When Joel and I agreed that we wanted to start growing our family with human children, in addition to our furballs and plant-babies, we knew that our journey into parenthood would likely not be the easiest. However, we extremely misjudged how difficult it would be! We just thought that it would be hard to get pregnant. After all, at first, that seemed like the biggest part of the battle. But, we found that there is a lot beyond conception that can make a pregnancy challenging.
We miscarried our first pregnancy early, just after the five week mark. It was beyond devastating and it took us a good while to get past the fear of trying again. We talked to the OB, Maternal Fetal Medicine, and even a fertility specialist. We did everything we could to gather information so that we could do what we needed to to make future pregnancies safer. We were determined that the best course of action for us was to try again. We refused to let fear stop us from trying again.
I won’t lie and say that trying again was free from emotion. I laid still on my back afterwords much longer than I needed to, even after my husband left for work (might as well hedge our bets even if the gravity thing is a myth). And, in full honesty, I cried to myself for much longer than that as I hoped we would be able to get pregnant again while simultaneously being terrified that something else bad would happen. I prayed that this time we would get our rainbow babies, and that this time it would end with sweet babies in our arms to raise and cherish every moment of their growth into adulthood.
I scolded myself when fears crept in and I told myself to envision happy thoughts. What it would be like to carry them full term. What they would look like as toddlers. How Joel and I would shake our heads at their teenage hormones. How we would have Sunday gatherings when they were old enough to return with their own families… And then, I realized that we are in for the long-haul now!
You see, I have neurocardiogenic syncope, a form of dysautonomia, which causes my heart rate and blood pressure to bottom out when I stand. I also have hydrocephalus, meaning I have a VP shunt that drains fluid from my head to my abdomen. And, I likewise have gastroparesis, a condition that more or less means I cannot digest my food properly. These combined conditions, plus the fact that many treatments are not safe for pregnancy, mean the baby (or babies) is much likely safer with me on my back. Only, bed rest for 40 weeks isn’t particularly safe either. All in all, pregnancy is not going to be easy and there are many things that we will have to pray about along the way!
No pregnancy is easy: that is true. But a high risk pregnancy can be scary regardless of how many other woman have made it through one successfully! Youtube videos have given me plenty of lists on how to quell boredom on bed rest. Forumns and blogs have comforted me with stories full of happy endings. But, nearly everyday, I still wonder if my particular body can do this. I wonder if I can actually give my husband the kind of life we dream of living together. The children that we both envision.
But, I’m choosing to hope. I’m choosing to spread inspiration and faith. So, while my husband and I (and our mighty village) experience this journey, I want to welcome you to share in our struggles, our triumphs, and our story. From here on out, health permitting, I plan to write a blog series about what this pregnancy journey holds. Maybe it will give you the courage to try yourself. Maybe it will help you stay positive while on your own journey. Or maybe it will just be an interesting story to read. But, no matter what this little series offers you in particular, I hope that this is one of love!
Stay tuned to see what happens next!