"So. ... When are you going to make a brother for that little Ittybit of yours?"
That indelicate question is broached more times that you might imagine.
The day we left the hospital with her, still bleary-eyed and shell-shocked, our attending nurse HUGGED me and said: "We'll see you again, I know it."
No. No way. No how. Not me, you won't. I am NOT doing this again. Are you crazy?
I had just spent 24 hours in the most excruciating pain EVER only to have an emergency cesarean section anyway and severe reactions to pain medication. Then three more days in the hospital trying to recover; mostly blind from swollen corneas and one pound heavier than I'd been the entire pregnancy, thanks to a 24-hour saline drip.
Who on Earth would do this again? No thanks. Not me.
A year passed and still the questions came almost daily.
"So, you gonna have another one?"
We had pat answers.
"N. O. We got it right the first time, why tempt fate?"
But of course, the real reasons not to have more are endless: money, space, money, the special-ness of being an only child and of course, money.
Yet, as I believe it is biologically encoded in our genes, Ittybit's slow turning from a baby to a toddler made me rethink the decision. Each outfit she outgrew became a decision I didn't want to make. Should I save this (for what)? Or should I donate it to Goodwill?
Money and the rest of it, especially the part about being an only child, didn't seem important anymore.
In fact the more I thought about her facing a future without a sibling 'round about her age made me regret having waited.
And as luck would have it -- nothing. Fifteen months of nothing. Fifteen months of peeing on $5 bills (the cost of home pregnancy tests) and nothing.
All of a sudden, the questions returned. Even the guy who tries to figure out what part of my car is responsible for the clangy-clang sound that haunts me as I drive was wondering when we'd be making the grandparents grandparents all over again.
I wanted to scream. I wanted to tug out my hair and say: "Never you mind. It will probably never happen, and I'll have to be OK with that.' Every time friends would tell me of their happy news, I'd be happy, too, on the outside. But only a little happy on the inside where my thoughts were swirling over the possible end of my own childbearing days.
I wasn't prepared for this. Everyone told me it might take a while, but with Ittybit it was almost instantaneous. When the doctors reaffirmed the potential for delay I scoffed. 'Yeah, I know. It may take a while.' I didn't expect a year to go by without positive results.
I gave up.
When it was time to take down Ittybit’s crib and replace it with a "big-girl" bed, I decided that we'd sell it at a yard sale to the first couple who took a second look. A young couple took it away in a tiny hatchback car for $10.
Ten dollars: The same amount I paid for a pack of home pregnancy tests one month later.
Wouldn’t you know it ... the result was positive.
And for the first time in a long while, I've never been more positive of anything in my life. It feels pretty good.
When we told Ittybit she was going to be a big sister, though, I could see the look of concern knot across her face.
My thoughts immediately went to guilt. Would she feel replaced? Would she be jealous?
I should have known she'd be a little more pragmatic.
"We need a new crib."