Chris and I have both always loved having brothers, even though it may not always seem that way. When we had trouble getting pregnant with Rebekah and needed to use a fertility specialist, things became a little more difficult, but we still found ourselves dreaming of a day when the little person we hadn’t met yet would have an even littler sibling.
Then we had Bekah, and for a while, everything changed. Having a second child after a 5 week early delivery, a 10 week NICU stay, and open heart surgery, well, it suddenly became a difficult decision…one that we didn’t really feel pressed to make since it had taken a lot of medical intervention to get pregnant with Bekah.
A few months after Bekah’s open heart surgery we started talking to her doctors, and mine, about the risks of having another baby with the same problems as Bekah.
We learned that the chances of having another “heart baby” do go up, but not by much. Since she was a preemie, the risk of another early delivery went up, but again, not by much.
So, we were left with a decision to make…start saving to try to get pregnant again, or be happy with the incredible little person God gave us, even if that meant that she didn’t get to experience life with a sibling.
We are not good at decisions. We decided to wait…how long, we didn’t know. But, in the meantime, we weren’t too worried about it…until a few weeks before Bekah’s birthday when I was cleaning out cabinets in the bathroom and decided to take a pregnancy test just for fun…and it was positive.
It seemed that the decision had been made for us. We started making plans to surprise everyone (because trust me…we were surprised) with the news at Christmas, and we stopped putting all of Bekah’s tiny baby things so far away in the attic.
We consulted my doctor, and since I didn’t know a date at all to go from, we scheduled an early ultrasound for the day before Thanksgiving.
Before our appointment we made a list of questions. (I am really good at lists of questions…just ask any of Bekah’s doctors…I even color-code them!) What sorts of things should we look out for? How soon did we need to start seeing a high-risk doctor? How soon would we do a fetal ultrasound to check the new baby’s heart? The list was two-sided.
Then, we got to the appointment, and it turned out that we didn’t need my list at all. At 7 weeks, Bekah’s fetal heart rate was 176 beats per minute. The new baby’s was 85. Anything 100 and above is considered normal. Suddenly, my list of questions seemed incredibly insignificant.
My doctor, who is absolutely awesome and understanding, explained that a low heart rate can be a sign of impending miscarriage, and prepped us for both the best, and the worst. We planned another ultrasound in a week and began praying much the same prayer from just over a year before when Bekah was struggling to stay alive…please God, give us the strength to handle whatever happens with grace and dignity.
We spent Thanksgiving trying to focus on Bekah and how different this year was from last year when we sat beside her isolette and watched her tiny chest rise and fall with every breath that she was finally taking on her own.
By Friday I was fairly sure that we lost the new baby, and our ultrasound the next week confirmed it. We were sad, but I was surprised to find that I was not as devastated as I had expected to be when we knew for sure that the baby was gone.
I’m sure that we’ll both still be a little upset when we think about it, and I’m sure that the beginning of July, when the baby was due, will not seem so sunny and bright this year.
But, I am surprised to find myself more at peace with what happened than I thought I would be. I don’t know how many miracles each of us are allotted in a lifetime, but if Bekah is the only one I get, well, I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world.
If we ever do add another little friend to our 3-person team, that will be great. For now though, I find that I’m increasingly satisfied with what I have and the little miracles I get to witness every day. And I can’t wait to share THAT with everyone this year as the Bekster rips into her pile of presents at Christmas!
Oh, and on a MUCH less depressing note, Bekah (and her totally awesome NICU roomie Tailyn) are delivering presents with Santa on Sunday afternoon at Akron Children’s, so if you’re hanging around the NICU stop by and say hi.
If you can’t tell Bekah from all the other babies, she’s the one walking on her own!(Yikes!)