I have a pretty good memory. It could almost be called uncanny, but the number of times a day I search for my keys keeps its ego in check. I don't forget much, but I'm grateful for the universal ability of mothers to be forgetful of one very specific and monumental thing - birth and the time soon after.
Following his birth, Ryan was going to be an only child. That long list of baby names I had at the ready for our passel of future children was now useless. Maybe we could use it on pets down the road. I couldn't do it again. Sure, he was worth it. Father, mother and son, we fit. Yes, we fit well together. Still, the scent of his new life was only addictive to a point; it was as calming and heavenly as it could be, but it lacked mind-wiping powers. I couldn't do it again.
I operated in a blur of shock, a blur dotted with many adorable moments, but a blur of memories that made me feel like a deer in headlights. It was too much. It being the lack of progressing, the three hours of pushing, the ring of fire, the stitching up as little as I needed to be stitched, the starting the marathon of parenting at 4:58am immediately upon crossing the finish line of the marathon that is birth, the stinging and painful recovery, the tick I was close to developing if my peri bottle weren't near, the fear of the going to the bathroom, the process of peri bottle, patting ever so slightly, but never delicately enough, pad change, numbing spray, tucks pads, the waddling back to bed, the burning each time after he latched, the contractions that ripped through my back while we nursed, the cluster feeding, the distaste for any clothing or bra because my nipples were sore and raw, the terror of imagining I wouldn't be able to find that precious tube of lanolin, the sharp tingly let down, the swing of hormones, the severe engorgement with no relief, the lying down on the floor next to our closet with white noise roaring from our bathroom vent each night, the overwhelming and overheated feeling when nursing a fussy baby around other people, the watching your poor baby being stuck over and over by an inexperienced ER nurse at six days old, the keeping vigil under the bilirubin lights, the feeling tremendous guilt and sadness from learning at two weeks that he had been suffering from a broken collarbone from birth, the hurting from the clogged duct from Hades and more and more and more. That was it.
And that was it.
New motherhood was raw. I needed some time to stew.
Three months later, he was maybe going to be an only child. Six months later, the baby fever had taken over. Excellent job, mother forgetfulness.
That Sunday when I was sick, when our child that wasn't going to be was tucked in against me, I realized that I was very happy we hadn't used the name Conor on a pet.