Today I can only speak for myself and the answer is never 100% concrete. Reproduction from start to finish is complicated for me. My body doesn't like to conceive so making the decision to have another child means another round of InVitro Fertilization (IVF). My body doesn't like to hold babies in, which means surgery at 13 weeks to have a cervical cerclage (sewing the cervix shut) placed. My body doesn't like pregnancy, which means close monitoring to avoid Pre-eclampsia. Lastly, my breasts don't like producing the milk to sustain life (thank God for donor milk), add in my breast reduction since delivering and I am dry like the Sahara Desert!
I never imagined myself having just one child, in fact I never really imagined having children period. Growing up, I knew "only children” and I never thought they were selfish or spoiled, but I did think they were sad. My life was so lively and loud and crazy... but fun, while theirs was quiet and proper. The truth of the matter is I have 2 sisters and 1 brother and they drive me absolutely crazy (yes, even as an adult), but I wouldn't trade them for the world. We have a way of binding to one another during difficult times. When one gets knocked down someone is always there to pick them up. When life is hard and sad and cruel they provide comfort and backbone. I love my crazy family (and they are crazy)!
Eric and I made the decision a while back to not have any more children. Yes, Henrik is an "only child". It makes me sad that he will never know the companionship of a sibling. We have considered adoption, but with the pain of infertility, the pain of infant death, the pain of prematurity, our hearts simply cannot bear the pain of searching for a child to adopt. This decision is in the best interest of our family unit and it didn't come lightly.
Last Wednesday we had Dr. Sarah Waller M.D. come and speak about Pregnancy After Prematurity and the room was packed! It provided an opportunity for many of our members to ask the lingering questions "...should we?" and "... what if?" From what Arlene and I have seen in the NICU time and again, the second time around is easier if you do in fact end up in the NICU, and for a portion of you the NICU will be a thing of the past. In the metropolitan area we are blessed to be surrounded with clinicians and facilities that are paving a new path of care. If you were not seen by a Perinatologist before, check out your local Maternal Fetal Medicine Clinic. They are specialists among specialists (yes, that makes them super amazing). The level of care is astounding; as an example of their enthusiasm, Dr. Waller volunteered her time to come and speak at our event. Now that is dedication to her field! If you always dreamed of having children and long for the life of a big family or maybe just a family of four, there is hope!
If you have remaining questions about what it’s like to get pregnant after having a preemie, feel free to ask on our Facebook forum, we have plenty of mom’s who have gone through the process and are available to answer questions regarding the emotional journey.