The Scales of Good Judgement

One of the billion things currently swirling around my head these days is the case for and against having another kid. I mentioned it awhile back and many of you chimed in with some incredibly good reasons for and against having more than one child. I said :

No longer being able to trust your bladder is reason # 34687924 why I don’t really want to have another baby. Reason # 1 is that, despite having a good friend who has recently had a triumphant VBAC, I am terrified of the idea of vaginal birth now that I had to have an emergency c-section. Funny, since I felt so confident and so well prepared going into Kale’s last trimester. Reason # 2 is I don’t want to mess with the good thing we have.

You guys are so good. I really appreciate all the comments.

Some of you countered that you too felt that you didn’t want to mess with a good thing either, and then after #2 (or # 3) came along you realized that good things can evolve.

Karina said “Nobody told me that having him would make the good thing even better!”

Kathleen commented that “I am also terrified because our girl is a good sleeper. Which means by murphys law the next one will be a terror. And yet I still think we will have an other eventually. I must be insane. Ahhh motherhood.”

Jill pointed out that “As for not messing with a good thing, I REALLY WORRIED about that with #3 as he was a surprise, but it just became our new normal and is our new verson of a good thing.”

I had to laugh when both Clara and Jill warned me to not even talk about it and here I am now – uh-oh! (And Jill, I’m not laughing at you, but I imagine that “not everything stays in Vegas” story will become a wedding speech one day).

Briana confirmed that she too finds # 2 to be good: “I’ve found #2 so much more enjoyable – but it’s also made me appreciate the baby memories of #1 so much more.”

And Melanie, I appreciate your comments about spacing apart siblings – brother Jim and I are 4 years apart so I’ve always thought that was a good separation. (And Melanie, seriously, what is it with you and I living parallel lives?)

Ross and I have been talking about Child # 2 and we agree we would need to do it fairly soon. We both turned 36 this month, and while that doesn’t mean we are over the hill by a long stretch, it does indicate that what I feel are unnecessary procedures* (amniocentesis, for example) are indicated as part of the provincial guidelines during a pregnancy. Yes, I know I can refuse them and I likely will. But I truly believe that like non-conforming vaccinators, those who refuse government guidelines run the risk of substandard service whether administered consciously or subconsciously. Nurses and other health related staff don’t like to deal with people who haven’t followed the rules, as that industry are the some of the world’s best rule followers. So, if we’re going to have a Number Two – and, trust me, there will definitely be no planned Number Three as there will be the Great Snippy Snip on Ross’ horizon shortly after Hypothetical Child Number Two arrives – then I truly believe that Number Two needs to happen in the next year or two at the very most. At 36 or 37 I feel I could convince a midwife that an amnio is unnecessary given my physical age may not be the same as my date age. At 39 or 40, I doubt this convincing can occur.

The thing is, though, that despite all of the great anecdotal agreement and commiseration I’ve gotten as a result of that post and my real life with face to face conversations, I’m still terrified of birth. Which is funny, right? I have a child! I should be a pro! I should be a seasoned vet and not give it more than a passing thought. Which is just funny because I feel like a deer in headlights these days when the idea passes through this brain of mine.

I have emailed my friend Jocelyn who happens to work in the maternity research world, and said “You have got to have some good recommendations for books, don’t you?” Jocelyn has graciously provided and I’m working my way through some of the list. Some of it is waaaayyyy too hokey for me. Too much about getting in touch with my mother id and embracing my womb as the bearer of all life blah blah blah- I just want to know how to work through the fear without drawing a picture of what I think my uterus looks like from the inside. I don’t want to have a conversation with it.

How does one recover from the emotional baggage of a first birth that may not have gone entirely as planned? I don’t feel traumatized, I don’t feel really let down, I don’t feel that I “failed”, but it just doesn’t sit right with me and I don’t want to repeat it, and I don’t want the stress of not wanting to repeat it to backfire and cause all those not-awesome things to happen again.

But, I can finally say that I do want another child. I can look myself in the eye and say it out loud to myself in a mirror, and not spend 10 minutes finding reasons why not.

* An amniocentesis as a means to have a “look-see” is what I consider to be unnecessary. The overall health of the mother, as well as the signs of a healthy baby inside (heart rate, good growth, etc) should be all you need. However, an amnio for the sake of diagnosis of actual health problems – well, that’s somewhat different and should be considered on a case by case scenario. I’m just sayin’.

11 years ago


  1. So does this mean baby #2 for me is actually going to sleep? Because #1 sure as hell didn’t!

    I’m scared about birth too after having a c-section. And I feel similar to you in that I don’t feel “let down” or “like I failed” because I had a c-section (Moira didn’t get to roll over for months she was that stuck) but it does mean that I still don’t know what it is like to go into labour and have to deal with all that pain. I’m coping with it by not even thinking about it – like I have the time with a toddler running and a house to renovate!

    And an amnocentesis seems a little extreme to me. I’m not sure they do that here in Alberta (maybe the do, I’m 34 so nobody recommended it to me) but I do know that I know a ton of Mums in their late-30s who have recently had healthy babies so I think the medical industry needs to broaden their views a bit.

  2. The amnio is not compulsory and noone would provide less care for you because you did not have one. And it seems that there are a fair number of women who had vaginal births with #1, who also dread giving birth to #2. The first time, you don’t know any better; ie. the degree of pain or interventions that can happen. The second time you have a more realistic perspective. To have or not have a VBAC depends partly on the reason for section the first time – a topic to discuss with your midwife or obstetrician.
    Anyway, congrats on the house! This could be a very exciting year for your family.

  3. Having just gone through what they deem a ‘geriatric pregnancy’ (pregnancy in a woman 35+…I know I felt geriatric but geeesh!) the question of an amnio was posed to my OB since I turned 35 during my pregnancy. They advised me that in BC the regulations have changed and they now no longer require (or pay for) an amnio in women under 40 unless there is indication that an amnio may be required to diagnose an issue that has come up.

  4. Well I am thrilled to hear it is no longer compulsory! When I was 34 an pregnant, I was presented to me this way “oh, you’re 34, aren’t you lucky, they won’t make you get an amnio, then.”

    and I know that many in the medical profession say they won’t treat me different, but flat out, when I resisted constant fetal monitering, when I told the nurse to get lost (nicely of course) because the blood she was drawing from Kale was unnecessary, when I refused the antibiotic ointment in Kale’s eyes etc, I am pretty positive there was more than one nurse who rolled her eyes and mumbled about me being “sigh. One of those *midwife* patients”. Whether they consciously or unconsciously did it, I don’t know.

  5. Ok you know I gotta weigh in on this one. 🙂
    As a non conforming non vaccinating hippy, I DID have a rough time when Jenna was little, cause I wouldn’t supplement and just kept nursing. Because she was so tiny (6 pds 4oz) but they wanted her to be on the 50% growth and she was on the 3rd%. But still growing and bright eyed and bushy tailed and obviously a genius. So I refused, and got pressure. It was NOT a good time for me– my intuition said all was fine, the health nurse was saying ‘we like to see so many ounces of growth per week” and we had to keep coming in a weighing her all the time… we insisted a referral to a specialist and that Dr. validated OUR feelings- there was NOTHING wrong and she was FINE.
    But I wouldn’t say substandard service, actually the opposite- they were TOO pro-intervention.
    As a result I’ve had VERY LITTLE contact with nurses or health staff this time around. I figure if there’s nothing wrong, why?
    With Caden, I don’t think we EVER got him weighed. I NEVER went in to the unit. There was NO REASON.
    So yes, I am definitely one of those “midwife patients” but frankly it doesn’t matter to me what they think. I make informed choices, if they have a problem with that, then it’s their problem. I have NO problem challenging the medical status quo by ASKING QUESTIONS and making informed choices.

    As a contrast, we had Jenna’s health issues last year, and NOBODY cared that she wasn’t vaccinated. We received great service from the medical staff here at NGH and BC Childrens. And we still were asking questions and making informed choices.

  6. As to being afraid of labour the 2nd time around… yeah. There’s no bigger act of courage than doing it AGAIN. Cause you know what you’re up for. And even if everything goes right, it still SUCKS.
    Have to talked to some successful VBAC women? Is there a VBAC group in town? Could you ask your old midwife if she knows anyone? That might be a good idea- talking to someone who has experienced similar situations to you regarding birth.

    Have you read Dooce on the subject? Leta was medicalized trauma, Marlo natural birth….

  7. I haven’t read Dooce since Leta was born. I used to find her funny but something changed – either me or her – and I don’t find her very funny anymore.

  8. I recommend this book to everyone I know so forgive me if I’ve recommended it already: Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent. She is a midwife and it’s a book of birth stories, basically, It’s not quite “name your uterus and paint her a picture of love” but it’s very “trust yourself, you can do this, whatever it is” and I read it in the final weeks of each of my pregnancies. It really helped settle me down, get me out of my own head and just see that there are 8000 ways to have a baby and whatever way you do it is totally fine.

    It’s at NWPL, I know because I renewed it over and over.

    It is just as scary the second time. Anticipation-wise, worse. B/c my first was induced, with the second I was all “what does NATURAL start of labour feel like? what what? what?”

    In closing, I am available for down-from-ledge talking.

    (Oh and also, now you have a yard! Have the baby out there!)

  9. Dude, another one from the people who brought us Kale would be awesome! That’s my selfish opinion – obviously I don’t have to carry, deliver or even raise said baby so it’s easy for me to say “Hell yea, go for it!!!”.

    That’s my self serving opinion.

  10. Thankfully, amnio is optional. It was pretty funny last time around though, my dr. kept putting the initials AMA on all of my paperwork. I’m like, really, the American Medical Association needs to know the details of my GTT? So I asked about it and he laughed saying oh no, it stands for ADVANCED MATERNAL AGE. WHA?! I turned 35 during the pregnancy, I’m not that old. But I guess in the world of little eggies and such, that’s considered geriatric.

    I say go for it. Kids suck the life out of you, but they’re worth it. Just wait until you’re finished unpacking boxes from your move.

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