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I Torture Myself Over Whether Or Not To Have A Second Baby

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07.05.2019

I've never felt more connected to my husband than in the moment we decided not to have sex.

It was a Wednesday, and we'd both booked off work yet sent our toddler son to daycare so we could have an illicit and rare 'day date' (we'd attempted a more-typical dinner date the previous weekend, and were both so exhausted we had to force ourselves to stay out past 9 p.m. Don't let anyone tell you parenting changes you!).

The plan was to relax, re-connect and engage in activities difficult to enjoy in the presence of a two-and-a-half-year-old, like day-drinking and peeing alone. But there was another goal neither of us spoke aloud, yet was in the back of both our minds: procreation.

I knew I'd be ovulating that day and if we wanted our son to have a sibling, well, we better get on with it. Time had been ticking in my mind for months, as had all the reasons why we should just do it: our children would be more than three years apart if we waited any longer, I was already edging into my late 30s and facing a geriatric pregnancy (omg), plus I didn't want to raise a newborn when I'm 40 (I'm tired enough as it is, thanks).

Natalie StechysonNatalie Stechyson cools her swollen feet while pregnant with her son.

I'd timed the day perfectly. I swear, I could feel an egg cartwheeling down my fallopian tube as I lay on the bed with my husband. But then I felt something else; something new — dread.

Because in that compromising, half-dressed moment, I had two important realizations: I'm probably going to get pregnant right now, and getting pregnant is probably the last thing I want.

Nothing about pregnancy has been easy for me, other than getting pregnant, which I appear to be remarkably good at. Sticking the landing, not so much.

I got pregnant my first try four years ago. I bled for five straight weeks before I finally miscarried that attempt. My second pregnancy gave me my son — who is my entire world — but also nine full months of nausea so bad we couldn't cook indoors, a third-degree vaginal tear that still causes me carnal issues, and pretty severe postpartum anxiety that went undiagnosed for over two years.

Last April, my third experience with a positive pregnancy test (again, on the first try!) wound up being a rare molar pregnancy that threatened to give me cancer. I needed two D&C surgeries to remove all traces of it from my........

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