Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Whether to Wait or Try

Rachel asked if we were going to try again soon, leave it in God's hands, prevent Sams #3 for the time being.

It's subject that weighs heavily on my mind, and Matt's too - in a different way. While I want more children,k I can't handle it right now. I am not one of those moms (there are some) who are willing to try again right away. I wish Oceana had a sibling to grow up with - close to her age. But, I'm not going to push myself to go in that direction before I'm ready. I have a feeling I'll be ready before Matt will be. Matt always takes longer to get used to an idea - he always has. And I don't think this will be any exception.

With that said, we are preventing presently. Joshua's condition is/was scary. It's not as though I got a fever and that caused his conditon, or I ate something wrong or was exposed to something caustic. Joshua's condition was a fluke. And it makes it scary to try again because there's no "preventing". Yes, folic acid (folate) makes a difference... sometimes. It can't "PREVENT" neural tube defects - it only lowers the risks. And unfortunately for me, the risks of having another child with an encephalocele multiplied by ten the moment we had Joshua. Your risks of having a child like Joshua are .1%. Now mine is 1%. That may seem small to you, but imagine walking through it twice.

And having learned so much about birth defects and conditions like Trisomy 13, 18, 21 (Down Syndrome), omphaloceles, encephaloceles, spina bifida, anencephaly, hydrocephaly, cleft palate/lip, amniotic band syndrome....
I'm terrified. Not that I wouldn't walk through it again - but I don't want to.
It's not an unhealthy fear. It's a realistic fear. And until Matt and I are of sound mind and feeling stable in and of ourselves - I'm not going down that road.

We can't leave it up to chance, because I need to take folic acid on a double dose for 3 months prior to conceiving. Since we didn't plan (and were doing a bad job of "preventing" when we conceived) Joshua or Oceana, we're making a concerted effort to wait.

That said, please don't leave me your opinions on my reproductive choices. Questions are fine, but not judgments.

Thank you Rachel for asking.


  1. It is a very scary thing to ttc again after a loss. We waited 6 or 7 months before we were ready to try again and even then when the pregnancy test came back positive I was scared to death. I have had to just try to remember that God is in control but that is so hard to do in reality. Our son had a neural tube defect as well and now I take 4-5mg of folic acid a day even if we aren't ttc just in case. I know it can't prevent it only lower the risk but it at least makes me feel a little better that I am trying to do something.

  2. I think it's awesome that you know your limits, know your family's needs, and are allowing yourself time to heal. Every family is different.

    I don't know any bloggers who use NFP (I think you mentioned that a few posts ago), but I have a close friend who uses it, so if you are interested - whether or not it's for you, please feel free to email me and I will pass it along to her. She's a GREAT resource.

    Peace and love and joy to you in His name...

    (and also? LOVING the hair.)

  3. I have been reading your blog for about 4 months and I have never posted. I have 2 children, age 3yrs and 13 months. I feel the need to share that when my daughter was born I developed HELLP syndrome, a severe form of preeclampsia. My daughter had to be delivered by C-section at 34 weeks because my liver was becoming damaged and my platelets were dropping. I was put on magnesium sulfate to prevent seizures which made me sick and halucinate. My daughter was born blue and floppy and required respiratory support. She went to the NICU and I went to the ICU. Fortunately, I recovered well and my daughter only required 10 days in the NICU and has had completely normal developement. However, HELLP can be fatal to moms and or babies if not recognized and I consider myself so blessed to have had the symptoms that sent us running to the hospital. I don't like to think about what would have happened if we did not go when we did. I too wanted a second child, but was terrified to relive that experience. I also knew that my daughter needed me. I was told there was a 30 percent chance of recurrence at any severity (milder the same or even worse). I went on a mission for information, then I found a doctor that was fit for the task of taking care of me if I needed it (and was supportive). And then we just gave it up to God. It was not easy. I worried a lot more when I was pregnant the second time, but I did not have any pre-eclampsia or hellp that time. You will probably never have a pregnancy as carefree as your one with Oceanna, but I bet you will be ready again. At least, if you flip that statistic that there is a 99% chance you wont have the same problem again. But, please know that I support you 100% in "actively preventing" until you are ready. You need this time to heal and recover and I think God understands that. Peace- Laura B

  4. What a great post, Susie!

  5. I think the only ones that can decide such a tough question are you & Matt. (with prayer of course, but with you too I think that goes without saying)YOU guys do what YOU need to do for YOU to heal. Great insight for me to hear though. You'll know if & when the time is right. toodles, Sheila

  6. No one but you & Matt can make those decisions. I have posted before that I had a miscarriage & I am still unsure of when I want to 'go for it' again. It is such a personal & scary thing to decide expose yourself to those scary 'unknowns', to face all the worry & know you can't be completely blissfully happy because of what you have been through.
    You both will know when the time is right for y'all.
    As far as NFP, there is a great book called "TAKING CHARGE OF YOUR FERTILITY". If I ever have a daughter I will have her read this book. It is an easy read & explains so much about our bodies. I used this book to help us know when NOT to.... then when the time came when TO...
    Maybe your library has a copy? It is an easy read, I know you probably have little time but it is a good reference as well.
    I love that pic of you & Joshua. You both look so content.
    As always my prayers are with you & your family.
    Beth in Texas

  7. Susie~
    I think it is very brave of you to share your plans to TTC or TTA(avoid)with bloggerland. You certainly don't have to share any of those thoughts with us. I appreciate that you are willing to, because asking THAT question has come into my mind about you and Matt more than once. But I always stopped myself from asking because I was concerned that by asking that question it would be the same as the "well-meaning people" who tell you that you are young and could have another baby. It is very clear to me that you love Joshua with all your heart. Unconditionally. No matter what special needs he had you rose to the occassion to help him have a quality of life. You wanted Joshua to live. So the thought of asking when or if you decide to TTC again is such a loaded question.
    I am so glad to read that you are taking some time to heal and to replenish your souls before making a decision. I have had 2 pregnancy losses myself and although they happened way earlier in my pregnancies and before birth unlike your situation with Joshua, I still can on some level understand the fear in TTC after a Loss, even if it is miniscule to that of the level in which you fear. We waited until we both felt strong enough emotionally to walk that path again. And you and Matt and God are the only ones who will know when the timing is right!

    Spokane Valley, WA, USA

  8. Good for you guys for doing what is best for YOU and YOUR family! I am sure you will know when the time is right :) Praying for you as you approach "that" day.

    Joshua is so sweet in that picture!

  9. Only you will know when you are ready. And remember, it's perfectly OK to not want to TTC again. Maybe you will, maybe you won't but please don't rush yourselves into making a decision before you are ready.

    Everyone is different. Some people have lost a baby, some haven't but, no one but you and Matt have lost your baby so only you will know when and if it is time to try again.

  10. I'm sure the number of us who walk alongside you supporting ANY decision you make is far greater than those who might disagree. It's a touchy subject to be sure, but in the end is really no one's business but yours & Matt's.

    Praying you have a blessed day today and everyday!

  11. I can't imagine anyone judging you for your decisions.

    I pray that the Lord continues to heal you, and if/when the time is right, He blesses you with another healthy baby.

    Having gone through a miscarriage and ending up pregnant before I felt ready was horrifying to me. There were problems with the placenta wanting to lie low and stuff because of it too. When Ben was born, there was a knot in the cord. Lord knows it's ONLY a miracle that he's healthy


  12. I can't imagine anyone judging you for taking time to heal after all you have been through. You and Matt will know if and when the time is right to try again.

  13. I've never lost a baby, I don't feel like I can judge. My best friend lost her twins at 20 weeks a couple of months ago and they are trying right away. I've been reading your blog and you guys aren't. It's just.....different. I've never walked in those shoes. I feel like....whatever works for your family and your grieving heart. I just can't judge it. It's too big, it's too hard. I think that if, knock wood, I ever lost one of my babies.....I don't really think anyone else would understand how I dealt with that.

    You honor Joshua everyday and that is inspiring to see. you chose to move forward with your family from this point on really, I could only support. I've never walked in your shoes. *hug*

  14. I found your blog a few months ago and I've been hooked ever since. I think you are an amazing woman. I am so sorry for the loss of your son.

    Because you are discussing the possibility of a future baby, I'm just wondering if you or your husband have ever been tested for Celiac Disease?

    I suffered 8 miscarriages and did go on to have 2 children and only found out much later (when my youngest was 10) that I have Celiac (as do both of my children)

    Untreated Celiac has a proven link to neural tube defects and miscarriage. This is due to the high incidence of people with iron deficiency anemia and lack of Vit. K. Often we don't know how lacking our iron stores are without testing. (United States) (Canada where I'm located)
    There are a ton of sites in New Zealand, just google Celiac and NZ.

    Take Care,
    Feel free to email me if you would like more info. Urbanblonde at hotmail dot com

  15. I do understand a little, I had a son 14 years ago who has a life long disability, and for the first twelve months after he was born I vowed there would never be another. Just could not put myself through it, too much. But you know, I'd be taking that folic acid, because when the time is right....well for me (and I know it might not be the same for you) it was "no, never" one day and "yep, now" the next. Was pregnant the next month! And went on to have a beautiful daughter with no issues at all.
    My journey with my son's disability has taken me to places I'd never have gone to without him. You are strong, and young and beautiful, the time will come...sometime.

  16. Hey Susie!

    I think you and Matt are making a very wise decision to just wait and see where God leads you. You will know when it is right. I am a person who HAS walked this road twice. My percentage is 25 but it is also 75% that all will be well. It is scary and NO ONE has guarantees. My doctor told us, that basically EVERYONE has a chance of SOMETHING. I am not sure either, but I have a feeling the day will come when I know. I am certain God will lead all of us in the right direction.

    That said, I don't believe anything is a fluke. We know God doesn't make mistakes. So whatever you guys decide is between you as a couple and God. No one has the right to judge where you go from here as no one has been EXACTLY where you are. I know statistics are scary. God is in control, pray about it and follow Him and you can't go wrong. You guys are honoring sweet Joshua each and every day and have kept God at the center of all of this and I have no doubt that you will continue.

    So, now I am just rambling and telling you all kinds of things that you are already keenly aware of. Basically all I wanted to say was that you are making a wise decision. Wait and see, you will know when and if it is right.

    I think of you guys and pray for you so often. Joshua has been such a blessing to so many and so have you the way you have mothered him. You are the perfect mommy for Oceana and Joshua and any other children God may bless you with down the road.

  17. That's very smart of you.

    No one has the right to judge you and your decisions. It's no one's business but yours and Matt's.

  18. I went through a m/c in 02 and the fear of it happening again scared me. I did try 3 months later but i wish i had waited to be honest i was NOT ready physically or emotionally, my daughter was a draining SCARY pg! My hubby and i currently talk about ttc and the fears of a loss or defects SCARE me BUT i am ready to take the journey! I am just terified and u know what NO pg will ever be a walk in the park again, it won't be carefee there will always come a constant fear/worry about WHAT can happen. Its scary and u are the ONLY one who can decide when u are ready! I think u are doing the wise thing, u need to be ready both emotionally and physically!

  19. Susie- Great post. JUst a thought- it might be a good idea to start prenatals or folic acid supps. now. they cant hurt and it would be good to get in the habit when your not preggers or TTC. i could never remember to take them so it is my hubbies job every night before bed to get them and give them to me. it works great! just a thought. :)

  20. Hi Susie,
    I don't think anyone has a right to judge you and your decisions on whether to try for another child or not. You will never "replace" Joshua, he will always be your precious baby boy, and you need to grieve that before you can care for yourself during another pregnancy or another baby.
    That being said, have you and Matt ever considered adoption? I only ask that because we are in the process of adopting twins right now, and there are so, so many children out there that need homes. You guys would be wonderful parents to a child who is less fortunate. Just a question. You can check out our babies that we are adopting on my blog.
    Take care. I pray for you often.