OPINION: Over the festive period, I fielded many questions about whether my husband and I would have a third child.
I am incredibly lucky to have two healthy children already, but I always pictured myself with three.
The dynamic of three adult children was one I thought of fondly.
However, that is now a life I grieve as I try to accept it will not become a reality.
For me, childbirth is risky and will get riskier with each subsequent labour.
My husband and I had no idea of this when I became pregnant with my first child.
I was lucky to have an extremely easy pregnancy, so I was naive going into birth.
Quickly after being introduced to my beautiful baby boy, things went south. I began haemorrhaging and had to be rushed to theatre.
I lost nearly half the blood in my body and had to have two blood transfusions and an iron infusion.
It took a long time to recover from it, but it didn’t put me off having more kids.
However, it left my husband and mum, who was there with us, traumatised.
My husband had to choose to walk with me to theatre, or stay with our brand-new baby.
Luckily, my mum was there to stay with our son, but she tells me she still has nightmares about seeing my blood all over the bed and the floor.
When I became pregnant with my second, the pregnancy wasn’t as smooth.
I had terrible morning sickness the whole way through, and had developed a particular type of antibody in my blood due to my transfusion.
It meant close monitoring and frequent scans for the whole nine months.
I thought surely I was due for a smooth birth this time around. But no. My body had other plans.
After being induced, I was just about to be sent home, but a midwife decided to put me on a heart rate monitor just to be safe.
They struggled to get a consistent reading for the baby.
Things soon turned chaotic when I was suddenly being rushed to the theatre again for an emergency c-section.
I was put under anaesthetic and my husband wasn’t allowed in the room.
When I woke up, I was told the umbilical cord had been wrapped around my daughter’s neck twice, and she had to be resuscitated.
I had also haemorrhaged again.
What we thought was a fluke first time around, the obstetrician said was an issue with my uterus not contracting back down after birth.
So it would happen every single time.
After my second child was born, I was in HDU and my daughter was in neo-natal, so I didn’t get to meet her and hold her for 24 hours.
My obstetrician said if I was to try and have another baby, it would need to be extremely monitored, I would have to have a scheduled c-section, and it would result in a full hysterectomy removing my uterus completely. A major surgery and decision.
I had been lucky to narrowly avoid having a hysterectomy after each birth, but I would not be so lucky a third time around.
While to most people this would sound like a no to more kids, I think I needed the obstetrician to actually say the words “you cannot have more babies”, because this has left a sliver of hope in my mind.
My husband, mother, and mother-in-law have all said no to a third. And in reality, I need to respect this.
Because I have already put them all through hell twice now when they thought they might lose me.
Every time I broach the topic with my husband, he simply says “I can’t raise three kids without you”.
So, every time someone asks if we’ll have another, my heart breaks a little, because as much as I’d love to, I know it’s not worth the risk.