I can't have any more children. At least none that are biologically mine.
I'll never be pregnant again.
A couple of weeks after our first child was born, I underwent a radical hysterectomy to remove cancer that was discovered at the time of my C-section. Having the surgery was a no brainer. It was a do it or die situation. I chose to fight to live, and that's what I'm going to continue to do for as long as I can.
But now that the cancer seems to be in remission, I'm noticing that I sometimes feel jealous around pregnant women.
Now, who knows if we would have chosen to have another child after Maggie. When she was born, I was no spring chicken at age 44. And I wasn't going to get any younger.
Plus, ours was a high risk pregnancy. We were fortunate to deliver a child with no apparent health problems. To us (and to her pediatrician), she appears to be perfect. So, would we have pushed our luck and tried for another one, at our age?
The week before Maggie was born, my obstetrician made an offhanded comment about "when you have the next one."
"Do you know how old I am?" I asked, knowing that she did. I had been her patient for 20 years.
"You can safely have a child up to at least age 48," she said. "Plus, now your pump has been primed."
Even when she removed my left Fallopian tube at the time of my C-section (seeing as it had a huge mass attached to it), my obstetrician said, "You only need one to have another baby."
Now, I'm happy to be alive and all. And, of course, we are thrilled beyond words by our little daughter. But I do have some sadness about knowing I'll never again carry a child.
I loved being pregnant. Loved it. Every stage of the pregnancy was a wonder ... every milestone passed a celebration. The first trimester was filled with excitement and disbelief. Was this really happening? We were going to have a baby!
The second trimester was fun because I was clearly pregnant (and not just sporting a brand new beer belly), but not too pregnant. The second trimester is the cute stage of pregnancy, where you can wear maternity clothes but you don't yet have the swollen ankles or discomfort.
But the third trimester is fun, too, because then the baby is starting to kick and move. You can not only feel it, you can actually see it. I would lay on my back for an hour at a time, just watching my tummy roll from side to side. Fascinating!
Growing a baby from scratch, inside me, is far and away the coolest thing I've ever done. And even though I never got to experience labor or natural childbirth -- I don't even know what a contraction feels like -- I am so grateful that I got to experience 37 amazing weeks of pregnancy. Such a gift!
So when I see a cute pregnant woman out in public, or hear of friends who are newly pregnant and giddy with excitement, I feel a slight twinge of jealousy, knowing I'll never be pregnant again.
Then I feel a pang of guilt for being jealous when I was fortunate enough to be able to have one successful pregnancy. Not to mention a more delightful child than I ever could have dreamed.
And now I totally get why moms go nuts over new babies. I go nuts over them now too! Holding a newborn triggers something inside me that didn't exist before I had a baby of my own. Like human crack, these little ones are.
I've discovered a remedy, though, for this pregnancy jealousy, this occasional baby fever: looking at my own child. When I see, touch, and smell her, any longing melts away. Another fix? Making a gratitude list. My husband, dogs, cats, family, and friends are always on it, and I realize how full my life is.
So, cute pregnant lady, when we check you out in public, we're not thinking about how enormous you are, we're thinking about how adorable you look, and how much excitement is waiting for you right around the corner.
Images via Brooke Kelly Photography