I’ve been feeling so terribly hesitant to talk (write) about baby number 2, this personal journey of ours, in public.
My husband and I laugh, joke, talk, cry about this often lately. I recently spoke to my colleague Mikaila Tutt about the situation I find myself in.
It seems many people can relate to my issues in one way or another.
My husband is very fertile. We started trying for our first baby as we started planning our wedding. He successfully knocked me up during the first week that we moved in together.
It was not an easy pregnancy, but it was by no means too terrible either.
After Poppet was born we immediately wanted another one. Immediately. My gynaecologist did not support us in this decision but we didn’t care about his input.
READ MORE: To my daughter on her first birthday
Poppet has two adult siblings from my husband’s previous marriage and one morning he even said he wants seven kids and he’s only got three. That was a bit extreme, but his sense of humour and his true desires are sometimes difficult to differentiate between when you’re not in his inner circle.
I was so in love with the little premature newborn in our home I could easily have welcomed more, immediately. My hormones were of course all over the place.
Our dream was to have Irish Twins, that is when two babies are born less than 12 months apart, particularly in the same year but the same year would not have been possible in our case since Poppet was born at the end of July. We still tried for the less than 12 months apart version.
By the time Poppet was 7 weeks old I was diagnosed with the CSF leak and finally, we had answers as to why I was experiencing the severe headaches and speech impairment.
I had suffered a brain injury with her delivery. My spinal fluid started leaking as a result of complication with my spinal block procedure during the emergency C-section and manic rush in which she was born.
This was however not my first brain injury but my fourth. I suffered three strokes when I was 19 years old with bacterial meningitis. After the initial brain injuries, I stopped ovulating and I was told that I would unfortunately not be able to have a baby one day.
Just before my 21st birthday, the natural function of ovulation returned. Years later it vanished again for three years. In November 2014, I was blessed and pleasantly surprised with a period that indicated ovulation although not regular.
Fast forward to 2016 and then came Poppet.
We changed our minds about conceiving more kids naturally for a few reasons:
- I have previously been called “medically unfit” to carry a baby, before we even had Poppet.
- With the complications that came with Poppet’s birth, we decided that it’s in the best interests of our family not to put my body through another pregnancy.
- Rather raise one child with a mother than potentially two kids without a mother.
In our home, we live in the Now. We do things as they make sense for the present situation and we trust that things will work out the way they should in the unpredictable future. We try not to get too caught up in mind games about the future which we have no control over anyway. We do what is best for now. After changing our minds about more kids, we carefully considered all contraception and we opted for my husband to have a vasectomy. He had the operation in October 2016 when Poppet was 3 months old.
Getting a vasectomy
Now the thing about a vasectomy is that the sperm is diverted, from what I understand. (I haven’t researched this.) But, it’s not like a clean cut and suddenly no sperm and off you go with no other contraception. It takes time to achieve a zero sperm count after a vasectomy.
I had this intense fear of falling pregnant after my husband had his vasectomy. I was still recovering (emotionally and physically) from the trauma that came with Poppet’s birth. It was like a survival instinct. The intense fear of the fact that being impregnated by a sperm that is invisible to the naked eye could cause extreme havoc and potentially even my death. I’m not usually afraid of dying, but the fear of how my body could suffer from this was intense.
Every time my husband went for a sperm count after the vasectomy I felt so disappointed. As the count was coming down, it still somehow felt like we were never going to get down to that zero and it didn’t seem like there was going to be any end to condom sex, ever.
My husband is so supportive and such a listener. He listens to my fears, he has a desire to comprehend. He himself had some fear surrounding this topic and my health.
The sperm counts and the testing journey has been tough for my husband too. I mean both of us must be feeling some sort of subconscious resentment too because we wouldn’t have exactly chosen things to be this way, considering we initially wanted more kids. It’s like we’ve taken the cards we were dealt and played the best hand we possibly could. The counting is a clinical process, man. Giving the samples for testing is really strict and unpleasant. It takes time, it’s early in the morning when there’s lots of traffic, ag the list is endless.
One day after going to give another sample for testing my husband and I sat down after work and he said: “I’m done with this, I can’t do it anymore. Let’s just leave it until it goes down to zero. It must reach zero at some point.”
Every guy is different. Some okes go down to zero very quickly. With my husband Ian, it was slow at first, once it only went down from 29 million to 25 million in the space of three months. With the last count, there were only 1 million swimmers left.
I don’t know enough about the actual chances of pregnancy on only 1 million sperms but my logic tells me that it only takes a single one. One.
Since we decided to stop the clinical tests there has been a drastic change again.
My intense fear had been dancing with desire.
Eventually fear had turned into the deepest burning desire. A desire that changes back and forth between fear and desire. Like they are dancing.
Having a 2nd baby
One day, I want nothing more in this world than another baby. The next day, I fear nothing more in this world than another baby.
Fear comes with doubt. Am I really that medically unfit to carry another child? Am I fit to be a mother of two? Some days I feel that I have hardly spent enough time with the one child that I have, imagine if there were two? Our home isn’t even big enough for two? And all the other nonsense that one’s mind runs away with.
So, this dance/fight between fear and desire has been going on for a while. Last month I was convinced that I was pregnant again. I felt excited, I felt scared. I had all the symptoms. Exactly like the first time.
Except, the symptoms were all in my head even though they were real. I’m talking real symptoms, my husband notices that my breasts are MUCH bigger, nowhere near PMS time and my tummy feels swollen and rock hard, my husband notices this.
I got my period.
And then two weeks later the same symptoms started.
It’s the same psychological problem that women have that are addicted to POAS? (Peeing on a stick.) I speak under correction but I think they become consumed by their desire to have a baby and their diagnosed or undiagnosed inability to conceive and they genuinely feel symptoms. And then they constantly pee on a pregnancy test. I’m guessing that they feel real symptoms too? And some are shattered when they eventually get their period.
I guess the difference may be that some of them don’t have the logical reason why their body may be unfit to carry an unborn child. Or maybe the difference is that I don’t pee on the sticks and buy the pregnancy tests in bulk.
I don’t really know what the difference is if any.
But as my colleague Mikaila reminded me, the topic of having baby number 2 is a difficult one for many. In some cases, mom is ready and dad is not, or the other way around. Or people wait until they believe they are financially ready. There are many different scenarios that make this subject so much more complicated than it needs to be.
Over the last seven days, I have not had a visit from fear. I have only been in the company of desire. In the present moment, there is nothing I would like more than baby number 2. And as my husband often reminds me, these things must be left to the greater picture.
It doesn’t actually matter how much we interfere with the Universe. Babies are conceived on the Pill, babies have been born with the Mirena (copper tube) quite literally in their hand. Condom babies, all contraception methods have brought babies into this world. The only proven contraception method is abstinence and that’s NOT for me. (Like it ain’t for most.)
If baby number 2 was on the cards for us, he or she will come into our lives.
I think the solution to my current problem is maybe 1.) be more present in the NOW and 2.) perhaps go and talk to a professional about these problematic thoughts that are presenting these physical symptoms.
If you are going through anything related to having another baby or even your first baby and you would like to share some of your thoughts or struggles, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
With Love and Gratitude,
*This is not a sponsored Blog Post
* English is not the First Language of the Author