Extremely conflicted about wanting another baby after 2 preterm labors. Advice??


I have two wonderful sons who were both born prematurely. I am thankful that they weren't born earlier than they were - oldest was 34.5 weeks and weight 4 lbs 13 oz, and needed a 12 day NICU stay due to not enough strength to eat on his own. With my second I had weekly progesterone injections from weeks 16-36, and he was born at 36.4 weeks and was 6 lbs even - he didn't need the NICU, but he did need some help breathing after he was born and it was scary for mom and dad. 

I realize my story isn't extreme as far as premature labor goes, but I am so conflicted inside about whether or not to pursue one more child. I have always dreamed of having a large family - with three children to grow up together and support each other in life. I am terrified of having another NICU experience, but this time with two young children (they are almost 5 and 3.5 now) at home who need me. 

Last June my husband and I took a leap of faith and got pregnant, but I miscarried very early, around 6 weeks - maybe just a chemical pregnancy. It threw me for a huge loop emotionally, as it took so much courage to try again in the first place, and this loss really made me that much MORE aware of how much can go wrong in pregnancy. I felt so vulnerable and helpless with the process. I fell into an anxiety meltdown - I've always struggled with anxiety, but I seriously fell apart at this time and it was like the straw that broke the camel's back. It took me the better part of this entire year to bounce back to myself, with the help of anxiety medications, therapy, my amazing supportive husband, and my own efforts with meditating and exercising and healthy lifestyle. A truly miserable year of debilitating anxiety.

I tried so hard for this past year to accept that I wasn't going to have that third baby - just too much of a risk, and a risk that I by no means NEED to take! I can't shake the feeling that I'm not done, and my heart continues to crave one last child. I don't want to always wonder the rest of my life what my life would have been like with that third child, and who I am missing out on in our family. I even very seriously looked into adoption - but can I justify $30-50,000 for adoption agency fees when I'm technically capable of becoming pregnant myself? I just can't feel right about that option, either. 

My incredibly long post here....I guess is a desperate attempt to connect with SOMEONE who can understand my conflicting after having been in a similar situation. My husband isn't as concerned as I am about the early labor, he thinks all would be fine. I don't understand how it's so easy for him to be comfortable. Did you take the leap of faith? Are you glad you did? Would you consider the risk worth it? I'm just so scared of baby coming even EARLIER than my previous preemies, and if I could emotionally handle the strain that comes with that AND two little boys who need their mommy. 

So conflicted in my heart. Any advice would be so very appreciated. My husband doesn't know what to tell me anymore, as we've gone in circles so many times by this point. My OB says she wouldn't consider me to be "high risk", but that it would be a very realistic expectation to assume another baby would come around the 34-36 week mark. I could handle that....but it's the fear of a much earlier delivery that I'm not sure my PTSD could handle. I would feel guilty and responsible if my child was born early and had health struggles or issues as a result - since I knowingly risked that possibility for them. But....then again, all could be fine in the end. Maybe I would even go full term. Shocking thought, that is. 


Thank you very much for taking the time to read my ramblings! :)

2 Replies

  • I was in the same place 10 years ago. Both of my sons were preemies. I have a 32-weeker with 21 day NICU stay and a 34-weeker who was healthy enough to come 2 days later. Before delivering my 2nd, I had told myself that if I had a second preemie, I would be done. My wonderful OB told me that while he supported me, he would not be doing anything permanent that day as it's a conversation we would have needed to have in his office beforehand. I will always be grateful for his advice. A year later, we were pregnant with our third son! I was considered high risk and had pre-E with my first pregnancy. I was a part-time high school teacher. I taught all of Fall semester feeling good the whole time. I had my trusted OB and experience on my side. I went on bedrest at 21 weeks and received some of the worst news that would contribute to my son's fate. Because of the economy and my OB hadn't invested in the practice (he was nearing retirement), he was being letgo due to cuts. I was devastated and worried. He knew me.

    I had an unwanted transfer of care to someone completely inexperienced with high risk patients (I learned later). I also wasn't aware that she was only part-time. I had just two visits with her the month of Feb. The first was more of a meet and greet and review of medical records. We were not on the same page and I toiled about where to go and if I should switch doctors. On the second and what would be my final visit, I brought my kids along so that she could meet my family. Big mistake! She was distracted by them and it was her bday! I had concerns of swelling and at no point did she ever give me a container and order a 24-hour protein screening. I had several of those at this point with my other pregnancies. My next appt was scheduled more than 2 weeks out. Again, I didn't know that she was part-time and I wasn't being seen based on my need, but by her availability. I never made it to my next appt. You can find my story and read the rest there.

    Even though my third son never came home, I treasure the 30 weeks that I carried him. I remember the appts, the heartbeats, the ultrasounds, the gender reveal, and it was awesome! His brothers were 3 and 18 months old at the time. I was very excited to have them all close in age and growing up together. There were risks and some newly discovered unfavorable blood clotting genes that tried to influence my decision to try some meds I didn't do with my other two. No one can say if that really would have helped. In the end, I had undiagnosed pre-E, a placental abruption, and a blood clot (thinking it formed after the abruption). I had transfusions to save my life. I'm still here to raise and watch my living sons grow up. It's a different life than the one I had planned, but it's still a good one. We are all still processing and learning how to live while missing someone so far away. I'll never regret the decision to try for a third. It's a personal decision that only you can make. A watchful OB, a good plan, frequent check ups, bedrest, help with the kids can make all the difference.

    Good luck and thanks for reading,

  • I suppose I should add that the reason for my premature labor is unknown. I simply started labor early, with no complications in pregnancy aside from severe morning sickness for the first few months, and around 34 weeks with both pregnancies my blood pressure went up. No protein in urine or sever edema, however. My doctor thinks it MAY have been heading towards preeclampsia, but she doesn't know for sure. The unknown element scares me, since there is no way for me to know what we are dealing with and what causes my body to not make it to full term.