Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Permanent Fix

In the middle stages of our May December romance the subject of marriage and children was discussed.  I, being May, wanted children and I didn't mince words about that fact. Yes, at times I may have wavered just a bit (especially when money was good and I could afford to do things I never thought I would be able to do) and I always feared that some health concerns might make it difficult to conceive, but deep down I wanted needed to be a Mom. Jacob, being December, wanted to give me what I wanted, but also wanted a compromise. I used to envision two or three children and our compromise was to only have one. Rae is the result of that compromise...she is our only child.

Before she was born, I started thinking about how much I was going to miss being pregnant (I had a very easy pregnancy...don't hate...). After she was born, I started worrying that she would be lonely and that over time I would be lonely as well without a larger family. But, that door was closed and unless Jacob decided to open it again then I wasn't about to suggest it (well maybe just a hint or two...three). Then the rug started getting tugged out from under our feet...

We started worrying about Rae's development and then the doctor appointments started. The longer we went without an answer the more nervous I became about it being something genetic (which it in all likelihood is) and then the question of having another child became more taboo. It was also about that time that people started asking if we were going to have a second baby (ouch!) and I just didn't know how to answer them. Finally, I started telling them, "No." I became afraid to entertain the idea. Then they'd ask, "Why?" After an awkward pause I'd confess, "I'm too afraid this would happen again and that the second time it could be worse." I was being completely honest with them, but the next comments were usually something along the lines of, "Well, you don't really know that "it" (whatever "it" is) would happen again." Really...I never thought of that! How silly of me.

I had a blissfully ignorant pregnancy. The idea that something completely undetectable/un-diagnosisable could happen never crossed my mind. I am confident that it would not be the same if I became pregnant again. I would have 40 weeks to stew over all the "what ifs" and drive everyone near me insane. I digress... We have actually discussed having a second child for various reasons, but some most of them feel selfish:
  • Rae would have someone to play with and she wouldn't be alone (only thinking about her)
  • Maybe "it" wouldn't happen again and we would have the opportunity to have some of those "normal" parenting experiences that we dreamed of for 40 weeks. (all about us)
We have to also consider the downsides:
  • How would we be able to financially handle another child with or without special needs?
  • What if "it" happened again? Are we physically able to care for two children with special needs?
  • What if the second child resents Rae and ends up leaving her alone anyway?
  • What if the second child resents the care and time we need to spend with Rae?
That list can go on and on...

This past Wednesday, we were asked to take something into consideration. Something so devastating that I still haven't wrapped my mind around it and all it implies. The final bit of rug left under our feet was completely removed. The doctor we saw believes that what Rae has is genetic (Duh...now tell me something I don't know) and we both have a recessive gene that combined to create one hell of a perfect storm (my words...his were way more eloquent). He went on to say that while contraceptives (condoms, birth control pills, etc...) were good (to a point) they were not 100% foolproof and we may want to consider a "permanent form of birth control." Basically, either one or both of us should have our plumbing snipped. We were just nicely asked told to not even try to have more children and to voluntarily sterilize ourselves!

Part of me feels like a challenge has been placed before me. Who is he to tell me that I should never have more children? What does he know? There are thousands of parents going through similar situations and have perfectly "normal" second children...maybe we would be one of those? Maybe we should just do it and I'll walk into his office with a bulging pregnant belly, look at him with defiance, and dare him to say a word!

Then the "what ifs" start again. What if he's right? What if I'm wrong? What if I had to sheepishly walk into his office with another child that needed his expertise? What if...

Some may ask where's my faith that God will provide or that He will take care of the situation before there is a situation to take care of. I get that, but my faith falters. He may be unwavering, but I am not. But, it isn't just my faith in God that falters. It is also my faith in myself. I fear that if something like "it" happened a second time that I may not be able to recover. Others have more faith in me than I do and I'm sure they'd tell me I'd do what I always do, pick myself up and take care of business. Maybe they're right and maybe their wrong, but do I risk it?


  1. In the end, you have to follow your heart. But, he says he 'believes'. What exactly does that mean? He is positive? He suspects? It 'could' be? I would somehow want to know for sure, if there is a way to figure that out through some other tests or something, before I took such drastic action. That is if you were really considering a second little one.

    You guys have been through so much with that sweet little angel of yours, I can't begin to imagine. We have been, and will continue to be praying as you walk through this. She is such a doll!

    1. Thank you Debbie. It is a comfort to know that I have some warriors praying for us. I'm sure he was trying to be delicate and he wasn't trying to come across as insensitive (surely), but I guess coming from his perspective in his line of work I can see how he may feel the suggestion isn't a terrible one. I'm not entirely surprised he mentioned it honestly, but still a little shell shocked none the less.

  2. That's really tough. In the end--I think it would all be better left in God's hands. If He chose to give you another child, then there would be a reason for that. He chooses everyone's parents. He gave me to mine for many reasons, one being He knew I would come out of their divorce stronger in Him rather than weaker in me. God knew that Rae would need a mom like you and that you'd need Rae, too. Pray it out--leave it to Him. He knows your situation and He knows what you need. Easy for me to say, I know. It's not a decision that would be life-altering for me. I'll be praying for ya.


  3. Ultimately, what you believe and your faith in God will take care of your needs, no matter how insurmountable they may seem. No matter your choice, there will be that part of you that will always wonder "what if". What if you did have another child and the geneticist in all his education is proven wrong at the hand of God. What if you did and the child has the same or similar conditions as Rae. You both have been down that road and already are dealing with it as best you can. All your learning and preparation will be almost routine. As I am sure, you have a family that will support you in either case and will love you just the same, one or two children will not make them love you less. Just imagine...

    1. I am very fortunate to have a very supportive family and supportive friends...and very thankful for them. I don't believe a second is in the cards for us, but if we were to discuss it again it wouldn't be until after we receive the results from her recent testing.

  4. Hi, I'm so glad I found this post (via Love that Max's link up). I struggle with similar thoughts all the time. My son has developmental delays. I'm an older mom as I had him when I was barely hanging on to 40. Some days, I wish that he had a sibling so very very much. I don't like to think about him being alone in the world once my husband and I are gone, which may happen sooner as - like I said - we're older than many parents.
    But I'm too scared to get really into "trying" as what if the next one is worse? Then, rather than giving my son a playmate and somebody to look out for him forever, I could be giving him the burden of caring for somebody much worse off than he is once we're gone.
    Honestly, I've taken the lazy approach to it - we don't "try" but we don't use birth control, either.
    And just this past week, when I thought I might be pregnant (I wasn't), I panicked. So I think maybe I got my answer - that I'm personally not going to risk it.

    But if you want another baby. YOU SHOULD HAVE ONE. The baby might not be fine. The baby might be perfectly fine. In the end, it doesn't really matter because they're all full of love.

    Really glad I found your blog!