There is a natural question that arises after you experience the loss of a child during pregnancy. Its meant in love and honest curiosity, but its not always an easy question to answer. It's been a fairly common question I have heard since losing Jairus, but I notice it's evolved slightly as time has passed, as has my answer.
For the first few months, many people asked me something to the effect of "When are you going to have another baby?" It was assumed we would try again. Safe assumption if you know me at all. I've always wanted kids, lots of kids. We had always planned on having more children after baby #3 anyway. Could experiencing the loss of our son through stillbirth change that? Sure it could.
Early after his death, I developed a very strong Pig-Headedness about the fact that I wanted to wait a while because I feared hearing the inevitable "If Jairus hadn't died, you never would have had This child!" Which I know is a true and honest blessing for many families who lose babies. Many experience great healing through the birth of another child. I instead just got mad and dug my heels in. I wasn't ready to move on, to think about our family without him. My stubbornness wasn't the sole reason to wait, but it was a driving force for a number of months. And God would soon reveal more of what was going on, causing me to repent and thank Him for using my stubborn attitude. So time began to pass.
As time has passed, I find I hear the question of "when" less often...sometimes it is replaced with "Will you have another child?" or even "Can you have another child?" Ah...now it turns out, in our situation, these questions are something we have to consider with gravity and at length. Because after Jairus died, we were not given a very hopeful outlook on the possibility of expanding our family in the future...
My oldest, Emma, was born after a healthy. normal pregnancy with an unplanned labor-induction after it was discovered (at 40 weeks gestation) that the level of amniotic fluid around her was all of a sudden dangerously low. We were told, and assumed, it was a fluke.
18 months later (at 37 weeks gestation) after a healthy and quiet pregnancy I was induced into labor to bring Hazen into the world. My blood pressure had risen slightly and my lab work didn't look right. We were told it was pre-ecclampsia, but I didn't have any swelling and my blood pressure was way below what a typical pre-ecclamptic woman experiences. They later found I had a kidney infection. Again, we were told it was a-typical and probably not a concern.
2 1/2 years later, we excitedly waited for Baby #3. As you know from reading this blog, things didn't go as planned. We lost Jairus at 35 weeks gestation. There had been no signs leading up to the abruption. Then he was gone.
Do you see a pattern here? I do, actually, it looks more like a downward slope. Each pregnancy started healthy, then something suddenly and unexpectedly went wrong. Each time it was earlier in the 3rd trimester, each time it was something more severe. When Jairus died, it was confessed to us by our doctor AND a couple of OB/GYN specialists (I'll get back to my relationship with them) that they did not know what was going on with my pregnancies, and because they didn't know, they couldn't help. If we wanted to try again, that would be our choice, but they would probably recommend intentionally delivering prematurely (around 33 weeks gestation) in the hopes of staying ahead of what ever might happen.
That's not much to go on.
You should also know I have a rare blood disorder. It's not had much of an effect on my life, other than being unable to take ibuprofen for pain. All studies had shown there was NO connection to difficult pregnancies for women with this condition after the 1st trimester, so I had been monitored by specialists as well as my own doctor through each of the 3 pregnancies, checking blood flow and getting extra ultrasounds. Nothing had ever risen concern.
In August I got a call from my doctor.
A recent study found women with my condition are having all kinds of problems with pregnancy, during all trimesters. Specifically mentioned in the study was a-typical pre-ecclampsia and placental abruptions leading to stillbirth. The study also found that 75% of women had healthy pregnancies after being on a regiment of an experimental medication before and during their pregnancies. As you can imagine, I pretty much threw up from shock.
That was August. It's January. We've not been able to get said medication due to problems with our insurance company not wanting to deal with a new prescription. So now we're learning all about how medical insurance works, how appeals are done and how many calls and emails it takes from our end to get anything moving. God is still trying to teach me patience and trust in His timing.
That's the beginning of a long answer to a short question. Do we want more children? We'd love to have more. Will we have more? I honestly don't know. I'm not at a place where I can say with any certainty what the future picture of our family is. There are many ways families grow and come into being. We're open to the Lord's leading. We're trying to wait. We recognize that what God's plans are for our family are in His hands. And that's where I want our family to stay. As hard as it is to not know, to not be able to plan for the future in this aspect, we are waiting for the Lord to guide us, to lead us, to teach us to love Him and rejoice in Him regardless of whether or not we ever have more children or not.
Our children are a treasure to us, one we desire to hold with open hands, not clenched fists. It has taken me a long time to be able to release my hopes and dreams for my future to the Lord. To know and feel in my depths that He is good and will do what is good. We have had the painful blessing of seeing Him working through even the death of Jairus, we know that God is for us, not against us. We want Him to be shown off as good. And His goodness is not dependent on the number of children He chooses to give us.