Big Brother

Once, I never thought I would ever be able to be a mum after being told I would never have children naturally.

I knew the fertility treatment journey would be long, hard going and emotional with no guarantees in the end. We were blessed with not just one nor two but three handsome boys. It was not without heartache as we lost a baby before our third son…

After our third who is Roo, we knew our family was complete as I had used up my quota of fertility treatment and then Roo’s issues came to light and I must admit I felt relieved that he was my last baby – that I managed to have two neuro typical children before him so I would never have the added worry of having more children.

Fast forward five years: Roo was/is going through a good phase so I decided it was time to look after me, joined Slimming World, had lost 4st 13lb and was looking forward to getting my ‘five stone lost’ award…already I felt the benefits of losing weight as I was able to do so much more with my boys, we had respite in place so we did things like swimming, playing board games etc and were starting to feel like a family again when we received news we never ever expected…

I was pregnant…again…very unexpectedly…

A huge range of emotions took over – shock at first, then confusion as I had no treatment. In the 16 years my hubby and I had been together we never had managed to fall pregnant naturally, we always needed fertility treatments, medications, scans, injections and constant hospital appointments so everything was planned (sometimes it felt too clinical but it was necessary ) and fitted around our lives.

After several days of doing pregnancy tests every morning to show it was real we started thinking about whether we would cope as our family dynamics would change; we would need a bigger home. Then came the thoughts of “what if the baby had the same genetic issues Roo had?” 

“Would we cope with two special needs children?” and lastly the feeling of amazement that my body had done the impossible – feeling a bit excited and happy but anxious most of all.

Not long afterwards one of my fears came true; I developed Hyperemis again and was put on strong antisickness meds to help me to get through the days. In my darkest days I did think: “I’m never going to cope with being sick everyday and caring for Roo as well as my older children”.

Many tears were shed and I felt so guilty for even thinking of whether to continue the pregnancy but then the meds kicked in and gradually I started to see light at the end of the tunnel.

People don’t understand HG unless they have been through it or see a loved one suffer…the constant nausea that never goes away, being unable to even hug your children because the lingering scent of something they had eaten made you violently sick, unable to even play or read books because you are concentrating so hard on not being sick, the exhaustion of fighting to keep your body hydrated to prevent hospalisation. The times I ventured outside everything had to be planned, making sure there were toilets or somewhere I could vomit without being stared at and tutted at, somewhere I could rest when needed.

The days I made myself get up and take Roo to the constant hospital appoinmtents often left me completely drained and I would collapse in a heap once home running to the bathroom to be sick, doing everything I could to force water and some food down even if it meant being sick so I kept hydrated enough to stay out of hospital. My family have had to adapt their routines around me in order to allow me to rest as much as possible, my husband has had to reduce his hours at work so that he can come home so I can get some rest as Roo is up at night and the tiredness makes me more ill.

What makes me sad is my children see me so ill but they amaze me…when I was pregnant with my second, my eldest would sit beside me in the bathroom rubbing my back and saying it’s ok…when pregnant with Roo there were two of them rubbing my back and comforting me…they don’t do that now as they are much older. Instead they wait until I come out then ask if I’m ok… Roo on the other hand doesn’t understand and takes advantage by making as much mess as possible, runs his brothers mad by refusing to do what they want him to do, screaming if the dare try to get his breakfast ready, touch him or make him a drink…he has become a lot more stubborn and I’m finding it hard as I struggle to lift him as he still needs to be lifted downstairs etc…I will soon end up in crutches so it’s going to be even harder but hey we will work around it.

I can’t believe Roo is going to be a big brother! Its going to be a big change for him and we won’t know how he will take to it at first but he will soon adapt.

I have visions of him trying to lift baby by its head! I’m never going to be able to leave him alone with baby as he has no danger awareness so he is going to have to come with me whenever I need the toilet or to do something in another room! I’m already thinking of different ways to ensure everyone is safe and happy, thinking how on earth on the days he needs his wheelchair I’m going to manage with a baby too until someone mentioned baby wearing slings and it sounds great especially for over the summer months as it means I can still get out and about, and when he starts at school I can use the sling on the days we walk to school with him in his chair. Other days I will have my car.

I’m also coming to terms with the fact that its going to be hard at nights as obviously in the first few months the baby will be up every few hours for feeds and with Roo not sleeping very well it’s going to be interesting juggling a feeding baby with a wide awake Roo who needs to be watched and entertained! But we will make it work out somehow…my only consolation is that the birth will fall before summer break so I won’t have nursery/school runs to worry about!

Today we met the genetic consultant that Roo is under and he told us that he feels that the genetic mutation Roo has is new and that the baby will only have 5% chance of having the same condition as his/her brother.

He said its very hard as Roo still doesn’t have a overall diagnosis so he can’t suggest certain tests.

He did say that they were expecting a batch of results from the study Roo is on and he is hoping that one of them could be Roo’s but they may not find anything if it’s too rare…it’s a matter of waiting… he then asked the question about if I would terminate the pregnancy if the baby was found to have the condition and I looked at Roo who was happily singing in his chair and immediately said “No” and it was then that I realised that no matter what we were going to have this baby and if he/she is found to have the same issues as Roo we will deal with it when the time comes.

We have the 20 week scan coming up and if the head is bigger than normal then we would need to be prepared that baby may have the same issues as Roo but as Roo’s issues didn’t come to light until after the birth the chances are that we will never know during the pregnancy and will have to wait and see once he/she is born to rule it out so there will always be that tiny possibility but we can only hope for the best.

For now we are going to focus on preparing Roo to be a big brother (maybe a buggy and doll would help? Much to the amusement of my hubby who sees them as girl’s toys despite the fact our second son had a baby doll he slept with for 2 years!) and prepare for whatever lies ahead…

As published by SWAN UK memmber and blogger:

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