I was talking to a blog friend on facebook the other day about babies, fertility, issues around those things, and the Catholic Church. She's quite the Catechist reader as well (although she puts me to shame!) and says "You know, you have an excellent case for Church sanctioned sterility". Now, mind you, she wasn't trying to be harsh or mean; she was giving her honest opinion.
For those who are wondering what on earth "Church sanctioned sterility" might mean, the simple answer is that there are certain medical practices that are not considered okay for Catholics. A vasectomy, for example, is one of those; IVF is another. (There are a number of practices and the reasons why they are prohibited, if you are interested, that you can find on the USCCB page or by contacting your local diocese.) However, even practices that are normally no-no's, if you have a pressing medical reason that a specific condition might be necessary, you can petition the Bishop/Cardinal of your diocese/archdiocese for a dispensation to the rule so that you can, in good faith and conscience, have the procedure done. (Obviously, it's a more detailed examination that I'm giving in a paragraph, but you get the gist.)
My friend's position is that, due to my body's inability to nourish or sustain a pregnancy and the ramifications of that (both health wise, emotionally, and the toll on our families), I would have a case, should I want a voluntary hysterectomy. I'm not sure that I've ever heard of anyone citing recurrent pregnancy loss or recurrent preterm labor as an argument for sterility, but it has made me think and question the idea.
I brought it up to Peter the other night, not as a "I want a hysterectomy" discussion (because, for the record, that's not a thought passing through my mind) but just to share the suggestion. His response actually surprised me.
We've discussed pregnancy before and how there would be so many risks that it doesnt seem practical to attempt. Of course, if we got pregnant, we'd be grateful and do our best, but to actually try to conceive again doesn't seem up our alley. He wasn't suggesting that we get on the TTC train, but his comments were interesting the say the least.
He wonders if pregnancy could, possibly, be more normal, post a cerclage, since I'm in better health and weigh quite a bit less. If, of course, I'd be less active, but if I could manage at home without strict bedrest, and make it fairly close to full term.
I'm not as optimistic. I think a great deal of my issues stem from the fact that, hormonally, something isn't right but also that my cervix has some sort of defect. It isn't tired from too much work or tried-and-true-but-old... It's actually broken in some sort of hidden way. The structure is weak. And, although a TVC can help that, it can't fix the fact that the structure itself is weak. 15% of TVCs fail; I'm one of those. I know it and accept it; I wouldnt be willing to voluntarily risk it.
Which brings the discussion back to a preventative TAC. A higher success rate with a much higher chance of a full term delivery... But always a surgical delivery, with a higher risk of complications and a longer recovery time... with kids at home already who need 100% of me, regardless of how I'm feeling.
I loved it. For all of the worry and health issues, I loved being pregnant. I'd love to do it again. And I love the idea of babies in our house. But... There is so much to consider... Infertility aside, the prospect terrifies me. And, with Michael on the way, it would definitely be something to consider for 2 years or so down the road.
But would be consider it? Would we consider a surgery to make it "safer" and actually actively try again?
I dont know, but it is strange thinking that Peter thinks it would be possible... and quasi-normal.