As I continue to edge closer and closer to my first round of IVF, I find myself becoming more and more apprehensive about the whole process. For someone who has suffered with anxiety for a few years, I've been surprised at myself for not feeling anxious throughout this entire time. I've tried to explain to others why this anxiety exists, but it's hard to convey to them just what a CF pregnancy means. Despite the fact that many don't fully "get" it, I feel the need to write about it. What follows is a small splattering of the thoughts that occur when I think about being pregnant, and I apologize in advance for the randomness that will follow.
I'm going to come out, right now, and tell you what my biggest fear is: dying during pregnancy.
I know..I know..it sounds dramatic. The thing is, it's not all that dramatic. I started following all the blogs and boards regarding CF pregnancy last June. Shortly after starting, I became acquainted with Nicole, a fellow cyster who was already pregnant and doing well. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, she had a massive bout of hemoptysis and she and her sweet unborn son, Robert, ended up passing away a short time later.
Following that, I have heard a scattered story or two about someone with perfectly good lung function doing terribly, or even passing away during pregnancy. I will tell you, it had me terrified.
I'm not terrified anymore, but the very real fear is still present. It nags at me deep down when I'm least expecting it. It's the voice constantly saying, "Are you sure you want to do this? Give up your body for 9 months? Deal with weekly doctors appointments for various doctors that you will have to see during the pregnancy? Are you sure you want to take this risk?"
Then, there's the other voice.
The side of me that says, "I want my own child, and my body can do this." I think about all the pros that I have going for me: My lung function is normal. It's 86%! I'm stable and have been now for 5 years. I've only had 2 PICC lines ever, and the second one was for a precautionary reason following sinus surgery. I'm going to be at home the entire pregnancy, which means more rest, and it limits me from catching something from a work environment. I have the best doctors, and they ALL are confident and excited about me carrying a child. I do my treatments, faithfully, and I will continue that regimen once I'm pregnant, and after the pregnancy is done. I have a support system that just doesn't end; If I'm sick, I'll have help. I also know my body, and I will be on the phone with my doctors at the first sign that something isn't right.
Obviously, I've made my mind up about this, but I still do worry. I also think that's just the way mothers-to-be are, in general, let alone if they have a genetic condition against them. I just don't want my time with my sweet husband to be compromised because of my selfishness to have a child. Yet, I know I'm meant to be a mother. I know that fact with all my being. It's my purpose for being on this Earth.
All of this being said, my husband and I have come to a pretty solid, although difficult, decision. We want to have our own child for our first child (if we can). After that, we have decided that we will probably either adopt or work through the fostering system. The truth is that we both want more than one child (at least, right now), but we're not comfortable with risking my health twice for it.
Deciding to have a child has been the most difficult decision in my life, hands down. I hope I am making the right choice, but I also have faith that God has a plan for me which will unfold exactly how it is supposed to. I also am keeping the encouraging, uplifting stories of fellow cysters, who have not just fared well during pregnancy, but improved in my mind and heart.
I know that the nagging voice will still be there, probably up until the birth of my child, but I am trying my best to quiet it and focus on the good.
To all my cysters who have already made this choice, did you also find it to be the most difficult choice you've made?
To all my cysters who are currently making this choice, I keep you in my thoughts and prayers, and I hope you find peace and confidence in whichever decision you ultimately make. Trust me, I know how hard it is.