Saturday, April 24, 2010

Really the Last Time: On Family Planning and a Sort of Mourning

Awhile back, I posted about the conundrum of whether we would have more children. We will not. If anything, the events of the past week have taught me that I cannot, and should not, try this again.

We have been pursuing options for permanent family planning. This has been difficult, as I work for a Catholic healthcare system. The ideal would have been a tubal ligation while they were already in there for my c-section, but that is forbidden. I've searched high and low for a loophole--medical necessity being my primary approach--only to find nothing. The next step was to pray that there was something so wrong with my uterus while they are in there that they have to remove it. I doubt that will happen. I even asked about an elective partial hysterectomy while they're in there, and was told it would be too risky.

So that brings us to vasectomy. We have toyed with the idea for a while now. We talked before I became pregnant, as this option is cheap (my hospital privately funds our insurance, and so will not pay either), and can be done in a doctor's office. Before I became pregnant, J said an emphatic "No Way!". Actually his exact words? "No one is coming near this area with a scalpel", as he made a sweeping gesture of his nether regions. Seriously, what is it with men and their testicles? Is it not enough to know that he is so virile that he made two sons? Then somewhere around 26 weeks, when I got shipped to OB Mecca, he changed from an emphatic NO to a "we'll see" approach. But he is still waffling. This is rather frustrating for me, for several reasons. First of all, I am the one who has to endure hell to bring our children into the world. And it seems silly for me to recover from a c-section, only to return later to have another procedure, regardless of how minor it may be. Furthermore, why the hesitation? We have been together for a decade. Our marriage isn't going anywhere. Is he afraid he will want another kid with another woman someday?

So anyhow, how to solve the problem of our fertility??? Well, my doctor mentioned that they do the Adiana procedure in their other office. I am seriously thinking of going this route. But what does that do to me psychologically?

I realized the other day that, no matter how far my doctors try to stretch this pregnancy, I will be having this baby within the next month. With that being said, this is it. This is the last time I will feel that wonder at a life growing inside of me. The last time I will feel the indescribable sensation of having a baby move and kick and squirm within me. And this isn't about just current pregnancy milestones. The home pregnancy tests I took marked the last time we would have that experience together. And what of those moments when I first heard his heartbeat or saw him on an ultrasound screen? All of that---the last time. And my experiences with Zachary: never again will I have the joy of hearing my newborn cry for the first time, or cry the tears of joy that are so unique to becoming a mom. These moments that are coming up are it for us. The end.

My fear is that, in the terrible-ness that has been this pregnancy, I didn't cherish it all enough. I cannot go back and fix any of that. All I can do is ensure that from this day on, I will cherish every bit. Every milestone, sight, touch, smell, feeling.

I sort of knew I would be coming to this decision eventually. I know this is what I have to do, for my safety and the safety of any children who would have come down the road. But nevertheless, I'm sad. Not only for the fact that I won't ever have these experiences again, but for the end of an era. I am ending my fertility. I'm in my 30's. Next comes 40, then 50. Is making it so I can no longer have children putting a premature end to what makes me a vital young woman?

The hardest part is not so much the having to admit that this is my last child, but to have to say this is the end of this stage of my life. All that is left is for John and I to grow old together, raising our two sons.

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