Forgive me if I've been totally MIA when it comes to my blogging duties lately. I have pregnancy brain.
Yes, Hope will officially become a big sister this spring (note the big smile on her face above; she has no idea what's ahead). I'm five months along now and due in early June, though I'll likely have a C-section in mid-May because of two previous ones.
Now, some of you may be wondering why two people with a known genetic condition in the family would even CONSIDER having another child. As incredibly grateful as I am to be Hope's and Will's mom, I've always longed for a healthy child. And shortly after Hope was born, Joel and I learned that the possibility existed that we could -- through science.
Joel and I were able to do some very, very detailed genetic testing at the embryonic level before I even got pregnant. It's called Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis. Basically, people way smarter than me -- scientists -- can build tests for families with known genetic conditions to test future pregnancies for that same condition. In an amazing coincidence, we went to a facility in our own backyard, Detroit, and a test was built using my DNA, Joel's, Hope's and Will's (which we banked before his death, hoping that we'd one day be able to have an official CdLS diagnosis). Using that test, we were able to test specifically for Cornelia de Lange Syndrome at the embryonic level. PGD, which has been around for about 13 years, is 97 percent accurate.
It's a lot to get your brain around. To do this testing, we had to go through in vitro fertilization. We went through our first round in September and got the amazing news a week later that I was pregnant. In vitro is not an easy process in and off itself. I gained so much empathy for people with fertility issues because it certainly isn't easy. It's physically, emotionally and financially challenging.
But the amazing news is this: About a week after Christmas, I had an amniocentesis. We had to send everything off to a special lab at the University of Chicago which is the only lab in the country (I think) that tests for the NIPBL gene mutation Hope has and Will had, which causes CdLS.
Our baby does NOT have the NIPBL mutation. I just cried when the genetic counselor called me. I had tried to prepare myself for every possibility. But to hear those words, I can't even describe my relief. For a couple days afterward, I jumped every time the phone rang because I kept worrying the genetic counselor was going to call back and say she got it wrong. It's been two weeks now and I don't think she's calling.
I realize that some people may disagree with our decision. Joel and I could've chosen adoption. But adoption has its own challenges and I just hope that those who don't agree with our approach withhold judgment until they've walked in our shoes. Again, I feel SO blessed to be Hope's and Will's mom. And yet, I've always wanted a healthy biological child -- a child who'll hopefully one day learn to read, play soccer and graduate from college.
I realize there are no guarantees. So for now, I just feel thankful. And I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this pregnancy continues uneventfully. All I'd like in the world is a boring pregnancy. Oh yeah -- and a healthy kid!
One last thing: We're having a BOY! As I said before, Hopesy has no idea what's in store for her. I can't wait.