Well if you are not friends with me on facebook, you probably haven't heard, so here it is...
Cole & I are expecting Baby Brewer #2!!!
We are beyond excited and thankful to be expecting another precious gift from God, and cannot wait to meet our little Christmas gift! He or she is due Christmas Day!
I wanted to write a blogpost answering the questions that some may have- I know because I have already been asked by some. Everyone who knows me, knows that I am a very open person when it comes to Ava's condition. My thought is that I would rather people be informed and educated than stare and wonder. Usually what people imagine is much worse than the reality. And I want to be very open and clear about our decision to further our family as well.
Cole and I always wanted two or three children. Always. When Ava was born, we decided we would get her out of diapers before adding to the family. Of course, that changed when we learned of her diagnosis. When we found out about her condition, we were not sure if we could or should have more children. Ava is a blessing and we love her dearly, but we also did not want to jump into another pregnancy until we had all of the information we could get. The decision to have more children was not something we took lightly or rushed. So here are some questions I might have for someone in my shoes... I hope they satisfy curiosities and maybe put some of our loved one's minds at ease.
1. Aren't you worried the AS could repeat in this baby???
In a word, YES. Of course. Without getting too far into the genetics of AS, Ava's genotype (Del+) is a random, unpredictable occurrence that could not have been avoided. It is like winning the lottery. I am actually less worried about having another Angel (maybe because I know what to do with an Angel!) than I am about other genetic conditions or medical conditions.
I told my (wonderful) OB that I was so, so worried that there would be no heartbeat at the first ultrasound (there was a perfect little flicker!). She said that I will be worried the entire pregnancy. She said that second time moms always are because they understand the stakes, and I also no longer get to live in that happy place of "It can't happen to me." But I have undergone extensive genetic testing and have no markers or indications that I am more likely to have a child with a genetic condition. Beyond that, it is in God's hands.
So of course I am worried, about many things. But I try my best not to be. Because when I worry, it takes it away from God. I have a "worry journal" that I write down my fears and worries in, then pray and give them to the Lord. That has really calmed me and let me relax and enjoy (as much as I can!) the pregnancy.
2. How are you going to handle a special needs child and a baby?
This is something that I wonder myself at times. I think all parents wonder how to handle a toddler and a baby if they are put in that situation! I have sought advice and wisdom from other special needs parents with younger children, and the resounding answer I have heard is that subsequent children are the most amazing thing that can happen to a special needs family. They provide joy and healing in a very difficult stage of life, and they also help balance focus a bit for the family. When you have a special needs child (and ONLY a special needs child), things like your marriage and your personal sanity tend to get put on the back burner some. Having another child can add some balance to that equation and provide a sense of normalcy where one was lacking before.
The other thing is that while Ava is more challenging than a typical 2 year old in some ways, she is also easier than a typical 2 year old in some ways. Her "fits" last usually only a minute. She is sweet and loving and pretty much goes with the flow. The most difficult part right now is the physical aspect of it. But thankfully Cole is home to help with that- and he bought me a minivan so I don't have to bend over so much to get her in the car! It is WONDERFUL! And we have AMAZING family support from our parents and my sister that I know if we ever need help (and we will!), there will be someone right there.
Bottom line: Babies are always a blessing. Where there is a will, there is a way!
3. Am I worried to have Ava around the baby?
Well obviously they won't be left alone together! HA! But no, I am not worried that she will be too rough with the baby. Our poor dogs have been the lesson on that one- she now understands (through many whimpers and yelps of our puppies) the meaning of "gentle" and "sweet." I think she will be a WONDERFUL big sister. Except when she steals the baby's paci. I am considering using a totally different type of paci just to avoid that scenario all together!
4. With all of these concerns and unknowns, why did you decide to have more children?
Like I said, Cole and I always wanted more children. But when we learned of Ava's condition, more children became a bigger priority. Unless a medical breakthrough happens, Ava will always need someone to look after her needs and make sure she is taken care of. While Cole and I are doing our best to make sure this happens financially, we will not physically always be around. A sibling can provide that support long after we are gone.
Another factor was our own healing. Any child is a blessing, but having one with a genetic condition creates a great sorrow and hurt in your heart. There are many emotions and sometimes you wonder if you will ever stop crying, hurting, or mourning for your child. But I have been told time and again that another child will help heal those wounds. And I am really looking forward to that.
A second (and hopefully one day, a third) child may also be the best thing for Ava. We have been told by countless other AS families that subsequent children often spark development and encourage growth in an Angel. There are stories of Angels walking just days after mom and dad bring home a sibling. It will be really exciting to see the things Ava does when she is a big sister!
All of these things may sound selfish. But they are not. These are all secondary to the fact that we wanted more children because we feel like we have more love to give! We know we can provide and support another child, and give him or her a happy, loving, and stable home with loving parents and an amazing and special big sister! We love our little Brewer baby so much already, and cannot wait to introduce him/her to the world! What a special little baby he/she is!!!
I hope that I answered some questions you may have about this baby. But if I didn't, please feel free to email me and ask whatever you want. I really do want to be open and help others understand our decision and our hearts.