On January 4 2012 I was blessed with my second child — a boy. He was so perfect, so beautiful and once again I experienced the magic of loving a life born from me. Months down the line I discovered than not all is as it should be with my son. He suffers from allergies: chronic rhinitis, asthma and eczema too. His father has skin allergies, his granny asthma and I’ve had serious sinusitis issues for most of my life. After lots of hospital drama, doctors reassured me that it was genetic. He had caught everything from us but because it was detected so early and he is being treated, he has a good chance of outgrowing it.
Despite all the reassurances I have a dark cloud about me. It darkens even more every time my son’s breathing is distressed and he has to use his pumps. It’s at its worst every time he is admitted into hospital and attached to oxygen, which has thankfully not happened for a while.
Like with my previous child, I smoked throughout my pregnancy. And by that I mean even when going into labour. The last thing I did before being taken to theatre was smoke. In hindsight, I suppose because my daughter was born healthy and went on to growing up well I became reckless and assumed it would be the same this time around.
Both my children were born at a normal weight, though my son was much bigger than my daughter. The only complications I had during my pregnancy were not because of the pregnancy itself but because of previous operations I’d had. So despite having managed to quit for two weeks when pregnant with my daughter, the second time around I didn’t even try and, truth be told, smoked even more than I ordinarily did and this had nothing to do with ignorance. I knew the risks quite well and many well-meaning people would tell me off when they saw me smoking.
So they can tell me all they want about my son being genetically predisposed to allergies but a part of me will always wonder what if I hadn’t smoked. And every time I see my son struggling for air, I am reminded of my possible part in it.
If I could do it all over again I would quit the moment I found out I was pregnant. And if my son were to still suffer from allergies at least I wouldn’t have this dark cloud hanging over me.
It’s not easy living a life of wondering whether a choice I made could have had such a negative impact on my own flesh and blood.
Image – www.sxc.hu