Tuesday, December 29, 2015

John 13:34 and the Abortion Debate in Online Comments

** I wrote this some time ago and shelved it. Now that we are in the thick of 
4 years ago today loss thoughts, I've decided to publish. (4 years ago today we received amnio results- T18 was confirmed.)

I read an article about a woman who chose to end her pregnancy due to a fatal abnormality.


In summary: Baby Violet was diagnosed with lethal skeletal dysplasia. Lethal because due to her extreme smallness, her lungs wouldn't have room to inflate upon birth so she would suffocate and die.

I think back to the birth of my son Kins and I crush under the weight of this thought: "suffocate and die". 

I think of swimming too deep and rocketing to the surface lungs burning for air "suffocate and die".  

I imagine the terror of birth, forced into a bright, chaotic, unfamiliar environment: being touched may be wiped off with towels before going to mom. Familiar and unfamiliar. Overwhelming I think without the addition of not able to breathe. "suffocate and die"

Then I read the Comments. Why do I do this? I know that I get upset. Not about my own decision, but by the horrible things that are said.

I know not everyone supports my decision. I know that I don't support every decision in all cases (to terminate or to CTT). I believe in being compassionate and treating people the way I would want to be treated. Why tell someone I disagree with their choice when it has been made? Why even critique a choice when in the decision process? I am not YOU and you are not ME. I am not in your family. I don't know what you believe.

Where is the love, 'Loving Father'? He said:
First I would like to extend my condolences to you and your family on such a heartbreaking loss. Second by being a man I have no idea what women actually go through during pregnancy and labor, but I do know of the wonderful gift it is in assisting to bring to life a new person into this world. As a teacher I like to ask my students to always ask why and to think of the outcomes of every situation had they chosen a different path. In this case what if they baby would have lived longer then the prognosis of a few hours. I know that I would give my life to see the eyes of my new baby even for just a few minutes, I mean who am I to say how long my child lives, that’s not my job. Everyone suffers and pain is only perceptive of nerves sending the signal to a brain. But love tell me how does love work? If it’s not through the self inflicting pain of watching what was carried to term and letting God decide if she lives or dies. If none of this makes any sense then simply ask yourselves what if the baby was still fighting to live when your water broke and she was strong that it took the Dr a skull crush to “terminate the pregnancy.” What if the baby was born alive and they crushed her little head because of a “decision.” In no way I’m saying I was there and that happened, but what if. 
Clearly, though ID'ing himself as a teacher, missed reading that the baby was given a fatal injection on day one of the two procedure- long before water break or delivery. That aside, what is to gain by that line of musing? If you are in a situation where you are terminating a pregnancy because of a fatal diagnosis you're already playing a game of "pick the least horrible case". Should my child die by my own hand before we have a chance to meet him/or OR should the child, in this case, suffocate and die? Is Loving Father aware that in L and D abortions, women are induced too early for the child to survive and the child lives as long as they are able without intervention? I know women who went in for an abortion in this manner and had their child live for a short time (minutes). No skull crushing was involved. 

Loving Father would be happy to know I did consider the alternative for my Blue Sunday- though I don't know anyone who received a fatal diagnosis and just said "well, termination it is!" Without considering what life would look like (though I DO know may women who received a fatal diagnosis and proudly proclaim "we never even considered 'the-decision-which-must-not-be-named' " though that's a whole different topic.) For me, death after birth looked more difficult for my child than death before birth. Like Loving Father I would give my life to see my child's eyes, BUT I won't gaze on those eyes without cost. It was not an option to give my life for that moment. The real cost of that gaze would have been seeing the eyes of tragedy, of suffocation, of confusion and pain and then death. Pain for my child, confusion for my child. This was not the least horrible case in my mind. I have written about this before. 
There was another comment, the one that actually sparked this post. This was by another man (the only two comments clearly by men (that loaded) were negative, along with only one other comment.  This is from 'Roger':

Every life has some suffering and then there is eternal life. If a child is born alive it can receive the Sacrament of baptism and be assured of the vision of God for all eternity. This is exactly what God made all of us for – to know and to love Him in this world and to be happy with Him in the next. If you let your child be born and then born again through baptism you can be assured of having a little saint in Heaven praying for you for the rest of your lives, joyfully grateful to you for having given her this place in the bosom of the Father.
Unbaptized infants, according to the traditional teaching of the Church go to Limbo, a place of natural happiness but without the vision of God. It is not Heaven. It is not Hell. There is no suffering there. But they are separated from God.
Every person who accepts suffering for the love of God receives good from it. It is redemptive when it is joined to the sufferings of Christ. Baptism is exactly that – a sacrament that joins the soul to the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
To reject the notion that any good can come from suffering is to reject Hope – and Faith that Christ suffered and died for Love of us.
Satan loves abortion. It thwarts the good hope that God initiates when He forms the soul at conception – that this soul will be united with Him for all eternity.
Please don’t be deceived out of sentiment. Abortion is an absolute evil.

Yes Roger, every life has some suffering, but this life would have been almost exclusively suffering. Yes, feeling a parent's love is a wonderful moment, but not something that child had not felt in utero. And if we're being honest when suffocating it's difficult to gaze into someone's loving eyes. 

I hate when people take their own religion and impose it on everyone else. This Catholic-centric view of life and the after life is one I was brought up in. Some of it still resonates with me, if I'm being honest but I am not particularity fond of people who tout their own religion as the one and only right choice. It is interesting to me that he says this: "If a child is born alive it can receive the Sacrament of baptism and be assured of the vision of God for all eternity. This is exactly what God made all of us for" What about the children lost to miscarriage? Were they not meant for the world? Are they forced to limbo, even the lost children of deeply faithful Catholics? Roger says that god forms the soul at conception- so a child lost to miscarriage was created by him. Since Satan loves abortion, does he also love miscarriage? Was that Satan's plan? Or did god create Violet and Blue Sunday intentionally not to survive.  Are all the babies that are miscarried intended for limbo?

That seems unspeakably cruel. Especially for someone who is supposed to embody love and hope. 

From my Catholic upbringing, the most loving, useful and translatable teaching is John 13:34 "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." Commonly translated to "Love others as god loves you" or, by the secular "love- and treat- others as you would like to be loved/treated". This is a breathtaking, beautiful, difficult teaching. 

Imagine really living up to this- treating others as you would like to be treated, love them the way you would liked to be loved: family, friends, strangers, other drivers, work rivals, opposing teams' fans, people you just don't like. 

It would change the world.

I still believe that I did the best thing I could for my child. I did for my child what I would want for myself. That is not what everyone would do, or would want. The world will probably never agree on the topic of abortion- but may be we could agree that people are doing what they think is best (in most cases) and especially in the case of termination for medical reasons. May be people could try and respect the decisions of those they don't agree with the way they would want their own decisions respected. 

We don't all have to agree, but we don't have to be cruel either. 

Oh life, it's bigger
It's bigger than you
And you are not me
REM, Losing My Religion

Christmas 2015

I wasn't going to post a Christmas post, but I liked looking at the blogs with kids after loss/IF when I was still childless (I'm always Less a child). So here it is- the wonder of Christmas with a little kid:

It was a hot Christmas- I felt the need for a summer beverage while wrapping!

We let kins open PJs and a book Christmas eve:

Santa Came! (The Teepee is from my parents)


Christmas with a kid is pretty awesome. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Long December, (eventful January)

It's Monday, but not micro:

I can, almost literally, NOT believe the timing of this cycle. I can believe it, I suppose but just. So a few posts ago, I outlined the heavy hitting Januarys that have happened since I have started this blog. Every January was pretty big, this year will be no exception, for one reason or another.

I go for my lining check January 1st at 7:45.. where else would I want to start my New Year but the fertility clinic?? (the far away one, since it is a holiday. Obviously.) Assuming that all looks good, I call January 4th for my appointment time and on January 6th go in for transfer (assuming it unthaws, which I am NOT counting on to be honest).

Just to underline this:
January 4th is the 4 year anniversary of losing Blue Sunday
January 8th is Kin’s second birthday.

So January 6th is the middle date between the most important dates of my first 2 kids. And they are all at 2 year intervals.

So far so good with this cycle, I’m on a lot of estrogen- 2 pills a day and a patch I change out every 3rd day. I’m trying not to think about the cycle itself too much. I feel very out of control about it. I am not gaining weight this time, but I have been working out a lot and staying stable. So annoying.

Anyway, I wish I could just fast-forward this month and either be pregnant or be moving on.

And just for fun, 1 pregnancy announcement over Christmas. A girl I used to baby sit for. She is very open about the fact that her boyfriend is a drug dealer, and that she uses. She had announced just 2 days earlier that she was leaving the boyfriend and taking  her twins to some other state (she was thinking Texas) to start over where it’s less expensive. Now it’s merry Christmas from the 5 of us! Big happy family.
I cried. A lot.

I know that a few more will be coming in the next few months. I’m not sure how this will go for me. Hopefully Surya-Scott will stick and I don’t need to worry about it. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Vacation Recap

Picture heavy, micro words: (This was supposed to be a microblogging Monday post- but now it's Wednesday)

We had a 5 day get-away up to Vermont this past week. We have a time share and our points were expiring (even though we have 2 years to use them!), so we picked a location we didn't need to fly to and went away!

Ski-in Ski-out condo.. haha

My parents joined us, for a family trip. It was nice to have the help with Kins and since we had enough points for a 3 bedroom condo, why not?

There was no natural snow when we arrived and just a tenth of the mountain open with the man-made stuff. Hub, my dad and I had lift tickets for Thursday and we made the best of it. The lift summit-ed and it took some time to wind our way down- probably 1.5 hours of skiing and 40 minutes on the lift total. Otherwise-- we were at the bar. haha.

The base of one of the major runs...from the bar. 

Yeah- like there were bare spots! Fun time though. 

It looks like it's snowing- but it's actually a cloud/fog. 
Me and hub!

We had a few nice meals, a few nights in the heated, out-door pool (in the snow!) and lots of laughs.

They had an awesome play space. Kins spent some time caring for this baby doll he found- he took her for a walk, put her Ina highchair and cooked and fed her dinner! So sweet. 

Also, he played with trucks. Shocker. 

New England baby loved the dusting we got our last day there! 

Sometimes a get-away is really needed to re-center.

Monday, December 14, 2015

More Updates #MicrobloggingMonday

Apparently Monday is the only time I manage to blog- oops.

We had our WTF appointment on Wednesday and it went well I think:

  • We are moving forward with the FET. I actually got insurance approval this morning. As of now I am off Birth Control and waiting for my cycle to start. Once it does I start estrogen pills and patches and call them to set up appointments- including the transfer date! Unfortunately, it's looking like it will be the week that everything happens (see ** at bottom, or click the lings): Somewhere in the first 12 days of January- depending on when I start, how my lining progresses and when my doc is on call (he wants to do the transfer himself) *FET details at the bottom for those of you who have no clue what I'm talking about. 
  • My doc is surprised I responded so poorly to stims and that our fertilization rate was a big fat 0 this last cycle. He feels badly, but doesn't think there is anything that could have been changed with the exception of using ICSI- which will now be covered by my insurance if we do another IVF cycle since we have a medical need. He still truly feels we can be successful, even if we use my own eggs and possibly even if Surya-Scott takes and we come back to this is a few years time. He said that people have worse responses that I have had, so that is not impossible.
  • He is on board with Donor Egg (DE) if that is how we choose to go. He said about 1/3 of his patients use DE and success rates are high. He also said that his best friend came to him for conception and their 2 kids are DE babies. He said to think of DE as a single cell, reminded us that blood transfusions are thousands of cells and that sperm donation is very common. He said people put the egg on a pedestal, even though my body will still do all the work for supporting a pregnancy. It was a good talk. 

*FET= Frozen Embryo Transfer= putting Surya-Scott back in an see what happens. I have been on BC to prevent my body from making eggs and getting pregnant in the mean time (hahha as if). I have now stopped BC and waiting for my "period" (it is actually just withdrawal bleeding but whatever). Then I will start Estrogen patched (changed every 3 days) and estrogen pills (2 times a day). This will build up my lining, so that Suyra-Scott have a place to call home. We don't want me to ovulate on my own, so we replace my natural estrogen with synthetic. After transfer, I'll start some stuff I put into- ahem- myself and hopefully that will keep on until I'm about 11 weeks pregnant. Otherwise, I'll stop after a negative beta post transfer. 

**Those links are the first 4 Januarys covered in this blog. In order: Blue Sunday’s day- 1/4/12, Calling for an RE referral 1/9/13, Birth of The Kins 1/8/14, Re-scheduling my Re-Start with the Re 1/11/15. No wonder the holidays stress me out!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Updates I Don't Wanna Wait #MicroBloggingMonday

I figure that this can go in a micro-post since there isn't all that much to say.

All went well with Kinsy's test results: they  point to an all-clear. There are a few question marks- but we are largely out of the woods for the big-baddies. The relief was really huge. I mentioned last post, having been the "One in" before, it's hard to not always figure that we'll end up there again. Looks like we dodged this one.

Kins is in the middle of a language explosion! FINALLY. He is still just under 40 words (he needs about 12 more in the next 2 months to be in the (low) normal range by age 2.. that could happen!) Just this week he's added 6: Tea (my fave drink), tractor, popcorn, Elmo, Choo-choo and And. Now he makes little sentences "mama and dada" (when sitting with us on the couch- looking from one to the other), "up, up, up and down! (playing with cars- or on the stairs)"

We are still in a holding pattern for moving forward with family building. We have our WTF (Why the Fail... but really What the F%^&) appointment on Wednesday (2 days from now) and we will make a decision and a timeline from there. I lost my mind a little yesterday and told hub we need to start the adoption process after the holidays. Like really start, I’m looking into booking our class. I say lost my mind not because adoption is a lesser-choice or because it isn’t something we are actually considering (it's not and we are!)- but financially it will be harder for us (there is coverage for more IVF, including donor egg) and  I really would like to have another pregnancy. Clearly, with adoption that won’t happen. That said, I'm not sure what I can withstand mentally as far as TTC, so spending some cash and letting go of a pregnancy might be the best decision for us anyway. All that said,  I need to be DOING something and this waiting period is getting to me. Like, a lot.So fully reviewing our adoption option is next. 

You look at me from across the room
You're wearing your anguish again
Believe me I know the feeling
It sucks you into the jaws of anger
So breathe a little more deeply my love
All we have is this very moment
Paula Cole, I Don't Wanna Wait

Read more micro-posts here!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Update: Baby Watch

Baby Watch 2015 is over. A healthy boy was born last night.

I only shed a few tears sending out the work announcement. There weren’t even enough to need a tissue. Counting that as a win. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Just- Thoughts While on a Baby Watch

So my work friend Ray is expecting her second child. She was due yesterday and is being induced tonight. Last time she was pregnant, I was too and her baby girl was born (3.5 weeks early) just under 4 months before kins. It has been very hard watching her grow while I have failure after failure.

We have been chatting in the office and now texting as she has been through the ups and downs of this pregnancy and now as she is pending delivery. She is high-risk and so there is a lot to stress over. I hope that she successfully delivers a healthy baby in the coming hours. This is planned to be her last, so I hope she closes out her last pregnancy on a high note.

Someone once asked me why I can't "just be happy" relating to pregnancy, babies, kins etc. I finally have an answer:

I can be happy for others. I can and I am. I am so happy that Ray has gotten to experience a full-term pregnancy (though they are hard!). I am happy that she is about to deliver a healthy baby. BUT I can't be "just" happy.

I want more kids than I will ever have. So I am happy, but I am sad.

I know we started TTC #2 much longer ago than she did. She got pregnant her first cycle of trying (last time was unplanned). So I am happy, but I am envious.

These comparisons are staring me in the face when I talk to, see or think about pregnancy, kids, families with more than one child. I cannot help but think of myself when these things are around me. It is impossible to be "just" when your mind is consumed with TTC.

The inability to be "just happy" is unjust. I would LOVE to feel "just happy" for someone. I know what this feeling is like- I am truly "just happy" when people get promoted, married or move into a new home. But pregnancy is my sore spot. I don't want it to be, but it is.

No one should have this heartbreak. Not in terms of family building, loss or anything else that someone really truly wants and cannot have.

Nothing is Just. In any sense of the word.