December 5th, 2011

planet

the worst thing about baby having

[Warning: If you are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, just don't read this entry.]

So marc and I are NOT going to have another baby for a few years, blah blah blah, but we might have another one someday.

And the thought scares the crap out of me. I mean there are a lot of little "uh, this again?" things that swim through your mind when you think about repeating the world of baby. Being a big pregnant whale. Giving birth. Sleep deprivation. Fussy, helpless, uninteresting newborns. But you make it through all that.

No, what really scares me is just the sheer anxiety of it. The awful, unavoidable list of life-altering tragedies that DWELL in your head the whole time.

You try to get pregnant, and can frequently put that out of your head, until the day you are pregnant. That's when it starts. You take a test and there's a little line staring you in the face and it pretty much says "Congratulations! There's a 20% chance you're about to have a miscarriage!" You start analyzing every spot and cramp and symptom, or lack of symptoms, you're a mess and there's nothing anyone can do.

Then you get past first trimester, quickly hit the halfway point, and you're on to the risk of stillbirth. You're constantly trying to remember the last time the baby kicked, even if it was five minutes ago. There are stories of genetic problems, cord accidents, falls. You lie awake thinking of the awful idea of going through labor and delivery for a baby that will never take a breath.

Then you have the baby which can be it's own brand of trauma that I won't go into... mostly because I can't. Luck of the draw, my birth went great. Moving on...

You have a newborn... infections! Jaundice! The tiny thing can barely eat, and things can just go downhill so fast. You're sent home with something teetering on the edge of life! I will never forget Josie being four days old and randomly deciding to skip three meals in a row, getting weak, not responding to anything, scaring the CRAP out of us... it was the most helpless feeling in the world! She randomly woke up and was fine but what. the. hell. child.

And if you make it past that you get to worry about SIDS for at least three or four months. You start calculating those risks very early on. Last time I had a girl, my firstborn. What if my next one (increase risk) is a boy (increase risk) along with being part native american (increase risk)?

I swear. With Josie, I saw my pregnancy test results and gasped. And didn't exhale until she was six months old.

I realize bad things could still happen to her, but now it's different, it's more like she's in the category of "human" where bad things happen to all of us. Cancer, car accident, drowning... any of that stuff could happen to me too. I pretty much think of Josie as a tough sturdy kid, and she dives off the coffee table on a regular basis just to drive that point home. I worry, sure, I'm over 30 and my mother still worries plenty about me. But I'm not terrified. The risks are just smoother, I guess, more part of life, and lower.

Having a baby is just a million awful unknowns. I can get my courage up for maternity clothes again, no problem. It's the lineup of sheer terrors that I'm really not looking forward to.