The first therapist I saw after Noah died asked me, 15 minutes into our session, how important having biological kids was to us. The question stopped me in my tracks. She had just finished saying something about how traumatizing both my HG and Noah’s death were for our older son Owen, and the followed it up with that question. The question was like a ticking bomb. I’m not sure I ever answered it. Just launched into all the reasons things I was doing to make the HG easier to deal with next time (if we are lucky enough to get a next time) and how the genetic tests were all normal, and how we were not likely to lose another baby to the same issue again.
I was so horrified that she asked that. That she implied that that was a better choice for my family, that I never went back. I actually wrote her a letter explaining why I wasn’t going back.
I feel like I’ve been faced with that question again recently. I’ve had a friend tell me how scared they are about the idea of me getting pregnant again. Afraid that I might die. Funny enough, that is one of the few things that doesn’t scare me. In a different situation, I think it would be a valid concern. But I have a very proactive doctor that has a good success rate with HG. Sure, I could get an infection in my PICC line. Or have complications from surgery to place a feeding tube if it comes to that. But those are risks that come from any surgery or procedure where there are holes in your body. And I would never dream of telling her I was afraid she would die because she chose to get her tonsils out. Partially because I wasn’t. Sure it’s surgery,and sure there are risks, but not enough that the outcome isn’t worth those risks.
But that’s not the real reason I’ve been faced with that question.
We got a copy of a letter that the perinatologist so sent to my Ob along with the amnio results. As we knew already, the amnio results were normal. What happened with Noah was probably a fluke. It’s possible that it’s a recessive genetic condition that there is no test for yet, but that is unlikely. The letter stated that they think we have a 1-2% chance of recurrence. But that’s not what is scaring me. What is scaring me is this: they said that because Noah’s hydrocephalus progressed so rapidly, that they cannot clear me/a new baby with a 20 week ultrasound. That they will recommend an ultrasound every 2 weeks through the 2nd and 3rd trimesters to monitor the brain. So there will never be a safe zone. They are worried enough for regular ultrasounds. I will have to go to an ultrasound every 2 weeks, for the whole pregnancy wondering if that will be the week that they will tell me my baby will die.
I don’t even know how to comprehend it. I had basically thought prior to this that we would avoid buying anything or making plans until the 20w ultrasound, and then that was it. We would be safe. Sure, I would worry about still birth, but that hasn’t been my history,and while it was possible, I wouldn’t focus on it. Now, I don’t know what to think. How will I ever feel safe planning a baby’s room? Buying a car seat? When I know that any week. I could show up for my ultrasound, and find out it’s the end.
So it does bring up the question again. With a heavier sense of dread. What’s funny is that she asked the wrong question. It’s not necessarily the biological child that is important. It’s carrying the child. I would probably go down the embryo adoption route before traditional adoption. And not because I’m against adoption. More because the wait and the money, and the risk scare the crap out of me. It seems like every adoption story I have read this week has been about it falling through. Or a custody/paternity challenge. And I just can’t imagine going through the wait, and the money, and the emotional investment to have it ripped away. To me, right now, it doesn’t feel any safer that trying again on our own. It doesn’t seem any less likely to end in heartbreak.
So off we go again, even more scared, but carrying on. Praying that some day, we will once again bring home a living baby.