Monday, December 27, 2010

Here we go again.

Welcome to Charlie Barley's Baby.
At the moment, this blog is private - nobody can read it except me. We have a lot coming up over the next few months, and I need to get my head around it all on my own before I let everyone else in.
But I'm used to blogging on a public blog (Charlie's News) so I guess I'll just write like I'm talking to my usual gang of readers. And I figure you'll all be reading this eventually anyway.
Here we go.
Most of you will know that Charlie had his Fontan surgery last March, and has recovered brilliantly. For the first time ever, we don't have major surgery looming over us.
We always said that we'd think about another child after Charlie had his op - but his op kept being bumped further and further back because he was doing so well.
Even so, we decided not to think about more kids until his surgery was over, because we wanted to be able to focus on him 100 percent. Not to mention the fact that we live a very long way from the hospital that does his surgery, and the idea of juggling a sick Charlie as well as a baby/toddler was pretty scary.
We never envisaged he'd be seven years old before he was home and safely recovered from his Fontan.
But here we are.
I'm 35 now, so although I'm not ancient by any means, I'm certainly no spring chicken in terms of baby-making. So the clock is ticking (albeit still quite quietly.)
I wrote a diary throughout my pregnancy with Charlie, and I really wish I'd discovered blogging back then - it's so much easier to document everything on a blog, with all the pictures, links and other gadgets available. And now I have an iPhone it's even easier to snatch five minutes to write down all the stuff I'll forget otherwise. So here I am.
Anyway. Where are we at right now?
Well. I'm not pregnant - as far as I know. I spoke to the geneticist at our local hospital a few months ago, and she confirmed that there are still no scientific advances we could take advantage of to improve our odds of conceiving a child without HLHS or MGS. The only thing she could recommend was for me to take massive doses of folic acid for three months before trying to conceive (5mg per day instead of the normally recommended 0.4mg) and to call her once I am pregnant.
I'm not going to lie. This is scary. Very scary. I swing from hopeful optimism, to blind terror, to slapping myself around the head thinking I must be absolutely mad to put myself through this.
But it doesn't really feel like there's much of a choice. I'm just not 'done' with having kids yet. I'm not ready to call it a day. And nor is Pete.
We want another baby.
Charlie wants a brother or sister that he actually gets to meet.
He knows what could happen - that we might get another baby like Will who would only be able to stay for a very little while; or that we might get a baby with a special heart like his who would need lots of operations. Or we might get one that is just plain old ordinary.
We have weighed up all the odds, countless times - for the record, we have about a 65-70% chance of a child who is perfectly fine - and have come to the conclusion that we'd prefer to take the risk and accept whatever outcome we get, rather than not give it a whirl and then hit our fifties and spend the rest of our lives wondering 'what if?'
So, I'm into my last few folic acid tablets from my initial three-month prescription, so I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens next.
Watch this space...