Thursday, April 26, 2012


Moses, in utero
My husband and I have almost always wanted to have more than one child. Originally we’d agreed on a maximum of 4, but my husband later dropped down to 3 (“It still looks like you’ve made a Christian effort, then,” he said) and I toyed with the idea of stopping at 2. Then while I was pregnant with Moses, draped over the toilet having recently vomited, my husband gave me a sympathetic look along with a glass of water and asked if this would be our only child. I nodded, glumly. 

But time passed and my memories of pregnancy and babies faded into a pretty, 80s-portrait-style haze, and I started flicking through names books (the first place I turn to get my head around the idea of another person in our house) and writing lists of potentials and imagining new beginnings and exciting news to share and life and hope and joy and joyness. This was a few months ago, when thinking about trying for our second child was a some-day-in-the-future thing rather than a seriously-what-are-we-waiting-for thing.

Now that we’ve moved closer towards the latter, I’m starting to panic and am remembering all the things I’d blurred out in my pretty, 80s-style picture. Like the fact that my diary entry for each day of the first 4ish months of pregnancy with Moses – had I had the energy to keep a diary at that stage – could have said exactly the same thing: “Feel horrendous. Stayed horizontal as much as possible to stop myself vomiting. Only think about eating plums; cannot imagine ever enjoying non-plum food again. I want to die. This kid better be worth it.”

Or the fact that over the next 5ish months, I discovered that constantly eating helped with the nausea and proceeded to snack constantly during the day, and once during the night (I'd wake up and have to scoff down some cereal so that I’d make it through to the morning). I put on weight like I was trying to win some kind of competition. My midwife started telling me that I had “a lot of amniotic fluid” which (I found out after my son was born) was actually code for “From what I can feel, your child is flipping huge. Perhaps you should stop getting up at 2am to eat.” I passionately hate all photos of me from mid-July to the end of December 2010. So that wasn’t awesome.

And then there was all the anxiety. How do I not eat for 12 hours so that I can do the gestational diabetes test? What if I have gestational diabetes? What if it’s my multivitamins that make me feel so sick? If I stop taking them, will my baby be born with a third nipple? Is he kicking enough? How am I supposed to sleep if I can’t lie on my tummy or my back? What if my blood pressure goes up too much? What if my husband never agrees to call this child Moses when I’m already so attached to the name? What if the ultrasound said it was a boy but they’re wrong and it’s actually a girl? How would I deal with that kind of shock after giving birth? What if he’s breech? What if I turn up to my ultrasound and find out that all is not well? (And this was way before I’d turned up to an ultrasound and found out that all was not well.)

Rather than “glowing” and “hope,” I’m now linking pregnancy with words like “stress” and “bad wardrobe” and “regular medical appointments” and “Weetbix.” And that’s all before the baby arrives! Once he or she is here I won’t be free to gaze at his or her face without interruption and sleep when she or he sleeps and spend days not bothering to get out of my pyjamas or shower. I’ll have two faces to gaze at, two people to coordinate the naps of, including one little boy who (presumably) will still want to go to parks and cuddle for most of the day, and I love that little boy, I can’t imagine him having to share me with some strange child who’s already taking over our lives without even existing yet. And, after the miscarriage, when should we tell people next time? Early, so that they can pray and support us, or later, so that there aren’t many to un-tell if things go wrong again? And how will I cope with having to go through another loss, more heartbreak? I don't want to. It’s too scary. I’m scared.

So I got a Rubella injection, and now we don’t have to think about it for another 3 months (you're welcome, Husband). I’m hoping that my memory will be fuzzy again by then.

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