentesis Results

And the inspiration of community.

Alison Acheson
6 min readNov 17, 2021


Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash

I was thirty-five when I was unexpectedly pregnant for the third time… so unexpectedly that I really did not clue in for weeks. Other than feeling tired — which I attributed to a new evening job — there were no signs. I was still nursing my middle child, and have never suffered from morning sickness. So by the time I realized the failure of birth control, I was on the edge of amniocentesis time.

Given my age, my family GP sent me off for the triple blood screen test, which led to the amnio being scheduled: my numbers, apparently, were very high. “You’re more likely to have a child with Down’s Syndrome than a miscarriage,” was how it was put to me.

I was still reeling from the news of being pregnant; my brain was not going too far beyond that at the moment. I was seventeen weeks in when I went through the test procedure.

The test

The amniocentesis test itself followed what was at least an hour of counseling for “in case…” even though I’d already been sent the same info to read through. And I’d read through with care.

Then I was in the testing room itself. I remember it as being dark and cold. I remember feeling hungry and anxious. I had two children and had not had to go through anything like this before.

There was an enormous screen in front of me, and I could see a large round that was my uterus. I could see the shape that would be my third son. The person administering the test was kindly, and let me know what she was doing as she was doing it.

But nothing prepared me for the moment that lengthy needle went into my abdomen, and entered my uterus; on the screen I could see the thin line plunge in and — without missing a beat, no hesitation — that little bean in there created a corner as far away as he could! The movement was so quick, I was shocked.

My immediate thought — more a feeling than a thought — was how invasive was that needle. I felt suddenly as if I’d gone into somewhere private, some place I did not belong. Which was at odds with how this was all within me.

Of course, pregnancy hormones are wild things, and cause all manner of emotional hookups and breakdowns. I…



Alison Acheson

My latest book is a memoir, Dance Me to the End: Ten Months and Ten Days With ALS. My newsletter is on Substack: THE UNSCHOOL FOR WRITERS.