With my somewhat inexact math skills, I've calculated the time between now and the day I turn thirty-five. And it turns out that it's something like nine months and eighteen days. I have a very real fear that when the calendar rolls around to that day that everything attached to me will instantly begin to sag and all those wrinkles I've been fighting back will show up with reinforcements and take over my whole face. In other words, thirty-five is haunting my dreams.
In addition to my sleepless nights over turning half of seventy, I'm also pondering the medical community's assessment of this random number of years, specifically in the life of a person who could potentially make a baby at any moment. According to them, thirty-five is the beginning of The Danger Zone. And this, my friends, is not the Kenny Loggins' kind of danger zone (Pause here to let that particular line of song from "Top Gun" reverberate in your memory as you see a post-Scientology Tom Cruise playing shirtless-jean shorts volleyball in your mind's eye). No, thirty-five is where my ObGyn starts getting cagey about the possibility of me having more babies.
My great grandmother had sixteen children. Sadly, only eight made it to adulthood and those eight were all boys over six feet who probably made her want to give a few back on occasion. (Rabbit trail: those eight boys all went to war during World War II and every last one of them made it back without a scratch.) Anyhoo, she was having babies into her mid-forties, which these days is unacceptable unless you're a well-preserved Hollywood actress who still looks thirty-two, despite having been in The Danger Zone for roughly ten years.
So, I'm wondering, is the day I turn thirty-five really the moment when all bets are off and the chances of my child being born with an additional arm or third eye become more than just a vague possibility?
I keep trying to sort out the fear that I feel about trying to have more children and my hope that there will be atleast one more person to use all the baby stuff I've got squirreled away in the attic. I'm trying really hard not to let an impending birthday make me afraid.
I did not expect my childbearing years to be as tough as they've been and, to be honest, some days I'm ready to throw in the towel and just get a small dog. But, as long as there's still a chance, it's hard not to keep hoping for just one more small, Johnson and Johnson-scented miracle.
Prepare yourself for an awkward confession happening in three, two, one... Sam and I were rocking his stuffed animals to sleep this morning and I was holding this scruffy old dog named Henry that belonged to Matt when he was a baby. There we were, me cradling a thirty-year old stuffed animal and Sam holding a cat puppet with the scariest plastic eyes you can possibly imagine. I was attempting to teach Sam "Rockabye Baby" which is a weird little tune if you take a moment to think those lyrics through. Pretty sure a mom who couldn't get a wink of sleep because of a crying baby wrote that song at 2 a.m.
Anyway, there was a weird moment as I held that stinky old stuffed dog (I've febreezed him, but he still has a bit of a 1980's aroma) where I was reminded of what it felt like to hold a real, live baby. I put that dog down in a hot second because I felt like that just might be the beginning of something I might need counseling for later. No more rocking stuffed animals to sleep for me.
But, the reality is that despite the seemingly long odds, two miscarriages, and a somewhat aging body, I can't seem to give up hope for another baby. I want to sometimes. I try to convince myself that I can be content with one child, that he won't grow up to be the Unabomber because he didn't have any siblings, and that our future Christmases won't be uber depressing with just one kid opening all the presents.
And yet, I can't get away from this hoping stuff. It's hard to push down.
I mean, God gave Sarah a baby when she was like ninety-eight or something, right? I think He can probably work with thirty-five.
And while we're talking about babies, here's a picture to remind you of how cute Sam was as a babe.
Baby Sam, circa 2010