All my life, I have known I wanted to be a mom. A working mom, but a mom nonetheless. And I have ALWAYS wanted an exceptionally large family. growing up as 6th of 13 left an impression on me… of the positive variety. I could never imagine that I would only have one or two children. In this day in age, two is a good size family, four is big, and 13…? well wowza!
I am not going to put a number cap on the baby thing. I am also not sure that I will birth all my children. I have always dreamed of adopting babies if I could. I had a good example from my Aunt and Uncle as I watched them adopt their two boys. And now my cousin and his wife have also adopted their two children.
But I digress. This post is really about the reality of life. You cannot really “decide” how many children you have. Or if you can, then I can’t. My husband and I had such a wake up call with our first son. Medically complex and no answer as to “why”. It was scary. It IS scary. Every day is an adventure and we never know what to expect. Example: we had no medical appointments scheduled in January, then all of the sudden, we had about 10 appointments. Emergency situation cropped up.
When Emerson, our son, was born, Matt and I thought we would take a break from babies. We did not think we would even get a chance to breathe until after E turned 3 (this is when he was scheduled for his 3rd open heart surgery). But as Emerson showed us more of himself Matt and I realized several things.
1.) there is never going to be “the right” or ideal time to have another child. It is just isn’t going to happen with Emerson’s medical concerns. Emerson’s chronically sick. Something is always going to happen.
2.) Emerson is an easy baby. Sure he has some extra bells and whistles, but he is so calm. He has the best personality.
3.) We wanted another baby now.
So it really boiled down to “why not”? We both want more children. We love Emerson. We felt we were ready.
Boom we conceived. [seriously it was that fast ;)]
But it’s different with the second one. I mean once there is a medical complication with the first baby. It changes the pregnancy. We do not have a specific number on Emerson’s genetic mutation; I cannot say with certainty that we have a 7% chance of recurrence. I do know that there is a 1 in 126 chance of any child having a heart defect. I also know that if you have a child with a CHD then that number increases to 2 in 126.
Even if we did have a number, it would not really change anything for Matt and I. We don’t trust numbers. Emerson had a 1 in 10,000 chance of having HLHS. He had a 50% mortality on his first surgery. Numbers don’t lie, but they also don’t tell the whole story.
Doctors don’t trust numbers either. A child with a CHD changes every pregnancy after. For every baby I have, I need to have a level two ultrasound, an echo, and probably a second level two ultrasound later in the pregnancy. So regardless of the number, each pregnancy will be monitored.
And every pregnancy will be anxiety and worry for me. I suppressed it well this time. I just got angry at silly things but I did not focus on the ultrasound. I did not focus on the possibility of the a CHD. I learned from Emerson that stress does not improve the situation. Stress makes the situation worse. So no stress.
At our level two, we saw a four chamber heart. I let out a sigh of relief. And I reflected. Would it matter so much if baby two had a heart defect? I wouldn’t love him less or differently. Emerson is the best thing that’s happened in my life. I wouldn’t trade him for the world. So no, in a general sense, it wouldn’t matter. And we would have several months to prepare if baby two did have an obvious defect. But I am glad I do not have to watch another child go through what Emerson has gone through.
He is a tough peanut, my little Emerson, and he has weathered many storms. I am grateful on a daily basis that he will have no memories of the surgeries, line placements, x-rays, ultrasounds, ect. I mean medicine will always be in his life, but I have to believe the worst is behind us; behind him.
I have to believe that.
As far as we know, baby number two is looking fine. Better than fine. He is 4 days ahead of his due date in growth! I will continue to count our blessings. And I will continue to hope for my large family, but if I can only have two kids naturally then that’s enough. I have a large extended family who love me and support me (and I they). So either way, my children will have similar experiences that I had with cousin sleep overs, trips to grandma and grandpa’s, loud fights, family dinners, and too many other countless activities.
The moral of the story: I am so excited to be giving Emerson a little brother and I hope one day I can give them both another “little” or two.