Aren’t you scared?

I’ve gotten this question more than a few times in the past weeks as we get closer to baby M’s arrival. It comes from a place of caring, but it’s a rather loaded question: aren’t you scared that your next baby may have special needs, too? 

Of course, both Pat and I would love to have a healthy baby we can take home from the hospital in 48 hours — and not repeat our previous 110 day NICU journey. We had no idea the day that our Little Lion Man was born that there was going to be a fork in our ‘typical’ or ‘normal’ parenting path (whatever that means).  We didn’t have any experience with medical adversity; the Bug’s arrival was relatively uneventful. We took her home and three years later, were back in the delivery room planning to have a baby and take our second child home, too. We didn’t know his big sister wouldn’t meet him for months. We didn’t know we were signing up for endless hours in a dark room, ICU transports, tough decisions, wires, procedures, signing seemingly millions of waivers, learning a whole new language, grueling marathon days of hospital runs and trying to keep somewhat of a stable homelife for the Bug… we certainly didn’t know about the home care frustrations we’d be dealing with on a daily basis AFTER the NICU.

We didn’t know then and we don’t know now. But we aren’t scared.

We can’t control what happens next. What good would worrying do?

No, we didn’t drink any “you’re never given more than you can handle” kool-aid. This isn’t some ‘we’re suzy q positive all the time’ mantra.  If I said that, I’d be lying. You know I’d be lying. But here are the facts:

  • As far as modern medicine can tell, I’ve had a very healthy pregnancy. And the baby seems to be doing beautifully.
  • Should something happen, we’re not complete novices anymore. We’re lucky to have an incredible medical team assembled for our Little Guy (which was not easy, by the way), and have great relationships with the specialists we work with. We also are a bit more versed in navigating this giant abstract monster that is the United States healthcare system. Not experts, by any stretch. Sifting through healthcare plans last week still gave me a massive migraine. But we’re not completely new to the game.
  • I’ve fully come to terms with the fact that I will probably have a head of gray hair before I turn 35. Luckily, hair dye exists should I need it.
  • Patrick and I are lucky to have jobs that are flexible enough and a support system in place that makes our daily chaos manageable. Not every family has that, and we’re grateful.
  • Both of our kids are compassionate, funny, heartbreakingly adorable little people that amaze, frustrate and make us smile every day. Why wouldn’t we want another one of those? {And no, I’m not biased at all.}
  • We don’t have time for the what-ifs. We’re too busy with the what-nows and what-nexts.

special needs parenting: aren't you scared? - (cool) progeny

What’s next for us? Some Sunday snuggles (both kids have nasty colds, sigh), a little cookie baking, maybe some soup …. and a little baby girl who’s making her appearance any day now.

We can’t wait to meet her.