On a semi-regular basis, the hubby and I look at the boys playing, look at each other, and say, “One good month.” And then we both kind of shake our heads.
The only reason our youngest is here, is because back in the Fall of 2007, I had one good month. And I cannot tell you how grateful we are, for that.
Before I gave birth to my first son, I suffered three miscarriages – bad ones, as they all are, although thankfully they all happened early. And then the fourth time, when my body finally held on to a baby, I felt the full force of the powers of hell unleashed.
Okay, no, but that’s sure what it felt like.
The pregnancy was a nightmare from beginning to end. Every “bad” side effect that the books warn you about, I had, from crippling, never-ending nausea to grotesque weight gain to severe edema.
By the end, I looked like a crying, moaning Michelin Man.
When the pregnancy finally ground to a halt a week past my due date, I slogged through 25 hours of labor (18 of those without medication), and 80 minutes of pushing. At the end of it, while I lay hemorrhaging and nearly blind with pain, my hubby leaned over me, stroked my head, and whispered, “I never want you to have to go through that again.”
The first year with my new baby (whom I adored) was a long, exhausting blur of confusion and constant nursing. And then, just as I was weaning him, I got pregnant again.
That pregnancy was worse than the last one. Worse nausea, worse fatigue, worse pains, worse everything. At my first doctor’s visit, nearly 3 months in, I sat on the exam table and wept, sure that I was dying.
I wasn’t, but my unborn baby had. And right then, my husband and I vowed never to go through all that again.
But once my body had recovered from the miscarriage, something happened. I had that one good month.
This was around October of 2007. For the first time in over two years, I was neither pregnant nor nursing a baby. I felt fantastic. I started thinking about how nice it would be for my son to have a sibling. And one day, we went to a little park near our house and sat on the grass, and the sun was shining in that way that makes you feel stupid and happy, and crunchy leaves were scattered on the ground, and everything felt so perfect, that I told my husband I wanted to try for another baby.
This did not make him happy. “Are you sure?” he kept asking. He hadn’t forgotten the hellishness we’d been through.
I hadn’t forgotten, either. I just really, really wanted Cameron to have a brother or sister. And once I get my mind around something, well…
Within a month, I was pregnant, and Lord have mercy. Evidently I hadn’t seen nothing, yet.
I really am not a good enough writer to describe how bad that pregnancy was, I can just tell you this – when I was only four months along I frog-marched my husband to the urologist’s office for a vasectomy. In between crying jags, I told him, “If you don’t do this, I’ll never be able to have sex again.”
I wasn’t even kidding.
The urologist was a little hesitant – “Are you sure?” he asked. “Most people wait until their pregnancies have reached a ‘safe’ stage, before they do this.”
“You don’t understand,” I said. “If I ever go through this again, it will kill me.”
A week before my due date, my doctor induced me, because I couldn’t have survived another week. Blessedly, this delivery was much easier than the first one – although the newborn stage, that next year, would again be terribly hard for us.
All that aside, though, I was – and am – so grateful for my boy, who is so different from my first. He is a handful: as curious and as stubborn as the day is long. And I love him with all my heart.
He turns three years old next week. Here are some thoughts I jotted down when he was exactly three months old.
When you break into my sleep each night
(at one, or two, or three)
I stumble to fetch your medicine
A nursing pad
A burp rag
After Daddy changes your diaper
I receive you onto our nest of pillows
watch your eyes close
Your palm brushes my chest as you drink
And I am so utterly exhausted
that I fear I will drop you;
My need for sleep is so desperate
When you are done, and nestled on my shoulder
I pat your back
and smell your head
Move my lips against your fat cheek
Then cradle your gentle weight in my arms
And long past the time I should return you to your own bed
I watch you sleep
Feel your delicate breath moving against my belly
The need for sleep subsides
I hold you, and watch you
just a little longer
My heart in my throat
My love for you filling the room
Filling the house
Sailing out into the night
My last baby