Leaving Survival Mode

… ‘course I don’t really need another kid, but Dottie says these-here are gettin’ too big to cuddle.  Raising Arizona

I always say that its a good thing Dave and I didn’t meet until we were nearing the age of  “too old” to have babies. Had we been five years younger when we married, we’d be raising a herd by now, giving the Duggars a run for their money. Okay, no. No we wouldn’t…that whole situation is just borderline freaky.

For awhile there, we never planned on having any at all. We were going to be those city-dwelling professionals who worked, dined and traveled sans sticky, loud and smelly tiny humans. Then one day my biological clock, the same one that had very nicely kept it’s tictocs to itself, began sounding the alarm. You’re 33 years old, WAKE UP! 33 years old, WAKE UP! I realized that it was now or never. 40 seemed so far, yet so dangerously close. So Dave and I got busy. In all senses of the word.

10 months later we were the proud parents of a handsome baby boy. 24 months after that, we were the proud parents of a handsome toddler and a beautiful baby girl. 24 months after that, we were the proud parents of a handsome pre-schooler, a beautiful toddler and another beautiful baby girl.  For me, the pain of pregnancy’s 9th month provided the perfect mix of clarity and decisiveness, both of which are latent traits under normal conditions. I knew I was getting a c-section so took the opportunity to get ‘fixed’ at the same time. That’s right, tubal ligation.Why? Because I knew that sometime approximately 18 months after the birth of that baby, I’d start saying “Oh, she’s getting so big” and, “I miss having a tiny little baby in the house, one that I can carry around like a perfect warm, sleeping angel sent from heaven above.”

Let me provide an analogy… Think of me as a person who loves puppies and kittens, so keeps acquiring puppies and kittens. Eventually they get big and I begin longing for more puppies and kittens thus creating a vicious cycle of animal hoarding. I’ll leave the baby hoarding to Natalie Suleman. The bottom line is, I knew that my inert baby-hoarding tendency had to be nipped in the bud, so I ordered that tubal and  assured my OB at each and every visit that “NO, I will most certainly not be changing my mind!”

If I had my druthers during the 8th month of my last pregnancy, I would have video-taped myself to deliver a message to my future self…the current me. You follow? Past me would deeply empathize with current me, saying, “Yes, I know you love babies, so do I,  but just look at us.” I’d stand and pointedly exhibit my wide pregnancy ass to the camera. I’d tell myself how very tired I am and encourage future/current me to try and remember the last two weeks before birth because they suck. The tape would cut out and pick up again in the days post-birth. I’d be swollen, recovering from another c-section (which, admittedly, weren’t all that bad thanks to my friend Percocet) and I’d have bags under my eyes. I’d tell myself that breastfeeding with two other kids running around isn’t a picnic, and by the way, just this morning the UPS man knocked causing Kate to pop off for a look and whoops! He saw our boob! (true story.)

I’ve been holding it together pretty well. I passed the 18-month mark and have had a few ‘moments’ that led me to believe that, if I hadn’t been ‘fixed,’ I’d be attempting to talk Dave into baby number four. Once you’ve had three you might as well throw another one on the pile, right? Wrong!

At this moment, two years ago today I sat in my OB/GYN’s office hooked up to monitors because baby number three hadn’t been moving all that much. She wasn’t due for another two weeks, but once you pass the age of 35 and enter the land of High Risk Pregnancy, most doctors don’t mess around. My OB sat with me watching baby Kate’s movement, or lack thereof, and we chatted. She looked at me and laughed, “Well, you are about to enter survival mode. Two children at home under the age of 5 and a new baby…that’s what I call survival mode. I did it. You’ll be fine. In a few years it will all be over with.” Having shared that information, she stood and told me that I was being admitted for another emergency c-section. Survival mode in T-minus three and counting.

Lest you think my OB was a total jerk, she shared my no-nonsense, sarcastic sense of humor. Boy did we laugh at the thought of survival mode. Her children were entering college and mine were just entering the world. We shared stories and giggled at the joy our children have brought to our lives. No matter what their age.

Today marks the day when I officially declare the end of survival mode. Today my baby enters her second year and leaves all that is “baby” behind. To celebrate, she had a raging party at her crib last night and the light show was amazing.

When her party eventually wound down, I tucked my one year old girl into bed for the last time and mentally said goodbye to her infancy. Happy Birthday, Kate.
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