“We’re going to have a little boy.”
My friend told me over the phone and I almost burned the pork carnitas I had labored over all afternoon. I yelped with pure happiness for her, her husband, their children.
I had known it weeks earlier. I have this thing. This weird way of knowing when women are pregnant. As a teenager, it came to me in dreams. But now that I’ve experienced pregnancy, I can feel it. I was just waiting for her to tell me but when she actually did, it still felt like a big, gift-wrapped surprise.
And then, minutes later I sat down to write. My cheeks were hot and red as I worked through the feelings that came crashing after the joy.
What if. What if. What if we tried for another baby.
I thought first of the hyperemesis gravidarum that graced each of my pregnancies with its presence. (Layman’s terms: endless months of intractable vomiting and dehydration.) Then of the last trimester of hell. In spite of craving a beautiful, easy pregnancy mine had never been so and by week 36? Eh, just stay away. Then the dangers of another c-section. My last had been complicated and I was told that another pregnancy wasn’t ideal.
In spite of the rotten pregnancies, there were still those moments; those irreplaceable, heart-stopping moments.
I saw a downy fuzz covered head.
I saw wrinkled feet
I saw hands, opening and closing around my finger. . and sleepy half-smiles.
Us. We made these babies. I grew these babies; I nursed them. With my body. And now this body is back to being just mine.
I cried for the baby that existed only in my imagination.
Although I firmly state to people that we’re done, 100% completely done, I’m not. I dream of what a fourth baby might look like. Bald like my first two?
But dreaming of that baby isn’t enough to convince me that my husband and I should try to bring him or her to life. Because for the three children I have at home, for my husband and for me; too much.
Still, the decision to be done is not without hesitation, or without tears.
I don’t think I will ever be done, as in finished and content to be over those beautiful baby days. Because they are like nothing else and part of me will always hold on to the feeling I had each time I was experiencing firsts with each of my babies. Part of me will always wonder what a fourth would be like.
The other day my children suited up for a swim at the lake. After I sunscreened them, I realized it was the first time in seven years that no one complained or stomped over the sunscreen application. With two of my fair skinned-kids hailing back to their Irish roots, sunscreen is a staple for us. I’ve spent countless frustrated minutes slathering it on and pursing my lips. And now? They’re old enough to get through the act without so much as a grimace.