Thursday, February 10, 2011

Got Faith?

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, but before I get to that…you should watch this:

We have an army crawler! Ryan and I were ecstatic, as this is a huge milestone that Austin worked very hard to achieve. Austin’s OT says he needs to work on strengthening his tummy muscles and he’ll be crawling all over the place in no time.

As most of you know, my husband is a balanced 21/22 carrier. We have an increased 5% chance of having another child with Down syndrome. We also have a 47.5% chance of having a typical child. The other 47.5 chance is that we’d have a typical child, but he/she would be a balanced 21/22 carrier, just like my husband. When you’re looking at the numbers, it would seem that the risk for Down syndrome would be relatively low considering the other two percentages. However, the odds are about 1:20.

Upon finding out the results of our Genetic Testing in June, we decided that we would use In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) with Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) with our next pregnancy. This would select embryos that have the “correct” amount of chromosome material. Only a single cell has to be removed to tell if an embryo has too much or too little chromosome material (unbalanced chromosomes). They will also be able to tell which embryos have balanced chromosomes. Here’s the deal: By only transferring those embryos that have balanced chromosomes, we would increase our chance of having a successful pregnancy and decrease the chances for miscarriage or the birth of a child with a chromosome abnormality.

"Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
-Matthew 17:20

The more we’ve thought about the procedure, the more we’ve struggled with it. Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t having another child any time soon. However, this is a huge decision that will take a lot of thought, prayers and time. We want to be prepared. We struggle with the thought of IVF because it can almost make us seem like hypocrites. How can we say that aborting babies with Down syndrome is wrong, when we’re having a procedure done to ensure we do not have another baby with Down syndrome? That 90% + rate of termination for prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome hurts my heart more than you could ever imagine. When I think of how wonderful Austin is…how much we love him, I just feel like those whom have terminated are missing out on so much! And they don’t even know it.

Would IVF make my husband and I hypocrites? I don’t know…I go back and forth. I may offend some of you by saying this, but Down syndrome isn’t exactly something you “strive” for when you think about starting a family. We didn’t ask God for a child with Down syndrome, but we are so grateful that he gave us one. From Austin’s head to his sweet little baby toes…there’s nothing I would change about him. We chose to embrace his Down syndrome. It makes him who he is and we love who he is! Some people chose not to embrace Down syndrome and terminate their pregnancy. Would we NOT be embracing Down syndrome if we chose to do IVF with our next pregnancy? I don’t know.

"I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done.”
Matthew 21:21

As you can tell, this is a huge struggle for us. Do we want a genetically typical child with our next pregnancy? Absolutely. Shouldn’t we have Faith that God is going to give us exactly what we need? God meant for us to have Austin and we certainly NEEDED him. Then part of me wonders: Could we handle 2 children with Down syndrome? And then I think that certainly God wouldn’t give us another child with Down syndrome…but what if HE thinks we need another child with Down syndrome? We don't think we need another child with Down syndrome, but who are we to question God? Certainly God will give us a child without Down syndrome? Right? Remember what I said about telling God your plans? It's an exellent way to make him laugh.

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
Hebrews 11:1

I also think about our future child. There’s 47.5% chance that he or she would be a balanced carrier. Even though I’m not the balanced carrier, part of me would feel guilty because he/she would have to face the same struggles my husband and I are facing when it comes to having a child.

So many thoughts…so many thoughts. Ryan and I are going to continue to pray about this. No decision has been made and we’re thankful we have A LOT of time to think and pray about it. Your prayers would be appreciated too :)

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"
-Matthew 14:31


  1. Hey friend, I am sure this took a lot to post your honest feelings, your exploration of options, faith and opinion on it all. You are wonderful for going to God for the answers, I think if you stay in his Word, and be in prayer he will give you the answers you are looking for. I will pray with you will gain Wisdom, Understanding and Guidance. xoxo

    ...Loved seeing the Army Crawl, goooooo Austin, we are cheering him on here in NY! Thanks for grabbing Grady's button, you need one!! so I can grab yours !!

  2. OH honey... I wish I could help ya. But I do have to say - Austin isn't just army crawling - he's using his legs more than his arms. :)

    I love ya girl!

  3. Austin is doing awesome!! Russell just started army crawling too and it IS very exciting isnt it!!
    I understand how you must be debating back and forth about how to go about having another baby...To be honest I would think those very same things too...It would be a struggle. I will pray for you to find peace in whatever decision feels right to you.