Thursday, March 21, 2013

The .1%

So often over the last year I've talked about being 99.9% sure that I didn't want another baby. Today I'd like to talk about that .1%.

Several things have happened lately that have made this subject be on my mind, either hormonally or situationally. The first thing is B turning one, with all the joy/ sadness that entails. We made it through the first year. Centuries ago he would have defied all the odds to have made it this far. With the strange, bittersweet longing of B no longer being a little baby and moving on into toddlerhood brings the rush of having made it through - and thinking "hey, that wasn't so hard!" And then thinking maybe I could do this again.

The other thing that happened is realizing I need to make some decisions about the four vials of sperm I have reserved, as the yearly storage renewal is coming up. I could just let them go - he is still listed on the clinic's website and not as "limited" which means there's plenty more of him to go 'round - but to buy even one vial back would cost almost twice as much as storing four for another year.

Then everyone - and I mean everyone -around me is about to have, or just had, babies. It's hard not to think about it when it's all around you.

Moving on towards weaning, the return of the period, etc, all have meant dramatic hormonal shifts. Which as we all know affects our ability to reason.

My Facebook SMC group often has posts talking about embryos stored for the future. I was so envious of these women who could take their time, space their children as they please, never having to worry about egg quality or diminishing ovarian reserve. For a minute I thought maybe I'd do that - pull out some 40-year-old eggs and make some embryos with my frozen sperm and keep some potential siblings on ice until I can make an informed decision.

There are several holes in this plan, however. One being I could never afford it. The other being counting on just one egg retrieval to make me some good quality embryos - what if I did all that and ended up with nothing? Then there's the issue of enduring a pregnancy and labor in my mid-forties. My 39-year-old pregnancy was fraught with life- threatening conditions enough. Do I really want to risk it at 44 or 45?

So after milling this over for some weeks, it dawned on me that I don't have the luxury of waiting until I feel better about the idea or B is older. I can't wait until he's in school. I can't wait until the trauma of that birth is forgotten. I pretty much have to do it now or forever close that door. And try as I might, I simply cannot close that door. The .1% won't let me let this last opportunity to provide a sibling for B pass me by just because I was afraid.

So I went to speak to Mom Guru's midwife who delivered her third baby at home. I brought all of my lab results from Kaiser in the hopes that she would tell me I really wasn't that sick and being induced was totally unnecessary. But that wasn't the answer I got. Not at all. She said yes, I had pre-eclampsia and she would have told me to induce, too. That being a-symptomatic meant nothing; that not having any major blood pressure issues until the end meant nothing. That we both could have died. Not likely, but you never can tell with pre-e; it's an unpredictable killer. This put the fear of god in me. I definitely felt like one who is looking over the edge of a cliff they almost stepped off.

But moving forward she said there are many things you can do to lower or even eliminate your risk. For one, it's more common in the first pregnancy. So just having it once - especially a mild case as I had - is no guarantee I could have it again. And you can take preventative measures - tons of acupuncture, herbs and supplements that support liver and kidney function, not to mention loading up on protein, the absence of which causes your kidneys to basically consume themselves (I cannot describe to you the horror I feel realizing my beloved vegetarian diet may have caused all of this). She said with great confidence that it can easily be managed or even eliminated entirely by diet and supplements. Dandelion, red raspberry leaf tea. All of that stuff I poo-poo'd before thinking it was a lot of hooey.

And even if the worst happened and they started talking induction again, she could help me induce naturally to at least get the process started so it wouldn't be so drawn out and miserable as last time. And again it would be the second birth - faster, easier. She did mention going from zero (no dilation, effacement, etc) to a vaginal birth as I did with an induction is rare. So I pretty much lucked out. Hard to believe anything about that shit show was lucky, but there it is.

All of this is of course putting the cart before the horse. I have no idea where my fertility is at at nearly 41 - or when I'll even ovulate again, if at all. I may never get pregnant again; I may never be able to carry a baby again; I may not be able to have a healthy baby. I may encounter new and bizarre complications that I didn't have before - incompetent cervix, pre-term labor, bed rest, low fluids, birth defects. Remember all of that? It's been a long time since I've thought about any of those things, and I certainly didn't think I'd ever have to think of them again.

The downside to all of this is that I will be stuck delivering at Kaiser again (unless somehow by luck or hard work I have an amazing healthy pregnancy), and fielding their out of control bills PLUS the new mid wife's several thousand dollar bill. It's going to be hella expensive. Is it worth it, though, for the extra support, the pre- and post- natal care, the hand holding all along the way helping me make informed decisions? Heck yes.

But I promised, promised, PROMISED myself I would never make myself endure an induction ever again. How can I even put myself in a position where that's a possibility? Because somewhere in me I believe it can be different - that I can do it right this time, even if the circumstances are the same. That I'll be more prepared. That I'll hire people to help. That I'll be super proactive and not just float along and hope everything works out. That when you know better you do better. That maybe, just maybe, I can heal the trauma of what happened to me.

The .1% is a tiny but loud minority. I never thought I'd find myself here, but here I am - much like I never thought I'd live in LA and never thought I'd have a baby via sperm donor at all, much less try for two. But as I half-suspected, being faced with the REAL end of it all - releasing the sperm to some other family forever, shutting the door forever on B having a sibling, letting what's left of my fertility go by the wayside...again, I just don't want to look back one day and know I had this window of opportunity but I let it go because I was too scared. That's just not a good enough reason.


  1. So much to think about & consider. Not a day goes by that I don't think about T42.

    The expense of a midwife is so worth it IMO. I would not have made it thru with out mine. (Luckily midwives are covered in our provincial healthcare so I didn't have to decide about cost)

    Could it be, with #2, that you worry & stress more about this your entire pregnancy rather than just at the end like with B? On top of everything else you worry about during pregnancy? & you didn't mention about the early part of the pregnancy...aren't you worried about wicked morning sickness again & the to-the-bone exhaustion? All this & looking after a toddler?

    I'm not trying to talk you out of it (even tho it may sound that way)'re right, that .1% is very loud & can easily drown out the 99.9%thoughts.

    1. Oh yes, I don't doubt it'll be hella hard, and I am worried about that crushing nausea. But I bet I could find some holistic remedies for that, too. I just feel like there's a healthier, more informed way to go about this, now that I know what I know. Still doesn't mean I'll be successful though, unfortunately.

  2. Personally, I would say stick with your gut instinct. You showed so much strength and courage during your last pregnancy, would you be able to do all that plus take care of B? While I am a big advocate for T42, is it really worth risking your health and B's time with his mother?

    I would also take the time to really look into why that .1% is yelling so loudly right now. Do you miss being pregnant? Do you just want to give B a sibling to bond with? Do you want the increased responsibility that comes with a second child? Maybe by doing a little soul searching, the answer will come to you and give you some peace of mind.

  3. I'm always 99.9999999% sure.

    But there's a baby boom in our family. And our friend group. And oh the squishy little babies make my uterus ache. Of course, I physically cannot carry another child, so all of this is for naught in my head -- but I go there every now and then.

  4. Hmm, the language you use in most of this post sounds an awful lot like you just realized you DO want a second.

    Just sayin'.

  5. I read this as T42 being a foregone conclusion. Congrats?! I agree you don't want to have regrets. It might not work, but at least you can try and see what happens.

  6. I was determined to have an easy 2nd pregnancy and it sucked (though thankfully it was low-risk). Being single, miserably pregnant, and caring for a young child, while working, is not fun. I was super prepared for both births (intensive natural childbirth class, doula, etc), and both were miserable. My second birth was not faster and easier - instead I had 2 horrible, sleepless weeks of strong prodromal contractions and a miserable labor that ended in emergency c-section (after a vaginal birth with my first). And, yes, my child was born with a congenital birth defect - a minor one, I think, but still an emotional and financial strain, and it came out of the blue.

    I just write all that to say that there really is no way to truly foresee what a 2nd pregnancy and child will bring. It is a total leap of faith. Of course, I am utterly in love with and cherish both my kids. But having one child only would have been fine too - I truly believe there are pluses and minuses to both scenarios (which is partly why the decision can be so hard, I think). Good luck with it!

  7. I agree, it sounds like you are thinking of T42...I agree that you'll never know until you try. Obviously, we never have a 100% guarantee of how any endeavor we undertake is going to turn out; that's life. Take some deep breaths and do a little soul searching. Whatever you decide, I know you'll do what's right for you and little B.

  8. I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum - my 0.1% is for not having another child. It sounds to me like your 0.1% is more like 30% these days, though.

    This is one of those situations where you can't sit down and write a list of pros and cons and rationally make a decision. As Abby wrote on someone else's blog once, there's nothing rational about wanting to have another child.

  9. Maybe give it just a *little bit* of time, and see if that .1% grows larger? If not, then maybe you're really one and done. But if it starts to grow? If you just *can not* get the thought of a second child out of your head? Well... then maybe you should give it a try! I figure, as horrible as pregnancy and childbirth are, they're just a drop in the bucket of the whole experience of having a child. So even if you *were* to have another bad experience, although it's probably fairly unlikely, it wouldn't really last all that long, and then you'd be a mom of two, and B would have a sibling. And isn't *that* really what it's all about? (although, as much as I've been thinking about having a second - eventually, not right now! - this past couple of weeks of major sleep deprivation have me re-thinking that!)