Monday, February 8, 2010

My Story Monday... Getting Pregnant After A Preemie: Deciding To Have Another Baby

Over the next several weeks, I want to focus on our decision to have another baby- on the fears, the risks, the uncertainty, the pros, the cons, and the decision-making. Ask most women who have given birth to a preemie-- particularly those who had their babies extremely early or who suffered severe medical complications-- and they'll tell you that deciding to have another baby is a scary decision. As someone who has made that decision and, happily, gone on to have a healthy, full-term pregnancy, I'd like to talk about it...
When you have a baby, one of the questions they ask you is:

Did you want to have your tubes tied?

Now, with my first baby, I didn't see this coming and it completely floored me. Unsure what our family size would end up being but confident we weren't planning on an "only child", I shook my head vehemently and declared, "Absolutely not!"

My "tubes", if you will, remained intact and I went on to get pregnant again just a few short months later. This second baby is the one who arrived so very early.

I wasn't as surprised to hear them ask me if I wanted a tubal ligation with this second child, but, at the same time, it seemed somewhat bizarre and cruel that- in the same breath- the doctors told me my baby wasn't likely to live and would I like to make sure I had no more babies after this one? I declined the procedure- again- and gave birth to my micropreemie who defied the odds and is now a happy, thriving four-year old.

We had always talked about having "two or three " kids. I can remember, vividly, thinking as they whisked me off to the OR...

"Well, I guess I'll be having two kids. Because- if this baby makes it- he or she will probably have such significant special needs that we won't be able to manage caring for three kids. And, if this baby doesn't make it, I'm not sure I can handle more than one more pregnancy..."

Three and a half months later, we both were out of the hospital and at home-- me, with my ability to have more children still intact and her, with a feeding tube, supplemental oxygen, and an apnea monitor...

This time, I wasn't quite so eager to do it all again.

to be cont...

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