Let them eat cake…
I wasn’t sure if I would delve into this topic so soon, but it’s been consuming a lot of my thoughts these days. Babies. It seems everyone around me has one (or more) or is having one (or more) in the near future. With my plethora of health issues, I wasn’t always sure I wanted to take the risk of baby making. But as I watch the majority of my friends embark on this new stage of their lives (even my guy friends are knocking up their wives, fiances, girlfriends), I can’t hide that it’s making me emotional, and wish that it was as easy as sharing a bottle of wine with the Hubby and making a night of it.
It’s not that I can’t have children. My Lady Bits work just fine. OK, well I don’t know that for sure since I spent my college years trying not to get pregnant. I’ve never actively tried, I’m just assuming that I wouldn’t have any issues actually getting pregnant.
While it is corrected, having a congenital heart defect (CHD) puts me at a greater risk for complications in pregnancy than your average healthy woman. With the cardiac issues I have now, it’s two hundred times greater risk to be exact. Some of those risks include strokes, congestive heart failure, life threatening arrhythmias, heart problems post pregnancy that could require open-heart surgery, and death. That’s quite a list.
Add lupus (SLE) to that already extensive list, and the risks double. Then I remember that I’ve had many pieces of my cervix cut out from cervical cancer, and I wonder if a baby would even stay inside. I imagine myself pregnant, getting out of bed and BOOM! baby on the floor.
In addition to the risks to myself, there are also risks to the baby. There’s a higher risk of recurrent CHD in the fetus if the mother herself has CHD. There’s the possibility of premature birth which could then lead to detrimental effects to me. There are reports of higher chances of cleft palates when the mother has SLE, and there is a risk of something super scary called complete heart block, that would necessitate the baby to have a pacemaker placed soon after birth. In the work I do (pediatric cardiac ICU nurse) I see it all, and it scares me to keep this uterus empty!
I know that having children is a crap shoot. Even the most healthy woman can have a child with a devastating diagnosis. I’ve also seen someone with less common sense and book smarts than a door knob go on to have an extremely gifted child. Hell, I bet Snooki’s son goes on to be an astrophysisist. In the wise words of Forrest Gump’s mama, “…you never know what you’re gonna get.”
For awhile I feared I was being selfish, but the thought of God-forbid something happening to me makes me queasy. I worry that something would happen, and Hubby would be left to care for me and a baby. Or even worse, I wouldn’t be around at all. I love my life. And yes, I would LOVE to experience pregnancy and childbirth. But do I want to risk the life I love for a baby?
Since I’ve been married, I’ve watched most of my friends start families. And I’m truly thrilled for them, and I’m honored that I am a big part in many of my close friends childrens’ lives. But, sometimes it stings a bit. I’m not sure if adoption is right for me and the Hubby, and some of our other options are just rediculously expensive. I don’t want to use my eggs (that poor child would be doomed with my gene pool,) so we’d have to find a donor and a womb for rent. I know, you do what you have to do, but it just isn’t fair. And yes I know, sometimes life isn’t fair.
I kept telling myself over the past year that I wasn’t sure if I even wanted kids, and convinced myself of this wonderful life we would have without them. And yes, we could have a wonderful life without them. I know many people who live fulfilling lives who don’t have kids. But the truth is, I want them. Hell, I’ll take one. It just bugs me to no end that I will have to go into an immense amount of debt for one, and 23 year old Suzie with a drug problem and on welfare has 6 babies with another on the way. Yep, I went there.
Last weekend I went to a Reveal Party. I called it a Cake Party, because we were forced to eat cake with icing inside that was either pink or blue, indicating (duh) a boy or girl. This is apparently the new up and coming thing for parties.
While it’s a nice idea (hell, I’d probably have one for my immediate family. Who doesn’t love cake?) the party I went to was a four hour party with a ton of people. I was already cranky rushing from an overtime shift at work, and thrown straight into a Team Blue/Team Pink, mardi-gras beads, games, We are the Champions cause we guessed right spectacle that I was not at all prepared for. And I feel terrible, because these are very good friends of ours. It was just a lot for me emotionally. Again, I’m thrilled to bits for our wonderful friends. They will make fabulous parents, and I can’t wait to spoil their little Princess (pink icing). But, I want a Princess of my own, and I cried the entire drive home. To put it bluntly, I was a jealous, green-eyed monster.
In the age of social media, nothing is secret anymore. Every time I sign on to Facebook, someone has changed their profile picture to that very first ultrasound picture to share with their 632 closest “friends,” they are expecting a child. Then for the next 6 months I have to witness the weekly belly shot, documenting the progression of her growing tummy. I have to read the pregnancy status updates, knowing every time the baby kicks, the food cravings, the name they chose (I cannot wait for the Bella trend to be over. WAY too many Baby Bella’s. Seriously, I can name 15 off the top of my head). I see the professional photo sessions with the mother in a flowy white blouse while Baby Daddy lovingly put his hands in the shape of a heart around her navel. I want to do those things.
These emotions are incredibly hard for me. I will admit that I tend to be selfish, get jealous, and then I feel so guilty for having those feelings. But then I hear someone else is pregnant (“and we weren’t even trying!”) and I get jealous again. It’s a vicious cycle.
Hubby and I had our giant house built with the intentions of filling it with kids. Now we have 4,000 sq feet occupied by the two of us and a 7 pound cat. Sometimes it’s depressing to be here. I would surely move back to our condo if it meant we could have children.
There have been SO many baby showers to go to lately. No baby shower is ever REALLY fun (except my sisters, but I was so nervous playing hostess and worried she wouldn’t like it, so I drank many mimosas!), but they have been particularly painful to sit through these days. Sometimes I think about not going to some for awhile to spare myself the jealous feelings and heartache. But that doesn’t exactly show me portraying the role of the happy, supportive friend. But then I realize, I need some support through all this, too. Maybe it ok to not put myself through the pain. I went to another baby shower today… It wasn’t easy, but I got through it with a smile.
I’m ending on a good note. I enjoyed a giant glass of ice cold Pino Grigio while two of the other girls complained about their husbands and getting home to their kids. Winning!