Motherhood / Pregnancy

What is a Roller Coaster?

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Kerchickety-thunk. Kerchickety-thunk. Kerchickety-thunk. The cart is ratcheted forward up the steep incline, ascending one kerchikety-thunk at a time, until the apex of the hill, and then

WAAHOOOOOOOHANDSUPWEAREONTHERIDEGOINGFASTANDTHISISSOFUNBUTOHMYGODANOTHERHILL!

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Brown mucus.

Red blood.

A dribble at first.

A partially full Diva cup this morning.

Confirmed:

Not pregnant.

Not pregnant. 

Not pregnant.

“Maybe I should take a test, just to be sure?” I thought, while hustling the toddler out the door for our long commute to work and school, that was already 30 minutes behind schedule.

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A week or so ago our son started sleeping in his own bed. Spontaneously. Like how he self-weaned the night before his second birthday. So ready for it, and not ready for it, all at the same time. And in the hour or two that we now have to ourselves again, at night, I’ve found myself chatting with my husband before I turn in for the night, in the spacious king-size luxury bed that feels only wistfully lonely and cold without that solid little toddler bum pressed up against me. I’m not yet too nostalgic, because middle of the night trips to mommy-daddy’s room are still hapenning, so we’re still getting our snuggles.

But last night the conversation was about our second child.

The wanted second child.

The march attempt to make a baby.

And the four months we’ll wait to try again.

We talked about intentionality. And how the life-plan of children still needs to fit who we are, and that if my career is important (it is) then it is important and authentic to honor that giving birth in January/February or early March is not ideal timing. That if I want to balance the emotional roller coaster of having a baby and having a career, then going back to work after only 6 weeks, will make everything crumble in our carefully constructed world.

And I know it’s true.

But waiting another four months to try.

And then what?

What if it doesn’t happen in July. Or August. Or at the very worst September?

Do we wait again?

Do we say “fuck it” (a funny sexytime baby making pun for the morning) and screw my career in attempt to pursue the golden calf of a second child?

And my God do I really want baby #2 THAT BADLY that I would throw everything else about myself and my life and my career for that?

The answer in my soul, of course, is no, but the journey to get there, through all of these conversations is the same. The decision tree of future anxiety and the niggling thoughts of keeping up with the proverbial joneses, and the research about only kids vs multiples and the ages apart and my arbitrary ending point of 35 or when kiddo is in kindergarten all spin, and loop, and fling my heart around in g-force fashion.

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It’s an overused metaphor, and annoyingly more often attributed to a woman’s seemingly never ending ups and downs of emotions.

But I’m standing there, winding down the conversation, as it was nearing 11pm, and my husband said:

The thing about roller coasters is that they always return to the same place.

They always return to the same place. Profoundly punched me in the soul, and I stood there for a minute with my mouth hanging open.

And yet, despite being back at the same place, the rider is changed, having just experienced this thrill or terror or everything in between. Outwardly, they might appear to be in the exact same spot, but there was movement.

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Four years ago, we conceived our son in March, while grieving the January death of my husband’s beloved grandpa.

This year, in January, my best-friend grandma died, and we tried to conceive in March.

I wanted another grief baby.

I wanted a daughter, to name after my grandma, like we named our son after the dead grandpa.

I wanted this cosmic karma of poetic epic story to be experienced.

I wanted a Sign that yes, a second kid, is what should happen.

Instead I have to wait.

To have an ordinary baby.

An ordinary conception not clouded in the first 6 weeks of intensely grieving and desperately clinging to a connection.

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Before my grandma died, the plan was to wait until July to try for baby #2.

And so here I am, off the roller coaster, waiting in line again for the next ride.

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In the meantime, I can totally get drunk in Vegas on Memorial Day weekend, without all those pesky pregnancy alcohol limitations.

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