Monday, July 13, 2009

Thank you sir, may I have another?

Last week I was talking to our chiropractor about Robbie's birth. He didn't really know the story and was asking some questions. After learning some of the details, he chuckled and said "So I guess you're done now, huh?"

And I was dumbfounded.

I hadn't been so flummoxed by a question about children since before getting pregnant with Robbie.

It always surprises me when people ask a stranger if they're going to have children. It's such a personal question; one fraught with emotions. I dreaded the question with all of my being when we were trying. Even after we were completely out of the closet and I'd answer "well, we're trying but...." I still hated it. Usually being honest about the question just lead to a myriad of assvice usually starting with "just relax.." and left me not just surprised at the question, but furious at the response.

I don't so much mind when people ask if we WANT to have more children. The answer to that is easy. Yes, we would like another child.

Will we HAVE another child? I can't answer that.

Will we TRY to have another child? Well, I can't answer that, either.

There are too many unknowns right now. My OB has been encouraging. Yes, I would be high risk from the beginning. She actually would send me to see a MFM pre-conception. Probably some form of blood thinner injection for the duration of a pregnancy. But she hasn't ruled it out.

There are more "normal" issues, too. Money is a big one. Our financial state definitely reflects an unplanned year off of work and far too many co-pays for doctor and hospital visits. Not only have we eaten through every cent of savings we had, but also lived on our credit cards as well. We will need to both pay off (or at least DOWN) some of that and rebuild our savings before we can even consider another child.

The risks are not small. The chances of me getting sick again are very, very high. Statistically it would happen later and less severely. But "later" might be 28 weeks instead of 26 and maybe next time I'd make it a few weeks before delivery instead of a few days. But it's entirely possible that we'd have another preemie. Forget dealing with all of that again- we'd get through it, just like we did last time. But is it fair to do it to another child? Robbie bears the scars of his NICU days in many ways. Sometimes I kiss his many small white-dotted IV scars and feel guilty that my body made them necessary. And Robbie had a fairly uneventful NICU stay, particularly for a 26 weeker. It could be worse next time.

And what ABOUT Robbie? I love him and wouldn't trade him for anything, but the simple fact is that he requires more than the average child. Therapy twice a week, probably more to come. At least one doctor appointment per week, usually two. Exercises multiple times per day. Never mind that every feeding takes at least 90 minutes to keep him from screaming in pain. Would having another child lessen my focus on him?

And the new baby? Would Robbie's needs keep me from being a proper parent to a 2nd child? Would having another just keep me from being a good parent to EITHER of them?

Of course, Robbie's newborn stage was not easy on my marriage, either. I'd like to think David would be more experienced and therefore more helpful if we had another, but I can't count on that. Could our marriage survive another newborn, especially if the new one also came early and had special needs?

But the fact remains that we would LIKE another. Someday. Certainly not soon, but I'm also not getting any younger. And with pre-e, sometimes sooner is better. There is a theory floating about that a first pregnancy (though it was my 3rd, but who's counting) with pre-e is almost like a vaccine again getting pre-e in a 2nd pregnancy. With a case as severe & early as mine, it's less so, but again, it should happen later and less severely. So time may be of the essence.

All of this went quickly through my mind when the doctor asked such a seemingly innocent question. "So you're done then, huh?"

The short answer? "uh, maybe. We don't know. We'll see.."



Rachel said...

I really think these questions are just an indication of how naive some people are about -real- life. I've always said that I wanted a big family, but I'm well aware that if we have a child with special needs that will become practically impossible (which is not to say that you can't do it, but I am already forever amazed by your patience and diligence with Robbie). So what do you say when people ask? I love babies, I want a big family, fertility treatments cost a fortune and high-risk pregnancies are hard to fathom when you have things (like a baby) to take care of? Usually I just mumble and say something highly articulate like "uh-uh."

Tom & Shannon said...

I can definitely relate to some of that...I hate it when people ask how many kids we want because it isn't that easy to answer. We'd love to have a big family, maybe even 5 or 6 kids. We probably won't go back on birth control, so in that sense, it'd be whatever we're blessed with. But it took a lot of work to get this baby and I wouldn't want to go through that process more than 2 or 3 more times. And even then, at some point I'm sure it will be the end of the road and we'll just have to be happy with the family we have. I hate how IF never goes away. :(

Adriane said...

I completely understand why you feel the way you do. This past year has been CRAZY tough in every way. People are so oblivious. I'd like to say I'm surprised the chiropractor said that to you, but I'm not. Most people just don't get it.

I'm sure deciding to have another child will be a very difficult decision for you guys. Financially kids are no joke. I'm still shocked at it all! And, from a marriage perspective, I think we all are thankful our marriages are somewhat in tact. What a toll it has taken!

No matter what you decide - if you decide to have another - you should have confidence in YOURSELF that you are a great Mom and having been through what you've been through - you could tackle just about anything. Seriously.

PS - My girls have white dot scars, too. :-(

Two Hands said...

I wish you'd said everything you said here to him. It's very thoughtful and you've obviously given it lots of consideration, much more than he had when he asked that ridiculous question.
Sending you my crazy Canadian love and lots of kisses for Robbie.

Anonymous said...

I had pre-e in my first pg and lost my daughter because of it. We did try again and had our second daughter this past April. The 2nd pg was full of complications including GD and high bp, but in the end, she was born at 34 weeks when my OB took her because my platelets kept dropping and I was definitely headed towards pre-e. I did lovenox shots and insulin shots...the shots weren't too bad, but I cannot answer the question as to whether we will have a third or not. Like you said, too many unknowns and my risk for pre-e is well over 50%.

I will say this...having good docs is the key. I saw both my OB & an MFM during the entire pg. My OB was very conservative, my MFM left more room so the balanced each other nicely. Since you are in STL and at St. Johns, go see Dr. Bartelsmeyer or Dr. Moore at Midwest Maternal Fetal Medicine. I love both of them. Although, I really credit my OB for a) saving my life with the first pg and b)monitoring me so closely with the second that I was able to bring my little girl home after just a few weeks in the NICU.

I worry about many of the same things you mentioned in this post so you are definitely not alone.

niobe said...

It's such a hard decision. For me, if the option of surrogacy hadn't been available, I think I would have never had another child.

O.S.B. said...

My first response when some asks me that now, is to punch them in the face... luckily my mind has yet to figure out to completely control my hands...

But I'm bitter... I think you handled it very well, I guess my advice, you'll know in your heart when and if it's ever time again.

Carrie M. said...

"assvice" it is!!!!

Elizabeth said...

I don't even ask this of people in I know well. I'm asked it often and I should have an answer and do not.

Like many others here, I am humbled by how you handle everything you face as it is and I want you to have all that would make you happy.

Your chiropractor is as dense as a whole lot of people... and what an a$$ to assume your very personal decision. urg.

Me said...

If the last 3+ years have taught me anything, it is that I will never, never, never, ever again ask anyone about their procreation intentions.

Valerie said...

I hate questions like that too. People really have no idea. It's like the "Is this your first child?" question. How do you answer something like that without getting into your painful past?

Maryeah said...

I love you Trish. You're my hero.

Me said...

(((HUGS))) A very sobering post that made me tear up ... and reminded me not to take my babies for granted!

Bridie said...

Ugh...some people just don't get it. I totally relate to your feelings of not wanting to put another baby through it, when you know your odds of having another preemie are so high. We waited 4 1/2 yrs, and while our 2nd preemie was further along (33 weeks), the NICU sucks just as much, just for a shorter time. He's been so "easy" compared to my 27 weeker that I think I would consider another, but struggle with how irresponsible that would be; again, given my high chances of premature birth

Holly said...

I was searching the net in the hope of symptoms for another two week wait... came across your blog. You made me giggle with so many of your posts. Thank you.