Family Magazine

A Shift in the Family Dynamic

By Mmostynthomas @MostynThomasJou
That I should find myself expecting again at the grand old age of 40 is something to celebrate. I have spoken before about my and Miles' pragmatism about trying for a second child; in particular, my eighth-week miscarriage last January, which highlights how from age 35 upwards, women have a one in two risk of miscarrying (before that, it's one in five).
So the discovery of the first scan that at 15 weeks five days, I was more advanced in my pregnancy than expected came as a surprise. Never could we imagine how soon after the miscarriage I could conceive again. Ten days later, to be exact.
A shift in the family dynamicPhysical well-being notwithstanding - and despite having my maternity notes transferred to the care of another hospital - I am still unable to banish fears of this little one winding up disabled too. My age also places me at increased risk of having a child with Down's Syndrome. Unfortunately, by the time of my first scan, I was too far gone for a nuchal translucency scan (although, of course, both blood tests taken at 16 and 20 weeks - the latter which was accompanied by another scan - have indicated no anomalities so far).
Even so, I am leaving little to chance. My new obstetrician has advised a third scan at 30 weeks just to be sure, followed by an extended hospital stay at 38 or 39 weeks. This way, hopefully, should labor be as fast as it was with Isobel, doctors, midwives, equipment and BSL interpreters will already be on standby for immediate attention.
I was asked if I wanted to book a Caesarean. I said no. What if I went ahead with it, never knowing if the baby could have been born naturally? Should an emergency C-section be required that day, I will at least have tried.
That we are having another baby is, for both of us, a dream come true. We have already agreed on a name. We also like that we are expecting a boy; someone to back up Isobel in tricky situations (we hope). Through leading by example, we also hope that we will influence the younger child's attitude towards disability, while as the first-born, Isobel already has a head start in teaching him to respect his elders. When I think of disabled children with younger siblings I often think of my cousin James, always making time well into adulthood for his older brother Paulie, who has multiple disabilities and is in residential care.
Not that we intend to pressurize the baby unnecessarily into doing anything he doesn't want to, of course. Let's be realistic: all siblings fight, and in that respect, we don't think Isobel and her brother will be any different.
Whatever happens, we will love and care for them both just the same. We just want Isobel to be as much a part of the family as she was before. Inclusion must be as much of a by-line as love and togetherness, and we are determined to ensure that both our positive attitudes towards disability flow throughout the entire household.
If Isobel is to bring the family closer together, now is our chance to make it work. 

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