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Monday, June 2, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Woman Who Lost Sons Is Pregnant Again -- `It's Such A Blessing,' She Says Of The New Life

Los Angeles Times

Edye Smith Stowe was in the kitchen with her husband and her parents when the call came from the doctor's office.

She was pregnant.

In seconds, the entire family was weeping, and a new chapter had begun in one of the most poignant stories to come out of the Oklahoma City bombing.

Stowe was just 23 when the destruction of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building took the lives of her two young sons, Chase, 3, and Colton, 2.

Now she has a new husband, and the baby will be here next winter.

"It's such a blessing," said Stowe, who became a magnet for the media after the bombing for her willingness to discuss the event with a degree of composure that few other relatives of the victims could muster.

She gained further attention when she and her ex-husband agreed to remarry in order to have children again - a relationship that again failed to work out.

`My whole life is ruined'

"I thought I would never have children again. The very night of the bombing, I thought about that. My mom and I laid in the boys' room - they had twin beds - and I thought, `I will never have kids again. My whole life is ruined.'

"I always thought that if something happened to my boys, I couldn't go on living because I loved them so much. But I learned I can."

Stowe and her new husband, Paul Stowe, discovered they were to become parents on May 7 in a phone call from a nurse at Pacific Fertility Centers in Beverly Hills, Calif., where the couple had undergone infertility treatment. Bombing suspect Timothy McVeigh's trial was just getting under way. The moment was bittersweet, recalls Stowe's mother, Kathy Wilburn. Edye, Chase and Colton had lived with Kathy and her husband, Glenn Wilburn.

Back in April 1995

In April 1995, Stowe and her mother were Internal Revenue Service employees in Oklahoma City.

Edye had missed two days of work, Monday and Tuesday, but on Wednesday, April 19, had dropped off Chase and Colton at the Murrah Building day-care center and had gone to her office a few blocks away. She had just turned 23.

"Her co-workers were having a birthday party for her. They were saying, `Edye, come blow out the candles on your cake.' And as she was walking toward the cake, the bomb went off," Kathy Wilburn said.

"Happiness hit along with a wall of sadness because it closed a final chapter on Chase and Colton," Wilburn said of the pregnancy. "It dawned on me that part of our life is over and it is time to start anew. Edye calls it a new branch on a tree." `Part of my recovery'

The pregnancy is "part of my recovery," Stowe said.

Four months after the bombing, Stowe remarried Tony Smith, the boys' father. She had undergone a tubal ligation to prevent further pregnancies after Colton's birth, but she and Smith announced their plans to have the procedure reversed in order to start a family anew.

Stowe underwent two surgeries on her Fallopian tubes and hoped fervently that she would become pregnant. The surgery has about a 50 percent chance of success if all goes well, said Dr. Geoffrey Sher, who directed Stowe's recent treatment at Pacific Fertility Centers.

Still no baby

But a year later, she still had no baby and her marriage was floundering. Stowe and Smith decided to divorce a second time last fall.

"The only reason we got married was to try to have children again," Stowe said. "We thought that was a good enough reason to get married. But it wasn't. It should have been out of love for each other."

Shortly after the marriage broke up, she met Paul Stowe, who works at the ABC-TV affiliate in Oklahoma City. They had met at the Oklahoma State Fair. He knew who she was. They were married on May 9 in the Wilburns' flower-filled back yard.

Stowe had made her desire for a family clear to Paul from the start, she said.

`We had fallen in love'

"We started talking about undergoing in-vitro fertilization several months ago. We had fallen in love, and we decided we wanted to do this. Paul knew this was an important part of my healing process. He was willing to do whatever would make me happy. And we both wanted a family so much," Stowe said.

She was offered free infertility treatment by the Pacific Fertility Centers after a former patient and member of the clinic's pro-bono committee saw her on a talk show discussing her tubal ligation and her wish to become pregnant again. For every 10 paying clients, the clinic offers one pro-bono IVF cycle to a woman who cannot afford treatment.

On April 20, Edye and Paul flew to Los Angeles and spent nine days seeing the sights and undergoing medical tests and, eventually, in-vitro fertilization.

"I knew we had a very, very good chance of getting her pregnant, but I cautioned her that she shouldn't expect it to happen on one try," Sher said.

But both Paul and Edye were confident when Sher ushered them into a room to transfer three embryos to Edye's uterus.

`There is a spark'

"It was one of the most moving experiences I can recall," Sher said. "She had given me a pin with a picture on it of the two little boys she had lost. I was already so nervous and emotional. I said to her, `Edye, we can only create the circumstances here. There is a spark that has to come from somewhere else to create the outcome. We have to remember that is where prayer comes in.'

"She turned to me and said, `I'm going to get pregnant, and I'm going to have twins.

"I said, `How do you know that?' And she said, `I have two little boys up there rooting for me.' "

A preliminary ultrasound test performed in Oklahoma City shows she is probably pregnant with one baby.

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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