Friday, May 28, 2010

Idle Musings: Family Planning

Still here, still gestating, and remarkably okay with the status quo. At this point we're so close to having my mom here and having everything go down in a nice, planned manner that I'm completely at peace with staying enormously pregnant until next Friday. It's only 7 days. In fact, exactly one week from today I should be holding my baby girl! Even I can wait that long.

It is remarkable to think that at this point in my pregnancy with Landon I had a 3 week old baby at home. I still tend to think of our daughter in fetal terms, but then I look at a picture of Landon sleeping in his papasan chair at 21 days old and think wow, that's our baby girl right now, except she's all squished inside my belly alongside the frosted cookies. Amazing.

Last night JP randomly turned to me and said he wished we were having twins. My look must have reflected something like, "have you lost your mind?!" because he immediately explained, saying that then we would be done and wouldn't have to wonder if we were having any more children. I hadn't realized he was spending so much time thinking about our future family planning, but I guess I have too. It's nothing I'm obsessing over, but I do find myself wondering if I'll be doing this again. Will I get these maternity clothes back out of the guest closet for my own use? Will a little boy of mine wear Landon's old clothes? Will I get to use my baby boy name? Will I decorate another nursery or will my next project be turning it into a guest room? Little thoughts.

It's such a big thing -- 2 v. 3 children. It's a 50% increase. So it seems a little odd to me that we're so uncertain as to our plans, and yet, how can you know? We have yet to experience life with two. Maybe we'll find a feeling of completeness? Or maybe it will be more of an awareness that we've reached our limit as to the number of children we can effectively parent. In a purely theoretical sense I would like to have three. Well, actually I would like four. I grew up as one of three, and JP was an only child- when we got married we both of us agreed we wanted as large a family as possible. And maybe that's two. I'd be done with pregnancy. I could get back to my normal weight and just stay there. I could permanently pack/give away the maternity and baby stuff as we get through each new stage with our baby girl. We could start talking about some of those vacations I want to take when our youngest is out of the baby/toddler years. I think about daycare for a third child for five years- an extra $60,000. More than any of that I think about managing the schedules of three active kids with two working adults and wonder if we could give enough of ourselves to three.

And then I wonder how people know. My mom said that when my sister was born (baby #2) she knew she wasn't done, and when my brother was born, she knew she was. I know other families who knew they were done at two, had a surprise third baby, and found their family complete in a way that it wasn't before. I figure it's something we'll keep in the back of our minds for a while and revisit in a year of so. But if we're done, I kind of wish I knew that now. Maybe I could enjoy these last few days of pregnancy a little more? Maybe I could find a little extra appreciation of our little girl's newborn newness? Perhaps the fact that I don't know means that we're not done. I think I might be a little sad if we decide in a year that we're complete as a family of four and I need to go back and give a belated goodbye to the baby things I'd been saving just in case.

What about you? If you're done expanding your family, did you know that by the time your last one was born? Or was it something you decided or realized later?

On another note entirely, what do you think of the new blog look? I've wanted to change it for months but these things intimidate me. I think I like it - it's brighter and more cheerful than the old look, but I'm still fiddling (at least to the extent that I can fiddle, I really don't know a thing about html, coding, etc.).

And in closing, 7 more days!


  1. I just stumbled upon your blog and find it so fascinating! I am a newbie attorney (graduated in 2009) and love reading about how you are balancing life and practicing law. I hope you don't mind a new reader!

    Good luck this next week!

  2. My husband and I have 3 kids, all boys, each born 2 years after the previous. I, like you, originally started out wanting 4 kids but my husband was thinking we would have 2. After our second child was born, I knew I still wanted another child and my husband agreed our family was not complete. I would see pregnant women and feel nostalgic and I would see babies and feel like I wanted one too. After baby #3 was born, I knew I was done. I did not want to do it again. I would see pregnant women and think "Thank goodness that's not me." and I would see babies and I would be happy to have left that stage behind. We are both working parents and three children is pretty much all and sometimes more than we can handle.

    You probably can't really know at this point if you are "done" or not, and in some ways it may not be entirely up to you, one way or another. But I will concur with your mom's comment that when she *was* done, she knew it. I definitely knew it too, and I've never regretted either not having more, or not having fewer. Good luck!

  3. ha! My husband also used to say that he hoped we were having twins, for the same reason. Because twins run really strongly in my family, though, I told him he was NOT funny. I was more horrified that it could actually happen, oh my god.

    Congrats on fully full term, and like the new look!

  4. LOVE the new blog looks - so pretty and looks very professionally made!

  5. We were told we would never have children. We adopted our first son from foster care and we were content. We continued to foster children and ended up adopting our second son, who has severe special needs. We assumed we were finished and we would be a family of 4. As we were finalizing the adoption of our second son, we found ourselves pregnant and this one stuck. We had our daughter, our baby that should never have happened according to the medical profession. We were happy and done. HaHa. Medical professionals assured us that our pregnancy was a fluke, it would not happen again...they were so wrong. Our son was born 3 years after our daughter. Another miracle. We were definitely done. 4 kids, perfect! No so fast. Here I am, 22 weeks pregnant with our second daughter. Oh how the fates must laugh at me and my "plans" LOL! My third miracle pregnancy that should never have happened. We are beyond grateful and blessed. But this one....this one IS the last. No really, I mean it this time. She really will be the last one. 5 kids is a house full and while it's fun and exciting, I have had to give up on going back to my career. I wouldn't trade it for a minute though.

  6. I was absolutely, 110% done after one, but unexpectedly and unintentionally found myself pregnant with number two. Having two isn't so bad, I guess, but I definitely do not want any more. My husband would still like a third, but I don't think that's going to happen. He got a second kid out of me, and I know I don't have it in me to go for a third.

  7. I am pregnant with my third and I am 99.99% sure I am done. We can't afford a fourth. I don't know where I'd put a fourth. I'm at peace with this being my last pregnancy (I'm enjoying it more than my other two because in my mind, we're done). Three just sounds like the perfect number to me. After #2 was born, I KNEW I wasn't done. DH would have been done and he knew how much I wanted another, so he let me talk him into the third. Oddly, he's the one who has mentioned a fourth baby but I'm the one who is insistent that we are done. I don't know how you know - I don't know if I'll ever stop looking at pregnant women (when I'm not pregnant) or new babies and not be a tiny bit envious. But I just can't picture myself as a mom of 4. When I had 2, though, I always felt like someone was missing.

  8. This is a big conversation at my house as well. I'm an only child, DH is one of 4. When we got married, we sort of agreed on 4 kids. After our daughter was born, I said hey, maybe just 3. Now that I'm pregnant with #2, I keep saying, maybe just 2. I don't know how you know. But I hope I'll feel that way and not always wonder, what if...?

  9. Also completely forgot - love the new look!

  10. I was mom to 3 kiddos then while trying for more my two step kiddos moved in, we thought well a half dozen would round out the family just nice. Well as things go that lovely half dozen? 7 months after the boys moved in our family did not become a half dozen but became 7 my last a final(I had a hysto 3 months ago) became twins. And I could not imagine life without either of the twins! The whole going from 3 to 7 kids in 7 months though that was fun times!

  11. I love the new look!! Very cheerful!

    We were so done at two. Ha ha ha. Then one day we looked at each other and said "You know, someone is missing. We need a third." It was spooky how it happened at the same time for both of us. He/she even had a name before we decided to do anything about eventually bringing him/her home.

  12. When I met my husband I already had a 3 1/2 yr old girl. When we got married we had decided we wanted 3 more children. Had our daughter in 2005 and our son in 2008. For a long time I thought back and forth about baby #4 only because we had always said 4. Then one day I thought about it and realized my family is complete. The kids are now 10, 4.5 and 2. Our family can do more this summer than we could last, and we enjoy where we are at. I never understood how people could say they were done, and be happy with their decision, but know I do. Both my husband and I are happy with our family and happy to see the kids grow up. We aren't sad to see them grow and thats how we realized we were done. I guess one day you will just know if you are complete.

    Good Luck


  13. We have two daughters. I have always wanted 3 children but we are dealing with secondary infertility (had no problems getting pregnant with 1 or 2). We have been trying for four years for baby #3- with the help of an infertility specialist. Now I am 41 and it looks like our family will have to be complete with two children.

    Love the new look of the blog!

  14. I like the new layout :). Although, I liked the old one, too! This part of your post, however, terrified me: "I think about daycare for a third child for five years- an extra $60,000." Wow!

  15. Nice look, very bright. I didn't realize they had this look on blogspot, I'm thinking I will need to go check out the options again.

    How do you know when you're done?
    We had never actually set a number as to how many we wanted. Maybe with good reason. When our first (the Blue Jay) was 13 months old, she developed epilepsy. Along with that (for her, that's far from always the case) came the developmental delay. She was a perfectly typical little person before that but suddently life became very challenging - in the hospital from two to four times per year for two weeks at a time until she was about ten years old.

    But we decided to have another when she was about two-and-a-half. Although still far from aware of what we had gotten ourselves into with the Blue Jay, I remember being pregnant with our second and saying to my husband that but for the Blue Jay's problems, I would have wanted a third. But given her issues (and geez, we really had no concept of how bad they were back then), there was no way we could do that. He agreed. And I was totally and completely settled and happy with that. It would have been fine with me if I could have had the tubal right after the Kit Kat was born.

    I guess maybe in our case it wasn't so much knowing we were done as knowing our limits.

  16. Very nice post and great question. I'm not done with having kids and we're really close to trying for #2. But when I think about the joys of having two kids at home, something inside me just feels like it won't be enough. Of course, I'm not there yet so I can't tell for sure. But, as much as I love Jacob, right now I know, somewhere deep inside me, that I wouldn't feel complete with just one. I imagne that I will feel the same after just two. I grew up watching families of three and four and I always loved the chaos, energy and excitement of a house full of kids. Deep down, I know that's just what I want for my family. But I do wonder what that feeling of completeness will feel like.

    I want 4 kids total and my husband always thought he wanted 2- until he married me and now I think I've convinced him that 3 will be ok. I'm still working on 4 though.... :)

    LL, you are so reflective and introspective and it totally shows through in your writing. I continue to love your blog so much!

  17. We're in exactly this spot right now. Our first two are 20 months apart, #2 is 18 months old, hubs thinks he's getting old and if we're going to have a third now's the time... and I just don't know. I always wanted four and really don't feel *done*, but I'm still exhausted from the two (one of whom is mid-sleep-regression and having lots of night-wakings). I really don't want to be pregnant again- and again, it's the exhaustion I don't want to handle. But adoption is expensive and has its own challenges... and if we have more, how will I ever manage to get back to work? And will we ever be able to travel as a family? I wish I had the clarity on it that so many others seem to.

  18. I am expecting my 3rd in October. I have had c sections with each one. My OB discussed with me the risks to me and the baby that increase after 3 c sections and that, along with both my husband and I working full time and the general craziness that comes along with doing activities and so forth after work for the kids, made us decide on 3 as the right number for us. I did not feel "complete" after two, but feel very good about being done after 3. Good luck!

  19. Hi, honey . . . wanted to put in my two cents here. I think the reason it is so difficult to decide on the number of children you want is because it isn't a decision with only one right answer. I don't mean from person-to-person . . . that's obvious. I mean for any given family . . . I am 100% sure that if circumstances had prevented us from having Baby #3, we would have still felt our family was complete and been content. Likewise, if another baby had surprised us, we would have felt it was meant to be. That is largely due to that fact that I would have adjusted my life and aspirations based on our family unit. That being said, it is a difficult decision to make. I was content after Eric was born that three was perfect, but if we hadn't taken permanent birth control measures when he was a baby, who knows?!! There was a time when he was 3-4 years old that I yearned for another baby. Yet as you grew up, I was thankful that decision had been taken out of my hands and we had stopped at 3. As you well know, I have found my career so rewarding and it might not have happened, or would have at least been further delayed with the birth of another child. So, my advice is . . . leave the decision be for now. Enjoy each moment with your baby girl as if she is your last newborn. As Grandma always says, "Things will work out" :) . . . you will adapt to whatever happens and feel certain in retrospect it was the way things were meant to be. :)

    And I like the new blog look! :)

  20. At 19, after a huge cyst took out a tube, I was told I would likely never have children. Devastated, and not truly sure what to think, the person I had in my life and I decided we must try immediately! So much for proven science (although, they did say “likely”). Only took a camping trip and one honest try.
    Tyler was supposed to be an only child if his father had anything to say about it. I on the other hand had put in an order for as large a family as possible! 6, 10 , a dozen or more was fine by me. J Trevor is the fine print on the Trojan box, and I was just fine with my two boys 20 months apart…. for a while. Two years later, I lost a baby girl at 23 weeks. Relationship number one failed, and relationship number two started within weeks giving me a beautiful little girl. I still was told I shouldn’t be carrying anyone to term, and I should think about stopping. So I did, except my body didn’t get the message. Taylan was just barely three months old, and I got the “flu”. It had to virus related, cause it just wouldn’t pass! I was nursing exclusively and had not even gotten a cycle back. When I saw the OB, and he “suggested” I was pregnant. I burst into tears. I was not ready! Well, 12 months and 5 weeks later, I had no choice but to be delighted (and I really, really was!) with another perfect little girl.
    Now throw in here an insane desire to fulfill someone else’s dream. I placed a little boy into the arms of his forever mother – and gained a friend, and a huge lesson of what “selfless” really is. I was now a single parent, and assumed I had filled my order, and was okay with being “done”.
    Because I am a very slow learner, 5 and a half years later, I finally had a true Prince in my life. We agreed….. Basham Bunch was just fine with six between the two of us (So I am step-monster to two grown children). I went in for a conversation about birth control, and a very late yearly exam. Two surprises at this appointment: I was pregnant, and had cervical cancer! Our life went into a tailspin for a while. At the 10 week check…. it only got better, I was carrying twins. I think I was in a state of panic entirely mixed with joy. We met with numerous specialists that assured us that cervical cancer does not “for whatever reason” (sounds so scientific doesn’t it?) progress most of the time during pregnancy. Wrong…
    When we went for the 18 week ultrasound, we had lost one of the twins, and the cancer was spreading. We played wait and see for another 17 weeks. At 35 weeks I was put on strict bed rest and was checked every three days. Amazingly – I made it full term. I had my dream delivery at home, with my husband delivering our son. All 10 pounds of him. The cancer had not spread beyond the cervix, and at 8 weeks post partum I had a LEAP. And – even after all of that – I would have gladly had … just one more.
    My cancer came back two years later. There were no more discussions. We scheduled my hysterectomy, and thankfully this time medical professionals didn’t think they knew best. I insisted, even at only 35, to remove the ovaries. The pathology revealed, one had a pre-cancerous spot on it.
    I had miscarried the year prior. If you have been doing math – that would have been baby number 8. I at times still see the ghost of the assumed little boy tagging behind his now 4 year old brother. My life is entirely complete. I am still here to remind everyone to pick up their clothes, load the dishwasher, and thank God - to wipe away the tears. The Bunch graduated to 7 Heaven, and this time relationship 3 is for keeps. But your never truly “done.” Every chapter has you missing little pieces of the one before. It’s just at some point, you look back less often then you look forward.

    Love the new look too!

  21. I have a story about miscarrying the morning the Challenger exploded-- yes, I am that old! I was certain it was a girl. I wanted to try for a girl after one boy, but DH nixed spinning the sperm to improve the odds. When BOY # 2 was 3 1/2 (as much as I'd loved and still recommend the 5 year spacing) I wanted to try for # 3 and still hoped for a girl. Unfortunately, "the O.C." filed BK and our jobs were very uncertain that year, so we never did. My DH would have been fine if it "just happened" but I was super careful and it wouldn't have "just happened" unless I "let it happen" (Ooops!) and I never did. It seemed like too much bad karma to lay on a kid, and I was spooked enough already about birth defects, etc.

    Changing the subject entirely:
    It is now 2/3 through 5/29. We haven't heard from LL today, so she could be off having the baby, but I think our little girl (the one with many virtual "Aunts") is holding out for 6/1.... BTW, LL, if you read this and are still pregnant, please pop in daily for at least a line or two, because some enquiring minds NEED to know!

  22. Hi Lisa :) I'm still very much pregnant. It's 95 degrees here (feels like 100+) and I'm kind of going back to hoping that she'll come before Friday after all... but no sign yet.

  23. We've agreed if the next one's a boy then I'm done. If not, I might be forced to incubate another one. Husband was The Third, so he thinks we need three. It probably says a lot that his two older sisters have both stopped at two. Personally, I think I'm done now, I really don't want any more. Being an only child myself, I wanted Cora to have a brother or sister, but the thought just makes me tired.