May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
-Irish Blessing

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Russian Roulette

I have been transparently focused on a rainbow baby since Eli's birth even though conceiving again was like firing a loaded gun. We had no idea whether we would become parents to yet another Potter's Syndrome baby or whether we would be able to bring this one home. We did everything within our grasp to find answers and the best we could do was an eight percent chance of recurrence. It was unnerving to say the least. It was so much easier to jump into the pool again when I had been told that the first time was just a fluke. I compare our experience trying again this time to Russian Roulette though admittedly our odds of getting that bullet were a little lower. According to Wikipedia, the first shot fired out of a six shot revolver loaded for a game of Russian Roulette is 16.6% likely to be the bullet. But, if that gun is shot again without spinning the cylinder, the percentage of firing that bullet gets higher and higher. The second firing is 20% likely to be the bullet, the third is 25% and so on. Though my odds are lower, my percentage increase is about the same. After Wyatt was born we were given a 3-5% chance of recurrence, now we're at 8% and truly that is just an educated guess since the genetic (or not) pathway of inheritance or occurrence is unknown for our family and I have a maternal aunt who also passed away from Potter's.

The first four months of this pregnancy not knowing whether this baby was healthy were very trying. I compared every little symptom or lack thereof to Eli's pregnancy, searching for something, anything to either put my mind at ease or confirm my fears. We chose not to tell anyone for the entire first trimester and then only began sharing when my stomach was no longer easily concealed. We didn't even tell our daughters during the first trimester. If this weren't my sixth on the way to full term pregnancy I probably would have held out much longer. I didn't want to tell anyone about the baby until I knew one way or another. It just didn't feel right to share what should be good news and then have that worry-filled question hanging over all of our heads. I wanted to either be able to share entirely happy news or to be able to quietly process bad news and then parcel it out at a time of my own choosing, not on the day everyone knew I was having an ultrasound and would be waiting for results. We had fired the gun and had to wait an excruciatingly long time to find out whether there was a bullet in that chamber. Until we saw this baby with our own eyes there were no good answers to our daughters' questions about whether this baby would die too. Stressful is a highly understated description of those months.

I am beyond happy to be in the good percentage this time and to be able to give hope to other families who have lost pregnancies and babies, especially those who have lost two little ones to Potter's Syndrome. I scoured the internet while pregnant with Eli and after he was born looking for someone else who has walked my shoes and found the path to a happy ending. I wasn't able to find any stories with that happy ending (though I hope they are out there). Now mine is written for someone else someday.


  1. You are so kind to think of others when you have so many reasons to think of only yourself. I applaud you for such a kind heart despite all that can make a women bitter. Thank you for doing all that you can to be helpful and honest in your struggles. Thank you for choosing to write..for choosing to share- you have touched me with your words and experiences, thinking of you

  2. Thank you, Felicia, I really appreciate you sharing this with me. Sometimes it feels like writing is just a selfish release for me, so to know that my words can do more than that means so much. -Mandy



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