When O was a baby, I would occasionally get questioned about the big age gap between my children, people would presume that he was either from a second marriage, or that he was unplanned. After all, my others were all close in age and much older. As he, and especially his sisters, have grown up there have even been the odd occasion where you can just tell people are wondering who his mother is! But actually there is a good reason for such a big gap.
Ten years ago, had you asked me if I was going to have another baby, I would have laughed and said something along the line ‘Oh god no! No more babies for me thank you very much.’ At the time I had four small children aged from a baby up to five years old. Life was sleepless, noisy and everyday was jam packed with nappies, laundry, breastfeeding, school runs and PND.
My pregnancy with LV had been a difficult one, we almost lost him twice. Once due to a major bleed from a partial placental abrubtion, where his placenta pulled away from the lining of my womb, and once at 22 weeks where they thought I was going into preterm labour. But he managed to stay bigger than the blood clot and my pains and tightenings finally calmed down. Although they were a daily part of my entire pregnancy.
I had weekly midwife or consultant appointments and, because I am rhesus Negative and kept bleeding, dozens of anti-D injections. At first just getting to 24 weeks, and viable, seemed an impossible task, the midwives were very open and honest about how I would almost definitely go into preterm labour. But against all the odds he managed to stay in until 37 weeks on the nose. He was born after only 9 minutes of active labour and just a few pushes (I barely made it onto the delivery room bed) and at 5lb 10oz he was our perfectly healthy little miracle.
After he was born, we found out that the bleeding was due to the placement of his cord. It was attached right at the edge of the placenta, instead of in the centre. This meant every time he wriggled around he pulled on the cord making the placenta pull away a little bit and bleed. I only know this because the midwife who was checking the placenta and the blood clot, which was about the size of my fist, mumbled something about how lucky we were. She then looked at us and whisked it all out of the room. I had, and still have, many questions that will never be answered.
Needless to say after this horrendous experience I really was adamant I couldn’t put myself through that again. Even being quietly ushered along a separate corridor to a special ultrasound room to find out if our baby was still alive was a bad enough experience to make me think twice about going through it all again. But spending every day knowing that the little boy wriggling around in my tummy could possibly not make it through the day was frightening. Heartbreaking.
And in the early years I guess what I was saying was true. I really didn’t want any more babies. Babies meant pregnancy and I couldn’t go through that again. I knew it was unlikely to happen again, it was just a fluke, but I have also seen first hand the devestation of mothers who have lost their babies to placental abruption.
Just like the pain of childbirth, the bad memories and heartache over that awful pregnancy faded, after all we had this beautiful little boy from it, and at some point I started to not believe myself when I told people we were done.
I can’t quite put my finger on when I actually started to change my mind. But I do remember watching an advert on TV with teeny tiny babies in Africa (I vaguely recall it being an advert for nappies?) and having a conversation with Lee where he basically said he wouldn’t mind having another baby, maybe that’s what put a spark of an idea in my mind. That was probably when LV was about five.
We had the occasional conversation about it over the next year, of course Lee denied he ever said he wanted another. But on July 1st 2012 I turned 30. Suddenly, felt like I was getting old, that time was running out and that very day I decided I NEEDED another baby. And that, as they say, was that!
So almost seven years after his brother, a bigger gap than the first four have combined, O came into our lives. It was another difficult pregnancy as I was extremely unwell (that’s a story for another day) and after my hardest labour and deliver yet, he came into the world quite poorly. This time round, I can hand on heart say, with all truth and sincerity that we are done. Well and truly done! I can quite happily say that there will be no more babies in this house. Until we have grand babies anyway, and even though my eldest two are 16 I would like quite a few years before they arrive too, thank you very much!