April Reflection

I’m sitting on the couch during nap time, curled up next to my sleeping dog. The laundry is folded and put away, the ironing finished, so I can relax a bit before the boys wake up. It’s quiet. Yesterday I was in short sleeves, and today it is snowing, so I’ve been texting with Rob about how much we hate the weather. It’s been a good day today—the boys have been happy and content—but my mind feels a bit unsettled of late.

A few days ago, I went for my post-op appointment. The miscarriage itself was very drawn out, dragging on for about three weeks. It was emotionally and physically grueling, but it is at long last behind us. The post-op appointment, two weeks after the D&C, felt like the “last thing” of the miscarriage that I needed to do before I could fully feel able to move on, move forward. Anyway, at the appointment, I learned that the genetic testing we’d opted for after the D&C showed that Finley had a genetic abnormality.

On the one hand, it’s nice to have an answer. That’s why I miscarried. But then the doctor went on to explain a bit more.

Basically, the short of it is this: Given the number of babies we’ve lost (4 including the twin), there is some likelihood that either Rob or I are a carrier of some genetic problem that is causing miscarriage. Now, we cannot be certain about this unless we both go for genetic testing ourselves. But it is a real possibility. We have two healthy children, so obviously it doesn’t happen 100% of the time.

The doctor went on to explain: When couples find out they’re carriers, there are different options they pursue. Some do IVF, because they can pick the genetically viable embryos over the non-viable embryos. Some do sperm or egg donation, depending on which parent is the carrier. Some do adoption. Some roll the dice and try naturally again, knowing miscarriage is a possibility. Some decide to be done trying.

It was a lot to process sitting there with the doctor, and since that appointment, Rob and I have been able to talk it through at greater length.

We have decided that we are not going to get tested. Mainly, because it’s not going to change anything. It’s not going to impact what we would do.

IVF is not for us. There are so many ethical issues that arise with IVF, and Rob and I do not feel personally comfortable making those kind of decisions. (I know that’s a personal choice.) I think if we didn’t have any children at all already, we might feel differently, but that’s not our situation. Egg and sperm donation is not something we feel drawn to. Adoption also is not on the table for us. Rob does not feel called to adoption, and as much as I wish he did, I believe it’s something both parents need to feel 100% called to before beginning that journey. So, a lot of the alternatives a couple might turn to after doing genetic testing are simply not options for us. So, why then, do testing, since we aren’t going to do any of those things?

The two other options remain whether or not we know for certain if we are carriers. Try and risk miscarriage again or be done trying.

The thought of going through another miscarriage is almost too much. The toll on my body, the toll emotionally…it’s a lot. But I can also say with certainty that I want another baby. I want another child, another sibling for my boys, another member to our family. Is it worth the risk? Do we try again? Do we try again knowing we may well yet again walk through all that heartache and hardship? And how many more times would we try? Just one? Two? Three? How many miscarriages is too many? Surely there’s a breaking point.

I, the ultimate control freak and planner, have been completely humbled in all of this. I have zero control in any of this and no way to know the future. Even if we decide to try again, I have no control. We could be completely committed to having another child, try three more times, and miscarry three more times. I have no control. Even if I desire one more child, God’s plan and will may be that we are a family of four. It is out of my hands. That’s so humbling.

I hope I can find the sweet spot in my prayer life in praying for another child—give me another child, God!!!—yet also praying for peace if God’s will and plan for me is that I only have two children—Your will be done, your will be done, your will be done. It’s the tension of praying for what I so desperately want yet also wanting to trust God if his plan is something different. It’s such a difficult place to be, especially not knowing what the future holds, but it is exactly where I am. I have this vision/image of myself pounding my fists against God’s chest over and over until my fists turn into flat palms and he envelops me in a hug. The vision/image doesn’t tell me what God’s answer is, but it tells me that He is with me.

In the immediate future, we are taking a much needed break. My body needs to continue to heal. Our hearts need time to grieve and heal. But even during this break, I will be praying. I will be pounding my fists against God’s chest, waiting for the hug. Beyond that, I have so much to be thankful for right now, and that’s what I am going to focus on in the immediate future. I know that sounds cheesy, but I’m finding the only real antidote to my grief (besides time) is gratitude. So I’m going to focus on being thankful for my life as it is right now. I have two lovely little boys who are quite the handful that need all of my time and energy. I have a loving husband that I want to continue to love and be close with. I don’t want to miss out on being present right now with the family God has given me right now.

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