As soon as you have your first baby, the questions about when you’ll have the second baby begin.
Awe, how cute, when are you going to give him a sibling?
How many more kids do you want to have?
The further away from the birth of the first, the more “concerned” the questions / responses become.
Is he your only one?
Do you even want to have another baby?
You know, the clock is ticking right?
Don’t you miss the baby stage?
Don’t have them too far apart in age or else they won’t have anything in common.
Come on, give him a baby sister or brother!
Maybe I’m a little bit sensitive on the matter (you’ll understand why soon,) but when did it become okay to question a woman on if / when she’ll expand her family?
My answer when people ask me about growing our family is complicated because it potentially means putting my life at risk.
After a few warning signs around 32 weeks, my midwife sent me for an evaluation at a high-risk OB. After a week under her care, during my third visit, I was wheeled over to the OB floor at the hospital for monitoring. I sat in a quiet hospital room at 33 weeks pregnant, monitors hooked up to my belly, blood pressure cuff going off every five minutes, wondering if I was going to get out in time to pick up my husband from work. Spoiler alert – I wasn’t. Instead I listened to my doctor explain to me that I had to be induced immediately or my son and I would be dead within 24 hours.
I had developed HELLP Syndrome.
My liver and my kidneys were failing and I was in danger. My son was in danger.
The cure for HELLP Syndrome? Delivery; it needed to happen soon.
At 33 weeks and 2 days, my son was born 7 weeks early, weighing less than 4 pounds.
Due to his prematurity, he spent 20 days in the NICU. He had 7 surgeries and countless procedures (over a two year span) for an issue he was born with.
After his birth, I had a lot of negative thoughts and blamed myself for not keeping him safe inside me for longer.
I was supposed to be his protector, why did I fail?
Why did this happen?
Why was my body basically allergic to being pregnant?
What if I get pregnant again and this happens for a second time?
Could anyone guarantee that it would or wouldn’t?
What would happen if I left my husband without a wife and my son without a mom?
After a lot of research and talking with my doctor, I understand that nothing I did or didn’t do caused this.
HELLP Syndrome affects 0.2 to 0.6 percent of all pregnancies and the cause is UNKNOWN.
I just happened to draw that straw.
After having my son, up to about a year ago, if I was asked or thought about having another baby, I’d immediately have to shut down that thought pattern or I’d have panic attacks (that I usually kept to myself.) I hadn’t fully accepted what had happened or come to terms with the fact I was less than a day away from death.
It took me almost three years to be okay with starting to think about having our next child. We want our son to have a sibling or maybe even siblings. To have more children has never been the question; the question has been whether or not I am okay with trying for a biological sibling.
Can I do it?
Will I have a normal pregnancy?
Would this happen to me again?
Are we willing to go through another traumatic birth and NICU stay?
I have no idea what it feels like to be full-term, to get so big that I need help getting up from a chair, to go into labor on my own or experience a drug-free delivery (my wish from the beginning.)
I’m finally in a place where I might just like to try.
Is it terrifying? Absolutely.
What happens if it doesn’t work?
We’ve opened up our hearts to the idea of foster and adoption should my doctor for any reason recommend against me getting pregnant again, but my heart is yearning to see what might happen if we try.