Saturday, January 3, 2015

Don't Worry, Be Happy: Thoughts on my High Risk Pregnancy

It's a funny thing, pregnancy. I've been excited both times, but not very vocal about my pregnancies. Part of it may be the all-trimesters nausea I experience. Part of it may be the feeling that pregnancy is part of the circle of life, and it's very natural. Part of it may be the humility of knowing what a miracle pregnancy is, and certainly not taking either of my babies for granted.

Our second pregnancy is considered high risk on the merit that we still have no clue what caused Grace's stroke (or when it happened). She's had all the standard tests, and yesterday, she had even more blood taken for a more extensive panel of tests.

It can be hard for a mama's heart as she holds her crying baby, watching the blood go into multiple tubes with her name and birth date printed on it. But it's necessary. Crying is temporary. These tests are so, so important.

Yesterday morning, I had another visit at the perinatal clinic (also known as the high-risk OB office). It was special because my mom and sister Katie were able to be there - my mom loved seeing Bebe Deux's heart beat, and the different ventricles. She was impressed by the level of ultrasound; I kept thinking about why we were seeing this level of detail. Something could happen.

I think there is a lot of wisdom to the phrase "Don't worry, be happy!" Trite, perhaps, and an over-simplification, but nonetheless: sometimes, the worry does not take away reality, and happiness becomes a choice. I choose to relish the day. I choose to not dwell. I chose to appreciate what I have.

Will's in the MICU for the next month, and today, a patient with no prior symptoms, history, drug use, genetics, etc. experienced her heart stop working. The doctors spent 45 minutes attempting to revive her, and Will fears she'll be braindead for the rest of her life. She has a husband, a ten year old and a fifteen year old. Her parents are still alive too. Nothing in life is guaranteed, not even good health.

I'm okay saying, We don't know why Grace's stroke happened and that's okay. That doesn't mean we'll stop looking and trying to understand - but I'm starting to see more and more the gift God has given me: the chance to trust Him more, the chance to not understand and be at peace, and the chance to love unconditionally. I still struggle with certain comments - when people are happy she's a lefty (well, she had a stroke on her left side, so yes, she is compensating for her right hand); when people say they don't see her as a child with special needs (okay??); when people ask questions no doctor has been able to answer. I'm not angry at the questions; they just confirm my confusion: why my baby?

So when I see the high risk doctors or I go over Grace's pregnancy and first few months, I remind myself that this does not mean anything is going to be wrong or happen to Bebe Deux. This is the job of the doctor - to take precautions. It is my job to remain optimistic while being a realist.

Bebe is looking great, growing well (4.5 lbs!), and keeping active. I'm so-so-so!! happy that we'll introduce our newest member of the family to the world in about two months. I'm trying to practically prepare for the little dumpling while Will's gone 12-14 hours a day... though, if we're honest, Grace and I are in a race for who can make the more messes around the house!

This is a hard topic for me to write about; and an important one. A high risk pregnancy shows a person how far medical knowledge and technology goes - how protective they are towards the mother and baby. How much modern medicine has to offer and help babies born as young as 28 weeks, or babies who need surgery, and how resilient babies are!

This action is hazardous, sure, and a big deal. Go Grace go!!
During a medical history session, I also saw a glimmer of how easily someone could be swayed into terminating a baby at the risk of something- and it breaks my heart, because there is so much the medical teams, the parents and even the world has to offer these babies (and everything these babies bring to the world!!). Because no matter what happens with Bebe Deux, no matter what the perinatologist tells us, nothing changes for us. Bebe Deux is our child, and we'll do everything we can for her.

And maybe Grace's stroke was a fluke - it's rare to have a stroke in utero, and it's rare to have a stroke as a newborn. Maybe this is just another way of experiencing love and grace. For as bad as Grace's diagnosis was, the therapy is working. Moreover, us (her parents) working with her is doing more - she loves us, and trusts us, and lets us push her harder than her therapists can. We can give her more time and attention than her therapists. We love her more.

And we'll love her sister as fiercely.


  1. Beuaitful post, Rob! I have an insane love for all high-risk OBs now :). It's hard not to worry, but so helpful to remember that there are smart, talented people doing everything they can to help.

  2. Did I miss an earlier announcement or did you just tell us that your having DD#2 ?? :-)

  3. Insanely hard to imagine what you have suffered! But glad you are in good medical hands. Prayers for you!

  4. Wow Julie I cannot imagine...prayers for a safe pregnancy for you and baby!!