Wednesday, 9 May 2012

My amazingly brave friend

Someone who has been the most amazing friend to me is 18 weeks pregnant. I knew, I could see the signs over the past few weeks, and she told me on Monday.

She is so very brave. I found out shortly after Grace died that she too had lost a baby. She had fallen pregnant soon after her first child was born. Unfortunately, not all was well with the growing bub. She had Downs Syndrome and  array of other severe structural abnormalities and my friend and her husband made the very difficult decision to terminate the pregnancy at 18 weeks. She didn't tell a soul, apart from family members, and had suffered in silence day to day with this anguish.  

She went for genetic counselling. She was told that her surviving child was the exception to the rule and that any future children would face a very high probability of being Downs babies or worse. What she didn't realise when she went for the counselling this year was that she was already pregnant again. A mishap - she was on the pill and was assured that antibiotics she was taking for a minor ailment wouldn't have any effect.

Of course, finding out that she was pregnant, believing the worst outcome was the one most probable, sent her into a spin. At an early scan, her obgyn told her that he saw soft markers for Downs. So she took herself, and her test results, off to the high-risk specialist, so that he could do further testing by taking amnio and placenta samples. He refused to do any testing which would compromise the baby. You see, she had been given incorrect information. She faces no higher risk of complications than any average member of the population. And, for now, her bub looks good. It's a small relief. Like me, she knows all too well of the multitude of worse-case scenarios which are possible.

For me, well, I am a little sad, I admit. Seeing others have their babies, their second, their third while I can't have my first and still feel so far away from even the possibility number two. Seeing others hope when I'm just not ready to believe that I can ever hope again. Knowing that even if I do find a speckle of hope that hope and faith alone are simply insufficient.

I hope and I pray that all goes well for my friend. No-one should have to go through this despair once, let alone twice or more. In spite of my reluctance to be hopeful, her bravery and courage is inspiring. So that's what I am going to try and hold on to.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The thing about fear

I was devastated to read about Becky and Derreck whose beautiful rainbow baby girl, Evelynn, died last week. I am so heartbroken for them – there are no words. I am new to Becky’s blog and so this morning I skimmed through some of Becky’s earliest blogposts. There in black and white she wrote of her fear of uterine rupture in a subsequent pregnancy – she ended up having a caesarean after baby Liam’s surgery and uterine rupture is one of the risk factors associated with a prior caesarean. Her doctor urged her to wait at least six months before trying again after Liam – I’m paraphrasing, but according to Becky her doctor basically said that following 6 months of healing the risk of uterine rupture was practically zero, and that this risk would be further reduced because they would be sure to schedule a caesarean well in advance of her due date. It was approximately eight months after Liam passed that Evelynn was conceived. And, mere days before a scheduled caesarean at 37 weeks, Becky’s uterus ruptured and Evelynn was born brain-damaged. They had no choice but to take her off life-support.

The complete cruelty and randomness of it all makes me so very ANGRY!  They did EVERYTHING right: Becky is the epitome of good health, they heeded their doctor’s advice and, most importantly, they dared once again to dream and to hope and to have faith. Now this? It is inexplicably unfair and unjust.

And so, the thing about fear is that it just doesn’t matter how many stories one hears about things going well. A single horrific event is enough to cause the fear monster to rally. In my last post I was marginally hopeful. Right now, I'm not.