The Second Worst Question

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.”

“Okay!”

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

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14 Responses to The Second Worst Question

  1. lyra211 says:

    I relate to so much of this post — it’s like you’re inside my brain. Yes — time is marching on, and we really want another. Yes — it took us 2.5 years to have our first, and so we feel like we need to have our second quickly, but also have worried about whether we can handle what it will take to have another. Yes — I’ve worried a ton about losing the beautiful breastfeeding relationship that has been the only thing that’s gone easily right in the childbirth department. All of that.

    Of course, as you know, we’re now two (early) miscarriages and almost a year into trying to have a second living child. I do think it’s easier to deal with the setbacks this time around — we knew we were probably in for a marathon rather than a sprint, so it’s less of a shock — but it’s still really, really hard. And having our living child helps… but it also makes it painful to think about what we’re missing out on if this doesn’t work out, and you’re right that sometimes it feels like the attention we’re putting into trying to conceive a sibling takes away from the time and energy we have to devote to our amazing little guy. So… you’re right to be worried. But I’m still glad that we’re trying.

    If you do ever get answers about the “candidate,” would they be able to do IVF/PGD to screen embryos? Just curious… I wonder if the decrease in probability of another awful outcome would make a difference in your decision-making process.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for “getting it.” I think that, with respect to McLovin and trying again, during my losses I really “lost myself” and struggled to even get out of bed on the worst days. I can’t imagine the pressure of going through that and knowing that I have a little one depending on me and I can’t really let myself go like I have previously. That’s the scary part for me when I think about it – the self care while caring for McLovin and feeling like either I am going to neglect him because I am feeling so poorly or that I can’t recover mentally and emotionally because I don’t have the time to grieve properly – this is of course assuming I will struggle with loss again, and as that’s been my experience that’s why I expect. Maybe life will surprise me and it will go easier a second time around?? I suppose maybe I should try to be optimistic but I’m not.
      To answer your question, yes, the goal with all of the testing was to try and find a genetic anomaly that we could screen for with IVF/PGD. So we would be doing IVF, not because we could not get pregnant on our own, but specifically for PGD for the “candidate” if one is found. Obviously that did not happen with McLovin because we got impatient and decided to give it one last go while we waited, and now that we have McLovin they wanted to test him for the “candidate” and now that is what we’re currently waiting on. At this point we already know we can have a healthy pregnancy and child, McLovin is proof of that, so I don’t know whether I’d wait. But I do want to see the testing through because I feel as though I owe it to myself and my lost babies.

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  2. sbach1222 says:

    I am so right there next to you sister. It’s like you are in my head.

    The effects of our history are always there.

    But I’m so glad life is going well with McLovin.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I luuurv “The Crown” and am bummed we finished season 2 already. And then we watched “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and finished that season. Now we are stuck and looking for something else.
    How old is McLovin? And do you intend to TTC on your own or go straight to the RE? I feel you on a lot of this–grateful for one perfect kid, still want another, afraid of a losses/complicated pregnancy. Worried another child would be difficult and hurt my relationship with my BG…though she is almost 3yrs old, no longer breastfeeding and she’s becoming quite independent so I don’t worry so much about having a needy infant because I have given BG my undivided attention and we have a secure attachment/bond. Seeing pregnancy and birth announcements stings again, whereas I was immune for BG’s first 2 years b/c I wasn’t ready to TTC. Oh and I worry that Mr. MLACS will drop dead and leave me with 2 small kids, which is a very real possibility. I’m not ready to TTC, but I’m also not ready to sell BG’s baby stuff. And I just turned 38 so I feel the pressure of my biological clock. XOXO

    Liked by 1 person

    • I just finished Season 2! So good. I am so sad that Matt Smith and Claire Foy will not be the leads in Season 3, I thought they were so good. Now I am looking for something new too!
      McLovin is almost 15 months old now. I think that if we decide to try again we would start on our own, as we STILL don’t have the genetic test results back on McLovin to see if he carries the “candidate” gene and so we don’t really have any gene to PGD test for on any embryos. And the Mr. MLACS medical situation is scary too, I can’t imagine factoring that in to any decision making as well. So much pressure and so much to think about. I’m glad I’m not alone and there are other amazing women and mothers who have the same worries and fears as me! And you have my support whatever you decide! xxx.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. RJ says:

    I’ll be hitting the AMA later this year and am not looking forward to it.

    I also have a bit of survivors guilt, like wanting another child is selfish and I should enjoy the beautiful little girl I am so incredibly lucky to have. I do enjoy her so much but because my eggs are less than stellar I feel the pressure to try again sooner. I second what lyra says about knowing what I’m missing out on if we are unsuccessful this time. And how much more loss can I take? I do not know where my breaking point is.

    I’m also still breastfeeding and I am not willing to stop right now. It’s the best thing ever and something my body has actually done well.

    I guess there are no right answers…only a bunch of unanswered questions that I’m sure will be answered over time. Hopefully in our favor.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. oats21 says:

    You are not greedy for wanting more children – remember for the vast majority of couples having children is ‘easy’. Unfortunately, you are well acquainted with the darker side of pregnancy. As for experiencing loss with a living child’s I can share my experience that its both better and worse. It’s worse in that you really know what you are losing but better in that you have a small little being to hug. I know after our loss I would be crying and M would come for a cuddle and laugh at his silly mom, which would make me laugh. Hope you have a great 2018!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for that insight! My worry is that I know how much I “lost myself” during the losses and I wouldn’t be able to mother McLovin the way he is accustomed if I was in that state. I don’t want anything to negatively impact him, you know? And to your point, knowing what I was losing would add another layer to that. Sigh. So much to think about!
      Anyway I hope you are doing well and have a great 2018 too. xxx.

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  6. Dani says:

    All these feelings I can relate to: I turned advanced maternal age last month and it’s such a weird psychological precipice!!!! I think if I was still breastfeeding I’d feel similar to you and not want to stop/risk stopping that. I wish I could give you a crystal ball and tell you how it all goes for you – and then I’d borrow that crystal ball too!!! There are so many different challenges and risks with your second, its not simple and it’s definitely a whole different ball game I feel! Big hugs for you X

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s definitely a weird mental exercise – like, what is going to happen overnight between March 7 and 8 to change my “maternal status”? It’s not like flipping a switch and yet it feels like another mountain to climb. I wish we had crystal balls too; I’d love to be able to provide comfort and solace to my friends that, whatever they are struggling with, they will get past it and be happy! If only we had that guarantee. Thanks for the support xxx.

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