I wanted to do a further post on this, now I am feeling a bit better, in the hope it may help others who find themselves in a similar situation.
The decision not to have more children was very much a joint decision. My husband and I were both completely terrified about what had happened, and we both found the journey through NICU very difficult and we both felt that what Joseph went through wasn't something we'd knowingly put another baby through. At first, I found it hard because nurses would often say "oh next tme will be much better, you will be better monitored", and I'd reply "there is no next time". We were quite sure from the beginning it isn't something we were prepared to do again. However, it wasn't a decision we made lightly.
I am strongly of the opinion that I would get pre eclampsia again, and this is an informed opinion from both my consultant and my lovely GP. I now have a firm diagnosis of essential hypertension and am on medication. If I fell pregnant I would have to come off this medication and back on methyldopa. Methyldopa is not my friend, it's evil. The alternative medication, Labetalol is contraindicated for asthmatics, so I would not be keen on trying it.
After Joseph's birth we were asked to have a follow up consultation with the chief consultant of obstetrics at our hospital, which we duly attended when Joseph was 7 weeks old. She was very up front about my risk and was fairly confident I would get pre-eclampsia again, and would get it early, and her plan would be to get me to 30 weeks.
Now 30 weeks is preferable to 27, however, its still a lengthy hospital stay, and of course, potential for complications for the baby. In addition, although unlikely with good antenatal care, as I have demonstrated in earlier posts, not every woman who has pre eclampsia survives. And my husband, in particular, is very fearful that I might die in a subsequent pregnancy. His fear is not unfounded, his cousin died in her third pregnancy and her baby was born very early and still has serious complications as a result of his prematurity.
The other reasons we have decided not to go again are very practical ones. A pregnancy now would not be fun. I would have a lot of additional monitoring and tests and there is the very real risk I could be hospitalised for bed rest, which with a toddler would be a nightmare. Also I found the side effects of methyldopa incredibly difficult to deal with. We don't have extended family on the ground, my parents and my sister are in Australia, my husband's are in Germany and Luxembourg, and we can't expect either family to drop everything and come and help, its not practical.
Then there is a possible NICU stay, and it would be very hard to do this with Joseph, children are only allowed to visit between 3 and 4 and 7 and 8. I would want to spend my time with the baby, and express, and having Joseph as well to care for and look after, this would be exceedingly difficult, and its not something we are prepared to do.
I am not going to see a cure or definitive treatment for pre eclampsia in my childbearing years, except the current cure which involves cutting your baby out to prevent full blown eclampsia. By the time I am an old woman I want to see the level of deaths from pre eclampsia at zero. I think its purely preventable and the only way we can do this is by education. We have the medical expertise but we need to find away to educate women in a way that is effective, but not terrifying.
Getting back to the point of the post, am I happy with the decision we have made? Yes. I think it's a good one. Being a grown up means sometimes having to make decisions that are tough that you don't want to make, but you have to look at all the information you have available, and work through the consequences of your actions. Am I happy I had to make this decision? No. I feel I should be allowed to have the size of family I want without constraint. I feel very bitter that this evil condition affected me, that it affects any woman. I hate pre eclampsia.
And that is why now, I am passionate about blogging, about sharing my knowledge and experience, and helping others.