It's All Just a Dim Memory Now
On the day I went off the pill last year, I started a private blog about our quest for a kid (it's not online at the moment; I never reconstructed it after the rm -r debacle). The "baby blog" was the outlet for all my fears, anxieties, and excitement about the prospect of becoming a parent, a place where I could say I'M PREGNANT! before I could really tell anyone besides Al. And because only Al and I were reading it, there was no thought I couldn't express for fear of hurting someone's feelings or inviting a barrage of critical comments.
I honestly can't remember whether I'd intended, when I started it, to keep writing in the baby blog after the baby was born, but I know that I spent the first couple weeks of his life wishing I had the time, energy, and free appendages to record what was happening. I know I wrote about some of it here (thank god), but I have this vague memory of wishing I had a private place to tell all without shame or guilt. I wish that even more now, when so much of that time is slipping from my memory.
You know how people say that you forget the pain of childbirth? I think it's more that you remember that there *was* pain, but you can't remember exactly what it felt like... and that the same is true of the first weeks and months of caring for a newborn. It's only when Al and I think very hard and remind each other of specific moments that we can piece together what it was like to be at the hospital those first four days, to be at home with Austen those first two weeks, to have Austen sleeping in the Pack 'n Play at the foot of our bed for four months. There *was* a time when we never slept more than 2-3 hours at a time (and when I could hardly sleep at all), when it was so painful to breastfeed that I cried every time Austen latched on, when I was so swollen from the IVs that my feet looked like bear claws, when a trip to Maryland took 5 hours instead of 2.
Al remembers that he used to drive Austen up and down I-95 so he'd stop screaming (and so I could get some sleep), but he'd forgotten about the times that he'd fallen asleep himself with his arm hanging over the side of the Pack 'N Play, holding the binky in Austen's mouth. I'd nearly forgotten that the reason for my twice-daily walks used to be that it was the only way to keep Austen from nursing every hour (now it's more to give my arms a rest). I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting, which makes me a bit sad, but I suppose it's the only way we can move forward with enthusiasm. For most people, it's probably also the only way they can consider having another child.
That's partly why we keep having these "remember when" discussions; we want to make sure we don't do something insane like get pregnant again. (When I was the age Austen is now, my mom was three months pregnant with my sister—thanks to some misinformation about the efficacy of breastfeeding as a means of birth control.) While I purposely didn't have my tubes tied during the C-section—I wanted to keep my options open, given that I never thought I'd have even one child—I think we'll probably count ourselves incredibly lucky to have gotten such a beautiful, healthy baby the first time, and not tempt fate (or our capacities for patience and lack of sleep) by trying for a second one. We admire people who can do it, but I don't think we're two of them.
Of course, we could always change our minds... though with this post here to remind us, the memory of how hard it was to care for an infant *without* a toddler in the house will never fade completely. This cute photo will be here to remind us, too, should Austen someday become a two year-old tyrant, why we decided to have even one. We love you, buddy. And that's something we'll never forget.