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A blog about our busy family with two amazing kids, one of whom happens to have Down syndrome!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Deciding to be done

I have agonized over the decision to have another child for the past three years. Greg has always wanted two children. I had always wanted three.

I hated the thought of Lauren having Down syndrome having any part in our decision. Because I would choose her over and over again. And I would welcome another child with Down syndrome happily.

But I also know how to protect myself and my heart. We are at a greater risk for a baby with any chromosomal disorder, not just Down syndrome. Sometimes I feel like I barely came out alive after Lauren's hospitalization, illness and surgery. I'm a totally different person than I was before we had her. I'm still not totally sure if I like myself better then or now, but the result remains the same. I am different. Anyone with a child who has been critically ill will likely tell you the same.

I'm not one to live my life based on "what if", truly I'm not. But I do feel that I've come to a point where I need to protect myself.

When we found out Lauren had Down syndrome we were offered termination. I immediately and angrily refused and demanded it not be brought up again. I could never choose that.

Right?
I hate the question mark that follows that word. I hate that its become a question for me.

And here is where the "what if" comes in. What if my next pregnancy resulted in a chromosomal diagnosis considered "not compatible with life"? Of course I want to think I would never terminate. But I have lived through the pain of not knowing if my baby would make it. Not knowing if I would bury her in the outfit I chose for her to wear home from the hospital. Not knowing if I would ever again hold her with a beating heart after handing her to the surgical team. I have lived through the self-loathing that comes with the failure to bond with a baby I wasn't sure I'd get to keep. And I know I can't ever put myself through it again.

I felt guilty for wanting another child- like people would think Lauren wasn't enough. And I felt guilty for not wanting another child- like people would think I was too afraid to have another child like her.

There are no guarantees in life. I know this to be true. I thank God every single day for the amazing, beautiful, healthy and PERFECT children he has blessed me with. They are my world.I am content.

I am protecting my heart with a fierce sense of self-preservation that I no longer feel like I need to apologize for. This new woman I have become since Lauren changed my life is more confident, independent, and I can now trust that the Lord has awesome things in store for our family as we are.

I am healing.

4 comments:

  1. I can honestly say - I KNOW how you feel. I was afraid to have another baby after Mackenzie. I was afraid of the same things you are. We were on the "2 year plan" up until she was born. We had 3 typical children before her, I lost my first baby and the one right before her. She was my 6th pregnancy…and it was enough to just have survived until this point. She is now 8 - as of yesterday. :) Baby Eli came along when she turned 6. I was truly afraid. I wanted so much to be excited about having another baby, but I was scared to my very core. I wish I had something profound to say, some piece of advice to encourage you, but the truth is - nothing is guaranteed. You have experienced that personally. But I can tell you - the love you have for Lauren and your son - knows no bounds. And if you were to have one more - no matter the outcome - you would love that child with all your heart. You have proven that already. If God chooses to bless you again - then you will truly be blessed beyond measure.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I know this is not a decision that can be taken lightly and I appreciate you taking us on your journey to reach this place. This is something that we have and I'm sure will continue to struggle with as well.

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  3. I just read this post again. :) This first time I read it we knew I was pregnant again but we hadn't shared with any one. I want to share that I am scared to. We didn't have the serious complication you guys did with Lauren when Mya was born, but she has changed me too. I am terrified I wont survive this pregnancy let alone actually having another baby, and the possibility that this baby could have T13 or T18 or T21 with serious complication right out of the womb, I just can't even go there. I have begged my husband that this baby will be the completion of our family. We always wanted 4, so lets let this be it PLEASE! I know we will adjust and be grateful for every member God has put in our family, but that doesn't change the fact that it is so sooooo hard watching my children fight literally fight each other to get to mommy. There just isn't enough mommy to go around especially when mom is sick as sick can be because she is pregnant. These choices are hard, but we can make them with prayer and the support of each other. :)

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