I knew from the beginning that Henry might be my last baby. Apart from having high-risk pregnancies and harrowing deliveries, we felt like three children would be a good fit for our family. We hadn't decided for certain, though, and had planned on leaving the door open for a couple of years to see if we might find that our family had room for another child after all.
After our misadventures this summer, however, it would be irresponsible to take the risk of becoming pregnant again. It was a miracle that I stayed pregnant for so long after my water broke. And I don't say that lightly.
What happened for Henry came very close to being very bad. I can't imagine how this could have ended differently and still have been "okay", even though it has been difficult to go through. The decision has been made for us, it would seem. And even though I knew from the beginning that this could be my last go at having a baby, I find that the idea makes me pretty sad.
I wonder if women are always a little sad, or wistful, when it becomes apparent that they've had their last fuzzy headed baby. A friend from college was one of 13 children and when her youngest brother was three, it became clear to her mom that this would likely be her last child. And she was sad. After 13 babies, one whould think that she would be a little relieved to close the door on nighttime feedings and toilet training, but I also think I understand. Of some things, there is never enough. How could you ever have enough of that warm little weight snuggled on your chest, fluffy baby hair rubbed against your nose? After three or thirteen children, it is still the End and I guess you always wonder who that "One More" child would have been.
I certainly feel the loss of the healthy pregnancies and babies that most women expect to have. I try not to think about it too much because it just upsets me and I'm not sure there's anything to be gained by getting angry or sad or feeling like I've been cheated. It is what it is and I'm satisfied by the good outcomes my babies have had. But I need to let go of the fourth baby I felt entitled to choose along with the healthy pregnancies and the robust newborns and the carefree cold/flu season.
It will be a long process, one that starts with moving my baby girl clothing out of storage and into the home of someone who can use it. I walk by those tubs in the basement marked "Girl: 0-6 months" and I know that they will have to go. If you loose your left leg, do you still keep the left shoe when you buy a new pair? There won't be another girl to save it for and I find it as unnecessary as the proverbial left shoe.
It should go, and it will. But not yet. Most of it will likely get saved for my sister in law Rachel, but I am strongly repressing the urge to give it to my friends who have baby girls already. I love seeing the hand-me-downs running around on little ones and it might be too much to have to wait for Rachel to have a baby (who may have only boys!).
Having the choice made for me is one part blessing, another part burden. I'm not sure which has the greater share. After some distance from the events of the summer I'll be able to close this door with greater clarity and peace. I think I'm looking forward to that.