This first post isn’t public. Not yet. This blog isn’t public yet either. Right now, I’ll only be telling a few people about it. Mostly people who knew me when, who knew me during my first marriage, who knew me when I was trying to have a child the first time. Family. People whose support I value and need. I don’t want to go public with everyone until there’s a Very Good Reason to do so, particularly since a bunch of my friends are also a bunch of my co-workers.
Because it’s 11 and 12 years later. I’m in a different marriage, an entirely different place in life. I’ve spent the last 11 years dealing with the idea that I won’t have children. That idea came out of the experience of two anenecephalic pregnancies whose cause could not be pinpointed, combined with restrictive laws that would prevent me from accessing the medical care I would need if another anencephalic pregnancy happened and a whole lot of fear and grief. And yet, in just the past few months, I’ve been able to set that fear and grief aside. I watched Pam fighting to help her four-year-old daughter Caitlin beat a rare childhood cancer. I read about Jeff Castelaz and Jo Ann Thralkill’s beloved son Pablo, who lost that same battle. After spending time with Caitlin and reading about Pablo, after watching my sweet nieces in Dallas and my adorable nephews in New Orleans, I dreamt one night a month ago that I was holding a baby and it was mine. I woke up from that dream with the realization that as much as I love my husband, trying and losing another baby would be less painful than not trying at all.
So we are trying. Starting tonight, in fact. I’ve spent the last few weeks talking with my doctor, re-researching neural tube defects, reading up on vitamins and diet and the risks of covering my grays. I will be 41 on Saturday, just five days from now, and I hope that by Saturday I’ll be pregnant. I know the odds, the statistics that say that 40 percent of pregnancies for women my age end in miscarriage, that the risk of Downs syndrome increases dramatically. I live with the knowledge of the odds of a third anencephalic pregnancy (the odds of a first are 1 in 1,000; of a second, 1 in 25; of a third, 1 in 4).
But we’ve talked about it. And I know that if the worst does happen, Michael will be there with me and for me and that we’ll get through it and still have a full and happy life together. But if the best happens, it will be that much more wonderful.