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Thursday, November 19, 2015

My Last Baby, But.

Today is my baby's first birthday.  She's my last baby, but.  The last one.  But. I'm ninety-nine percent (almost certain, nearly positive) that we're done. But.

I just can't quite bring myself to say it with any finality.

Part of it is physical.  My pregnancy with Elizabeth was hard.  I could barely move by the end of it.

You made me hurt.  I hurt more than I have ever hurt before, and there was no way of moving, no strange contorted position I could take, to make it stop.  There was only partial relief from the drugs when I was finally in labor.  Even at the end, it was one final jab after another.  

And from this, I grew to understand some small part of chronic pain.   I was terrible to deal with as I adjusted to the pain.  At first, I snapped at everyone.  I had no patience.  There was only survival, the next step.  I got better at it, but I was still short tempered and a bit mean.  Pain changes people, and I made it through only because I knew there was an end.  Eventually, you would be born, and I could hobble back to my new normal.

If I had to deal with this long term, for months, years, the rest of my life, I don't know if I would be strong enough.  It was the finish line that kept me going.  You taught me so much before you were even born.

Part of it is mental.  I don't do well when I don't get sleep.  And even though she sleeps okay most nights now, the past year I've come to rely on my coffee more than ever before, just to make sure I don't bite anyone's head off.

You make this sweet little shudder, a small sigh, and I know you're finally falling asleep.  I watch as you suck on your pacifier a few more times, then let it droop from you lips and hang limp like a rag doll, but I can't bear to put you in the crib quite yet.  I'd rather watch you sleep for a few moments of peace.  This is the you I want to remember, not the screaming terror from a few minutes before.

She's been the worst sleeper, the worst eater, and I've been stretched beyond belief with her.  Part of me is scared what a next child might be like.

I sat holding you, rocking you to sleep last week, and I stopped.  There had been many nights when we had been awake together, multiple times in the wee hours of the morning, but they had tapered off, and it hadn't happened lately.  When was the last time?  Last month?  Six weeks ago?  

All of a sudden the realization that you're not so much a baby hit me like a train, full force.
In the quiet moments, it's easy to imagine what another child might be like.  Would he have my nose?  Would she have her daddy's long eyelashes?  But in the moments of chaos, all I can do is hold on until daddy gets home, until naps, until bed.

You love to dance, and sing, and move.  Even without any words, just babbling, you have an exuberant personality.  When you are enjoying life, you show it.  You wear your heart on your sleeve, and I love it.
My last baby turns one today.  But.

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