The Last Baby

"A mother's joy begins when new life is stirring inside... When a tiny heartbeat is heard for the very first time and a playful kick reminds her that she is never alone." 

I am going through all of Benjamin's old clothes; it is shocking how quickly he has grown out of them (and the outrageous heaping collection of baby socks, which many of them has never stayed on his feet for more than an hour). Seriously, my husband cannot stop buying socks. I, on the other hand, have given up. Baby socks are dead to me the moment Benjamin starts crawling and climbing everywhere.  

I am picking out clothes that I think would be cute for a friend of mine, who was also a co-worker at a job years ago. I started that job just a few months after Elijah died... Working and newly grieving was one of the hardest times of my "new life."

My friend is pregnant with a baby boy, who is due very soon, and I am genuinely excited for her, wanting to give her more than what I could fit into a 12 x 12 x 6 box. I am excited because 1.) I now have room in Benji's outgrown clothes box, which is now filled again with clothes that have been sitting in a lumpy bag because they couldn't fit into the box in the first place. 2.) I feel a little less guilty about having way too many baby boy clothes that will probably not be worn again for a long time. 

What I did not do was give her anything that we had bought for Elijah (the ones he never had a chance to wear, but were passed down to Benji). They were way too sentimental and personally, I felt uncomfortable giving away something that was firstly intended for the baby we lost. Not that it had "bad ju-ju" or anything, they just couldn't be given away. However, we were thinking of giving away Elijah's pack-n-play/crib (also unused) to my aunt - who was also pregnant the same time I was with Benjamin - because we moved states away and were unsure if we were able to have it shipped over from my sister's house. 

Honestly, I couldn't part with it because of the hope and yearning of being able to use it one day (and how expensive that thing was!). Luckily, we were able to ship that big, bulky thing and use it with Benjamin. *He now sleeps with us on our new king-sized bed and the pack-n-play is a place where we try to keep him contained in the living room.*

As I am packing up the box with Benji's old clothes, I am thrilled that they will be put to good use and that another baby will fill them with a little human body (I am in awe of the tiny itty-bity newborn clothes!). But, still, there is this mournful and sullen feeling that washes over me. 

I want to say that it is because it is hard to let go of things that we have worked so hard for and sacrificed so much to have. Don't get me wrong, I know that clothes are material things and why keep things (that are still in good/perfect condition) that would be better off shared or donated rather than sitting in a box never to be used again. Losing Elijah, then having Benjamin, and now being pregnant with Daisy amounts to this badge of honor that I wear very proudly and having/keeping these baby things is like a personal right, not just of sentimental value of moments, memories, and milestones. 

But really, this is not why. 

The real why is because I am saying goodbye to having any more babies. 

The day I found out that I was pregnant with Daisy, my mom brought up the idea to "get my tubes tied," or to have tubal ligation. Saying that "two is enough" and that I was "too old" to have any more (uh, hello, I'm only 28-years-old!). She became increasingly aggressive, talking about it every other day, asking me if I had mention this to my doctor, which I have and both my primary doctor and my MFM doctor says that it's a little early to be considering tubal ligation "because I am still young and might want more." 

My mom had baby #5 at 30-years-old and her tubes tied right after the birth, so I see why she thinks I'm "too old" to have more. Personally, her #5 doesn't compare to my #3 (minus one) at nearly 30-years-old. Although, she claims to have lost twins just a month or so after having my sister (#2), which I'm not sure to believe because "it was too early to tell" and she wasn't sure herself, but some man who was a palm reader/psychic? mentioned it to her. (But, let's not get carried away with a story for another time.) 

Despite tubal ligation being a "non-worrying" option of birth control, it is way too final and permanent for me. Reversals are possible, but not likely and not without interventions (and luck) to get pregnant afterwards. Not only that, I feel it would be an insult to my body and take away all of the pain, suffering, and heartache I went through after loss and infertility. That's probably odd to say - like why would anyone want to hold onto stuff that hurts like hell?

Well, it is because all of my experiences during and after loss led me to where I am today. All of that indescribable ache and pain for the baby we lost, all of those triggering moments that made my life a living hell, all of the yearning and test after test just to be pregnant again, all of those YEARS of mourning and waiting... Getting my tubes tied would be as if I threw all of that away and forgetting where I came from and how far I have made it. 

Unlike my mom, I worked and prayed and lost and cried HARD to have my babies alive and in my arms. And most likely, I wouldn't have Benjamin or would still currently be pregnant with Daisy (now almost 30 weeks!) if it weren't for my cerclages. 

My husband had also put in his "two is enough" notice, forgetting to consider how I felt about shutting down the baby factory before I even had a moment to think it over. At first, he wanted three (and by three, I mean three live children), but after realizing the work, energy, and finances it takes to take care  of one live baby, it truly is a lot. Now that we are having Daisy, it'll be a very, very busy household, especially since she is coming at a time when Benjamin is still so young. 

I completely understand and feel the same way, but "my number" had always been three. I don't know why, but it just is. I had always seen myself with three kids, or more (if possible). Is it practical for us to have three kids - maybe not now. Heck, it wasn't practical to have Benjamin while we still had so much to do and save up for, but soon we're going to have two to feed, clothe, care, and be totally responsible for, which is already an overwhelming realization. 

Adulting is hard, parenting is harder, but that's life and it's the life that I did want... just a little less hard... 

I wanted the last baby by the time we had our finances organized and stable (or before I'm 35). But, I realized that with each pregnancy, I am vulnerable. My pregnancies will always be high risk and need cerclages, my body is in a limbo state of not being able to do much, but is already doing too much, our finances takes on a toll since my husband will most likely be the only one making the income, and the anxiety of another loss will always haunt me. 

I could never really relax and enjoy pregnancy, and with Daisy, I am pretty much faking it until I make it because overall, pregnancies after loss is freaking scary. And so, I take it day by day and appreciate each moment and every minute I am able to carry this pregnancy to not just term, but to delivery.

At most prenatal visits, my doctors mention birth control. I have been against hormonal birth control for years, since I got off the pill at 19 and wanted my body to "heal" naturally afterwards, especially while going through periods of infertility before and after Elijah. 

I didn't want to, but I am considering hormonal birth control after having Daisy. It is not the choice that sits well with me; I have wanted to keep my body natural and free of synthetic hormones (from BC) and thought about using FAM, but knowing that my periods are irregular and that I do have some association with PCOS, it just seems impractical to try and track everything myself. And it would be insane and irresponsible of us if we had gotten pregnant soon after Daisy... like how it happened after Benjamin. 

Some other day, my husband randomly said, "I like the name 'James' for another boy." I think he got the name from the bible. He would have liked two boys and a little girl, and even said in the beginning of pregnancy that if this baby were a boy (before we found out that we are having a girl) that he would like to try for a girl. 

Occasionally, I hear someone say, "one of each is nice/enough." Usually, it's from people who don't know about Elijah. But then, I caught myself saying it... because after hearing my husband say that if this baby is a girl, then that's it. So I prayed and wished on my 28th birthday that this baby was a girl... 

Because if we weren't having any more, then "one of each" was good enough for me, which was sad and shameful to admit because I had been one to refuse gender disappointment, especially after loss. Having a baby in general was a gift and after loss, I thought that wanting a certain gender would make me selfish and ungrateful... that is until we came to a point in considering the end of baby making. 

I'm coming to terms with having Benjamin and Daisy here - God forbid that anything terrible happens to them. Or us. And so, most days I try my best to fully relish this pregnancy as if it were my last days on earth. 

If we so happen to have another baby after Daisy, I will welcome him or her with an open heart just as I did with all of my babies. But for now - and I can't believe I'm saying this - Daisy will be the last. 

But certainly not the least. 


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