Thursday, September 22, 2011

To Test or Not to Test....

Of course, at my "advanced maternal age" of 39, nearly the first topic of conversation at my first prenatal appt was regarding testing.  Would we test?  Would we meet with a genetic counselor?  Did we know our "risks"?

Our in, did we know EXACTLY what was growing inside of me.  Did we know for certain that this baby would be a perfect addition to our family?  All the right genetic material?  "Normal"? 

WHO.EVER.KNOWS.THIS?  We all know that we cannot guarantee anything with our children.  They may have all the right chromosomes, yet bring us the greatest struggle and heartache.  And those with an extra chromosome, deemed expendable by many, may bring us the greatest joy and learning.  We just never know!

BUT, there was a piece of us that still wanted to get some information.  To prepare ourselves.  We had many long discussions and prayed about it for weeks.  We were leaning toward not having any testing done and then Bob gently passed the final decision to me saying, "I know this is a lot different for you.  You are living with the baby growing inside you and think about it a lot more than I do.".  Again, my sweet and considerate husband. 

For many, this is not even a discussion.  They think we should test.  But why?  We know we wouldn't do anything different if we had more information.  And, ultimately, isn't this all about trusting God.  Trusting that the God of the universe knows exactly what we need and would never give us more than we can handle.

We soon realized that the initial screening tests likely wouldn't give us the definitive answers we would want and we'd need to do an invasive test such as CVS or Amnio to really confirm anything.  These both carry a risk of miscarriage.  Nationally, the risk is 1 in 250, but the experts in the Portland area have a rate of 1 in 850.  BUT, once you ARE the statistic, the numbers really don't mean anything any more!  Then, I spoke with a friend who had recently had a close friend of hers lose a baby after an Amnio.  They later found out the baby was healthy.  It happens.  How could we possibly take that risk just so we'd get some information we'd do nothing with?!

So, we decided against testing.  And we are COMPLETELY at peace.  We are trusting that the little one growing in my ever-expanding belly is the perfect child for us. 

 Will the boys have a little brother or little that's some information we can't wait to get!  
October 24th is the day we'll know!

With great anticipation,

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Adding to the Family

 (Day before Nate was born)

Near the end of my pregnancy with Nate, we felt pretty certain 2 would be a good number of children for us.  But after learning Nate had Down syndrome, we began to question. 

 (Heading home from the hospital the day after Nate was born)

After about 6 months, I started feeling strongly that I wanted to have another.  At this point, we were just getting into the nitty gritty of what having a child with Ds is all about (especially in regards to appointments and medical bills) and Bob was feeling this was enough for us to handle.

I continued to express my desire to have another who could "help Nate" and be a long term partner with Cody in watching over Nate.  I'd so often heard that children with Down syndrome who are sandwiched by siblings are more successful, with a sibling to look up to and one who quickly catches up and pushes him.

Bob did not feel this was a good reason to have another since we wouldn't know what God would give us and he really didn't want me desiring a child to try to be or accomplish anything specific.  So, we continued to bounce back and forth between periods of discussion and periods of independent prayer, promising to come to the other if God revealed anything to us.

About a year ago, after a several month hiatus from talking about the subject, Bob asked me why I wanted another child. 
My answer: "I just love both of our boys so much that I want more of that."
His response: "That's what I've been waiting to hear."

My oh-so-very-wise husband had been waiting for well over a year for me to decide I actually wanted another child for the love of a child rather than to fill in some gap I thought was there.  He was wise in never pointing me in that direction, but waited for me to come to it on my own. 

So we both agreed that we wanted to try for another child and would trust that God would give us what he wants for us.

We will meet who God has designed for our family in the beginning of March.  In the meantime, we grow deeper in love with Cody and Nate.