So, just before Christmas, right when I had about 10 different lists of things to do on scraps of paper scattered around the house/in the car/pockets of various garments, I was asked to record a piece as part of a BBC Radio 4 You and Yours programme by Nina Warhurst on the new antenatal NIPT tests.
Despite the yuletide panic, it's a topic I have plenty to say on. I simply couldn't say no.
|Radio 4 interview from the broom cupboard at BBC Radio Cornwall|
I trundled off to my friendly local BBC Cornwall offices which I hold dear to my heart as that is where my very first radio interview (about a cake with chromosomes on it as it happens) took place.
Editor Daphne Skinnard had kindly booked out the broom cupboard recording studio for me, and I made myself comfy in the lone chair there. Once the door was shut behind me I waited, adrenaline-fuelled and ready in the silence, waiting for the London studios to make contact.
I had my mind map of notes in front of me, but as a topic I've chatted about many times, I wasn't too nervous. I was nervous that I wasn't nervous enough. It wasn't live after all and I had spoken to Nina, the presenter, a couple of times. She'd put me at ease. But shouldn't I have been more nervous?
The voice came through... a little deep for Nina I thought. No, it was a sound engineer checking the levels. After a few checks, we began. Nina asked questions, most of which I had anticipated and we talked freely for about half an hour. That was that. For the time being.
On my way out to pop into town for some last minute cranberry sauce, a radio station apprentice collared me to record a sound 'window' for their advent calendar. I chatted about what Christmas meant to us. How Natty was born a little early at that time of year and had spent 3 difficult weeks in neonatal care, before coming home to us on Christmas Eve. The perfect present, our little nativity baby, our perfect Natalia.
I then forgot all about the interview until after New Year. As the day it was to be aired drew closer, I realised that perhaps recorded interviews aren't as worry-free as I thought at the time. I began to muse about what I had said. What I hadn't said. What I should have said. I began to think how any part of it could be edited, taken out of context even.
|Listening in to You and Yours nervously|
The morning of the programme dawned and left me feeling sick and shaking with nerves. Tears rose in my eyes and that of my Mum as we listened in silence to the start of the programme.
Despite the subject matter being difficult and emotional and despite wanting to continue and say so much more after the programme had ended, the essence of what I wanted to portray was maintained. Nina had done us proud with her edit.
Every person with Down's syndrome is a unique individual, a human story, part of a family, not simply a set of characteristics or possible medical conditions. This is the balance we need to bring to antenatal support. Unbiased support.