For the most part, I have been blessed with good health. The few times I contracted a cold or infection, I went to the doctor and got a prescription and a day later I would start feeling better. In my limited experience, doctors could fix things. And until my pregnancy complications, I believed they could always make things better.
It took a few days for the reality of my suddenly high-risk pregnancy to set in. I was admitted to the hospital during my 20th week of pregnancy. When I met with the Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor, I was convinced she would have the answer to make everything okay, but instead I was met with a lot of uncertainty. I was shocked to hear that there was no cure for my condition, and even worse, they were unclear what exactly was going on. Did I have a true case of incompetent cervix? Or was I experiencing preterm labor? The plan to keep me pregnant was not concrete. There was no guarantee that any intervention they tried would work, and ultimately I was forced to put things in the hands of God. I’m pretty certain it was a combination of medicine and prayer that kept me pregnant long enough for my daughter to have a chance at life here on this earth.
Fast forward four months. We had survived our NICU journey and had just brought our sweet baby home. No sooner had we settled in as a family of three, the questions began. ”Will you have another baby?” “Can you have another pregnancy?” And while it was difficult to hear these questions, it made me start to think about this for the first time. I was still healing emotionally from the trauma of having an early baby, but I knew that I needed to explore this issue further. Finally, two years later, I set up an appointment to meet with my obstetrician to discuss the risks of another pregnancy. I asked my husband to join me so that we could both hear the information that would eventually help us solidify an answer to the question that lingered in the far depths of our minds.
While again I was hopeful that “medicine” would have the answer, our conversation contained no definitive solutions. My OB addressed all of our questions, she let us know how she would manage another pregnancy, and she assured me that she would support our quest for another baby should we choose that path. It was during this meeting that acceptance finally settled in, the moment where the information in my brain finally aligned with the feeling in my heart, and I knew the answer. Leaving her office was a mix of emotions as my husband and I realized that we would no longer consider another baby. For us, for our family, the risks just seemed too great.
I’m incredibly grateful that I got to experience part of a pregnancy and that my daughter survived her early arrival. It has changed me as a mother. I notice the small things and I celebrate it all. But I’m sad that I will never have another baby to rock. I will never experience a third trimester or know what labor feels like. I will never have the newborn infant placed on my chest or the bonding moments of breast feeding. My daughter will never know the feeling of having a sibling. I will grieve this loss while I continue to move forward in my life.