Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I dreamt last night that my goal was to have another baby by Christmas 2009. That is not my goal. Concerning children, my goal is to lose 10 pounds, save a lot of money, and have pre-diagnostic in-vitro fertilization done sometime in 2010. Probably male embryos only, so Zar can have a son.
The keyword of 2008 was Pregnancy. As I've mentioned before, there were a LOT of pregnancies around me in 2008, including, of course, my own. Mine was not planned. Zar and I have a fifty percent chance each time we conceive of making a baby with serious health problems. However, according to medical science, those unhealthy embryos should not survive to become fetuses. But then Charlotte did. Charlotte has survived to become a baby, and then a toddler. So from what we can tell, our chance of carrying and giving birth to another child with chromosomal issues is between 12 and 25%.
In February 2008 I found out I was pregnant. I remember looking at those little pink lines and feeling calm and slightly annoyed. I was thinner than I'd ever been before in my adult life. I was really into designer jeans. (sevens.)
My first thought was not "Oh my goodness what have I done?" I did not sense months of fear and sorrow ahead of me, which was strange as fear and sorrow ruled my first pregnancy. Of course the thought that this baby might not be healthy crossed my mind, but from the get-go I was quite sure that all was well. With Charlotte I always felt that things were not right, but that it would be okay.
My biggest fear, in fact, was what others would think of me. How irresponsible, to get pregnant again. How foolish and stupid. I know this because I've thought these things about families who choose to trust in God and get pregnant again despite bad odds. I also knew my mother would have a rough time dealing with the unknown, so I decided to have prenatal testing done and not tell my parents about the pregnancy until we had the results.
However, the doctor wouldn't do the CVS until 12 weeks, and by that time I had overindulged myself up 15 lbs and felt I needed to provide an explanation. We told my parents by putting Charlotte in a t-shirt that read "Big Sister 2008". My whole family screamed so loud that Charlotte passed out. My mom even said "It feels different this time, I have a good feeling about this."
That doesn't mean she didn't want to know for sure. In early April I had my CVS. A couple days later the doctor called to inform me that the test had failed, the sample was insufficient. He offered to repeat it free of charge, but I refused. The test carries a small risk, was uncomfortable and exhausting, and the results wouldn't have changed anything.
My parents did not handle the news well. They demanded I repeat the test. They mentioned abortion. My mom said "Have you really thought this through?" I hung up on her. I was in San Francisco and although she kept calling, I didn't answer for 18 hours just to punish her.
When I finally consented to speak to her, I told her I would not tolerate any more negative talk. I told her the hardest part of my first pregnancy was having my dad refer to the baby as "it" and ask "are you going to feed it if it lives?" the night before she was born. I told her to lay off and stop poisoning this experience for me. She apologized and said she still felt everything was fine.
But the next time I was at her house, I overheard her talking on the phone. She said that everyone thought I was crazy and naive. She said I already looked soooo pregnant and there would be no hiding it if something went wrong. She said she was worried and afraid. This was not what she had assured me. I began to think the hardest part of this would not be watching another sick baby be born, and possibly die, but admitting to everyone that I had been wrong, my faith had been misplaced and I had been stupid to let this happen again.
And yet, I couldn't deny that somehow I felt like this baby was healthy. I was furious at my mom for doubting me. I avoided my parents for the next few weeks as much as I could.
One Saturday morning before work, I went to the clinic had had my blood drawn for the quad screen, which with Charlotte had been our first solid indication that things were not fine. I didn't tell anyone I was having it drawn, not even my husband. I remembered the day three years ago when my doctor called me at work to tell me my baby had a 1 in 84 chance of having a trisomy, and how I had sobbed in the back room the rest of the day.
On Monday morning, I checked the results. I knew they were supposed to take a few days and my heart nearly stopped when I saw the word "Complete." I held my breath and clicked.
I called my mom and told her my test showed this baby had a 1 in 3200 chance of having a trisomy. I practically crowed I told you so. When I told Zar he wasn't surprised. "Oh that's great!" he said. "I thought you weren't having that drawn?"

I want more children. I do not necessarily want more pregnancies. I am certainly open to adoption, or IVF. Or, we could risk it and just go off the pill. Even with my last experience, I am not open to that. This time was easy because the pregnancy was a surprise and I had resolved long ago to leave it in God's hands. So why can't I have the faith and trust to just let the chromosomes fall where they may? I believe God helps those who help themselves. I don't believe in too many unnecessary risks. In the end, it's all in God's hands, but I see no problem in stacking the deck in my favor. Charlotte is the greatest blessing I have ever received. I thank God for her every day. And I thank God that He saw fit to bless me with another little girl whose greatest trial thus far has been dandruff.


Alicia Ann said...

Erin I love you. I think you are an amazing woman and a woman of extreme courage and fortitude. I am very grateful to have you as a friend and want you to know how much I have always looked up to you!

Chris and Laura said...

You're beautiful when your pregnant. I want to look like that when I'm that big!

Shannon said...

Oh my Erin... you really are amazing! And for the record- no one that I know thought that you were wreckless or irresponsible. We were just thrilled for you- and happy that you were actually able to somewhat enjoy your pregnancy. Ella-Bell is beautiful- and so is Charlotte. And if it would have turned out the other way- we would have been just as thrilled for your new arrival as we were for Ella's.

Lincoln said...

Okay, I'll admit it. I thought you were crazy. But seriously, even if it's hard to do, screw what other people think.

Your writing makes me smile...only because it continues to prove what I've always known.

Alicia Ann said...

Also, I wanted to tell you that I love your pregnant belly shot in this post! You are gorgeous always!

Amanda said...

Dearest Erin... you know I adore you. I was just so excited that we were going to be pregnant together. I am so glad I could share that experience with you. And I loved playing Rock Band with you the other night... we are AWESOME! I look forward to more nights with you and your girls.

Sara Jane said...

Erin I just read this post and I just wanted to say I love you! I am so happy you are open to adoption... Evening coming from the other side of it I want to tell you adoption is the most amazing thing ever! You are amazing! XOXO