Hi everyone! My name is Lauren Sinn (Lo). I’ve been married for 5 years with 2 kiddos (3 and 7 months)! I wanted to share my experience with our decision to be done having children. My husband and I are both oldest children. He has a younger sister and I have a younger sister and brother. I always wanted to have at least 3 or 4 kids and my husband only wanted 2. I was very adamant about having at least 3 kids as that is what I was used to, based on my own family of origin.
Going back to the beginning, I could NOT wait to have children. I wanted babies since I can remember and always thought I would LOVE being pregnant as my mother did. I even dreamed of being a surrogate for someone someday. Boy was I wrong! I hated being pregnant and everything that went along with pregnancy. I hated feeling sick, I hated gaining weight, I hated the bloating and feeling uncomfortable. I felt undesirable and was constantly worried about how I would lose the weight. Fast forward to my delivery with baby #1. My goodness this was horrific. At least it was for me. My contractions were so close together that I didn’t get a break during the labor process. I was in so much pain and didn’t get a break from that pain. The meds weren’t working and my epidural wore off. My son’s heart rate would dip and stay low during labor. Doctors, nurses, interns etc. were rushing into my room to help stabilize his heart rate. This caused me to have to push the majority of the time on my hands and knees (I had already had an epidural, so this was no easy feat). I had to wear an oxygen mask and became so exhausted that eventually needed the help of a vacuum to deliver my first child.
For a long time I felt like I would be fulfilled with just Michael (my son). Being an early childhood mental health therapist, I knew that there were significant benefits to giving my child a sibling. 2 + years later, I felt pressure from my husband (who wanted to be done having children by 30), and by my own view of what I wanted in a family. I was constantly battling myself and others about not being ready to give up my body for another 2 years. (9 months of pregnancy and 12 months of breastfeeding) It was actually my sister in law getting pregnant again that motivated me to make the step toward growing our family. I love the idea of my child having a cousin close in age as my son has.
I got pregnant with my daughter and oh boy... I had forgotten how much I disliked being pregnant. The morning sickness was dialed up to 100 this time around, not to mention the heart burn this time (my daughter was born with an incredible amount of hair). Fast forward to my labor and delivery. Everything seemed to be going well. I hadn’t had the quick second delivery that women talk about but the pain was not nearly as bad as it had been with my son. The pain meds were working and so was my epidural. Unfortunately my daughter wasn’t as blissful as I was during this time. Her heart rate was dropping, same as my son’s had. No matter what they tried, her heart rate would not climb back up. My epidural wearing off and my husband and I were in a dazed panic. I don’t really remember the details but I know that before I knew it, I was being whisked away to the operating room to have a C-Section.
Once in the operating room, the anesthesiologist had to come in again because my epidural had failed and he needed to do another spinal. This second time around it “went high” and took away my ability to breathe on my own. I remember laying in the operating room trying to gasp for air and trying to tell someone that I couldn’t breathe. The best way I can explain this is like a fish out of water. I remember my lips moving but no sound coming out. Because of this, my husband and mother were not allowed to be in the room with me. I get choked up when I think about my baby girl being born into this world and not having any family there to greet her. My daughter was born shortly after 4 pm and I didn’t wake up until after 7pm. The plan I had for our son to meet her couldn’t happen and the first thing she ate was a donors breastmilk. Don’t get me wrong!!! I’m incredibly thankful to the women out there blessed with enough milk to donate so that women in my situation can feed their babies, BUT I wanted to be the first to feed my baby.
Fast forward, again, I had been spiking fevers over 102 and my Doctors were concerned there was infection somewhere. The day I was released we picked up our son, got home and that evening I spiked another fever over 102 and was told I needed to go back into the hospital to be monitored. By the time I got the hospital I had dropped the fever and they gave me fluids and watched me for 24 hours. I was sent home. A couple of days later was my daughter’s newborn photos. I went to this appointment with my daughter and looking back, I can tell from the photos that something was wrong. I woke up that night and had a gushing of blood. I thought this was normal because I had still been bleeding from laboring and pushing the week before. I went to the bathroom and waited it out. I called my mom (a labor and delivery nurse) and talked through my symptoms and we determined that I had overdone it and needed to take it easy. Two days later the same thing happened. I fainted in the bathroom and as my husband describes, the bathroom looked like a murder scene with blood everywhere. We had to get back to the hospital and when we finally got there they did an ultrasound to determine that I had a pseudo aneurism in my uterus. It was life threatening and if I hadn’t caught it there was potential for me to bleed out. My doctors had said that this was pretty rare. In fact in their 30+ years as obstetricians they had only ever seen this happen in older women after hysterectomy. There were a couple of options for treatment, one of which was a hysterectomy. They determined that because I was so young (27) they would put some coils into the aneurysm and fill the blood vessel with a gel foam. This was a laparoscopic surgery and I had to stay in the hospital for another 24 hours after the procedure was complete. I was lucky, my husband and daughter were able to stay in the hospital each time I had to be readmitted and I was able to continue breastfeeding her. I was able to advocate for myself and her when it came to medications they wanted to prescribe me and held strong to my decision to not take any meds that would affect my ability to feed her.
My husband and I decided after this experience that we would call it quits when it came to having our own children. We have our perfect little family of a boy and girl. My doctors stated that moving forward I would have high risk pregnancies because the blood supply in my uterus might be compromised. It was an easy decision for us to make. Our plan is to adopt an older child when our children have grown up a bit more. We have more love to give but we both recognize the importance of having both parents alive and healthy.
As I recall my experience I can recognize how traumatic the event was but feel dramatic sharing all these details. I get self conscious when people ask me to share my story because I feel guilty for making others uncomfortable. My story is just exactly that... MY STORY :) It is unique to me and that’s perfectly okay, wonderful and acceptable!
A special thanks to Mari Wagamon for letting me share my story and for the opportunity for me to grow in acceptance of my own story.