My wife and I are in a very tough spot. We have three children and are expecting number four. Her due date is May 14, but our little daughter is not going to make it that long. All three of my wife’s previous pregnancies had serious complications and we knew that there were risks in getting pregnant again. After consultation with our priest and our doctor, we reluctantly started using the strictest method of sympto-thermal NFP.
We wanted and still want a large family. We were happy yet scared when my wife came up pregnant last year. We have reviewed our chart with a Couple to Couple League teaching couple and they agree that this is one of those freak method failures. My wife has a very short luteal phase and the chart says that she was infertile by 2 days when she got pregnant.
Please understand that we are thrilled and love this baby. We call her “God’s baby” because it truly seems to be the will of God that she was conceived. How can we interfere with that? We have happily celebrated her and looked forward to her arrival.
My wife is now 28 weeks pregnant as is having more complications than ever before. There is still a chance that she and the baby will not make it, but having crossed that 28 week threshold jumped up the odds of a successful outcome. We patiently and obidiently await whatever lies ahead of us and hope for the safe arrival of, aptly named, little Gianna.
The doctor has made it clear to us that if my wife were to get pregnant again after this, she would almost certainly lose the baby early and would have a serious risk of long-lasting health issue or even death should she make it past 20-some weeks. He is a Christian who knows are respects our Catholic beliefs. He would never suggest we get a tubal, but he also made it clear that we will need to decide how to handle this after the baby is born.
Now that you have the background, I can get to my question. My wife is reading Life Giving Love by Kimberly Hahn while she is on strict bedrest. On Page 194 of the paperback version, she states, “We cannot discount the doctor’s opinion that another pregnancy could cause serious harm or even death, just because we want more children. If the Pill or a hysterectomy is required medically, and it is not being chosen for contraceptive effect, there is no sin.”
My wife is literally in tears over this. She wants more children but also realizes that she has an obligation to me and our four children. She has literally said, “If it is between me and the baby, choose the baby. God wanted her born, so it is in His hands.” She would gladly get pregnant again if she thought she and the baby could survive it, but she now agrees that the odds are too risky.
From what I understand, if she gets a c-section (very good possiblity), they could do a tubal. I would never trust the Pill for our birth control since it is really not better than the method of NFP we used. Women do get pregnant on the Pill. Even a tubal is not 100%, but as close as you are going to get short of a hysterectomy. If we have to take a “medically required action”, that would be the leading candidate.
Is Kimberly Hahns statement true? How should we approach and way the moral sides of this issue? Where is my wife selfishly persuing her own desire for more children and rejecting her responsibilities as wife and mother to existing children? Is it enough to talk to a single priest about this or should we do something more “official” before we make a permanent decision that I have always thought was against Church teaching? Is celebate love really our only remaining option?