Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Question of Another

In the days following Samuel's birth, I had a surprising and compelling urge to hit the 'REDO' button and have another baby.  Immediately.  Of course, it was an irrational feeling that I'm sure my mind was using as a band aid for the situation.

Years before we were married, Michael and I had many conversations about our dreams:  children, how many, how far apart they would be, the genders, and so on.  Dreams that any happy couple has as they start a life together.  Originally our plan had been two children, two years apart.  At the time, I thought this plan was more like a daydream than a possible reality. 

When I was nine, I went through an experimental...and rather grueling...chemotherapy and radiation protocol to treat a cancerous tumor that had grown on my kidney (called Wilms.)  Although the treatment was very successful, the chances of my having children later in life looked doubtful.  Fast forward fifteen years, and you can imagine my surprise and excitement when I looked at that positive pregnancy test result.

Samuel is a HUGE blessing.  In more ways than one.  But the thing is, I'm not sure I could do this again.  Sometimes I feel like I'm still picking up pieces of myself and trying to fit them back together.  I'm afraid that if we had another extremely early child that there would be nothing left of me to reassemble.

So obviously, having child #2 is going to take some serious contemplation and prayer.  There was never a good explanation for Samuel's early infection, no blood pressure issues, nothing.  The ultrasound I had two weeks prior to his birth looked absolutely normal.

You ask, "What's the big deal?  So you had one early...that doesn't mean anything for the next one."  Wrong.  As I've had quoted to me about a billion times, "The women who are at greatest risk of preterm labor and birth are women who have had a previous preterm birth."

With this in mind, we set up an appointment to teleconference with a high risk pregnancy clinic in Little Rock.  Michael and I felt like we needed to know what our options are and what their thoughts were.  I think we were hoping that they would have a good explanation for why I went into labor so early and give us some answers about how to prevent it from happening again.  OR tell us not to have any more children.  I can't say I would have been happy with the latter, but at least it would have been clear-cut.

Before we teleconferenced, we spoke with a genetics counselor.  She told us that there is some recent research showing that Wilms cancer survivors had an increase chance of preterm labor.  However, the results weren't conclusive and the actual cause was unknown.  One theory is that large doses of radiation cause the uterus to lose it's elasticity.  It reaches a certain point and can literally grow no larger.  But this is just a theory.

After we spoke to the counselor, Michael and I were feeling pretty down.  We waited in the small stuffy waiting room anxiously for the teleconference to begin....thinking that we were going to hear the same thoughts from the high risk doctor.  We didn't.  The nurse very confidently told us that the high risk doctor felt like we should try again, and at 16 weeks we would begin P17 shots (progesterone.)  She said they have dealt with several other Wilms tumor survivors and they did fine.

Now it looks like we have a big decision to make....and with about as much clarity as we had to begin with.  I have so many conflicting feelings.  Excitement over the possibility of a REAL pregnancy and a full-term baby....big belly, baby showers, time to decorate the nursery, breast feeding, a sibling for Samuel, no doctors appointments, no oxygen, no monitors, etc.  Worried over the possibility that I may not enjoy the pregnancy because I'd be anxious all of the time....what if?  Confident that I can do my best with this pregnancy....stay off my feet, drink a lot of water, frequent check ups at the doctor to measure my cervix.

This isn't going to happen any time soon, but we'd appreciate your prayers for wisdom, direction, and peace with the decision.  God's plan is greater than any plan we could ever make.


  1. That news is so exciting (at least to someone on the outside=) I'll definitely be praying for the best, and I know you're one of the strongest girls around! I know it's not fair that you have to be so strong all the time, but I believe you can survive anything!

  2. Sweet many pros and cons it is mind boggling. Of course I will pray for you and Michael. But remember, it was God's decision that you had Samuel. You wanted and wished for a baby without really expecting it could even happen. This time will be His decision as well..for now, just breath deeply, leave it in His hands, enjoy Samuel fully and renew your body and spirit. We cannot know His plans, but we can rest assured that they are for our best outcome. I will stay in prayer for you. You are an amazing woman and God has good things in store for you..I know that in the bottom of my heart!!!

  3. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your husband. I had four miscarriages before I had my first child. We had gone to specialist, gentic counsleors and read every book I could. After the fourth pregancy loss with medical intervention I was devasted. I decided to go on a prayer vigil. Every day for a month, I wold go to a church on my lunch hour and just pray for guidence. At the end of the month I felt much more at peace and clear about what I wanted. I knew we wanted children but felt that it might not be God's will that the baby come from me. We started to look into adopton and my husband and I decided to stop fertitly treatments. About a month later I was stunned to find myself pregant with twins. We knew from 6 weeks that one of the babies would proably not progress, I was sad a few weeks later when there was only one heartbeat but so grateful for the "angel baby" that made my body produce enough hormones to let me have our beautiful son, two more children followed. I realized we just never know where our life will lead us. My thougts are with you.

  4. I totally know these feelings! We saw the high-risk people in February of this year about a second. While I *think* we've decided we'll try for another some time in the future, I fear fear fear that I'm just going to be asking too much.

    Good luck to you!

  5. I can relate too. Luckily, we had our oldest daughter full term. We were then surprised with our twins extremely early arrival. I was like you; I had no complications, signs, symptoms - nothing that would suggest pre-term labor. I thought since my first was full-term, the twins would be too. The only answer we were ever given was that carrying twins is high-risk and can result in early labor. With three kids (two who are former micro-preemies), I feel like we have enough to keep us busy, but I still mourn the loss of a full-term pregnancy for the twins and a normal delivery. I feel unsettled that their birth will be my last birth experience. I have so many of the same feelings you express. I will be praying for you as you make this very difficult decision. Best of luck!

  6. I recently stumbled on your blog and after reading this post I feel compelled to reach out. First of all Samuel is an absolutely adorable boy.

    Doctors tell you that every pregnancy is different and although I can't speak from first hand experience since my husband and I do not have children yet we do have nieces and nephews.

    Just over 2 years ago now my sister gave birth to a beautiful baby girl who just before her delivery suffered a trauma in utero and was born unable to breathe on her own. Unofortunately, 2 days later my sister and her husband had to make one of the hardest decisions that they have ever had to make as parents and our beautiful niece who was born full term is now a precious angel.

    This baby was my sister's third pregnancy and the doctors have no idea what went so wrong so fast. My sister had made a decision prior to her birth that since she was having a c-section she may as well have her tubes tied while they were in there.

    After they saw how sick the baby was the doctors refused to tie her tubes and now we have a beautiful healthy nephew that we never would have had otherwise and he was able to restore the faith for my sister.

    Not only did the doctors monitor my sister like never before but she never paid a single medical bill to monitor that pregnancy or for the delivery itself.