Thursday, October 28, 2010

To have a baby -- or not to have a baby?

I've been up since 4:30 am, for no particular reason.  (Not my favorite way to spend a morning!)

Luckily, I had my handy new Droid conveniently placed on my bedside, perfect for way-too-early internet-surfing pleasure.  After checking my FB, disappointed at how few people post between midnight and 4:30, I turned to a website I hadn't visited in awhile:  the preeclampsia foundation.

For those of you who don't know, when I was 37 weeks preggo with Maddy, I developed preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome.  Both are life-threatening diseases and the only cure is delivery of the baby.  To put it nicely, my health was rapidly declining, so they delivered early.  Even though we both recovered and were healthy, I was left very depressed about my birthing experience.

About a year after she was born, I found the preeclampsia foundation's website.  I never expected my healing to come from surfing the internet late one night.  But as I read other women's stories (some whose babies survived, some whose didn't, and some where even the mom died)  and submitted my own story -- I finally felt at peace.

Every once in a while I go back and read the recent stories, perhaps to remind myself what could have been and be grateful for God's hand on me and Maddy.  Today was such an occasion.  But instead of feeling gratitude, I became overwhelmed with fear.

After all, Maddy is almost 2.  And I get a hankering to smell newborn baby head every once in a while (you moms and dads know what I'm talking about.)  And sometimes I think Maddy would be happier with a sibling.

So maybe I do want another baby.  But then again, after today's stories, maybe not.

The first 3 stories I read were these:  Delivered at 24 weeks, baby died.  Delivered around 24 weeks, baby survived (after months in the NICU), mom had severe complications.  Delivered early, baby fine, mom in coma for 4 weeks and barely made it out alive.

Hmm .... newborn baby head doesn't sound quite so appealing anymore.  How could I put myself, and my baby at risk?  What if I die and leave Ryan and Maddy?  What if we lose our baby -- could I live with the loss?

So, for those who like numbers, here they are:

I have a 40-50% chance of developing preeclampsia or some other serious complications with another pregnancy.  I have a 25% chance of  developing HELLP syndrome.  These complications could come at any time during the pregnancy, although USUALLY in the last trimester.

Considering I had a 0.5% chance of developing HELLP with Maddy (and I did) .... 25% sounds astronomical.

For those who don't so much care for numbers -- suffice it to say that I'm terrified of getting pregnant again.  But saddened beyond belief at the prospect of not being able to have another Rachel-Ryan mix to call my own.

No big decision needs to be made today -- but I know we need to decide before we have another "OOPS -- we're pregnant!" on our hands.  Ryan and I already want to adopt .... I had just hoped I could have at least one more of our own babies to add to the family.

(To read my story, go to:
http://www.preeclampsia.org/SeeStory.aspx?id=8217629.  And note that there is a typo:  My liver was about to rupture, not erupt.  Every time I read that I cringe.  If only I could edit that post!!)
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