I met Jay's baby last night, and she's a cute little peanut. I got to hold her for a long time, and she seemed to like me. Little babies have always been partial to me since I was a teenager.
As I was leaving the hospital, I called MM to let him know I was on my way home. He, naturally enough, asked about my visit, how Jay was doing, what I thought of the baby and the like. When I related the above, he asked if it made me want another baby. And I responded--just a little too quickly, apparently--"no." MM's response was "Wow, *that* was pretty adamant."
Why, yes. Yes, it was.
That brief exchange gave me cause for reflection. How is that, in just a few short years, I have gone from wanting a baby so much that I was willing to go to great lengths to have one, to now being adamantly opposed to having another? It's true that the biggest thing that has changed is that I now already have two children of my own. I am definitely not in the same place today I was in three years ago when, coincidentally, I had my SHG and was given the go-ahead to start my DE IVF cycle.
But more than simply being no longer willing to go great lengths to have another child, I frankly find the idea of going through another pregnancy more than a little horrifying. The months and months of feeling miserable. Of worrying about what might go wrong, for me and for the baby. The possibility of life-threatening complications at the end. The (to me) seemingly impossible task of integrating one more little dependent person into my already-fuller-than-full daily round.
I saw a post on a forum I visit the other day from another twin mother who had also delivered pre-term due to preeclampsia but who is now pregnant again with a singleton. She optimistically talked about how her high risk OB had assured her that her odds of developing preeclampsia again were probably only around 30% this time around. Her twins are around the same age as our sons (just a little younger, if memory serves).
And when I read that post, I wondered why that risk seemed acceptable to her, even positive, when to me, it would have seemed like a good reason to stop at two children. In a sense, her view is the more rational one: there is a better than two out of three chance that everything will be fine for her.
In thinking back on what I went through at the end of my pregnancy, with the preeclampsia and the post-delivery hemorrhage, I have long thought that I was not greatly emotionally affected by that experience. I certainly don't remember feeling particularly scared at the time or thinking that I might die or be permanently disabled (although realistically, either outcome was a possibility). My primary emotions were concern for my sons' well-being and guilt/shame at feeling I had somehow caused the challenges they might face.
But it is an indisputable fact that that little tug that I used to feel when I would hold someone's newborn. . . that visceral, maternal urge that spurred me forward in my quest for parenthood for so many years. . . is absolutely, positively gone now. While I can hold and look at newborns and appreciate their beauty and innocence, they inspire zero longing in me.
So perhaps I was more affected by my experiences of pregnancy and delivery than I realized at the time. Or maybe I just know that I have reached (and exceeded?) my personal limit for parenting.
I will say this: in a perverse way, it is nice to know that I am indisputably, unquestionably, no ifs-ands-or-buts done with pregnancy and childbirth.