Some days I look at our three beautiful girls and think about how lucky we are to have them all here with us and healthy. There are so many things that can go wrong with a baby from the moment of conception all the way through their birth - and beyond. When our girls were all born, Kevin and I looked at each of them in amazement. They were perfect. From their ear folds to their tiny little toes. What a miracle it is...
With Mairead & Clara, I experienced 1st trimester bleeding. It was so scary and thankfully, it stopped and led to perfectly healthy little baby girls. That wasn't the only complication I experienced during my pregnancies. With Mairead (born at 37.0 weeks), I had preterm labor at 29 weeks and oligohydramnios (or low fluid), which ended up getting me induced at exactly 37 weeks. With Lilah (born at 36.6 weeks), I was found to have a dangerously shortened cervix (incompetent cervix) at 19 weeks and ended up getting an emergent cerclage. I landed myself on bed rest until about 34 weeks or so. With Clara (born at 36.2 weeks), I had first trimester bleeding and a subchorionic hemorrhage (small), then I got a preventative cervical cerclage at 13 weeks. Thankfully, my cervical issues stayed fairly stable (with one big drop at 19 weeks) and I was able to remain off of strict bed rest for my pregnancy. I did have some potential fluid issues and preterm labor at 34 weeks, but overall, it was a much less stressful pregnancy than Lilah's. I think back to my three pregnancies and think about how lucky we were to have ended up with three, healthy babies...born a little early, but healthy!
It isn't anything new when I mention thinking about wanting just one last baby. I've always been a lover a children. Always wanted children. A lot of them, actually. I babysat at a young age and spent summers babysitting children all the way through getting married. When I hear people say "you should stop, you have healthy children, why risk it..." it bothers me. I think no matter how many children you want, there is always a risk of having a children who isn't perfect. Maybe because I am a labor & delivery nurse by trade that I know not every family has a "happy ending" - and even before I had a child, I knew my first may not be perfect. Why would this be any different with a 3rd......4th......5th.....? Having a child is a risk from the second you make that decision. There are no guarantees with life...unfortunately at any age. I try not to live my life with "what-if's" - it's just not for me.
I've been following a blog about a little boy born (Living with Three Hobbits and a Giant) with a severe heart defect who was not expected to survive, and is now one. He has conquered so many obstacles, surgeries, but he is a fighter! His parents seem to be such strong people, and when I read the blog this morning, I thought this topic struck me hard. You see, just last night, a few girlfriends of mine and I were talking about pregnancy, and this very topic that I've been discussing - not having more children because of the chances of "something happening"... I don't understand why people feel the need to give you their opinions and/or disapproval on having [more] children. I think the number of children a family decides to have is absolutely no one elses business. While some may choose to have one others may choose to have 19. If you can provide a loving, caring, nurturing home while being able to provide your children with everything needed to be a first class citizen in the community, then why not? What is the problem? I know some may think we are crazy for having three all close in age. It works for us. And while they wouldn't do it or have done it, that is no ones business but ours.
Of course, there are no guarantees in life. Ever. Of course no one goes into a pregnancy expecting an "unhealthy" child, so when it happens, most people are taken by surprise. Devastated. Shocked. Saddened. It can be life stopping. It's those people who take the positive end of the "shit stick" and make do - and the blog entry about talks about "resetting the bar" and how you lead your life after major life "disappointments". Do you sulk or enjoy the blessings you do have? I would hope that if I were ever in a situation like the family above, I would be a fighter. Of course have highs and lows and maybe more lows than highs...but I would make sure our child(ren) have the best possible chance for the best possible life.
Both Kevin and I have chosen not to have any genetic testing done with our children during pregnancies...it just doesn't matter. We have set out to have children, and if we are blessed with a child who needs extra help, then we will give that child everything he/she needs.
I am so thankful for everything Kevin and I have with our girls and I don't take even a second of it for granted because you just never know...