“Provided the test comes back fine, I’ll plan to see you back here in, let’s see…maybe June.” My OBGYN gave me a little smirk on his way towards the door.
“June? You mean next Feb– oh. You’re funny.”
It wouldn’t be an annual womanly checkup if Dr. H didn’t joke with me about trying for a third kid. I’d like to think it’s because I’m his favorite patient, and it’s just his way of saying he would like to hang out with me more often. (Is that a weird thing to say about your OBGYN? Because I feel like it might be weird. Even though I don’t mean it to be. It’s just that Dr. H is kind of the bomb – and a great conversationalist, considering the circumstances surrounding our interaction. Like, I’d totally go have a few beers with him…if he wasn’t checking up on the health and wellness of my lady bits.) However, as the father of seven or so children himself, I think his enthusiasm for me getting pregnant again simply comes from him being pro-baby…and pro-more income to pay for seven college tuitions. I also *may* have told him I would name the next kid after him.
Yet, if I’m really honest with myself, the prospect of having to go back to see Dr. H in June didn’t sound altogether unappealing. (To be clear, I’m talking about the being pregnant part of that scenario. I swear I don’t have a weird relationship with my OBGYN. Doth I protest too much?) The mere admission of these feelings made about 70% of me go like this:
But 30% was all like:
via GIPHY Wanting another baby after you were sure your family was complete is a natural emotion, right? My youngest is seven years old, after all. Despite loving the certain freedom that comes with being the parent of older children – and the fact that now my purse holds mostly just my own crap – there are things I miss about having a baby. I still get gripped with the fear that I wished my children’s little years away. Maybe I should have just one more…one last chance to ensure I had fully appreciated the special brand of being needed that comes with having a tiny person relying on you for everything. Maybe I really did want this.
Then my 10-year-old daughter broke her arms. Yes, armS. As in the plural form. Meaning BOTH of them. At once.
What was that again, David Bowie?
I know the next question is HOW? so I’ll cut to the chase: she did it ballroom dancing. Go figure. She clearly got her dance moves from her father, because I’m a total smooth criminal when the beats are jammin’.
Now, the poor kid has been the biggest trooper through this whole thing. A dream patient, really – very little complaining and pretty good about following doctor’s orders. She even gave me a beautiful smile right after getting her cast and full-arm splint:
But these past few weeks have also reminded me what it’s like to have a baby again, because my daughter hasn’t been able to do much by herself. There were sleepless nights when she would wake up several times in pain, and I was there with medicine and cuddles. I’ve had to feed her, write for her, change her clothes, fix her hair, buckle her into the car, bathe her…I don’t want to be too TMI, but think of all the things you use your arms for, then imagine not being able to use your arms to do those things. So yeah. My preteen daughter and I, we’re REALLY close now. (On the plus side, my drawing of the parts of the human eye scored her a 10 out of 10 on her homework. 5th grade is totally my b*tch.)
In a word, I’ve been exhausted.
Yesterday, the doctor removed the cast off of my daughter’s left arm. While she still needs to wear a brace on it, and she still has the splint on the right arm for a few more weeks, that little bit of freedom felt somewhat life-changing. Since the pain has subsided and both the brace and splint are removable, she was able to shower by herself for the first time in weeks. It was a victory not only for her, but for me. I was regaining little pieces of myself again, not unlike when my children learned to hold a bottle by themselves, or use the potty, or tie their shoes. And it felt amazing.
The only difference this time is that my daughter actually thanked me for everything I had done to get her to this milestone of independence. This time, she was old enough and mindful enough to recognize the little sacrifices that go into being a parent. She apologized that I had to do so many things for her, things she should be able to do on her own. I told her not to feel that way, that she never has to apologize for needing her mom. It broke my heart and made me happy all at the same time. She had noticed me. She was grateful for me. And it felt amazing.
So yeah, I probably won’t be seeing Dr. H again this June. I had clearly been taking for granted all those regained pieces of me when I entertained the notion of having one more child.
I had also been taking for granted the fact that there doesn’t have to be a baby #3 in order for me to be needed again. And just because my daughter’s arms will heal doesn’t mean I can’t be a little more attentive to her from now on. She obviously appreciated it, which is more than I can say for the two-year-old version of her, who never once thanked me for checking her poop five days in a row to ensure she passed that dime she swallowed.
Dr. H, I’ll see you next February for that annual pap smear. Unless you want to grab a few beers before then.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Moms appreciate being needed by their babies. Older kids appreciate that mom meets their needs.” quote=”Moms appreciate being needed by their babies. Older kids appreciate that mom meets their needs”]
*I do want to point out a bit of foreshadowing of this whole broken arms incident in a previous blog post about my son breaking his collarbone. My daughter may have brought this on herself…*