I'm pretty sure I'm coming down with something. Something major. Something invasive. I've had it before, so I'd recognize the symptoms anywhere.
The inability to pass by newborn-sized clothes at the store without stopping to wistfully finger their blanket-soft fabric and emit an involuntary, "Awwww!"
The mental rearrangement of rooms ("Well if we put these two kids in a room together, that would free up some extra space ... or maybe we could convert the basement ...").
The twinge of jealousy at the endless parade of pregnant women and the Facebook posts relating to their ultrasounds, showers, doctor visits, cravings, and birth stories.
Yep: I'm talking about baby fever.
In my experience, it rears its ugly head when your "baby" starts doing not-so-babyish things. Like singing "Gangnam Style." Or, you know, just sitting there looking especially mature - like after your little boy gets his hair cut and even though it was just to get rid of the mullet it actually succeeded in making him look way older and you can't help but sob Where did my baby go?! and he wears a confused expression as you weep into the top of his head.*
*Or that may just be me.
It's that squishy, unsettling feeling inside when you realize that you don't have a baby any more, and that you might never have a baby again. Which then leads into unprovoked reminiscence of the warm weight of a newborn cradled in your arms, sleeping peacefully; the first smiles, gummy and beaming and joyful; the awe-inspiring delicateness of those impossibly tiny fingers and toes.
And therein lies the danger of baby fever. It causes you to recall only the wonderful and lovely moments of parenting a newborn. I think it's, like, some kind of biological mechanism to ensure that we'll forget all the crappy stuff - because if we didn't, the human population would be a lot more sparse. Do I ever think about the nights when I don't sleep more than two hours at a time? The leaky boobs? Being sprayed by a projectile poop? Well, sometimes. But the thing about having baby fever is that you can think about that stuff and still finish the thought with "... but, babies!"
Had my husband gotten the vasectomy he so generously agreed upon, right after the birth of our fourth son like he proposed, I'm not sure I'd be in this baby-craving boat. Because at that point, I was done. It was still fresh and I was like, "Yep, I'm good, our family is complete, let's stop." He went to the urologist for a pre-surgical consultation and everything.
But then? The guys at his work started swapping horror stories of their own vasectomies. You know how when you're pregnant, everyone feels the need to share the most gruesome and terrifying aspects of their birth stories in explicit detail? Yeah. Apparently it was like that. Because now it's nineteen months later and nothing ever came of the consultation we paid the doctor fifty bucks for.
He says he's leery of the whole procedure because "the guys at work said it feels like someone pushing down really hard on the top of your head." And I never get around to asking him what the hell the top of his head has to do with his testicles because I'm too busy yelling "Did you not see what childbirth did to my vagina?" Third-degree tearing, pooping in front of strangers, and one emergency C-section - and don't even get me started on the preceding months of pregnancy - and he's worried about some weird sensation at top of his head.
Top of his head, indeed. Hmmph.
In the meantime, our youngest baby is growing up. He'll be two this spring. And the yearning for another baby, the one that I thought was gone, is slowly reappearing - like an iceberg melting, exposing things long considered lost. And even though my husband is completely and totally opposed to having another baby, we're still technically able. And let me tell you this: for someone like me, who struggled with infertility, being able to have a baby and not doing it is almost torturous. It's a huge, nearly-irresistible temptation. It's like dieting, I tell him - when there are no cookies in the house to eat, then you don't eat cookies. But having cookies in the house and not eating them is a whole different ballgame. If he were properly vasectomized (that's got to be a legit word, right?), and I knew we couldn't have any more babies, I'd probably accept it better. But he isn't. And it doesn't appear that he will be, any time soon, because of the weird feeling on his pwecious wittle head. *insert eye roll here*
And so here I am, craving another baby like those cookies I just mentioned. At first I could temper that with reasonable arguments: namely, kids cost a lot. But now, as is always the case, my disease has progressed and is affecting my logical thinking. Now it's more like, "Kids cost a lot. ... But who needs money when you have love?"
It's serious, y'all. A certifiable case of baby fever. Too bad I can't give it to my husband.