Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Crap shoot

It's hard to believe it's the first week of spring around here, it feels more like summer. Kaia and I have been out in short sleeves and last night her Angelcare monitor told me it was 26 C in her room! (like 80 F for all you Americans). Brian and I were sweating and uncomfortable but agreed that we CAN NOT turn on the air's MARCH for crying out loud! Makes me concerned for the polar bears...

Today is also T-minus 13 days until the cast comes off! I've already bought Kaia some PANTS! Although if the weather stays this warm we'll have to move on to shorts real soon...

Anyway, on to the point of this post:

Two weeks ago, I had my friend A. and her daughter A.M. over for lunch. A. told me that A.M. had recently been to see her pediatrician and once again they had a referral to see a specialist about something her doctor was concerned about. A.M. is just over two and is currently being seen by 4 different specialists at our local Children's Hospital, with this latest referral making #5. None of the things 'wrong' with her are life threatening, and most are fixable or 'watch and wait-able' but it has been upsetting and stressful for my friend to keep having these things crop up every time her kid goes in for a check up.

After telling me about the latest specialist A. in a bit of frustration says "so that pretty much puts a nail in the coffin of us ever having another kid".

After discussing it a bit further I wouldn't say the decision is quite as 'definitive' as her above comment would suggest, but her and her husband have seriously talked about having another child. They keep backing away from the idea because they are afraid of having a baby who has problems that are even worse than A.M.'s. They have a small reason to be concerned, as one of her daughter's doctors has mentioned that they might want to have an amnio if she gets pregnant again.

My heart hurts for my friend, because on the one hand, Brian and I know exactly that feeling of being terribly worried that something could go wrong if you have another baby. Hell, something DID go wrong when we went to have another baby. The worst part is, that I KNOW A. and her husband are looking at our experience and realizing that lightening does indeed strike twice...sometimes to people that you really care about. Worse is that if it could happen to them, it could happen to you. My friend, being a very cautious and conscientious person, would probably prefer not to risk it. I feel a little badly that our experience is serving as a cautionary tale for our friends.

On the other hand, it's nice to be able to have someone in real life that shares my "do we or don't we" concerns. As much as I enjoy discussing it with you bloggers, nothing can really beat that real life one on one interaction.

But as my friend and I were having this conversation and she's doing all the pro/cons in their situation, I'm thinking "Oh, I would totally go for it if I were you". Then I had to stop myself. I'm not her. I'm not A.M.'s mother. I don't know how stressful things have been with her daughter's health issues. I don't know how many nights she's laid awake worrying about them. I don't know anything at all. Plus as I've learned the last few years, it's much easier to be positive about someone else's situation than it is to be about your own. It's easy as pie to cheer your friend along from the sidelines because it's not your heart on the line.

It's HARD to throw your heart out there to possibly be hurt again (maybe even worse this time??!!) because who knows what could happen? It's almost harder if you're content with your current life status as is. My friend is very happy being mom to her single daughter. She would like another child, but doesn't know if she wants to risk upsetting the balance she currently has for a person she's never met. Even if that person is her own child. It is daunting.

Having a second child is never portrayed as having as much 'thought' put into it as having a first. The first is BIG NEWS! Hang the banners! Call the papers! We're having a BABY!!! The second is more like "oh, the way, just so you know, we're having another baby...oh, and did you see, there's a great sale on shoes at the mall!!" I find this interesting. Why is bringing one person into the world a cause for such fanfare and the second (or third etc) is sort of seen as 'less so'? Is it because the jump from no kids to one kid is seen as such a life changer, while adding the second is just more of the same? Is it because it's assumed that if you've successfully reproduced a healthy child once, it is almost guaranteed that you will so again?

Yet as I'm seeing now, the second (or third, or forth) will require the same amount of love, care, attention, affection and possibly cause the same (or more/less) stress and concerns as the first. Plus now you'll have to split your time at least two ways. It is perhaps an even bigger deal to consider having a second (or more) child because now you have to consider how an added person will affect not only you and your partner, but your other child(ren) as well.

It constantly amazes me how many of the moms on my July 2011 babyboard on babycenter (who all seemed to have healthy babies) are already pregnant again, some due as early as this July. It's equally amazing how many were 'surprises!' I'm not judging. I'm happy for those who are happy (and maybe mildly jealous of the easily fertile). It's just that having another baby so soon after having a healthy living one at home seems like a courageous leap of faith. Even if your first baby was an 'easy' one, your next one might not be. Might, in fact. be the exact opposite of easy. I'm sure it's just the dead baby mother in me talking but man, it just seems so SOON to throw yourself back into the unknown.

I guess to me that's what a new baby boils down to. A complete and utter unknown. A total crap shoot. You could have the best 'odds' in the world and things can go wrong. Or you could (like me and my friend) almost be expecting something terrible to happen...and it very well might be much easier than expected. In the end, as my friend and I are starting to come to terms with, no matter how much information you have about your own situation, or how well you prepare yourself, eventually you just have to make a decision. As the (very vulgar) old saying goes you just have to "shit or get off the pot". Unfortunately for my friend and I, I think we're both still a little constipated.


  1. well i guess the whole point here is that those who've jumped right back into pregnancy - even if accidental - are not the ones who've lost babies or had trouble getting pregnant, or had serious health concerns after their babies are born. they aren't worrying about whether it will be so easy the second time around b/c they have no reason to worry. it never occurs to them, as they are blissfully ignorant of all the ways things could go wrong. and i'm sorry that you and i and all of us here are not part of that group.

    i'm so excited for you that kaia will be cast-free in less than 2 weeks!

  2. I have to totally and completely disagree with Julie's comment. After Cullen died it was all I could do to jump back into pregnancy- risks be damned I wanted to be pregnant again the day I left the hospital with my aching empty arms. I have all the reason in the world to worry. When I fell pregnant last February (5 months after he was born) I was excited but stressed.. and when we lost that baby my heart ached again for all that could have been. At the same time I was diagnosed with a rare and risky blood disease and then fell into the clutches of secondary infertility.
    I guess the point I am trying to make is that we shouldn't judge people based on outer appearances. Looks can be deceiving and you just never know what someone's history is. Everyone has a story.. and i hope so much that both yours and that of your friend will be punctuated by lots of light..
    xo mamma

  3. well said, I also feel like the first baby is a bigger deal supposedly than the second one, but I think just like you said the same amount of interest should be put into every little life we bring on...or try to...

  4. It is a crap shoot. A total crap shoot. I threw myself straight back in to it two times in a row and hit the jackpot both times. I never lose sight of how lucky I am, because I know first hand how easily and quickly it can all go wrong.
    I wish you all the best with your decisions.
    And I'm late commenting so yay, even closer to cast off time now!! Whooo!

  5. My water broke at 24 weeks and 5 days. I was on hospital bed rest for 66 days. When my daughter was born doctors discovered that she had several birth defects involving her lungs, trachea, pulmonary arteries and heart. She lives for only 66 days. Do you know anything about the odds of pprom being greater if the baby has birth defects? I had two normal, healthy pregnancies prior to this.