I’m crying and I haven’t even started my first sentence. Paisley turns one in 13 days. How can that be?!?! This time last year I was contemplating pulling her out with own bare hands, and right now I just want my wiggly worm of a seven-pound baby back. Kind of.
See there was this time we were an infertile couple. Six years to be exact. It consumed us; well, maybe not us, maybe me. Everything was about trying to get pregnant and how we couldn’t get pregnant and how we related to this small faction of people who would give their hearts and souls to be able to have a baby. And then one day, like someone flipped a switch (or more like dropped an embryo off in my uterus), we were pregnant. Finally!
Now, we were just like everyone else. I had a baby in my womb, one that kicked and fluttered about and caused esophagus-melting heartburn and embarrassing cravings for hamburgers and milkshakes. A real life baby! And then I knew what all of those other people felt like, walking around with my big bump and having everyone swoon over me. I’d proudly announce that she would be a girl and that we would name her Paisley and that she was already grounded for all the leg cramps and charlie horses she’d caused.
I reveled in my pregnancy. I knew, and know, that short of divine intervention and an immaculate conception that this would be my one and only pregnancy. If you get real bare bones about it, my pregnancy was awful. I bled the entire time, I had insomnia, chronic heartburn that I asphyxiated on once, muscle wrenching leg cramps, a kidney stone that hospitalized me at 30 weeks, and the list goes on. However, when I think about my pregnancy my immediate reaction is always “Oh my god, I loved it!” I spent 40 weeks willing myself to savor and enjoy even the worst parts of it, because MY GOD when she’d kick or I’d feel her roll over, it was all so soul-crushingly worth it. Make me throw up again, I can take it! Just make that baby kick my bladder!!!
For forty weeks out of my life, I got to be pregnant. And it was perfection. Five minutes after Paisley was born I was thrust back in to the infertile club. And I knew it. I knew it and I felt it right there in the delivery room with my warm newborn swaddled in my arms.
I’ve wanted to write this post so many times, but for whatever reason tonight felt like the night I needed to say it. My heart is so heavy with Paisley’s upcoming birthday. It’s a celebration, God I know it and I intend to whoop up every second of that day. But with each passing day and milestone, she’s less of a baby, and more of this amazing little girl. She’s just too good to be true most days.
Shelton and I have talked so many times about whether or not we’d do IVF again, what would a second child be like, how amazing it would be for Paisley to have a sibling, how much I’d love to know the feeling of being pregnant again, and so on. But for a terribly long list of reasons, we’re sticking to our “One and Done” policy that we created as soon as we learned about our IVF destiny.
For what I’d pay for a second baby, because we’d have to do the entire $20,000 start to finish again, I could pay for half of Paisley’s college education. I can give her the best I can offer, or I could split that across two. I can be grateful to the depths of my soul and the most minute fibers of my being for having gotten so lucky that we conceived on our first IVF try – and delivered a healthy baby nine months later. Or I could push my luck and maybe not have the same fate a second time. And I fear the heartbreak from that would be devastating.
So here I am again, on the other side of the fence remembering just how sweet the green grass on that side was. I’m painfully jealous when I hear of friends in the hospital giving birth. Sure, it hurt like hell and recovery from that baboon-ass situation was a nightmare, but I’d relive my delivery day over and over until the tape wore out.
I’m not whining, and I’m not complaining, I’m more trying to reach out to the many other women who share my situation and say that it’s totally normal to feel like this. The longing I used to have is back. The desire never really left. And my curiosity for what it would be like (again) is always peaked.
But I also know just how damn fortunate and blessed I am, and so I spend a lot more time soaking up my nearly one-year-old daughter than I do mourning the pregnancies I won’t ever have.
I get one, and that’s more than a lot of people get. It’s something to appreciate, and I do.