#3 and a gleeful God
Getting pregnant before you have health insurance that covers it is a risky proposition, especially when you know there is a good chance things won’t go smoothly. The best estimates I could find online (based on one previous miscarriage) give a 20% chance of conception, and 25% of those pregnancies lost in miscarriage. Realistically, if you take into account the fact that we were infertile for three years, our first child was born with (and died from) severe birth defects, and our second died of unknown causes during the second trimester, we have a very long shot at conceiving and maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
In early November I was chagrined to discover that my teaching job’s insurance wouldn’t kick in until March 1. After I made sure that pregnancy was not an excluded precondition, I created a spreadsheet that evaluated the risks of getting pregnant in the months before the coverage began. (Yes, I am a nerd.) It listed the next few months of fertility “windows” and estimated costs for three events:
1. if we were unable to conceive (the most likely–and cheapest–option),
2. if we were able to conceive but lost the baby, and
3. if we conceived and didn’t lose the baby.
The biggest financial (and emotional) cost was for a miscarriage, which would run about $7000 in “self pay” mode. Also, emotionally and rationally, if we lost another baby, we knew we needed to consider ending our quest for genetic descendants and head toward adoption. We talked it over and agreed not to try to get pregnant until the window for a first trimester loss was covered by insurance. Emotionally, we thought we were ready, but financially it seemed too risky.
Two nights before the new year, I was thinking about James and crying, so I slipped out of bed and sat in another room to keep from waking John up. I re-read the psalms of ascent and took comfort again from the promise of Psalm 126:5: “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.” Somehow God would make us fruitful and joyful again.
It was the next morning that I realized I might be pregnant. I thought I was too organized and self-aware to ever be surprised with such a thing. But my cycle had been getting shorter, so all I can figure is that the timing that month was different than I expected. We laughed about how God had surprised us even more than He did when we conceived Dora. I know (from infertility) that pregnancies aren’t a reward for being good, but it felt like He had seen our hearts and blessed us, saying to let Him take care of us. And we didn’t regret His timing at all. It was awesome news to start the new year with.
So that explains some things you may have been wondering, like where has Abby been and why hasn’t she posted any more about James? The answers are that Abby has been teaching, taking lot of naps, and trying not to do anything that would jeopardize the new pregnancy. I am planning to come back to the book about James after the school year is over and (hopefully) the pregnancy is farther along. (John just looked at this and said, “why is this post so long?” but I guess I have been processing a blog backlog!)
My ob-gyn, who delivered James and is familiar with our history, has been awesomely helpful and supportive. His office just got an ultrasound machine, and he is so excited about it and compassionate towards us that, after our first u/s (we call it “the peanut” because you can’t see much, but the baby is inside the black crescent), he urged us to come back anytime we needed to relieve our worries. He has since given us two more (free) ultrasounds.
I didn’t get a printout of the last u/s, but it was last Thursday (12.5 weeks) and in it I got to see that the baby is alive and moving around with a heartbeat. Especially exciting was the fact that we could clearly see two lobes of the brain–which means this baby doesn’t have holoprosencephaly like James did! Even if #3 dies at Dora’s age (15 weeks gestation), at least we know it’s not from that (and therefore it’s less likely to be a genetically inherited condition). So that is our big news, and now we are more excited and hopeful than ever with this pregnancy! We had been trying to focus on being content and accepting whatever God had planned, but now our dreams have sprinted into the future and our hearts are more invested in getting to meet #3 in person.