This is so hard to write about, because I’m not really over it and it feels like I’m feeling it all over again every time I talk about it, and I haven’t once talked to anyone about it without starting to cry. But I need to get it out there so I can move on and do something else with my life.
I would have named him James. I would have named her Remy.
If we had had more babies, those would have been their names.
I am not sure how much I explained about what was going on around here for the last few weeks, but after a few days of forgetting to take my Paxil to disastrous results, I started taking it again, to disastrous results, and then I quit it cold turkey, also to disastrous results. I might talk more about it later, but for now you just need to know that for almost four weeks, my life sucked complete and absolute metric tons worth of suckitude, and that yes, a person can poop that much, and that at least for me, the symptoms of Paxil withdrawal so closely resembled the symptoms of being pregnant that I took three pregnancy tests while I was having my period. I am not pregnant.
And as much as Paxil withdrawal was one of the top ten worst experiences of my life, and I have had some doozies, there was one blessing that came with it and that I am profoundly grateful for, because every night when my husband would come home at five and I would dose myself to the gills with Dramamine and Unisom and Zofran and pray for it all to end, I would also think to myself “I can never do this again. I can absolutely without a doubt no question in my mind ever do this again. No matter what no ifs and or buts, I can never do this again.” And I can’t, and I will not be.
And the thing is I thought I wanted to do it again. When Erik and I got married, I told everyone I wanted five kids. I wanted a big crazy loud family, and I wanted holidays where people were bursting out of the house, I wanted tons and tons and tons of family all around me to make up for the empty feeling I sometimes had as a child, and then I downgraded it to four, and then I experienced what pregnancy is like for me with Eli and I thought maybe three. I always knew I’d have at least two but I really thought three sounded like a pretty good number. I never really thought I’d end up with just two.
And here we are. We’re done. We’re just gonna have the two.
And the thing is that I know how damn lucky I am that I can just decide these things. I know that there are people that would give their left arm to be sick every day to be able to have another baby or ANY baby. I know all this. I think of them every time I think of this. And I know all this and still, I just can’t do it. I just can’t do it.
It would destroy me. It would destroy me to go through a pregnancy like I had with Katie while I have two children and a husband and a life. I don’t know if my kids would survive it intact. I don’t know if my marriage would survive it intact. I have no idea how I would survive it intact. I don’t think I would. I missed Halloween and Eli’s Parent Teacher Conference. Erik had a huge work test that he didn’t get to study for. I almost missed the Blathering. I feel like I was in a four week long coma, like four weeks of my life are just GONE. I don’t want to miss a year of a five year old’s life. I just don’t.
All the rest of it, I can work out. If someone gave me a baby tomorrow, I could figure out the too small car and the too small house and all the rest of it, but I can’t work my mind around how to be incredibly unbelievably sick for ten months and not have it ruin everyone’s lives who is already here.
So I stood in my kitchen and tears ran down my face and I told my husband I couldn’t do it again, that this would have to be it, and I apologized that he ended up with such a dud, because honestly he’d be the best father to five children or eight children or however many children ended up here with us, he’d be such a good dad to all of them, he really would. He was meant to parent a gaggle of the creatures, and I just can’t do it.
The thing I told Erik is that I just wish I had known. I just wish I had realized that Katie would be the last one. I just would have smelled her head more.
But the interesting thing is that I can’t remember any other decision I’ve made that so instantly made me a better parent, because in that moment I realized that THIS IS IT. I am not getting any other chances. And these children I DO have? They’re pretty damn wonderful. And that next day when Katie woke up from her nap crying, I sat and I rocked her and I smelled her head and I memorized that half an hour we sat there together as hard as I could, even though there was laundry to fold and dinner to make and other things I could have been doing with my time. Instead, we sat there together and I put that half an hour in my heart and I locked it up forever.
Sometimes I think maybe God tried over and over and over again to send me the message and I just wouldn’t get it. He gave me a two bedroom house. He made me hate minivans. God knows how I feel babies (strongly pro) but that I don’t really care for toddlers and that four year olds make me crazy and that mess stresses me out and that loud noises aren’t my jam and that I like order and neatness and I am tired tired tired of baby jail. Sometimes I wonder if God has just been waiting around for me to get the message that it’s not worth making everyone else’s lives so much harder just so I can name something else.
No one is happy when you tell them you’re done when they’re waiting to hear that you’re having another one. I feel like I am disappointing so many people, but all the people who really know how hard it was for me to get through being pregnant twice understand. I think sometimes people forget I went to the emergency room twice, that’s how sick I was. It was not a minor deal, for me, to be pregnant.
And still, I am very very sad. I just really wanted one more. I really did. I really don’t ever want to be pregnant again. I breathed a sigh of relief when I sent all my maternity clothes off to Sarah Lena. I am going to donate all my kids clothes to a women and children’s shelter. The thought of someone with almost nothing putting her own babies in my babies rompers helps a lot. It helps.
And still, I am very very very sad.
But a thousand times a day, I do feel relief. I feel relieved that I don’t have to figure out how to pay for another baby. I don’t have to wear elastic waisted pants ever again. I don’t have to figure out how to live my life with a giant explosion in the middle of it. I can take my kids to the Grand Canyon soon, and not some day. I can keep driving the car I love instead of a car I’d hate. I can stay in my favorite house and the thing is that this family of mine is the absolute best. It’s the absolute best and a thousand times a day I think “Oh my god, I can’t believe how lucky I got when I got you.”
And the thing that helps the most are all the people I know who chose two like it was no big deal, who think it’s the perfect number. That helps more than anything else in the world, watching Emily live her life and watching BFF Sara live her life and watching everyone else makes it ok.
But still. I’m sad. I’m very very sad. I’m ok! I will be ok.
But I just really really wanted one more. And I think I will always always miss a little bit what could have been, little Remy, little James.
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