Friday, May 18, 2012

Tough Choices: Another child after a NICU Stay?

By Joel Brens

The greatest thing that ever happened to me was becoming a parent. No question. Jayden will be two come this May and is doing remarkably well for himself. I often pinch myself thinking about how profound the creation of life is. I also think about how complex and perfect everything needs to be for life to function correctly. Millions of things need to go right in order for life to flourish. It's mind boggling. I am the youngest of three boys and my mother lost two babies before I was conceived. They considered just having two children but as fate would have it I was meant to be. Wow... that's certainly a heavy feeling.

Jayden's stay in the NICU was only 3.5 weeks, which pales in comparison to a lot of stories I've heard. That doesn't change the reality it was a very trying and touchy time. Since he has been out, (and flourishing as a toddler) the subject of growing the family has come up numerous times. Whether it's from family, friends or strangers who I've met I hear this question a million times: "(When) are you planning on having other kids?" My response "I'm not sure" gets a wide variety of reactions from people.

The idea of a trip BACK to the NICU makes me uneasy. We were fortunate to have an awesome team of doctors and nurses and a resilient boy the first time around. But what if that wasn't the case?  What if he would have had multiple issues? What if he was way behind on his development? When I explain to people that the idea of dealing with another child in NICU freaks me out they usually say "I understand". Do you? Do you know what it's like to feel completely helpless for over three weeks in a hospital? Do you understand what it feels like when you desperately need a break from it all and you STILL feel like your abandoning your child? Its not fun.

Another issue that weighs on me is my wife's health. She dealt with pre-eclampsia that gave her high blood pressure issues and she will also be turning 35 this fall. NICU baby or not those are concerns that would naturally come up under any circumstance. The older the mom is the higher risk you run for serious issues. Please understand that regardless of disability, health or developmental issues I would love my child unconditionally. That's not to say that it wouldn't be in the back of my mind. The choice keeps me from sleeping sometimes.

My brothers mean the world to me. They have seen me at my very bet and very worst and have always supported me. I never forget that. I would love for Jayden to have a brother or sister, but I wrestle with the pros and cons daily. Depending on when we feel the time is right we haven't ruled out looking into adoption as well. But that's a whole different can of worms for another time. Right now we are truly blessed and happy with our little treasure Jayden. Only time will tell...

No comments:

Post a Comment