The first time someone broached the subject of having a sibling for McLovin he was only a week old. It was Thanksgiving 2016 and it was The Husband’s grandmother and it went something like this:
“Do you think you’ll have another baby”?
“We’re just trying to get to know McLovin and enjoy him for now.”
“Oh okay, well, you know my brothers have many great-grandkids and I have only one now that McLovin’s here.”
He was only a week old at the time! I thought it absurd that anyone would even ask after only one week. I thought I’d have at least a year before people would ask that. Well, now that year has come and gone and for sure the question gets raised more frequently. Most people in our lives don’t know our full story or really understand what they are asking of us when they broach the subject; it’s an intrusive question regardless, but they don’t understand how painful it is for people with IF/RPL history. And they aren’t mind readers so I can’t fault them for not knowing what happened with us in the past and how the question tugs at all those feelings I try to bottle up so neatly.
I was just out to dinner last week with a good friend and it came up, and now it seems I’m noticing those pesky pregnancy announcements more and more again. For awhile they seemed to roll off my back but now they are starting to give me a little pause again – not so much because they hurt or sting in the same way they used to (some still do depending on who or the circumstances, most don’t), but because they make me think about my own future and what I want it to look like. I will be labeled with the wonderful “Advanced Maternal Age” in less than two months, and The Husband is pushing 40, and so I am feeling that bit of anxiety – it took over three years for McLovin to happen and if it goes that way again I would rather get cracking sooner rather than later at trying.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about it organically or that I didn’t want another child. If my “perfect plan” from 2013 had worked out I would have two children by now and be done with trying. Now I feel like I fought and clawed for McLovin and I am, metaphorically, tired (and sometimes literally physically tired too because he doesn’t always sleep the best.) If there was a guarantee that I’d have the same pregnancy experience as with McLovin – same number of appointments, same anxiety, same fears – and the same childbirth experience – I would do it again right now. But there is no guarantee and with our history I have to be prepared for the idea that I may experience more loss. Can I deal with those scenarios again? Can I deal with the emotions and fallout of those losses and care for McLovin? Would it hurt more or less with him here?
I also have feelings and fears about how to possibly parent a second child or parenting two children that may need a post of their own. I just love McLovin so much and the one on one time, and being able to focus on him and enjoy his little personality. I love that he is still nursing and the thought of it ending brings me to tears. I know people can breastfeed through pregnancy and tandem nurse but the thought of losing that feels like too much sometimes. It’s been one of my favorite parts of motherhood, which I didn’t expect going into it. I guess it’s just fear of the unknown and change; obviously people very successfully parent more than one child and have loving relationships with each child so it can be done and perhaps I shouldn’t worry about that so much.
When I think about this all I also feel what I’ve deemed to be “RPL Survivor’s Guilt”. At times when I think of trying for a second living child the thought pops up in my mind that I should just be happy with my one beautiful amazing son and it’s selfish of me to even think of having another; I should just count my lucky stars that, just when I was almost ready to give up or give in and look to donor material, McLovin made his arrival. That there are so many couples still in the trenches and that thinking of a second is a slap in the face and greedy. On the bad days during the struggle I would look at friends or acquaintances with three or four kids and think them greedy; is it now greedy of me to desire another?
We still don’t have our genetic test results back either. They now have McLovin’s sample and have extracted his DNA and are now comparing to the samples from each of our three losses to see if he carries the “candidate” or not. I suppose it would be nice to have this information before trying again, but we tried and had McLovin before the “candidate” was even discovered so at this point I’m not sure what difference it would even make.
Hoping that everyone’s start to 2018 has gone well. For those that are still struggling and still waiting for their miracle, I hope it comes to you in 2018.
Currently watching: The Crown
Currently reading: Dispatches From the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival by Anderson Cooper