I've been recently thinking about our next baby. No, I'm not pregnant or planning on being pregnant anytime soon. Perhaps if Oli had arrived in a regular, smooth kind of fashion I would be trying for number two a little sooner than I'm now planning. Alas this didn't happen and I need time to recover from the first year mentally, physically and most of all emotionally! But this doesn't mean I can't think about a future squishy newborn.
With another baby comes the chance of another CF diagnosis. Ian and I both carry the cf gene, therefore giving us a 1 in 4 chance of our babies having cystic fibrosis. Oli was our 1 and we may go onto have 3 unaffected babies however it's quite common to have more than one child with CF in a family. In a natural pregnancy theres nothing we can do to prevent CF. We do have a choice of going through IVF and using gene selection to ensure our future babies don't have the CF gene. When I first heard this I was relieved. I now feel like it's a little more complicated. Not only could there be possible side effects, complications from the medications, and the financial burden, I no longer feel it's necessary.
I could dive into an ethical debate here regarding the rights of the fetus however I've already written that essay in my postgrad and I don't think anyone wants to read it here! After a year or so of thinking about gene selection, we have decided against it. An easy fix now seems like playing god in a way. I'm not saying that in the future this wont be the right choice for us but as of right now it's not the path we are looking down. Somewhere along the track I remember hearing of a test that will be introduced in early pregnancy to terminate cases of cf in-utero. Oh my goodness, I was so insulted! Oli is absolutely perfect, he might be a little heavy on the public health system when he's older but I don't think thats a worthy reason to deprive him of a wonderfully rich life! I find it quite offensive that anyone would say that Oli isn't worthy of living because he has CF!
I was recently reading through a forum where a first time CF mum was asking about future babies and another potential cf diagnosis. There was a mixed bag of responses, three really stood out for me. The first was a mum who said that she had four beautiful children with her fourth having CF. She said the thought of a CF diagnosis stopping her from having kids was heartbreaking. Not only would she have been denying her children of siblings but she wouldn't have met & raised these other beautiful little people. Another mum had five kids with CF! She wrote about their wonderful lives and the support they had for one another especially when they were unwell.
The last response was a little different. A mum wrote that she couldn't bring another child into the world with the chance that they would have CF. After the horrible effects of the disease on her first born she said it would be cruel and selfish of a parent to have another baby. This woman highlighted that the child was the one to suffer and they don't ask to be born...so better not to run the risk? This was like a slap in the face to me, while it was definitely the minority, I thought maybe its reality? That's the problem with this disease! It's so sneaky in the shadows that we don't know what the future holds. Maybe it's all well and good for me to be writing about how CF doesn't affect us so much now because I'm only just over the first year and naive? I hope not. You see time has changed my perception.
A year ago I was in the why me, why us, why Oli mindset. After getting to know Oli, lots of talking and reading from other cf mums it's dawned on me. I have a new way of thinking about Oli and his cf. I like to think that he chose me, he thought...she will look after me, she has a huge heart and has the ability to care for all of my needs. It's so much nicer than 'why me!' It instantly flips the negative to a positive. Someone in my family recently said "Isn't Oli lucky he has you for a mum out of all of us because your a nurse and know more 'stuff' about cf" It really hit me then, wow! we really are a perfect fit! Maybe this isn't a horrible mistake, maybe this has happened for a reason. Regardless of what the future holds for us all I'm so happy knowing that Oli and I are meant to be together, he's like my little soul mate.
Now I think...thank you Oli, for choosing me to be your mummy because I'm the luckiest most blessed girl in the world now. I have a beautiful little family but I have a little more extra responsibility that makes me count my blessings tenfold. I'm so grateful for being trusted with Oli and all of his needs. Thank you to the stork that delivered him, hehe if only it was that easy! I cannot wait for our next baby one day and to give Oli a best friend for life. My siblings are my best friends and I could never deny Oli of the joy of family! The fear of a potential diagnosis won't scare me off having more kids like we have always planned. Firstly because I wont let cf run our lives, secondly because...theres nothing to be scared of! Oli's just a regular little boy, roaming through my veggie patch, pulling out my seedlings and chasing his chooks around the backyard after dinner.
What would you do if you were in my position? Are you in the same position as me? Have you been through IVF and gene selection? While I love sharing my thoughts about this sensitive topic I understand that not everyone will feel the same way as I do. Heck even I might not feel this way tomorrow, next week or if I'm facing another pregnancy. I respect and understand that everyone will have different views. Share your thoughts I would love to hear! Xx