I'm an only child. Dean will also be an only child.
After a year of uncertainty, Marcus and I visited my OBGYN today and, with her, made the decision that we will not have another child. I knew this would be the outcome of the discussion before we set foot in the office, but I was holding onto a glimmer of hope that she would look at my medical records and test results and say "OH! Our labs were all wrong! You're fine! Go forth and reproduce!" Um, yeah, not so much.
As you know if you have been reading for a while, I was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease (PKD) a few weeks after Dean was born. I had horrible pre-eclampsia at the end of my pregnancy and delivered Dean at 36 weeks. When I checked into the hospital the day before he was born, my blood pressure was 210/109. It's a wonder I didn't have a stroke. Labor lasted a whopping 32 hours and ended with an emergency c-section. Recovery was rough, to say the least. My blood pressure never normalized, so based on my family history of PKD, my doctors ordered a renal ultrasound. Sure enough, I've got it. But I'm ok, as far as that is concerned. All my levels are fine and I don't experience any pain in my kidneys.
When I was diagnosed with PKD, Marcus and I started accepting the fact that Dean may be our only child. I've cried countless tears over that fact already, which seems pretty selfish. I look at people who can't even have one baby and I'm embarassed by my feelings. But I always wanted more than one child. I loved being pregnant (except the morning sickness and swelling parts) and I adore Dean more than anything. He's like an addiction I can't get enough of...and I wanted to feel that again.
When we had Dean, we lived in NYC, too far away for my family to visit. My parents never saw me pregnant, except in pictures and on the webcam. They never got to feel Dean kick. I wanted them to see me all large and gangly, to have an actual baby shower, to have my family and friends at the hospital when I delivered. (Marcus's mom and dad were able to be there for Dean's birth, but due to the need for a hasty c-section and Dean's stay in the NICU, we didn't get much quality time with them.)
Oddly, this decision was not as hard to make as you'd think. When you look at the facts and the risks, it's a no-brainer. I'm currently on medication to regulate my blood pressure and it's working like a charm. I feel good. In order to even try to get pregnant, I'd have to go off my meds for 6 months and have my blood pressure stay normal on its own for as long. Who knows if that would even happen? If we made it to that point, there's an increased risk of pre-eclampsia, since I had it last time. My doctor said she could pretty much guarantee I'd suffer from it again and that it would probably rear its ugly head earlier in the pregnancy this time. Know what that means? BED REST! For months! With a toddler! Riiiiiiiiiiight. There's also a big risk that the baby would come very early, given the fact that Dean did. That would mean sick baby AND sick mommy. (Did I mention I have a toddler?) Not the least of these worries is what another pregnancy and delivery would do to my kidneys. If my creatnine (level of protein in your urine) started to climb due to complications, it wouldn't stop, which would mean possible kidney failure, which would mean dialysis and a transplant. Having watched my mom go through this in 2007 and my uncle go through it now, I'd like to delay that, oh, forever, if possible.
So, you can see, the risks are numerous. Plus there's the chance of passing the disease onto my child. (Dean's kidneys were checked during an ultrasound and he's fine.) The answer is simple: no more babies. Any clear-thinking person with a smart head on their shoulders would make that decision.
Try telling that to my hearth, though.
Even though I figured this would be the outcome, it seems so final now. I'll never take another pregnancy test or feel baby feet shoving against my ribs from the inside or hold another tiny Jen-and-Marcus creation in my arms. That really sucks.
Then, of course, I look at Dean. I couldn't have asked for a better baby. I always wanted boys, so that wish came true. He's incredible and my heart is so full of love for him that I really don't think there will be a hole where another baby never was. I'm so thankful to have what I have. Now it's time to move on and embrace my family as it is.
Dean and I will now belong to the neat little club that my mom and I belong to--only children and their moms. He'll always be my baby boy and I'll always be his mommy. Just Dean's mom. And you know what? That's enough.