March for Babies

Friday, January 19, 2007

One Lump or Two?

Julie posted about wanting a second child and wanting another pregnancy as the means of getting that child. I did not feel right leaving my entire response in the comments because, as I have become aware, my replies seem to be quite self-centered and in this case, long winded. This is the place where I should write about myself. So here goes…

T and I have agreed not to discuss having a second child until next summer. This will hopefully get us to a place where we are more stable financially and more balanced in our day to day activities. Right now we are flying by the seat of our pants trying to get everything done while we are both working overtime and trying to spend as much time with Azure as possible. This is not easy livin’.

We have discussed it some, enough so that we know that we agree on several points.
#1 – We are both turning 32 this year. We would like our child obtaining via either pregnancy or adoption) to be completed by the time we are 35. We do not want to be in our early 40s with very young children.

#2 – We are both terrified of a second pregnancy. I have been told that 13 weeks into pregnancy my doctor wants to place a cervical cerclage. I foresee bedrest and another preterm birth. Who would take care of Azure while I am on bedrest? My mother would be the natural choice but I cannot and will not just assume that she will do this. If she volunteers to do this and makes that commitment to our family and to the prospect of another grandchild I may take her up on it, but I will not ask her to do this.

#3 – We do not want to go through the NICU experience again. We did it once and we got through it relatively easily. We had WONDERFUL nurses to support us and my parents went to visit Azure several days a week so she had family with her every single day even once I went back to work. But, we again have Azure to think about. She would not be allowed in the NICU, which means someone would have to watch her while we were at the hospital. We also have Maggie to think about. Our poor dog who has been through so much and has suffered by not getting the exercise she really should in the past year. She is a special needs dog. She requires special attention. I would not have it any other way, I love her dearly and do not want to do this to her again. I also do not want to do that to the new baby. At this point, I have to assume that any future baby will have a stay in the NICU and that would be something that we inflicted upon him or her. I cannot willingly do that to someone, especially my own baby. I would have given anything if I could have suffered through the hospital experience instead of Azure but there was nothing I could do about it then. I can choose not to do that to my next child.

#4 – As much planning as we could do to prepare for possible bedrest situations, there is nothing we could do about the anxiety we would both feel about the pregnancy itself. I fear a self-fulfilling prophecy of worrying myself into preterm labor, or the funny farm. I do not like either option. It would not be good for our marriage or for Azure.

#5 – We feel like we have hit the jackpot with Azure. She is a happy, healthy growing little girl who brightens up our lives and has completely captured our hearts. As much as we would like for her to have a sibling, we cannot expect to hit the jackpot again. We are afraid that we used up all of our Karma getting her home safe and healthy. We both remember all too well walking into the NICU and seeing empty beds, which housed babies the day before. We knew which ones went home and which ones did not. Those memories stick with us just as much as the good ones, maybe more so.

I am afraid to attempt another pregnancy. I think T feels the same way.

I am also starting to question my own motives for wanting a second child. I want it for Azure, so that she will have a sibling, not so that I can experience having another baby. I want her to have someone to grow up with, to play with, to conspire with, and against. I want her to have what I did not have. Is that a good reason?

This leads us to adoption. Second Child sans Pregnancy equals Adoption. (Surrogacy seems to freak T right the fuck out so I do not see us going down that road.) As much as I was ready to sign that deposit check and get the adoption show on the road before we conceived Azure I find myself hesitating now. Partly because I am so happy with my daughter and I wonder if I really want to go back to the mindset of wanting a child. I struggled under the mental and emotional weight of infertility for many years. I am no longer in that struggle and, like high school, I do not wish to go back. Even knowing what I know now, I do not want to put myself in that position again.

We cannot afford to adopt right now and a second child would mean me quitting my job to stay home since the daycare for two kids would eat up my pay anyway. So, we need to get to a place financially where we can put some money away, quickly, for an adoption to take place in the next three years or so (to fit into our age 35 agreement). I would be willing to adopt a slightly older child, maybe up to 6 years old, but this child would have to be younger than Azure at the time of the adoption. This of course would allow us to push back our own age limits the older the kids get, see?

I can also see us putting off adoption in order to save the money and then never getting around to it. If that turns out to be the case then I think I would be Ok with that too. I can see us living a very happy life with Azure as an only child. I could allow her to have friends over to play and take a friend along on family vacations, etc. I can see us having a child and a dog and having a very happy comfortable life. As long as I do not get to midlife and regret not having another child, I would be the happiest woman alive. That is another fear I have. I fear future regret. I do not want the 62-year-old version of myself to look back and call the 32-year-old version of myself a coward.

To Summarize:
I fear pregnancy.
I fear raising an only child.
I fear we will not be able to afford adoption in the time constraints we have allowed ourselves.
I fear looking back and regretting the decisions I am making now due to fear.
I have about five months to figure out my position before T and I begin discussions.

Wish me luck.


Miss W said...

Oh, Blue...That's it. Exactly.

Three said...

I hear ya. . . wishing you the best in your decision making process.

Chelsea said...

Hi, I followed the link from your comment over at A Little Pregnant.

For what it's worth, I was an only child, and I loved it. Like you said, I had friends over whenever I wanted, and I could send them home whenever I was tired of them. ;) My parents adored me, and I never had to worry about who they "loved best".

I used to be 100% certain I wanted to only have one child, myself. So they wouldn't have to share the love of their parents, so they could have as many opportunities as my husband and I could afford to give them, and to maybe to my tiny little part to lessen the burden of so many people on the planet.

For some reason, I'm not quite so certain any more that only one is how it will end up (we haven't even started trying for that "one" yet). Having my aging mother living with us is kind of making me wish I had someone to share the responsibility with. Certainly that's not enough reason to bring another person into the world, but there are so many other reasons, sometimes, when I think about it.

There is no right answer, I don't think. Good luck with whatever you and your husband decide.

Thalia said...

Chelsea's last para exactly explains why I worry about only children. I think the problem is not while they are young, but when they are older and may be left very alone by the illness or death of their parents. So I understand you wanting (at some level) to give Azure a sibling. And you are clearly being very thoughtful in your approach.


It sounds like you are thoroughly evaluating your options ... a good thing. I hope you will find true healing whether you move forward with a future pregnancy or chose "one lump" over two! ... the NICU, bedrest and a complicated pregnancy are all so emotionally draining!

Although this wasn't the point of your post, I just have to add that I don't think your husband is racist because he desires a Caucasion baby. I think most people want a child who fits their ideal of "family" and a mixed-race family isn't the answer for everyone. Now hatred, superiority and similar beliefs are indicative of racism.