This week was Merlot’s 9th birthday.
Yes, 9 years ago I was postpartum, fun.
I was 40 years-old and presenting at a conference in Washington, DC, sitting on a panel discussing the special needs of chronically ill children to a room full of juvenile court judges when it hit me; my period was late. My period was NEVER late. I swallowed hard and the room went blurry.
Damn that bottle of Merlot.
I had already had 2 c-sections. I was sick of taking birth control pills and I wanted Stanley to get a vasectomy. My body had been through enough after all. So, he had the names and numbers of Urologists in his wallet, on his desk and sitting in his email, as placed in all 3 places, by me. But I drew the line at making the appointment for him. I was busy, working full-time with 2 little kids at home, it was the very least he could do.
But, alas that Stanley was always lazy.
So, I was getting irritated with him about it and we were using condoms on the rare occasions that we had sex. Except for that one night when we were drinking all of that wine. Aargh. He and the children had come with me to Washington for the conference. They were at the zoo at the very moment that the realization hit me while sitting in that room full of strangers. Most of them men and staring at me like this…
When the presentation was over, my hosts asked me to go to lunch with them. I declined with the excuse that I was meeting my family for lunch. Instead, I ran on shaky legs out of the hotel to the CVS pharmacy across the street for the HPT. That sucker turned positive immediately. I was pacing, saying, OH God. Oh God. Oh God. He came in and I walked up beside him, leaned into his ear and said,
“I am fucking pregnant…“
as lily white as an englishman can be, his face set a whole new level of pale.
We went out and did our tourist bit, but I had moments of tearfulness. He looked in shock. Really, I couldn’t bear to be pregnant again. I had 9 months of nausea; I vomited every day for 9 months in both prior pregnancies. In addition, I had gestational diabetes and in my previous pregnancy required insulin shots in my stomach several times a day for the last 6 weeks. Then, I had to have c-sections… As my OB said, I didn’t have dangerous pregnancies, I was never on bedrest, the baby was never in danger, but I did have highly inconvenient pregnancies. I was not looking forward to any of that again. Stanley and I had decided to stop at 2. Both of us felt we were maxed out in what we could handle sanely. I had a demanding career, he had a demanding career, we were done.
He suggested terminating the pregnancy several times. I am pro choice. But for me, at 40, it wasn’t an option I could consider. Because I knew in my heart that we would love the baby beyond all reason as soon as we saw it’s little face and it isn’t like we couldn’t afford it or couldn’t give it a good life. Everytime he brought it up, I was offended and hurt. At 8 weeks, when I was hanging over a toilet and he walked through, he said, “You don’t have to have it you know.” I felt betrayed. I wanted it to be something we were in together. A surprise yes, but (after my initial shock) I wanted it to be a happy surprise. Looking back, it might not have been fair to Stanley, to insist on having the baby. But he got with the program, not a cheerleader, not a real partner in it, but he did get onboard.
Of course, he loves her madly too.
She’s perfect, by the way. She is the child that will probably take care of me when I’m old. She is completely competent. We laugh that if something happened that she is the one that would take care of the other two. When she was 3, she asked me for soup. I said, “Give me just a minute, let me finish in here.” When I got downstairs 10 minutes later she was sitting at the table eating soup. I said, “Oh baby, that needed heating up!” She said, “I did heat it up!” I have to be on my toes because she will handle things herself rather than wait. She is very earnest and works very hard. I have to remind her that she is just a kid. She made our family complete and I can’t imagine not having had her.
But I could have lived without the 8 little girls we had for her birthday sleepover.
It was horrible and terrible and I’m exhausted.
But they had the best. time. ever.
They danced, they played truth or dare, they ate, they did everything but sleep.
I was living for 10 a.m. when the little hellion’s parents picked them up.
“Thanks for coming! Now get the hell out.”
We spent the rest of the day yesterday in a heap on the sofa.
I’m still tired. But so grateful for my baby.