Maybe it's something about turning 30, but I have this urge like never before to have a baby. No, not just to have a baby, to have a baby. There, I said it. It doesn't mean I'll actually do anything about that—since that would require a lot of planning, given the sort of relationship I'm in, but I feel it deserves some attention.
Let me back up. When I was first diagnosed, I remember sitting in the office of the esteemed shoulder doctor, my head swirling with questions, hands shaking as they clutched the handwritten lists I'd written but forgotten. My eyes quickly shifted from the brilliant x-rays illuminating my useless bone held together by titanium plates and screws to the surgeon's white coat and kind face to the door. I wanted to run, to escape the future, to forget the words I'd just heard.
“What do I do now?” I stammered.
“There are support groups,” he said. “See a genetics counselor if you want to have a baby. We can talk about what to do if you need more surgery...”
No, no, NO!!
I wanted to scream, to shake him, to tell him that I didn't care about surgery or a baby, that I was 19 and that all I wanted was for him to be wrong. I've been told that my face doesn't mask emotion well, so I'm sure he got it. I know Cam did. We drove the 2 hours home in unusual quiet, occasionally making small talk.
Over the years, Cam and I talked about having a baby, but as my body got worse it seemed obvious that a pregnancy would be hard for me. Not that it would have mattered—since Cam was a little girl, she's wanted to have a baby. She carried the Poodle and her pregnancy was wonderful. I never felt I missed out on anything. Until now.
Cam thinks she might want another baby “in a few years.” Until recently, I was perfectly content, but now I am struggling. It's new. Foreign. We talk about it, but it's painful.
I don't want to give the wrong impression here. Adopting my older children was an amazing journey. I was blessed with four precious beings that I treasure each day. When I think of them, especially of Atiyyah and Miss Puggles, whose birth parents I do not know, I often think there was some sort of mix up that led to their being born into the wrong family and just taking a little longer to get to us. Since I know Old Boy and Monster's biological mother, I feel a little differently—mostly thankful. She gave us the most selfless gift of all, the gift of our boys.
It's not that I don't want to adopt another child, it's just that the internal voice won't relent. That damn maternal instinct (which should be satisfied by parenting four children despite the constant gnaw of pain and pummel of exhaustion) screams, “Time to have a baby!”
And what about that EDS anyway? I may catch some flack for this, but even if the stars were to align and my hips and spine were in good shape to carry a baby and I were off the cocktail of pharmaceuticals, I feel uneasy when I think about knowingly passing this on. Yet I feel just as badly about knowingly saying, “Uh-uh” to the little EDSers-to-be during a potential genetic counseling appointment. What if they had my eyes? My mind? My...? (And this from a staunch defender of reproductive rights. Do you see the mayhem that the big 3-0 has brought to my mind?!)
It's all hypothetical...if that. I will never be able to have a baby. This body barely holds itself together enough to support me, let alone me +1. I've known this for years. I'm fortunate that I have 4 living children. I'm fortunate that I have a partner who could potentially carry another child. I will never be able to have a baby. I've known this—somewhere within myself—for years.
Why then, does typing it bring tears to my eyes?