Any mom or want to be mom has at least flipped through the books or website “What to expect” . I like these books and find them a treasure trove of helpful tips and information. However I do feel like they should be more accurately named “Just a small glimpse of a tiny portion of the very many twists, turns and changes your fertility, pregnancy and child bearing years will take you on.” I realize that is a long title, which is probably why they shortened it. But the real title is just slightly misleading and fills you with this false hope that these books and all their information can somehow prepare you what to expect.
What I didn’t expect was for my dad to pass away just a few weeks shy of my first being born. I didn’t prepare for blood pressure issues, and low amniotic fluid levels. And I sure did not foresee her entering the world 10 weeks early on 4/20/2011. My birth plans did not include a C section on the magnesium drip or to have to wait days to get to hold my beautiful Isabella for the first time. I didn’t purchase a breast pump as I was going to be a full time breast feeder until I returned to work. Instead I was hooked to a breast pump 10 minutes after my C section and pumped many times a day until I had to switch her exclusively to bottles. Why did I have to switch her to bottles you may ask? Well that was due to one of the many surprises the book did not prepare me for, failed birth control and a pregnancy with a couple month old baby just a few weeks out of the NICU.
I could not have possibly been properly educated on the amount of emotions that the second positive pregnancy test would bring about. Shock, excitement, fear and yes even a little embarrassment over the fact we were pregnant so soon after the whole drama of the first. But after the initial craziness wore off we were thrilled and excited to have our babies only 11 months apart. And than yet again, in the very unexpected way life works, I found out at around 12 weeks that our baby’s heart had stopped and had to get a D&C. The first D&C was not done correctly and after the cramping and bleeding would not stop I had to return for a repeat a few days later. I was in pain and I grieved for the baby that I would never have planned but already loved.
And than a couple months later we were blessed to get pregnant again. We sure had never expected to want to have our babies so close together. But after preparing our hearts and family to welcome another little one, only to lose him or her, we decided there was no reason to wait. This pregnancy was yet another roller coaster of issues starting even earlier in pregnancy. Heavy bleeding with a threatened miscarriage for weeks, some preterm labor signs around 20 weeks, Diabetes starting at 19 weeks, blood pressure pills starting at 12 weeks and on and on. But we felt so lucky to make it to 38 weeks for a scheduled C section and to get to hold and breastfeed my full term, healthy Evelynn within the first hour of her birth.
We gave my body a little rest after all the drama and ended up getting pregnant again when Evelynn was almost 2. We were so excited to have another and hoping for a smoother road this time around. I went into the 12 week scan expecting nothing more than a chance to see my healthy little babe growing away in there. What I was not prepared for was the news that something appeared to be wrong with my baby. And I wasn’t prepared for the weeks of stress and testing as we tried to figure out what was going on. And I definitely did not expect to see another one of my babies lifeless and still on the ultrasound screen at the 16 week follow up. Yet another D&C and all the emotional upheaval that comes with it, as well as the physical recovery. We found out a few weeks later that we had lost our baby boy to Trisomy 18.
We tried again as soon as the Doctor cleared us and were thrilled to get pregnant right away. However no books, or Internet searches could alleviate the feelings of dread and fear that now filled me with every positive pregnancy test. When so much has gone wrong, you start off your pregnancy wondering what trials and scares this one will hold, and not knowing what to expect in the slightest. I don’t love pregnancy anymore and I don’t get to experience that pure joy and excitement of the women who are blessedly unaware of the pain of pregnancy loss and near losses. But I do love my babies and I do know that they are so entirely worth every ounce of stress and every gray hair on my head, which is why we had decided to try again.
We found out at 11 weeks that we were expecting a baby boy with no chromosome disorders. So we could breath a little easier knowing that at least the worst of my fears was off the table. This pregnancy started out a little smoother, although my gestational diabetes started earlier (15 weeks) at least I was able to put off blood pressure pills a little longer. But than at 20 weeks I started having severe back pain and some cramping. I figured it was similar to what had happened with Evelynn and so I didn’t expect to be told my cervix was shortening. They advised me to get a cerclage, and after much thought, prayers and advice from others who had been there, we went ahead with the surgery. It was so scary, and I was terrified of my water breaking during the procedure, which was the biggest concern of the doctors. However we made it through ok and managed with a lot of restrictions to carry him to 37.5 weeks. And than we had to deliver due to my blood pressure getting harder and harder to control. My gorgeous baby boy, Felix Carlos was delivered via scheduled C section on 7/15/2015.
And last but not least what I did not expect, as number 10 from a family of 11 was to be advised to tie my tubes after only 3. I always wanted a big family and me and my husband planned on at least 4 biological and than to adopt. But as my husband put it, my pregnancies were starting to feel like a big long game of Russian roulette. When you have had such a variety of unrelated and somewhat random health issues plague your pregnancies, you have to realize that maybe God has something different in store for you. My body has been through a lot in the last 5 years, 5 pregnancies, 7 surgeries and 3 child births, however it was not without sadness and much prayer that we made the decision. And when I snuggle my 3 precious babies and realize how much I would go through every single thing all over again for any one of them, there might always be a part of me that grieves and feels that the chance to do it again was robbed from me. But I am considering it a small miracle that my body gave me three healthy babies.
Now we are getting ready to take small steps towards our goal of adopting. And I am reading books and websites preparing myself. However if there is one thing I have learned during my crazy wild rush of child bearing is that I need to go in knowing that you can never truly know what to expect. The only thing that I expect as our family grows in this new and challenging way is the unexpected. And I both look forward to and fear the ride that is sure to come.