Tag Archive | pregnancy

GIANT decisions

Howdy readers,

Tonight’s subject is a bit of a touchy one. I have been wanting to write about this for a little while, and after a couple of glasses of wine, inhibition have flown out the window, allowing me to write about a bit of a taboo subject.

I am constantly asked one of two questions. “Are you going to have more kids?” or “You aren’t having anymore kids…are you??

My answer is always the same: While I feel like my body has the ability to have one more child (and I would love to have another child, especially another little girl) My husband and I have enough factors against us to not have any more.

The movie the inticed my husband and I to have a large family

The movie the enticed my husband and I to have a large family

My husband and I had always decided to have a big family. Hollywood effected us a bit in this department due to the movie Cheaper by the Dozen. While we knew that no way in hell were we going to have twelve kids, we agreed (for a while) that seven was going to our magic number. This was taking into account “whoops” babies, and the high possibility of twins.

Our first child was planned, although he came along a lot faster than we intended. We were expecting to by trying to conceive for a while….it only took about two months of some-what trying (not exactly trying, but not exactly stopping it either) A few false negative home pregnancy tests left us shocked at our first ultrasound when I was seven week further along in pregnancy than we thought. Though, we were excited. We had recently bought our first home together and were ready to start a family.

But then I fell pregnant again six months later (whilst I was on the pill)….then amazingly, I fell pregnant within seven weeks of giving birth to my daughter! Just a year after giving birth to my middle son, I fell pregnant again (and again, while on the pill!)

Four single births in four years is a damn good effort!! But this is not the reason why my husband and I have decided not to continue on to our goal of seven children.

As you all know, my eldest two have significant development delay. It is something that seems to run in my family, with other family members that have had development issues as well. But most significantly, our youngest son has cystic fibrosis. If you have listened to me ramble on enough, you would know it is a genetic condition that has to come from both parents. This is the main (and its a very big one!) reason why we aren’t having any more children.
We have had such a good run with my youngest son.After he was diagnosed,  I was expecting to be constantly in and out of hospital. We have been incredibly lucky to have only had two CF related hospitalizations (one other was due to a bad case of tonsillitis)

What if we aren’t so lucky with the next child? What if that child is very sickly and has a lower quality of life? Since two CF people aren’t meant to be in close proximity of each other due to a high risk of cross-contamination….what if the new baby (if it had CF) makes my youngest son even more sick. Since we have already had run-in’s with CF-super bugs, Pseudomonas, what if my youngest son makes the new baby very sick?
Development delay is so predominant in our little herd, what if the next baby has issues as well? That would be another strain on the family. To be constantly one step forward, two steps back. It’s hard enough already!

These are all very important factors my husband and I have discussed about a lot since my youngest was diagnosed. Please do not judge us, but we have decided that should I fall pregnant again (since contraception quite obviously doesn’t agree with me) we would undergo an amniocentesis( or whatever test they do for this sort of thing) and if test results come back positive for CF, we would terminate. I know it would be an exceptionally hard decision for my to make, and will create a lot of emotional turmoil….but it would be the best thing for our family in the long run.

However, we have been blessed with four children already. It was easy for us to be able to say “NO MORE” (even if my biological clock is still ticking for one more…I know it isn’t the right thing to do for us) It was our fourth child that was diagnosed with a chronic medical condition.

But what if it was your first child, or even your second…and you wanted more? Or if you met a new partner, who was also a carrier, and you wanted to have more children with that person? These are the people I feel for as they have so many emotional, and moral, questions to ask themselves.

To quote someone who I spoke with about this issue a while ago….the following questions are the sort of thing that come to mind (and I am just using CF as an example here. Any medical condition can be placed here):

Do you or don't you?

Do you or don’t you?

*What are the issues of having more children with CF? (eg. financially, mentally/emotionally, physically) especially when there is a 1 in 4 chance. (Or if you have CF yourself, and your partner is a carrier, you have a 75% chance of having a CF child)

*Do you have kids knowingly that you risk creating a child that will suffer all its life?

*Do you conceive, then terminate if it is discovered it will have CF? Then does that diminish the value of life for those who already have CF?

* If you go through IVF and discard the embryos that have CF, does that make it any different to an abortion?

* If you already have CF and your partner is a carrier, will you be able to care for the child when you are sick? Do you take the chance knowing it will be a huge toll on your body (as a female with CF)? Do you have children knowing the risk that there is a chance you may die young?

There is no right or wrong answer to any of these questions. The love for family can overcome all of these issues, but then again, it might be too much than you can deal with. Don’t ever feel pressured into such a big decision. It all comes down to what is best for YOUR family!!

I hope I have given you some food for thought.

Bella 🙂

****EXTRA NOTES****

This post is not about trying to stop people from having children, but more to bring attention to the thought process that plagues some people about extending their family when they know a medical condition is possible.

I know this is a bit of a controversial subject, as it touches on pregnancy terminations, so while comments are encouraged, I will delete any nasty ones!

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The “Mara” family’s story- Part 2

Remember Carly Mara? She wrote some time back about her daughter, Ava, who was born with a cleft lip and hip dysplasia, then they found out she also had cystic fibrosis.

Part One of Carly’s story explained the emotions of when Ava was diagnosed with CF.  Part two is going to explain Ava’s cleft repair.

I can sit here and tell you how amazing and powerful the following will be. But honestly, I cannot find the words that best explain this following piece. Carly’s ability to explain the emotions she went through has you feeling like you are sitting beside her, experiencing it with her.

Bella 🙂

Ava's photo in-utero

Ava’s photo in-utero

Monday 7th February at 1:15pm, 2011 was the day of Ava’s Cleft Lip repair. A day we’ll never forget!

I’ll just take you back to the day we were told of our baby’s cleft.

 

“Your baby has a DEFECT on her face” were the words that came from the sonographer’s mouth. I froze.I don’t think I thought one single thing at that point. I was totally numb, gutted and crushed. A defect?!?! What kind of defect?!?!

They couldn’t tell us much more than that, and oh, they were pretty sure the baby was a girl. (That’s the only reason we went for that scan, to find out what sex we were having.)

From then we had to have quite a few more scans at a place in Leederville, where they do very detailed scans and specialise in clefts and the like. We were given a picture of our baby’s face at out next scan in which you can see a line from her nose down to her lip, but no-one could tell us exactly how big, or if her palate was involved, just that they think its might be 2mm long but they had to keep monitoring it every few weeks to make sure it hadn’t grown or changed.

Probably the worst thing I did, a lot, was Google images of Clefts. Oh my gosh!! Not a good thing to do, but apparently it’s the first thing any mother does when they receive this kind of news. There are some awful pictures out there. My hubby would always tell me not to Google, but I HAD to, I had to try to find the kind of Cleft out baby had…even though I knew deep down, I wasn’t going to know until she was born. 20 weeks of not knowing, it almost killed me then as the weeks got closer to her birth, I started getting anxious and just wanted her here it was torture!

Finally, on the 21st August 7:52pm, Ava arrived.

They placed this very warm and slimy baby up on my chest. I looked down at her beautiful little face… and there it was. Everything from then on is a blur, but my reaction to her precious little mouth was “Oh my gosh!!! her lip, her lip, her lip, look at her lip!!!” as I was crying loudly. (I only know this from hearing it on her birth video and my hubby telling me.)

It was like being sooo happy, the happiest you’ve ever been, and yet grieving at the same time. It was bitter-sweet. The pediatrician had a look at her mouth and said there was no palate involvement, just an incomplete cleft lip, (incomplete means the cleft stops just before the nostril) which was a weight off my shoulders, cos that meant to transfer to PMH for her to be fitted with a bonnet to pull the lip together, but still the possibility of not being able to breastfeed. which I really wanted to do, but thank god she was straight onto my boob and I felt more relief.
I’ll be honest, it took me a good few hours that night to get used to her Cleft, I couldn’t stop touching it, kissing it and crying in sadness that it wasn’t supposed to be like this.  She wasn’t meant to go through this. It’s just not fair. Grief of what have been…and happiness because she was finally here.
It was a long few months of getting her weight up for surgery. They usually repair Clefts at about 12 weeks. but due to CF,  Ava hadn’t put enough weight on. She had to be 5kg for surgery to go ahead. We finally reached that goal when she was 5mths! (Mind you from that 5kg mark her weight gain zoomed!)

Definetely a beautiful smile that lights up a room!

Definetely a beautiful smile that lights up a room!

Surgery day, fasting and a very sad baby. We were once again thrown through a loop of emotions. By this time we loved Ava’s Cleft sooo much! They say Cleft babies have the biggest smiles and that’s sooo true! The kind of smile that lights up a room, it was beautiful.

Not knowing what her mouth was going to look like minus the cleft, then what her face was going to look like. The shape of her nose will change too.But we had faith in our surgeon Dr Vij Vijayasekaren. We knew she would be even more perfect.
Chris and I kissed Ava’s face and mouth over and over and over, took sooo many photos with her while we waited for her to go in then it was time to hand her over (I don’t think that part will ever get any easier). A couple of hours later it was time to go and see her in recovery. I had butterflies and felt like I was going to be sick… but I was excited too! That walk over to the big bed with a tiny little dark-haired baby was sound asleep on it felt like it took hours. There she was, that little baby who was already every inch of perfection to us, but now with her new mouth.

After Ava's surgery

After Ava’s surgery

I cried and kissed her so gently. The part that startled me a little was the stitches, they were black. She also had nasal stents which I wasn’t told about, so that was a bit scary looking. Her face was really shiny her eyes puffy and lips swollen. It was heartbreaking to see her look like she was in so much pain.

We were taken back to the ward a little while later, where we just held her and cried. Then the fun began trying to feed her, no more breast… we had to use a special feeding bottle with a spoon on the end of it. You would squeeze the bottle gently the spoon would fill up and you’d have to master the art of tipping it into your baby’s mouth. But because she couldn’t move her lips much every second mouthful would dribble out which after a few hours gave her a nasty looking rash under her chin and her bibs just kept getting soaked. Even the nurses had to really get used to using the bottle to feed her. Ava had splints on her arms to stop her from pulling her stitches. It was sad because she loved sucking her fingers, but wasn’t able to, so she would cry, but then crying

Speci

Special feeding bottle after surgery. Lots of practice needed!

would hurt her mouth. The poor little sweetheart was in a really crappy situation, but there was nothing we could really do. The most comfortable way for her to sleep was on a U-shaped pillow with her arms stretched right up above her head… now that was cute!!

***TO BE CONTINUED***

Keep an eye out for the next installment…and new photos of Ava, the feisty two year old she is now!
Bella and Carly 🙂
xx

New goals

The first step is admitting it. I am overweight. I have been for quite some time. I have heard that putting it out in public, such as blogging, can help you maintain focus. So that is what I am doing.

I know how I got to this point. Put simply, I love my food! Having four kids certainly helped to pile on the kilos, but I’m not blaming my kids for my weaknesses. I put on 20kg during my pregnancy with my first pregnancy, and 10kg with the subsequent two.

Blasted baby weight!

 I didn’t gain any weight with my youngest, but I believe the fact that he had to draw so much energy out of me to keep himself alive due to the CF, so I call him my little “life sucking force”

I craved eggs with my first pregnancy, tomato sauce (which went best on top of a meat pie…of course) during my second pregnancy, cold glasses of Coke during my third, and funnily enough, juicy fruits ie. watermelon and strawberries with my fourth.

The fact I fell pregnant so quick after each child didn’t give me much opportunity to lose any baby weight. Then there is also the fact, I didn’t exactly try to lose it in between pregnancies either.

Then I fell into the trap of going along with the high fat/high salt diet that my youngest has to have for his cystic fibrosis. It is so easy to grab a few chips, eat a few lollies….etc.

So, my husband is being supportive and going on a diet with me (since I tend to fall off the bandwagon rather quickly once he has reached his goal weight) We are currently following the Rapid Loss program. It’s very easy and uses simple science rather than gimmicks.

We started two days ago, and I have lost 1.5kg already! It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a start.

I just want a friggin cheeseburger!

I am restricted to 1200 calories a day (my husband can have 1500 a day). We are trying out new recipes, which I am going to share on my blog. So far, the food has been pretty good (though last night’s Cajun Chicken didn’t go quite so well. We may need to tweak a few ingredients!) The hardest thing I am dealing with right now is finding meals that I can take for lunch while I am at work, which is non-stop and you dont really have time to have a proper meal. Basically, I know need to get my butt in gear and make the salads the night before.

My goal is to lose 35-40kg (I know…woah!!) So follow along, give advice, kick me up the bum if I need it, or grab some ideas yourself!

Bella 🙂