The baby I never wanted....

After my son was born, I decided I never wanted any other children. Ever. I know that sounds horribly selfish, but I had a horrible pregnancy and delivery.

I was tired and nauseous throughout the entire pregnancy and gained 54 pounds. And I pushed (yes - pushed!) for 4 hours. Okay, so it was 3 hours and 57 minutes, but I reserve the right to round up.

Just six weeks after I delivered him, my period returned. And I threw the biggest hormone-loaded tantrum. My husband didn't understand. Yes, periods are annoying, but I was more upset about the possibility of getting pregnant again.

But time went on and I became more open to the idea of another child....years down the road. I had hoped to have another child when they were 2 or 3 years apart.

But life has a way of working out differently than planned. When my son was 7 or 8 months old, I started to feel really sick. I was tired, achy and nauseous. I couldn't figure out why. I told my husband I thought I might be pregnant, and he didn't believe me.

There was just no way that was possible (well...obviously not no way.) My period was a little late, but it wasn't enough to suspect pregnancy. But still! I was so sick. I was like death on wheels!

So on a trip to the store, I threw a pregnancy test into my cart. I waited anxiously for the results. The results were negative!

My husband gave me a "told ya so," and I went back to my achy, tired life. But it never got better. A few weeks went by and I let him know that I'd be going to the doctor. He finally took me serious when he realized I was willing to go to the doctor because #1: I hate spending money and doctor appointments cost $$ and #2: I dislike being looked at and talked to about health problems. I'm private that way (that's why I blog about it to the world, lol.)

By this time I was pretty stressed and my period was really late. I decided I was either pregnant or had cancer. I was vomiting. I was so exhausted. I hurt all over and I was quite hormonal. I was losing it. But the pregnancy test said no. It said NO!

Before paying for a doctor visit, I decided to invest in one more pregnancy test. My husband was annoyed but I had to figure out what was wrong with me. This time, the test turned positive immediately.

I called my husband to tell him, and he didn't believe me. But it was true. I was pregnant. Crap! This was not what I had planned. But I set up the prenatal appointments I needed and went on with the blood tests and vitamins, etc. Everything was the same as the first time, and then it wasn't.

The clinic drew my blood for the Quad screen and called to tell me that things were not okay. According to my Quad screen, my baby had a very high likelihood of having Down's Syndrome.

I asked a zillion questions and the doctor was convinced that the probability was extremely high. She recommended I have an amniocentesis and consider termination.

I didn't take the news well. Not only was I pregnant when I didn't want to be, but now I was going to have a baby with special needs. It was all more than I could bear.

I spent a few days totally depressed. And then I got mad. I demanded the clinic to give me my actual Quad screen results. I scoured the internet and University medical library for anything I could about reading/interpreting the test.

After reading a few med school courses (and technician manuals) on the subject, I felt confident in reading my own test. And my interpretation of the results was completely different from the doctors. Yes, the test showed an increase in probability, but not so high that the risk of an amniocentesis was warranted.

Amazingly, the doctors pushed hard for an amnio and also focused a lot on termination. I refused and instead asked for a level 2 ultrasound. And as before, I read everything I could ever read on interpreting ultrasound and went in to the appointment ready to find out for myself.

And I did. According to my own eyes and everything I could get the technician to "legally" say, I felt that my baby was just fine. And she was. After the level 2 ultrasound, I put any Down's concerns in the back of my mind and only checked briefly when she was born.

I am so glad that she didn't have special needs, but I still wasn't excited about my new role as a mother of two. My husband traveled 6 days a week, my marriage wasn't so hot, my parents began a bitter divorce, my son had severe asthma, and my dad attempted suicide within weeks of her birth. I was an absolute wreck and I wouldn't relive those days for anything.

But...then things got better and I can tell you, with all honesty, that my daughter is one of my favorite people in the whole world. She's exactly the type of person I need in my life, and yet I probably wouldn't have chose her for myself.

She's always joyful. She's always caring, thoughtful, and loving. She learns quickly and she's fun. And I'm not just saying that. Because I love him, I can tell you that my son is not joyful. He's not always caring or outwardly loving. And neither is my husband. My daughter is exactly what I needed in a house filled with emotionally distant males. And I'm so grateful that I have her.

Most of the time, things happen for a reason. And often, things work out better than you could have planned for yourself. I wouldn't have wanted my kids so close in age. I may not have wanted a second child at all, but she's been the greatest gift. And a joy to have in my life.


10 comments:

blueviolet said...

Things do have a way of working themselves out and I'm so glad that she has given you more joy than you ever realized was possible!

Cindy said...

Isn't it wonderful how each child squirms her little way into our hearts, even when we're not sure we have room? Thanks for sharing your story!

veronies said...

thats a really touching story. I knew all of this but never translated it in this way. She is always really happy, and he isn't always. They both say really funny things though. When can I braid her hair again?

5thsister said...

God doesn't give us what we want...he gives us what we need. Your story is inspirational.

Dimes2Vines said...

Children truly are a blessing from the Lord!

Mrs. White said...

This is absolutely beautiful! I am so glad you shared this. I am sure it will help encourage many mothers!

B said...

Sometimes the biggest gifts and biggest joys come at the most unexpected and most unpredictable times. It may not feel that way at first but a little time and perspective opens up a whole new way to see things. Go give your gift a great big hug!

Jessica-MomForHim said...

good thing God's plans are not our own! we're glad she's here, too! She's the ONLY female cousin on BOTH sides!

Emelie said...

This was beautiful and honest Angela. Thank you so much fr sharing it. I am so glad that things worked out well and those dumb dr's were wrong. Sometimes I wonder if Dr's think they know too much when they don't know as much as they should. It's a very frustrating reality.

Erica @ Just Call Me Cheap said...

My son, who was my first child, had a 1 in 30 chance of having Down Syndrome. The want to do the amnio but I fused because I had had a previous miscarriage and didn't want to put my child's life at risk. They kept telling me if I wanted to terminate I had to do it soon because they can't do something like that after you are too many weeks pregnant. Even if I was 100% sure he had Downs I would have never terminated my baby but what striked me was how clinical the doctos were- no feelings involved and they were all just by the numbers. I ended up having a level 2 ultrasound (after the "termination date" passed) and my son was pretty much cleared of having downs. I learned then that doctors and science can steer you wrong so always stick with your motherly instincts.

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Thank you for your comments! I appreciate all your tips, advice, and well wishes!

Angela

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