Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My Special Needs Kiddo: The Problematic Conception (Part 1)



I married at seventeen and, in my early twenties, found myself deathly ill with baby fever. Over the years, my husband and I would discuss time and again when the best time would be to bring forth a youngin'. So, when I was twenty-four, we started trying. Because of the stresses life abundantly offers and the pressure to make sure everything needed was in place prior, conceiving became difficult and disappointing. We are Catholic, so we felt well-educated in how to or not to become pregnant because we had done the Natural Family Planning (NFP) course.


In February 2007, we started trying. Then, in April 2007, we stopped trying and refocused on life as a married couple with a potential relocation to another state on the horizon. One of us worked while the other juggled work and college. It was about this time that I was placed on a medication for which I was required to sign a legal waiver, stating that I would not become pregnant while taking this pill. Should I become pregnant, then no party (other than myself) would be held responsible for any resulting birth defects. I was on this medication for two weeks at a high dose and, on THE day I was due for my period, I took a pregnancy test to be proactively aware of everything involving my health and world. My husband was at work, and I was due to walk into work at my job as well in just a few hours. I'm a woman of simplicity, so I tinkled in a cup, tossed in a First Response test, and then went to grab a cup of joe. I came back after forgetting it for a time to find that it was positive. The damn thing looked like a Sharpie drew those lines.

I called my husband, and he rushed home from prepping to teach class and I shared the news. I always pictured this being a joyous announcement with jumping and hugs, but, because of the  medication, it was a concerning occasion rather than a celebration. He asked me if I was sure, and so I sarcastically tossed the two other sticks into the same cup of cold pee. Then we argued because I did it too quickly, and he apparently wanted me to test in a cup of fresh pee. I laugh today because I now understand his need at the time to be sure with fresh piss. I laugh because it was a request made in fear, not logic, and I could feel his panic. I was there. Pregnancy pee is pregnancy pee, regardless of how fresh it may or may not be. The other two tests were as equally blunt in the revelation that I had, in fact, just signed up for my newest nine-month commitment.

We sat almost somberly. From my calculations, I was approximately four weeks preggers and had taken this medication for the last two weeks, which would have been in the 4 to 6-week range. We had, for the most part, stopped trying; so, in a half-minded way, I felt that, if I couldn't purposely get pregnant, then surely it wasn't going to happen accidentally. Around this time, unfortunately, the heart, brain, and circulatory system are developing, and I had taken a medication faithfully that could largely place this child at risk. Abortion never crossed our minds. Not because of religion, but because my brother had lived with Muscular Dystrophy until his passing at twelve years old, and my brother-in-law was a quadriplegic and nonverbal until his passing at twenty-five. The idea of a child that wasn't necessarily cookie cutter wasn't so scary with both of us having been raised, in some fashion, around others that needed special considerations.

After broken conversation, woven with long silent pauses, we decided to embrace our new adventure head-on with smiling faces, as we were about to transform from a couple into parents. But we would have nine months to get to that point, and there were some bumps in the road.

Massive bumps in the road...

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