When Greg and I were first married we both wanted a large family. I had always wanted 12 kids (since I read Cheaper By the Dozen when I was maybe 12 years old) and Greg was hoping for 11. We had this constant little "fight" over how many kids we would have. We were so cute.
A few years later we were struggling with our two little children. When David was a newborn I learned that it was possible to shout at the sweetest little girl in the world (this is no exaggeration) when she had done absolutely nothing wrong except try to tell me something (in the most darling voice ever) while I was juggling a baby and trying to make a cake. That moment is imprinted in my mind. I sort of feel like if that moment had never come to pass, I would never, ever shout at my children, as it became all too normal after thatf (this, of course, is not true, as something else would have triggered it at some point).
Greg and I struggled with a colicky (though not very severely) baby and a two year old. We had no idea that it could be so difficult to be good parents. We are blessed to have such a similar parenting style. If he (or I) had been more of the permissive type, we would have had some really serious problems, but we both have the philosophy of giving our children very clear boundaries, and that is something we have always supported each other on and we have seen the children respond really well. Still, in those sleep deprived, stress infused moments that came all too often, we found tiny little differences to nit pick each other about. We each took our turns being either the impatient one or the one wondering why the other couldn't just calm down and pull their self together.
It was rough. I had never pictured myself being this kind of mother or wife. I know I wasn't doing everything wrong, and was probably doing more right than wrong, but it was still a shock to feel how immature I was. Greg declared that this was as big as our family would get. I thought he was just stressed and I was too, so I didn't worry about it.
After a while I started wanting another baby. Any time I mentioned it, I could feel him tensing up. He is smart. He said he would rather have two children with a semi-sane father than any more than that with a crazy one. I saw the wisdom in that and half agreed. I was afraid of what kind of mother I might be to three or more children. Would it get progressively worse with each child? I felt that my fear of finding out was almost balanced with my desire to have another baby.
Almost, but not quite. I was so baby hungry. I saved all the kid's old clothes and when David moved out of his crib onto a bed at age 2 1/2 I saved the crib. More than once Greg asked why I was keeping those things. I had stopped talking about having more children about a year before, so those were the only times I gave any hint that I was still hoping.
We were doing really well. Evie and David were best friends. They were so darling together that I almost had a heart attack a few times every day from the sweetness and cuteness of their interactions. I was taking good care of myself and felt thin and healthy and well put together. I kept the house clean and even tidy. I was experimenting more in the kitchen. I was happy. Life was excellent.
One day when David was three and Evie was five they were being as cute as ever and Greg and I were listening from around the corner and giving each other the look we did multiple times every day; the one that says,"Have you ever heard/seen anything so cute in your entire life? I think not." David said something with his darling stutter/consonant switch around and I turned to Greg and said, "Doesn't it make you want to have another one?"
He said, "Yes, it does."
Now this could have just been an affirmation of how darling David was, but I didn't think so. That was too sensitive a subject for him to drop a "yes" if he didn't mean yes.
This was seriously one of the happiest moments of my life. I started planning everything out right then and there. Greg hadn't meant, "let's get pregnant immediately!" He meant more, "let's start thinking about it." I had some check-ups, had my teeth taken care of, including the horrific surgical removal of a wisdom tooth (pretty!) and was feeling ready. Greg still wasn't, quite yet.
This is the part that will sound strange. I am the most practical person about pregnancy that there is. I have always wanted to hear every detail of everyone's story and everything about all their unusual side effects. Often women would say, "I won't go into details because I don't want to scare you." (like the woman I talked to-when I was heavily pregnant-who had just given birth and nearly died of blood loss after delivery) and I would always beg them to go into the greatest detail they felt comfortable with. I feel that the more I know, the less I will ever be surprised, and the less I will have to fear.
I knew that the rate of miscarriage is very high. 25%, I believe (but that might be for first pregnancies?). I had had two children with no miscarriage, and every sister or sister in law of mine had miscarried on their first pregnancy (I think it was always with their first). I was feeling very strongly that our number was up. I expressed this to Greg and he agreed, which is why we decided to get pregnant before we both felt perfectly ready.
Maybe that sounds awful. But I was thinking in terms of having a baby as close in age to the other children as possible, and I felt that it would be a while before one would come. I don't remember if we prayed specifically about this, but I just know that we both knew. The kind of knowledge where you pretend you don't know in case you are proven wrong but you both know that you know.
And then one day, very soon, we found out I was pregnant.
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