Monday, April 25, 2011

The End is the Beginning

It's hard to know what to say publicly and what to keep private.  I don't want to worry people, but at the same time, I owe it to myself to be able to speak openly about what I'm going through without having to carry the burden of a painful secret too.

It hasn't been any secret at all that Adam & I have wanted to welcome as many as God gives us.  We always thought that would happen in the natural course of things... while my pregnancies have been notoriously difficult with HG and SPD, we were willing to go through the pain to bring another darling baby into the world.  I'd do it again, and again, and again... it was always, always worth it.

I'm speaking in past-tense already... it was always worth it.

I've been struggling a lot with many things, but my health has been the one I don't share too much about.  I have a serious condition, but not life-threatening or anything.  It's just that for me to function normally and be as healthy as I can be, I have to do some drastic things.  First, I have to do things that are probably best for everyone: be careful to eat very healthy, avoid alcohol and caffeine, and get regular exercise.  Secondly, like a child, I will have to be careful about going to bed at the same time every night to get enough sleep and to avoid stress in my life as much as possible.  But most of all... I may have to start a medication that I will be on for the rest of my life.  This medication causes fetal heart defects (among other things) in most babies whose mothers have to take it in pregnancy... and, I'm just obviously not willing to do that. 

But not having another baby?  Never feeling another little foot kicking for the first time INSIDE of me?  Not hearing "it's a boy!" or "it's a girl!" from Dr. S again?  Not telling the nurses to go away because THIS mama isn't sending her baby in the nursery, and I don't care how late it is?  Never, ever watching my belly grow and waiting for the signs that labor is impending?  Not ever getting to study a new little face and talk about who he or she looks like?

It is probably the most painful thing I've ever had to consider.

I know that confuses a lot of people.  After all, how could I possibly want it all over again when I already have four beautiful, healthy, darling children?  I've been so blessed.  I've never had a miscarriage or an emergency c-section.  I've never had a baby in the NICU, or even anyone overnight in a hospital bed.

But maybe, if you know my heart, you can understand why I am absolutely wracked with grief.  I start to cry at the most random moments. 

Adam wasn't sure I should start telling people that I'm worried we won't be able to have baby five in the way we expected, since I'm definitely not ready to talk about the specifics. and won't be diagnosed for awhile yet.  I feel like I've been carrying this burden of secret sadness, though, for the last few months... and I just want you to know, so that I don't have to explain why we're not already waving around a positive pregnancy test as we've always had the joy of doing before by the time all three of our oldest children have reached age 2.  Lucy turns 2 in less than a month.  Everyone asks us, meaning no harm at all, when baby five is coming.  I don't know what to say.

This is all still very new to me.  And I'm hoping we can find another way to treat my illness so that I can have another baby.  I feel selfish for wanting another baby, but I do. We've always talked about adopting an older child and/or sibling group in the future, and I'm sure we will when all of my little ones are in school, so that I can devote my time to the inevitably difficult transition and bonding period, when a child who has been hurt will need to learn to trust me and my love.  But for now, I do want to have another tiny little baby to be all mine. I didn't ever think Lucy would be my "last" baby, and it hurts so much to think she very well may be.

I know I do have to trust God and be patient, but it is really hard right now.


Sydney said...

I love this. This has to be the most wonderful, yet saddest, tear-jerking thing I've read. :( I am so sorry for your struggles. I hope you can get well and that if there is another baby in your future, you will get him/her. I feel, as a photographer, that the fact that for those teeny tiny babies to tug at your heart and make your ovaries ache, shows you are such a great, loving person, one that is a fabulous mommy. <3

Gae said...

Dear Lerin,
Do not think that just because you have 4 healthy children taht it is greedy to have more.
I too have always a desire for more children and we are nearly ready for number 12 to enter the worrld in about 3 weeks.
It is an honourable and understandable desire and God I believe places that desire upon you.
I pray for you I would be heartbroken too....even now if it happened to me.
I pray you are able to achieve the medical help you need too
Much love for you as you face this new phase of your life
God Bless

Happily Ever After said...

I probably shouldn't even say this (and feel free to filter me out if you feel it's best), but the fact that Miss Lucia Catherine may be your last after everything you went through in having her makes me so sad and upset and angry. I think you already know what I mean. But that, I suppose, is better left unsaid. And perhaps all is well and I'm just speaking about things that don't matter anymore.

I hope and pray that the doctors offering this medicine can find some sort of alternative that won't cause fetal heart defects. With all the bazillions and gazillions of medications out there today, I can only feebly hope they can find ONE, JUST ONE that gives you the health help you need without ending what is undoubtedly your life's dream. :(

But you are not.... ARE. NOT. ...selfish. You are not selfish for realizing that your health comes first. You are not selfish for still wanting to introduce one more W Baby to the world (however that will be). You just simply are not a selfish person in any sense of the word.

I love you, and am always, always here to listen and hear you out. xoxoxoxo

Katherine said...

I'm so sorry you are struggling with this so much. I always try to remember that, since you never know what could happen, every pregnancy could be my last, but I always hope it isn't. No, I don't think you are selfish. It is a perfectly natural desire.

A fried of mine, who tried for 12 years and never could get pregnant, had adopted two boys from Guatemala, and was praying the Divine Mercy novena about whether to try to adopt another child or whether God was done with their family. On Divine Mercy Sunday, she got an email from a friend about a mom looking for a Catholic out-of-state couple to adopt her unborn baby. Less than 4 months later, that mother handed over her baby girl, less than a day old, to my friend. There were tears all around but that little girl now has a loving family. Miracles do happen. Hang in there and trust God to lead.
Praying for you.

Jenn said...

Kent and I are officially done having babies (though, we don't do anything to prevent it other than timing), but I KNOW that if I found out that I couldn't ever have another, I would be devastated. While I do not think we will ever plan another pregnancy, the idea of a 'surprise' baby makes me smile. I obviously do not know exactly what you are feeling, but I can understand it. You are a great mom, you know that it is what you were meant to do, and it is completely unfair that you are dealing with this. I'm thinking of you. xoxo

Cindy said...

I'm so sorry you have to go through this. I understand where you're coming from when the doctor gives you that news you are not prepared to hear. After a miscarriage of twins, and 3 1/2 years of trying to conceive, the doctor crushed my spirit telling me I would never be able to have children. After 2 months of crying at the sight of a baby or pregnant lady, and coming to terms with the inability to have kids, I was blessed with a miracle pregnancy. With my health issues, I wasn't supposed to have been able to have her, but God gave me the most precious gift at the time He thought I was ready. I'm sending prayers and good mojo your way.

Good Timing said...

I am sorry to hear this news Lerin and must be hard for you to come to terms with and share. But I agree, you are not being selfish, you have to do what is best for you and your health. Sometimes it must be hard for a momma of four to do that. I am sure you will receive your baby #5, in one way or least that is what I keep telling myself. Big hugs. xoxox

mommymonkey said...

Our children are ages 5, 2, and 1. Sine our third was born last April, we found out that we are in a semi-similar situation...we may not be having the "at least 4" children that we thought we would.

Just remember that when God places a desire in your heart, He will make sure that He fulfills it. It may not be in our time, but His timing is perfect.

I have tried hard to take in each and every moment with this probable "last" baby of ours and our other two. It reminds me how thankful I am for the three of them. I have found that reading & praying this quote gives my heart much peace...

"Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you."


christschild said...

I'm sorry you have to go through sounds like you are a strong woman of faith and you will get through this, with God's guidance and help. Prayers for you.