The other day in the car, Dylan asked me if I was going to have another baby. I said, “I don’t think so, honey. Mommy and Daddy are perfectly happy with you and your brother.” Then he told me he wanted me to have another baby and he wanted to name him. “What would you name him?” I asked. His response was, “Luke Skywalker.” I thought about it and said, “Luke is a nice name.”
I wanted to tell him all of the reasons I’m not going to have another baby….
That the molar pregnancy I had before Dylan was born was devastating and turned pregnancy and birth into a frightening experience.
That I had a blood “issue” that put me at risk of clotting and bleeding simultaneously, and that the two problems didn’t cancel each other out but rather made me a medical mystery and would grant me automatic admission into the high risk pregnancy club no matter how healthy I felt.
That the mere memory of the hushed conversation between my OB/GYN and the anesthesiologist at Riley’s birth about my low platelet count, the resulting risk of a spinal bleed (and paralysis) from the spinal epidural, and the decision they had to make about whether or not general anesthesia was the better option (general anesthesia!) still makes my eyes well up.
Editor’s note: They did the spinal and obviously I’m not paralyzed. The risk of bleeding was like one in a million, but it still sucked. The only reason they did the spinal instead of general anesthesia – besides my tears – was because my anesthesiologist happened to be the chief anesthesiologist at the hospital (and he was arrogant enough – in a good way and with an excellent bedside manner – to believe he was skilled enough not to kill me). Afterwards, I was told that any other anesthesiologist in the hospital would have put me under circa 1950.
That if you combined the above medical issues with the reality of being deemed a “geriatric” pregnancy at the ripe old age of 36, you would create an Anxious Monster Mama times a million.
That the thought of experiencing morning all-the-time sickness while helping Dylan do homework and Riley do anything gave me chills.
That I didn’t want to gain 40 pounds (okay 50 pounds) (okay 60 pounds) and then have to lose it all again.
That I didn’t want to hope for a girl and feel guilty for (1) being disappointed – if only for a moment – if it was another boy and (2) having a girl and being terrified to raise her in this crazy-ass, scary world.
That Riley’s first year of life was the hardest year I’d spent as a mother or a human being (so far) because of sibling rivalry and Dylan’s yet to be diagnosed sensory processing issues, and that I was too much of a coward to risk going through it again.
That navigating through the diagnosis and treatment of Dylan’s sensory processing issues was, at times, more than I could handle.
That the thought of developing additional puffy varicose veins in my legs was depressing.
That I had no desire to be sleep deprived again. Or change diapers again. Or trip over baby swings, play mats, and pack n’ plays again.
That when I saw newborn babies, I thought they were deliciously adorable but felt grateful they weren’t mine.
That family vacations had finally begun to feel less like Chinese water torture and more like how they were intended to feel – relaxing (sort of), and that packing for them no longer required renting a U-Haul.
That I could finally watch Dylan and Riley play in the pool from the comfort of a nearby lounge chair rather than having to be in the pool with them and ready to save one of their lives at any moment.
That I’d rather spend money on window treatments, patio furniture, a Vitamix 5200, or varicose vein removal (or laser eye surgery for my nearly blind husband) than preschool tuition.
That Kids. Were. Expensive.
That thinking about paying for college for Dylan and his brother made me alternate between laughing nervously, drinking heavily, and having bouts of 3:00 a.m. insomnia.
That I wanted to focus on my goals and dreams again.
…but instead I said, “Dylan, my heart is overflowing with love for you and your brother and that’s more than enough. You, Riley, Daddy, and Harry make my family complete.” This really was just as true as all of the other stuff. “Are you disappointed?” I asked him. “Yeah,” he said. I kind of was, too.