Baby Number Two?
photo by Scott Simon
So it seems my body wasn’t quite ready to let go of this pregnancy, even though my brain knew otherwise. After a few weeks of waiting for my follow up visit with my doctor, the day finally arrived. I was all ready to discuss other methods of birth control, and move on with my life. I’d even been cramp free for a couple of weeks, and feeling well overall. However, in a surprising plot twist, my pregnancy test came back positive. POSITIVE! I would have been in my second trimester, and this positive test revealed that there was still lingering “product of conception” hanging out in my uterus. I would have to take a second course of medication to complete the miscarriage. I was in a bit of shock, to say the least.
My initial thoughts were along the lines of, “I don’t have time for this!” You see, over the course of the last three months we’ve battled ailment after ailment with my son. RSV, double ear infections, the common cold, and a viral rash, to name a few. Being “pregnant” for the better majority of all this (well, technically all of it) was no walk in the park. Trying to care for a child who needs you for every single thing while feeling winded from something as simple as making the bed and constantly wanting to hurl can drive one to the edge of insanity. At least, that’s what I felt like. All of these thoughts were creeping in on me - how can I be a good mom if I can’t give my all in caring for my son? Will his development suffer because of my symptoms? How the heck am I going to care for my kids after a cesarean? I won’t be able to lift my own son — he lacks independent mobility and I am his main source of movement.
The questions I have to ask myself regarding having a second child are daunting. The questions I have to ask our doctors about our future in general are daunting. There are lots of worries, hopes, and concerns when raising children, but throw multiple chronic illnesses in the mix and the future looks a lot scarier. Will I outlive my child? If I have another child, will he or she want to help care for his or her brother? When they reach adulthood, will the younger brother or sister look at his brother as a burden? Who will take care of my son when me and my husband aren’t able to anymore? Can I handle two kids? What if my next child has even more medical issues? How will I manage it all? What will the quality of life be for my kids? Will I be able to split my attention enough?
This pregnancy, even though it was not viable, was very real to me. It brought to light questions I wouldn’t have thought to ask myself before the experience, questions that are important when considering bringing a new life into our world. My husband and I talked about having children before having our first son, but there are only so many scenarios you can imagine until it actually happens. Our world has completely changed now, and the more we experience, the wiser we become, and the more questions we know to ask. As with anything, I believe that the anticipation is always worse than anything else. I have to remind myself that my fears are endless, but the possibilities are also endless. Is there ever a right time to have more children? No. Will there ever be a perfect scenario for my son? No. What if having another child enriches his life more than we could have ever thought? I have a twin sister, and am blessed to have her as a lifelong best friend and companion.
Having been through this experience, we’re definitely more cautious about the timing of baby number two. Maybe it won’t happen as soon as we thought, but we will just move forward one day at a time, just as we have been doing since our son was born. For now, we can find peace in the fact that our angel baby, Josephine Eloise, is watching over her brother from above.