No matter what our reasons would be for terminating, we know that the amount of regret could place a heavy burden on both of us. I am only 32 years old and young enough to get pregnant again, however, we made the decision that at this point going for a 7th pregnancy would not be an option for us. Although the chance of having another CDH pregnancy is less than 2%, the last two years have been an emotional roller coaster with the other three repetitive miscarriages. We have decided that no matter what the outcome is for this pregnancy, we will move forward beyond thankful to have one healthy, loving, and energetic little boy.
The one thing we learned since finding out about Caleb's diagnosis is that no CDH story is the same. The babies with the worst prognosis sometimes do the best after birth and vice versa. That being said, our main concern is his quality of life during his toddler years and thereafter. Unfortunately, the complex surgeries needed for CDH babies to survive were not being performed decades ago and babies with severely compromised or fragile lungs were not placed on the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine. This temporary bypass technique is used on 50% of CDH babies and oxygenates the blood and allows the lungs to rest. Therefore, the stories of older CDH survivors are difficult to find, which leaves one of our major questions concerning Caleb's quality of life unanswered.
Through our reading and guidance from doctors treating CDH survivors, we learned that after a tough couple of years and many obstacles to overcome, CDH children are physically active and learning at the same level as other children their age. This information, in addition to feeling the endless kicks and flutters and seeing the numerous ultrasounds of our baby boy has lead us to one conclusion...
We have decided to continue the pregnancy and hope that Caleb will be strong enough to overcome the many trials and tribulations he will face on his journey. If he is anything like his big brother, we know he will become another miracle amongst the CDH survivors.
Our heads are still spinning trying to process everything, but we know that the decision we have made is the best for our family. Brody is our #1 priority and although our biggest concern is the impact this will have on him, we know that he is young and hope that he will overcome whatever curve balls are thrown our way after his baby brother is born.
We will be forever grateful for the support our family and friends have given us during this very difficult time and know that they will continue to be there every step of the way.