-Coming from a large family makes you feel protected, you have friends and allies.
As I sit here watching Sister Wives episode where Madison gives birth (spoiler alert!) I literally have tears running down my face. I get emotional during any “birth” scene in a movie or TV show, hell even a book!! I wanted a big family, I wanted 3 kids, I wanted to be pregnant again. I LOVED being pregnant. If I could be pregnant forever and just not have the birthing part, I’d do it .. seriously. I had such an easy pregnancy with our little human. I never got morning sickness, never had weird or bad food cravings, never had food aversions, and because I did Pilates & yoga throughout my entire pregnancy I never had any back aches or anything until labor started. I loved being pregnant. Knowing that I will never experience that again is hard and emotional and still chokes me up sometimes, like tonight watching this silly TV show.
Every situation is different, every couple and mother is different, every baby and family is different. What we chose and were able to do is not necessarily what others choose or are able to do. I knew that I didn’t want to have back to back children.. I wanted at least 2-3 years between my kids, so that wasn’t a concern. What was concerning was when we realized that there was indeed “something” wrong with our little human & that no one could give us answers for it and/or what caused it. Her birth was also fairly traumatic for me (another post) but to make a long story short.. after a almost perfect pregnancy, I had an emergency C-section & she has aspirated meconium and had to have her lungs suctioned out. my OBGYN actually said “oh shit” when they pulled her out.. she looked like the swamp thing, she was a greenish brown color all over. Even through all of that, before we knew something was mentally/cognitively wrong with her, I wanted more children. I wanted little human to have siblings and I wanted a family, a close tight nit bigger family, and I hoped for a boy for Kelvin as well. That wasn’t in the cards for us, not biologically anyway.
We went back and forth on it for awhile, do we have other kids and split our attention between a new baby & her needs, do we need to just wait and see how she progresses, can we even emotionally handle another baby right now etc.. we even “stopped preventing” again for awhile, but nothing happened, it just seemed like it wasn’t meant to be. And then, life hit us in the face with a big stick, no.. make that a tree branch, a big fucking tree branch. At her developmental meeting with ALL of the specialists that were giving a definitive (or as close as we were going to get at that time) diagnosis, I point blank asked the lead Dr. “so, what are the chances of any possible future kids having these same issues?” and she said “there is AT LEAST a 50/50 chance that they could have the same or worse conditions that she has.” That was it for me. All of my hopes and dreams of this big family were completely obliterated in that one moment. Now, don’t get me wrong, many families bet on those odd’s and are completely fine. Some families have the support and mind frame needed to weigh the potential obstacles and press forward with having more children. But to me, as a mom, I could not CHOOSE (remember my previous post about choosing to get pregnant..) to bring another baby into this world knowing those odd’s, I simply could not do it, should something be ‘wrong’ with a new baby I would never forgive myself, and it broke my heart into a million pieces. For those of you that did have children after your SN child, my hat’s off to you with a roaring round of applause for your bravery and gumption, sometimes I wish I had what you have inside of you, because I still ache for another baby, another pregnancy, but I was just not willing or capable of taking those chances with another life.
This is the part where I get a little envious and a lot angry. Not so much at people (well, envious of people) but angry and plum pissed off at God (He himself is a very touchy topic with me at the moment.. but that’s for later) – Envious & pissed off because there are families that have 2 or 3 or 5 or hell even 17 kids that are perfectly normal. I know people or of people who drank or did drugs or smoked throughout their entire pregnancy whose children turned out completely fine. WTF God?! I have one little human.. ONE.. and I did everything right. I didn’t drink, or smoke, or eat the things I wasn’t supposed to. I took care of myself and had such an easy and blessed pregnancy.. and my ONE baby, my one chance at parenting and I draw the short straw, so to speak. Now I know this might not sound fair to our little human.. know that I would not trade her for the world, BUT, if I could take away whatever “this” is that plagues her, I would in a heartbeat. So I am envious and pissed off that not only do I not get the big family I wanted, but that God chose my one child to have the issues she does. Why not pick on someone else?! I know that sounds childish and selfish, but damn dude.. You couldn’t have picked any of those other people who didn’t do what they were supposed to while they were pregnant or who already have 2 or 3 perfect children to give the burden that is this way of life? Why me, why us, why her? Have I not had enough grief and overcome enough challenges in my life already? Of course, I would never wish this way of life on any other person, parent, or child.. but that includes us too.
For most of us in the SN community, we will never get to cheer on our kids at a softball or t-ball game, never get to see a recital or swim meet, never get to yell and scream at a pep rally or travel to out of town for ball games or state meets. We will never get to know what it is to help them prep for SAT tests or apply for college. We don’t look forward to prom & their wedding day. Instead, we are preparing for how to make sure they are taken care of after we are gone. While you’re “toughing it out” during 90 degree heat for a weekend tournament, we are longing to spend even 10 minutes outside with our kids just to be away from stupid mickey mouse for that amount of time! When you’re yelling at your kid to stop being lazy, pay attention, and catch the ball.. we are screaming up and down and praising our kids when they say the world “ball” or attempt to throw it or catch it. It’s an ache in my heart that only other SN parent’s can understand.
Our little human will never know what it’s like to have a sibling to play with and fight with and have as a friend for life. Some of that is by choice, but some feels like it’s just a big and unfair joke.. a “haha, I got ya again” kind of moment. But then again, that may just be me. For those of you that can’t understand this way of life, please cherish those moments with your kids.. don’t miss a game or performance or chance to help with homework. Go to every school event and graduation & take 100’s pictures for dances and proms and first dates, because some of us will never get that chance.
What about you? Did you have more than 1 child, more than 1 SN child? What made you choose your family size or way of life? How do you cope with the daily battles and fears of what life will be like for them once you are gone? Any tips or advice for others who, like we were, are on the fence about having other kids after a child’s diagnosis?