-------------------------------This post has been a long time coming. I started it a couple of months ago and a lot of what I had started to write has already changed so much. Here goes.
We have been discussing the next baby for months already. It's just always in our thoughts. How can it not be after all we've been through. We for sure want to have at least 2-3 living babies, it just sucks that after 5 years of trying, 2 surgeries, and lots of heartache, we are at one. Ugh. We are enjoying Max, love him to death, couldn't be more grateful for what Jessica did for us, but hate that are family is so incomplete. It doesn't help having lost 2 babies already and knowing the next is going to be far from easy. The question is, how do we go about adding more children to our family? It seems like every option brings with it risks, stress, and/or financial troubles. How do you decide which is the right way to go? Can we afford it? Can we handle the stress of another pregnancy whether it be ours, another carrier, or adoption? And in the end will it have been the right way to go or will it have left us with more heartache and no baby once again.
I decided to split this into 3 sections; Pregnancy after rupture, Another gestational carrier, and Adoption.
Pregnancy After Rupture
As some of you may recall, after Evelynn died I had Dr.s telling me to never get pregnant again and other Dr.s telling me that they think it is possible for me to get pregnant again. The Dr.s that told me that they did think it was possible for me to carry again were my Ob Dr. and the perinatologist that helped with the fetal surgery. They said that as long as I waited at least 2 years, possibly went on bedrest by 28 weeks at the latest, and we delivered by 34 weeks, they believed everything would be fine. At the time of Evelynn's death hearing a couple of those Dr.s say I should never carry another baby was too much to handle, but the ones that thought it was possible at least gave me something to hold onto through all the sadness.
We were lucky enough to have Jessica come into our loves and for the time being we were happy that we had a chance at bringing home a biological baby versus having to wait a 2 full years to attempt a very stressful, very high risk pregnancy. Again, I will say that we love Max to death, but we do want another living baby and would ultimately prefer our own biological baby, but is getting pregnant again really a smart option? On Evelynn's birthday, exactly 2 years after she was born, I decided to call my Ob and hear her thoughts. I didn't exactly hear what I was hoping to hear, but in a way she said exactly what I figured she'd say, that being that she didn't think it was a good idea. She did say though that when I came in for my yearly that she could order an mri to take a look at my uterus and we could discuss it further from there. When I went in for the yearly appt, it was about a month after the phone call on Evelynn's birthday, and she again said it wasn't a great idea at all and that it would be highly unethical for her to help us get pregnant again when the odds were not in our favor. It makes sense, but was still so disheartening.
After talking to my Ob I decided to call the perinatologist from UCSF, afterall he was the one who suggested the 2 year wait and early delivery. He too was completely against the idea, especially once he heard we had Max. I kind of feel like the only reason that they said I could try again was to not completely crush me when my daughter had already died. I mean, I get it, can we emotionally handle losing another baby or what if I died attempting another pregnancy. Max would be without a mom and Derecks whole life would change. At first, I kind of felt okay with the news because it really would be risky, but also hate that the thought of never feeling that bond from carrying my own child again. It'd be like grieving a 3rd loss. Plus, if we don't try again then we are left with adoption, another carrier, or having only Max-which I feel is not an option. So what do we do? Do we try to get a few other opinions from high risk Dr.s or do we throw the idea completely off the table and try to accept it? If we for sure had another carrier lined up and we knew that we would end up with another good quality embryo it would make the decision a whole lot easier.
Do I sound crazy for even considering another pregnancy? I have been in a uterine rupture group for quite sometime and their have been a lot of successful pregnancies after rupture. Of course, those are usually women that had ruptures during vbacs and on low transerve incisions. The fundal ruptures/incisions, like what I have, tend to rerupture, but now I know the signs. What are everyone's thoughts?
Back when we were in Minnesota, 3 months ago already, I had the chance to visit with one of my old friends. This friend of mine has 3 kids already, the youngest I think is 2 1/2??? She asked me about a future pregnancy or if we are going to get another carrier. More specifically if Jessica was going to carry again for us, which tends to be the question most people ask us. I told her I didn't know what we were going to do. We talked about it a little more and then she told me that she would love to be able to help and carry a baby for us. I was beyond ecstatic! When I left her place I told Dereck what she said and for a moment we felt like this could all work out again. Over the next few weeks Dereck and I talked about it more and more and then were starting to have our doubts about her being a good carrier. First is that she has had 3 c-sections already and then what are the chances her insurance would cover the pregnancy. Their is absolutely no way we could afford a c-section out of pocket and three c-sections scares the crap out of me. What if she ruptured while carrying our baby? I would never be able to forgive myself and she is a single mom with a family to support. I decided to ask my Ob her thoughts at my yearly and she thought using someone with a previous c-section was a horrible idea, especially someone with 3. Ugh!
Then, one day when I was out on a walk with one of my good friends, a friend that was pregnant at the same time as me when I was pregnant with Evelynn, told me that she has talked to her husband about possibly carrying for us. Again, I was ecstatic, but told her I really hope she is serious because I don't want to get my hopes up to only be let down again. She would be a perfect candidate since she has had 2 perfect vaginal deliveries. About a month later she told me that her husband just really didn't want her to do it because he was scared of something going wrong. Double Ugh!
Before I had heard that neither of these 2 friends would work out for us as a carrier, I had contacted our RE to let them know that we are looking into another IVF cycle and what I would need to do to prepare for another round. As you may recall, we only ended up with one embryo last time and luckily one is all it took. Since I am still breastfeeding he told me that I would need to quit breastfeeding and then wait for my period to come back. Ha! Me get my period. He said he would put me on meds to get it and then we would do blood tests to check my estradiol levels, I think, to even see if proceeding with another cycle would even be a smart option. Since, I have a difficult time getting pregnant without the help of clomid and didn't respond well to the meds, the RE thinks I may have diminished ovarian reserve and that my chances of this working again may be slim. Why does life hate me :-(. I wanted to scream. Is he fricken serious? Why? Why? Why? So, now we have to decide if this is something we want to proceeed with and hope we can find a carrier if the numbers come back in our favor or if they don't look into adoption or consider ttc on our own. My main concern is that I will drop the breastfeeding to do the blood tests and they will come back bad. If we have to result to adoption then I kind of want to try and keep the breastfeeding somewhat up so that I can possibly breastfeed that baby without having to go through the domperidone process again.
Anybody want to carry a baby for us or know someone who does?
If I am not getting asked about getting another gestational carrier, I am getting asked why we don't just adopt. Apparently people just assume adoption is a piece of cake, worry free, and financially friendly. I find it to be none of those things. I don't know a lot about it, but what I do know is that it is none of those things. I had a friend give her baby up for adoption when she was 19. I know she took care of herself and wanted a good home for her baby. She picked a family, both parents were eye Dr.s and fairly well off. That couple adopted another child a few years later and everything went pretty smoothly for them. My friend still is in touch with them, because it was an open adoption, and got me in touch with her. I spoke with her a couple months back and she told me everything she knew about domestic adoption. Of course that was well over 10 years ago.
As for more recent adoptions I have 2 friends who it didn't end well for and another friend who it did. The first friend and her husband decided to adopt and were lucky enough to get a little boy. The baby was home with them for 2 days when the mother decided to take the baby back. The second friend, who is one of my fellow blms, adopted a baby girl who was home with them for 23 days, and then the mother decided to take her baby back. 23 days! That is messed up and just isn't right! Both of these adoptions were in MN and MN law, I believe, allows the mother to take the baby back up to 30 days. If we decide to adopt it will absolutely not be from a state like MN. This is one of the main reasons why adoption scares the F out of me. I have been through enough heartache, so if the momma took the baby back I would be beyond devastated.
The recent adoption that I know of that did go well was also by a fellow blm. We actually were doing our IVF cycles for our carriers at the same time, but things didn't go as planned for her, so they decided to adopt. She had worries like me. I spoke with her on the phone about a month ago and she told me all about her experience; the cost, the agency, etc. I think if we decide to adopt I would go through A Step Ahead like she did. She said through them you have a better chance of getting a baby sooner than if you went with just a local agency. Of course, the cost goes up with that. She explained to me about all the decisions they had to make as far as what they wanted in a baby. They didn't care about the sex, but were concerned about not having a baby that came from a family with say mental issues. She did say that almost every baby comes from a mom that smoked and it was something they just had to accept or they would never get a baby. One of the big things was deciding if they were okay with getting a baby that came from a mom that had drank or did drugs like meth during the pregnancy. That is a tough one and scares the crap out of me that people would even do stuff like that knowing they are pregnant, but I know it happens. My friend said they were more concerned with having a baby with fetal alcohol syndrome than one that came from a mother who did meth or other drugs. When I brought this up to Dereck he was quite the oppoite. He kind of felt that meth is a newer drug and that we don't know all the long term damage that could come from a baby that was exposed to that inutero, yet. Where as people for years drank while pregnant, and although FAS isn't something we would want our baby to have, their a lof of people who turned out fine. Maybe it just depends on how much the mother drank??? They also only wanted to adopt a baby from a state that had a really short take back time, since they were scared of the mom taking the baby back like we are. They were able to adopt from Nevada, where the mother only had, I think, 72 hours. My friend also said that in the end the adoption costed them about $50,000. That is same as it costed for our gestational carrier pregnancy with Jessica and Max. So definitely not cheaper. The nice part though, is that from the time they started the process, they got a healthy, beautiful, baby girl in 9 months. She had 3 other friends adopting at the same time as her and all 3 got healthy baby girls in about 9 months time as well. That does give me hope, but.....
We have thought about trying to adopt a native baby or going through the state and foster with hope to adopt, but I don't know if I am up for that. Why couldn't it just be easy and find some teenager that gets knocked up and just gives us her baby???
So as you can see, I have gone through each option over and over again. I do know that I really, really, really want a baby girl and that adoption is our best chance at that happening, but I also just want my own biological baby girl. I love seeing how much Max looks like Dereck, he has my eyes, but that's it. I think Evelynn would've looked like me, and I miss that I'll never get to see her grow up, same with Liam.
Why does this have to be so hard and so stressful? I wish I felt like we had time, but I don't. If we decide to adopt we have to first do the entire home study and then who knows how long we'd wait to get picked and hopefully get to keep the baby. If we do a carrier I clearly don't have time. I am 33, advanced maternal age is 35, and I have enough to worry about with my possibly diminishing eggs. And of course what age would be a good age to be pregnant again and stressed out when you have toddler at home that needs you. I don't know about the rest of you, but we are just so tired of being "pregnant" and ready to just be on with the next stage of our lives. What to do, what to do?