Sunday, February 7, 2010

There are some things you can't buy in a box at Wal-Mart

~ Winter Fun ~

As I was tucking Cajes in bed earlier, I kissed him goodnight and as I was shutting the door he said “Mama, I really want a brother or sister who can sleep in my room with me.” I said “I know you do baby… I know.” This is not the first time we have encountered this conversation and I’m sure it won’t be the last. This is typical, day-to-day wishful thinking in our house as well as my constant prayer. I want another child. I do. I always thought I’d be the kind of mama who had a handful of children, you know the older kids holding the little ones hands as we cross streets, at least enough children for a small band. But getting started late in the game has made me realize that I would be perfectly content with two.

We go to great lengths seeking a return to the days of cooing, diapers, crying, and midnight feedings….I know this all sounds questionable and a bit absurd when we have a perfect pattern down pat with Cajes who can get up and get his own breakfast and let the dog out. But the desire for another sweet little baby can’t be quenched. And if you think we want a baby….you haven’t seen the passionate plea from a five year old for a baby. Only he doesn’t really understand the science that goes along with conception. Cajes thinks we can just order a baby… “Just tell God we want one and he’ll give it to us”…or... just head down to Wal-Mart and pick one up in the baby department. It’s been difficult to teach such an innocent little soul that the sting of reality sometimes burns.

It doesn’t make things easier that his best friends at school have siblings. This reminds him everyday that he doesn’t. So each afternoon as I pick him up we go through the conversation all over again about his desperation of not having someone to play with, someone he could teach to read and write, someone he could share his room and toys with (though I bet that would change), someone he can tell his secrets to, play in the snow with, swing on his swing set with ~ and someone he can share his love with. Last Monday he cried his eyes out because saying he “just wishes he had someone to play with.” And don’t get me wrong…. Ben and I do play with him, and have played more in the past year than possibly in our own childhood—we’ve been cast into the Scooby Doo characters at least once daily since last October… but that isn’t the same for Cajes as having a sibling, I know.

I know because I was Cajes. I was the only child. I was terribly lonely and wanted someone that could play Barbies with me or challenge my mud pie making skills. I was that little girl that talked loudly to be sure I was heard, who played alone when I got home from school and imagined how other little kids lived. I found happiness in the friendship of people in their 70’s and animals who must have understood me because they let me dress them in baby clothes and push them in my stroller and drank my muddy water that I called coffee. Let it be known: I had/have cousins who I dearly loved to play with and to this day love like sisters, but I wanted someone to share stories with in the still of the night, any night, every night.

Because I want to fulfill my child’s every dream—I catch myself trying to supplement the love of a sibling that Cajes seeks by buying him “things”—toys, movies, blankets—things he loves (and I know this isn’t a fix— so please don’t tell me, I know). For brief moments I catch a glimpse of satisfaction in his eyes. For brief moments those things are a band-aid for something I really can’t buy in a box at Wal-Mart. For a moment I am able capture what his heart desires. But it’s always short-lived and only for brief moments. And by morning the new has worn off and he longs for a brother or sister again, to share those “things” with.

But conception when you are 38 isn’t always easy. For some lucky couples, conceiving a child is an easy feat requiring only a few cheap beers and a night of boring re-runs. But for others (like us), getting the sperm and egg together for a meet-and-greet will take months, if not years, of frustration, ovulation predictor kits, basal thermometers, calendars, consultations with doctors, and thousands of dollars in testing, hormone shots and medical intervention. We have now put our brakes on after the last round of testing, the most recent being a procedure where they injected dye into my fallopian tubes to make sure my pipes were clean. It hurt. Really. Since there were no blockages impeding the egg/sperm rendezvous, we are hoping that maybe now, since my tubes have been flushed out well that we will have better luck. We have "undiagnosed infertility." Our next option is Clomid, and I’m not prepared to consider it yet.

See, in your 20’s conception is usually a no-brainer (along with other abilities like looking good in a tube top and talking your way out of a speeding ticket). Your eggs are at their farm fresh best so they’re ripe for fertilization. Because they’re healthy, there’s less chance of chromosomal abnormalities, and there’s also far less chance of suffering a miscarriage. Though it may have been easier to conceive in my 20s, it would have been harder to parent. We were less financially stable and more emotionally immature. Plus, we were still defining who we were as individuals. But now we are not just in our 30’s…we are in our late 30’s. And after reaching the age of 35, I’ve be given the dreaded label of “AMA: Advanced Maternal Age." Conception is more of a challenge since my eggs (thankfully, still floating around in there) have started to show their age and because there is no Botox to perk these eggs up.

Now that I’ve blurted out our daily pregnancy and conception lesson I will conclude with a few final thoughts. Cajes is meant to be a brother. When we went out to dinner for my birthday he just didn’t understand why weren’t having lots of friends over for cake and presents. Even after explaining that when you get older it’s not always as important. Well it was important to Cajes. When I arrived from the store (birthday night) he had all of his “babies” (i.e., stuffed animals) in a circle wrapping around the entire living room. And in his twangiest, country voice, my son—who hates singing or hearing people sing—belted out Happy Birthday with his hand up the bottom of a puppet raccoon! And then we had cupcakes and presents with just the 3 of us (oh! and the 40 babies). That’s love folks. That’s the kind of love a kid needs to share.

Finally, when I mentioned earlier that we (the whole family) have been cast into Scooby Doo characters I am being for real. This is the line-up-- Ben is Fred, I am Daphne, Cajes is Shaggy, Dempsey is Scooby and as Cajes reminds us every time “Velma hasn’t been born yet.” So as I go to sleep tonight I will pray that God will please, please, please deliver us a Velma…. A little bit of each of us is desperate for a Velma.