In the months and years following the arrival of Mikey the question came up again and again, “will you have more children?”. To be completely honest my reply was usually “no f#*king way! I couldn’t possibly go through a pregnancy again after what happened with Mikey, what if it all happened again!” Now I sit here 24 weeks pregnant and reflect on our journey to get to this point.
When Andrew and I discussed starting a family we dreamed of having 2 children – one each. We didn’t want to be outnumbered! We thought we would probably have them close together, that’s what our parents did and we both love having siblings close in age.
ALONG CAME MIKEY
Then in 2016 Mikey arrived. He was early and his delivery was an emergency. It was traumatic, it was terrifying and anything but the natural delivery I had planned. I suffered post traumatic shock and still struggle with anxiety disorder. I regularly saw phycologists and met psychiatrists who prescribed me with different medications to manage my emotions. The early days with Mikey are a bit blurry. First he was a very sick little boy, then he started therapy and then the diagnoses started coming. Spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, hearing loss, epilepsy and so on. There was a constant thought running through my head of how can I do this?. Along with, how will we cope? How do we give him everything he needs? How do we make sure he’s happy? Am I doing enough? Oh my gosh I can’t do this!
But you know what we are doing this. We are coping, we are giving him so many opportunities and we sure as heck know that he’s happy! So maybe we could have another child.
Having another child after trauma comes with so many challenges and it’s different for everyone. Many people probably think it’s the thought of it all happening again that makes it hard but it’s so much more than that. Having another child just like Mikey would be a blessing, he’s a beautiful happy little boy but of course we wish we could take away his struggles.
IS THIS FAIR?
For me my first thoughts went to Mikey. I asked myself is it fair to have another child that will take time away from Mikey? Currently our world revolves around Mikey, and it’s a pretty fun world to be in. I work from home so I can give him every opportunity. I have time to spend taking him to therapy and doing therapy at home, time to book intensive therapy programs that run daily for weeks, time to fundraise and research to create more opportunities.
Another child means sharing that time.
I also think about the impact Mikey’s schedule will have on his sibling and how they will adapt to Mikey’s needs, how will it impact their future?
And of course I think about the beautiful new relationship that our children will develop, a love like no other.
Then I thought about the pregnancy. I had a trouble free enjoyable pregnancy with Mikey. He was healthy and had a perfect scan the week before he arrived. Something went wrong and he stopped breathing in my tummy, we’ll never know why. I knew being pregnant again would be hard. I would worry about movement all the time, something I gave little thought to when pregnant with Mikey. I didn’t want to be paranoid, I wanted to enjoy it.
The first trimester was the easiest. I didn’t feel movement so I couldn’t do much about it, I was always careful and worrying about the future but I could manage. Then the kicks started and suddenly the safety of this baby was all in my hands. That’s a lot of stress to bear, everyone was counting on me to ensure this baby is safe, to know if something isn’t right. Now I stop and think, have you moved today? Have you moved enough?. Some days its completely consuming and other days and weeks it’s OK.
A month ago it all came to a head, I wasn’t sleeping, I was exhausted and seriously lacking motivation to do anything. My husband was away with work and I felt like I was being a terrible mum. I ended up falling in a heap on the floor and bawling my eyes out. I truly felt that I couldn’t cope with this pregnancy, that I couldn’t mentally deal with the constant worry. It was an important moment that made me reach out for help. I have an amazingly supportive mum in NZ who is always just a phone call away and beautiful friends who always lift me up.
Since I knew this pregnancy wasn’t going to be a walk in the park I check in regularly with my GP and obstetrician who keep an extra close eye on me.
I am nervous to reach Mikey’s gestation of 35 weeks and 5 days but I have people to call and lean on, I don’t have to do it all alone.
Next I thought about the delivery. When I finally decided I was mentally prepared for another child we met our obstetrician who delivered Mikey. He decided that a planned cesarean at 37 weeks was the safest option, with lots of regular monitoring throughout the pregnancy. I can even be hooked up to monitors in hospital for the last month if need be – that’s a bit hard with Mikey’s schedule!
Planning the cesarean at 37 weeks is for me. If the baby is healthy and happy then this is a safe gestation with hopefully little to no NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) time. This decision is solely for my mental health as the longer I progress the harder it will be.
Induction at 37 weeks post cesarean comes with high risks that in our opinion aren’t worth it.
I must admit my hopes were a little dashed that I would never get to be in labour (I know, I know those of you who have experienced contractions and a watermelon popping out your lady parts are thinking you aint missing much!) But not even getting the option to be in labour was disappointing and part of the mental challenge to prepare myself to have anther baby.
When planning for children you can’t help but think about the future, about how growing your family with impact your life. In our case I questioned how will we even get around? Mikey will be in a wheelchair. Post cesarean I can’t lift for 6 weeks, who will look after Mikey? There are always so many questions but we work through them together.
Mikey is a beautiful ray of cheeky sunshine who lights up our world. If we get to welcome another child just like him into our lives then we would be so lucky.
While this pregnancy isn’t a walk in the park, we are still very excited. We can’t wait to meet our little growing bundle and it actually brings tears of joy to my eyes thinking about Mikey becoming a big brother and meeting his sibling for the first time. Thank you to everyone for your love and support along the way, we are so lucky to be surrounded by amazing people xx