Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Post of Many Colors

We, too, went to Blogapalooza in New York this past weekend. I think we are, perhaps, the only people who have not yet blogged about it. So here it is. It was great to meet the people behind the blogs. We spent most of our time with the bloggers with children, which I regret only because it meant that I didn't really get to talk with others as much. Though, realistically, my social anxieties would've kept me in the baby corner even if we didn't have a kid, and I was thrilled to get to know all of the blog babies and their moms. Quinn crawled circles around (and over) Natalie, Malka introduced her to the wonder of Oat-E-Os, Julia (though not feeling 100%) showed Natalie how much fun could be had with Malka's noisy toys, and Charlie gave Natalie the gentlest of head-butts. Baby Miao and Natalie bonded with giggles and grins. I wish there had been more time to get to know everyone in the crowd, but I did enjoy the short conversations I had with folks. And if I seemed standoffish, I just want you to know that that's just my social awkwardness and my desire not to shove my child in the face of anyone not in a good place for that.

*********************

I had an appointment with our RE today. Yes, me. Yes, already. Our plan has always been that we'd start trying again when our first child was around a year old so that maybe (if everything *ha* goes as planned *ha*) our children would be somewhere around 2 years apart. The plan has also been that I would carry child #2. However, I do have Lyme Disease. One Lyme specialist has advised me not to get pregnant and certainly never to breastfeed. Both my Lyme doctor and the RE (who consulted with a perinatologist friend during our appointment) are of the opinion that it could be done and could be fine. I'm at a bit of a loss about what to do. So this is the part of the post where I ask WWID? (what would the internet do?)

Here are my thoughts, muddled and tangled as they are.

  1. Until we started planning and Jen started trying to get pregnant, I never really wanted to be pregnant. In fact, for a long time, I was utterly opposed to the idea. Once we began trying, I decided that I did, in fact, want to be the carrier of one of our children. Now that Natalie is here, I feel less certain of that, though I think a lot of that uncertainty is just plain fear.
  2. I am afraid that I will give our child Lyme Disease. I know the chances are small, possibly nonexistant, of that happening. (Three out four doctors consulted say that there probably is a minute chance of transmission, which could be made even less likely but not neccesarily eliminated with prophylactic antibiotics.) However, I am still afraid. I don't want to make our child sick when there is another, perfectly wonderful, option.
  3. This whole baby-making thing works for Jen, molar pregnancy aside. Getting pregnant was not terribly difficult, she had no horrible complications, and a relatively easy birth. Breastfeeding has gone well. Jen produces lots of milk, and Natalie is growing wonderfully on it. We don't know how well any of this will work for me because, well, we've never tried.
  4. I would have to see a perinatologist and be closely monitored throughout the pregnancy. Since we can stress ourselves out with no outside help, this could be bad. And I don't know if our midwives would work with me or not.
  5. I absolutely adore Natalie and can't imagine that I'd love any child any more than I love her simply because he/she grew inside me or had my genetics.
  6. I am afraid that I won't make as wonderful a baby as Natalie.
  7. I have a history of eating disorder/body issues. I'm in a pretty good place with my body now. Would pregnancy send me back to a bad place?
  8. I don't want to make this decision based on fear alone, but there are a lot of fears and unknowns in this, and very few facts.
Any thoughts?

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Our child loves food. Witness the excitement here (and note the pause as she realizes the camera is on her and tries to decide whether to strike her usual pose or just continue with the eating). Today we gave her her first taste of "baby crack" (aka Veggie Booty). Instead of her usual "what the hell is this?" face that accompanies new food experiences, she gave a big grin. I'm afraid.

********************

Jen keeps meaning to post more about the depression/anxiety stuff, but is having trouble finding the brain cells. She is doing OK, and will post in more detail when she is able. Send good energy to her family, though. We just found out that her uncle is really not doing well.

21 Comments:

  • You know, I have many of those same fears (lyme disease aside, of course): I wonder about making a baby as wonderful as Julia... we know that Kristin can get pregnant with relatively little interventions, I cannot possibly love another child MORE than I love Julia, so why tempt the unknown? The differences in our situation are that Kristin did and will have another high risk pregnancy if she got pregnant again. And I have always wanted to get pregnant. So there's that.

    And while I hesitate to say anything about the lyme disease (and I wanted to talk with you more about it in NYC and didn't get the time, alas) because I know so little about it, all other things being equal (as I know they aren't, but still) if 3 out of 4 doctors say that the chances of you passing it on are unlikely, then I think that you should go for it. At least you KNOW about the lyme disease and can watch and treat for it. As opposed to all the things that women get that complicate their pregnancies that they don't know about ahead of time...

    Still, what ever you and Jen decide to do, know that I'll be out here, cheering you both on...

    By Blogger Trista, at 10:30 PM  

  • i, too have many of the same fears. i worry that i'd make an inferior baby, and i think it's slightly different when you have 2 moms birthing the kids. anyone with 2 kids can make comparisons, etc., but there's an extra level of anxiety when it comes down to one set of genetics versus another. [but i guess all kinds of blended families may deal with this...]

    hope had an easy time getting pregnant, and a mostly worry-free pregnancy, but we're both terrified of what could happen placenta-wise if she carries for potential baby #2. and i feel partly responsible if something were to go wrong again, because at some point i would have said that i wanted her to carry and not me.

    obviously hope has had the supply issues, and maybe i'd have an easier time with breastfeeding. but who knows?? so i also feel guilt that if she carries potential #2, that i'm putting her in the position of all of the stress and guilt of not having enough milk.

    i think (IMHO) that the lyme should not in and of itself keep you from considering yourself as birthmom #2. i think you've talked about worries concerning pain, mobility and lethargy in regards to lyme and possible pregnancy, and of course, those are big things. but it seems (again, opinion here--) that a pregnancy will show you/your body what its limits are and you'll respond accordingly. easier said than done, i know.

    so i'm not sure i have really useful advice, but i wanted to say that you're not alone, even if my details are different. back in my youngin days (i.e. 20 years old) i always imagined i'd give birth to a variety of children. then i had 10 years of not wanting kids. then when we starting talking about ttc and ttc, the idea was out there. while hope was pregnant, it was still out there. and to be honest, the horror that was our birthing experience has definitely put me in a place of fear, and that does impact my decision to probably not carry potential baby #2. and then the guilt cycle starts again, b/c if i am fearful of another terrible birth, how can i put hope in that same (maybe) situation??

    sorry to go on. ideally we'd be starting ttc kid #2 around the same time as you guys, so these issues have been going on here, too.

    By Blogger megan, at 10:55 PM  

  • Well, my perspective is probably on the more or less useless end of the scale, but I'm up and jittery, so....

    1. That makes sense, these are huge questions and it makes sense to turn in circles a little around them.
    2. I know nothing about lyme disease but it looks like the risks are probably pretty minimal, maybe this is just the place where your uncertainty over the whole thing is settling?
    3. Is there any reason why you _wouldn't_ have a relatively easy conception, pregnancy, and breastfeeding start? The crazy internets notwithstanding, many/most people do, you know. There's especially no reason to think you'd be any less likely than Jen to produce lots of milk and to nurture your second baby fantastically.
    4. The peri would work with you because of the Lymes? You probably would have to put up with high-intervention assumptions, but lots of peris are used to consulting with OBs. Probably with midwives, too, if you're lucky. Call the midwives and see what they say, no?
    5. Seems win-win to me, then: either decision is perfect. (Yeah, that's no help.)
    6. Okay, but you totally will. (Also, is it assinine to mention that most parents worry about this when they're getting ready to think about a second baby? I don't want to minimize the unique-to-two-mommies issues at stake, but there's a place where this fear overlaps with hetero couples worrying that they're foolish to go back to the genetic wishing well again, even when the genetics are still the same.)
    7. That's a tough one. I don't know. (Sorry.)
    8. "I don't want to make this decision based on fear alone, but there are a lot of fears and unknowns in this, and very few facts." Oh yeah. When you're just starting, with no kids, the desire for that kid is so great that the fears and unknowns are obviously less important than the kid. But when it comes time to decide again? Everything is so much scarier.

    Throw in the extra set of choices available to you, and no wonder it's mind-boggling. Good luck with figuring out what's best for y'all.

    By Blogger Jody, at 3:20 AM  

  • The "inferior baby" fear seems common in carrying-#2-moms. My own concerns (high risk, infertility etc etc) are far outweighed by my need to experience pregnancy/birth/breastfeeding in my own body.

    By Blogger K77, at 5:02 AM  

  • Before we knew that Pili would not snap snap get pregnant, I felt like I had to carry as well. It was never about wanting to be pregnant, it was something about the balance of power in our relationship. When I decided that I wanted to try adoptive breast feeding for Guatebaby, Pili went through the same thing feeling like she had to do it just because I was. In the end, both of us decided that what was right for the other didn't have to be right for us.

    So many of the things you wrote - the concerns about a high risk pregnancy, about passing on medical issues, about activating body issues ring true for me when thinking about pregnancy.

    I don't know what's right for you, but seeing you with Natalie, I think I'm certain that you would love another kid birthed by Jen just as much as one from you.

    I'm sorry we didn't get to chat more, but glad that we got to discover our shared history...

    By Blogger art-sweet, at 8:43 AM  

  • I am also useless about the specifics of Lyme but, as you know, we share some symptoms - pain, exhaustion. So while I can comment on deciding to carry with those issues, those don't seem to be your biggest fears. They really were mine. I worried about getting worse when pregnant (judging from my pregnant month, they did not and I felt pretty good), about the fatigue knocking me flat (judging from last time, I felt fine and really think that being exhausted all the time is excellent preparation - it basically felt the same or not as bad as normal), and most of all about being a sick mom who is too tired or too weak to pick up the baby or play with the kid (you are already in the midst of that so it's probably not so scary).

    I was about to type that you have a set of fears I don't have - that you will pass it on. But then I realized that I do worry about that - there is a lot of fibro in my family and there is every possibility that I could pass it on, too. As I guess is obvious from this, I try not to think about it. Irresponsible but true. I am not advocating denial as a brilliant option for moving forward. It sounds like there are things you can do to help prevent it and that is good.

    By Anonymous bri, at 8:46 AM  

  • I have no idea of the risks of your carrying baby #2. But I do know the fears of a high risk pregnancy. Please know that I was told by my RE that I would "carry to 30 weeks and babies are fine then." HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    So jealous of the big meet-up over the weekend. I am so out of the loop after this last year. Gah!

    By Blogger Miss W, at 9:39 AM  

  • I have a question - how long in Jen planning on breastfeeding? Is it something she enjoys doing? If so, what are the possiblities of you carrying the baby and then Jen breastfeeding the baby? Hopefully you will have baby #2 by the time Natalie is 2 and Jen can keep her milk going. Just a thought . . .

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:39 AM  

  • Cait - Lyme aside, I will share that my eating disorder reared its ugly and vicious head during the year and a half we were ttc. I think I'm still recovering. There are strong desires to return to my old bulemic ways, however, and that scares me. But I want to be a healthy role model for Malka, so I fight it.

    If you feel strong now, then go for it. I think the lyme is fine. I'm more concerned about what you will feel like being OFF the meds...

    By Blogger Shelli, at 10:34 AM  

  • don't have much to say in the matter as I am colored by my experiences of not getting pregnant easily and having an totally unchecked food addiciton that i'm just barely trying to address with weight watchers and OA

    just sending you good energy thoughts

    By Blogger Sophia, at 11:03 AM  

  • We will have to chat about baby #2 when we see you guys in a couple of weeks!

    Jill and I have discussed that she has lots of the same fears (-lyme) you expressed in this post. Our hoped-for timelines are also similar.

    By Anonymous Liza, at 11:36 AM  

  • Well first, I will definitely send my good thoughts and prayers to your family, Jen, in regards to your uncle. I am very sorry he is not doing well.
    Second, I was so sad to not meet you this weekend, but there was nothing I could do. Picchi and I were so sick. I wanted to meet you more than anyone else, Jen, because of some of the things we've both been going through.
    Third, it sounds like you have a lot on your shoulders re: the ttc process for #2. All of your concerns are very understandable. I think maybe it depends on what is really in your heart, Cait. Is carrying a child something that you think you will regret not having done, or do you think you could come to terms with not having done it? No matter how much logic you use to make a case against carrying #2 (slight chance of passing Lyme, unknown ability to conceive, possible eating disorder problems), if you really want to do this it will probably haunt you if you don't. So maybe answering that first question is the most important thing. If you really, really want it, perhaps you would have and easier time of getting through any difficulties that could arise. If it is something you could see *not* doing without too much heart ache, then maybe it is not worth all of the potential stress. That's my 2 cents, since you asked. You both sound like such wonderful moms, and #2 will be so blessed to have you both as parents no matter what you decide. Take care, both of you.

    By Blogger lagiulia, at 1:30 PM  

  • Um, am I the first straight woman to comment on this? I hope that's okay. But I am a woman, and I have gotten to experience pregnancy and birth and nursing. Those experiences, while not always pleasant, are ones I wouldn't trade for anything in the world.

    I have, many times, found myself feeling sorry for my husband. No matter how great and involved a father he is (and he is) he'll never get to feel the flutter of our baby's first few kicks. Never get that magical look of love and gratitude as baby looks up from the breast. We don't have a choice in the matter. The only womb in the house is mine.

    So what would I do, if I were you? I'd try to get pregnant, no question. You've said that you would like to carry a child, so I say you should try. And yes, it's scary, pregnancy is a scary thing for anyone who goes into it with their eyes open. I also think that the "what is the second child isn't as wonderful as my first?" is universal, though of course your situation is different than mine would be if I ever managed to get pregnant... but I have found myself worrying prematurely that it couldn't be possible to have another kid to equal my son.

    I'm rambling. I'll stop. But it sounds to me like you want someone to tell you to go for it, so I'll tell you. Go for it.

    By Anonymous Summer, at 2:34 PM  

  • Having had 2 kids since winning a 10 year battle with an eating disorder, I can say that it is possible. But the 1st pregnancy did trigger a significant reoccurance of the thought patterns of anorexia, and following both pregnancies I have struggled to adjust to the changes in my body and the time it takes to healthfully get back to a shape I'm happy with. I think that it is crucial in maintaining a healthy mindset in recovery to acknowlegde that staying ED free is a choice made everyday. Thus, during times of stress, like pregnancy, it I needed to hand over control to my doctor. I needed to know that I would be honest with him about my thoughts and feelings, and he would decide if I needed extra support or closer monitoring. Pregnancy and breastfeeding following recovery from an ED is very do-able, but I believe that you need to be strong in your recovery and confident of support from your doctors as well as your partner to be successful.

    Just my thoughts on this particular issue, anyway.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:51 PM  

  • Hi Cait! Nice to see you posting! My two cents' worth on the body image issue...pregnancy was the ONLY time I had an unequivocally good body image. It wasn't my "fault" that my waist was getting bigger, so for once I didn't blame myself. I looked at my body as a strong instrument instead of a poor reflection of what I viewed my insides to be. Even today, when I poke at my flabby belly at the gym (to be fair, it was flabby before pregnancy), I remind myself of what it's done instead of what it looks like. Hope this helps! You're an awesome mommy, no matter what happens.

    By Anonymous DebbieS, at 2:56 PM  

  • I don't have advice like so many of the others, but I wanted to say that I hear you. & I think that if 3/4 of the docs say go for it...
    xo

    By Blogger Calliope, at 8:53 AM  

  • Another possibility to add to the mix - albeit expensive...what about you carrying Jen's baby? I am not sure of the risk of passing on the Lyme Disease (I don't know anything about LD, so I probably should have done a google search before posting!), but the baby will be every bit as perfect as Natalie as it would be her full sibling.

    I carried by partner's baby for a number of reasons - I have rheumatoid arthritis and didn't want to risk passing on an auto immune disease to our baby (every female in my family has one, mostly Lupus), and my partner had a hysterectomy a couple of years ago so couldn't carry anyway (found the fibroid during a routine check up when she was trying to get pregnant). Also, we thought it would be the most equal way of having a baby together (although people still try and argue with us about who is the "real" mum!!! Idiots!). As for loving one child as much as or more than the other - we love each person in our lives differently, and so we should. We love each person for their unique gifts and for the joy they bring to our lives. You will have a different experience with the new baby if you carry it inside you (genetically yours or not) and your bond will be different than what you have with Natalie. In fact, even if you don't carry the baby, your bond will be different this time as you are a bit older and wiser! Different is not a bad thing - it just makes it more exciting and new.

    Anyhoo, just wanted to put it out there as something to think about. It is expensive, both financially and emotionally, but it is an option.

    I am struggling with my body now and finding it very hard to resist bulimia and over eating (4 months after Gabrielle was born), but like a previous post said that pregnancy was the only time I was proud of my body. I would not avoid pregnancy again though even with the challenges I am facing with my mind and body at the moment. Help is available and I will get back on track. (I will, I will, I will! :-)

    Breastfeeding, while being wonderful for those able to do it, is not the be all and end all. Great suggestion from another previous post though about Jen feeding the new bub if you are not able to do it. But formula will nourish a baby just as well, especially when served to them with a big dose of love.

    Not an easy decision, so best of luck with whatever you decide. M

    By Anonymous Ekjiram, at 12:16 AM  

  • I found you via Reesh and also via Liza--and I'm going to delurk to say just how moved I am and how much I admire your honesty and courage in facing up to your fears.
    ...And also by all the support these wonderful women have put forth.
    I think no matter what you chose, your baby (whether carried by you or by Jen) will be loved equally but differently, as all second babies are.
    From my own experience, I find that most of the time I just have to embrace my fear and go with my gut.
    I'll be sure to check back frequently and follow your journey.

    By Blogger Lizzy, at 6:33 PM  

  • Lyme disease is going to depend on your comfort with risk. There are so many things that can go wrong with any baby that I'm amazed that healthy babies are born all the time. Passing on lyme disease is one of a million things that you will get to worry about. No one is promised a perfect child.

    Just because Jen can get pregnant easily doesn't mean you shouldn't, or don't deserve it.

    As someone facing a moderately high risk pregnancy, I can tell you that once you are in the care of a perinatoligist, you usually cannot be comanaged by a midwife. So you are probably facing a pregnancy with a higher level of intervention than you may be comfortable with. Knowing this ahead of time can help you find a good doc and make plans around the pregancy to meet some of your needs (DOULA). And you always, ALWAYS, have the right to refuse and get a second opinion. As an example, the hospital I'm going to will want inducing me at 40 weeks (it's policy with ALL pts who have hypertension) and I've already confirmed that as long as I feel comfortable with the progression of the pregnancy, I can refuse the induction.

    You will make a wonderful baby no matter what.

    Body image. Yes, pregancy will challenge your body image like you've never seen before. I haven't talked to anyone who isn't challenged by it. It will challenge almost every part of you. Know ahead of time and make sure you have the support you need to get through this part.

    There are a lot of unknowns but there are a lot of facts in this too. Lots of people have healthy babies. Most people, actually. When you hold that baby in your arms and your family comes together, it won't matter what it took to get there. The miracles of modern medicine will give you the support you need and will do everything in its power to keep you and your baby safe. Their terror of getting sued can be helpful at times. You are loved and have people around you who will support you and hold you close when you need it. If this is something you will regret not doing, or regret being afraid of, do it.

    The end. Enough of my assvice.

    By Blogger Sacha, at 2:50 PM  

  • I'm addicted to your blog. I have been a loyal reader now since the beginning - this is my first response. I check for a new post almost everyday - I miss you guys!!! Where have you been? Nat is such a doll and I want to know how she is "preparing" for her first holiday season!!! Please post soon :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:51 PM  

  • Anon, we're here and we've been posting. Not much, but a few anyway. Hit refresh. Sometimes my browser does this thing where it doesn't update, but then when I hit refresh I get a million posts.

    By Blogger Cait, at 8:49 AM  

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