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Baby No More

Written by Kathy Glow

Written By:  Kathy Glow

I always knew I wanted a house full of babies.  When I met and married a man that came from a family full of children (he being the youngest of eight and at the time having twenty nieces and nephews), I thought I had hit the jackpot.

Then a battle with infertility and miscarriage made me doubt that dream would ever be a reality.  I was thirty-two, and my plan of having at least four babies before I hit 40 seemed unlikely.

But, it began to emerge on New Year’s Eve 2003 with the birth of our beautiful twins after four months of fertility treatments.  A lot of that first year is a blur to me, thankfully.  I barely remember the times I was up all night alternating feedings and how tired and isolated I felt those first three winter months.  All I remember was the joy of finally having not one, but two babies.

 

 And then, joy of joys, I got pregnant again the old-fashioned way when the twins were just eleven months old!

It didn’t faze me at all that we were 500 miles away from home and family, or that by the time this baby was born we would have three babies under the age of two.  I just felt ecstatic about our little growing family. 

 

The day we celebrated our third son’s first birthday, I found out I was pregnant again.  Needless to say, I was much more excited than Hubby.  But at eleven weeks, I miscarried the baby, and cried for three days.

A psychic reading I had had years earlier kept swimming into my head.  “You will marry and have three children.”  I always scoffed at that because what else was she supposed to say?  ‘You will die alone, a shriveled up old maid?’ 

No, we were going to have four children before I hit 40.  So Rick and I actually tried for once, and I became pregnant with our fourth darling little boy.

 

While in the hospital, Rick and the older boys brought me a gift.  It was a beautiful mother’s ring.  Upon opening it, the first words out of my mouth were not those of thanks; rather, “Does this mean we’re done having kids?”

My husband calls it a sickness, this desire for more babies.  But there has always been something about our babies turning a year old that makes me want another.

I’m not one of those women who just loves being pregnant.  I always have a huge fear of first trimester miscarriage, and after being on bed rest due to preterm labor with the twins, every Braxton-Hicks contraction sends me into a panic during the third trimester.  But I do like the second trimester – the tiredness is gone, and I finally look pregnant and feel great.

Although I worried way more than was necessary before each delivery, they all went extremely well.  I even delivered the twins vaginally (three hours and two minutes apart mind you, but that’s another story).

I can’t even say I love babies – not newborns anyway.  They barely do anything and those first three months are so hard!  But I’ve been lucky to have never suffered from post-partum depression and breast-feeding has always come very naturally for the babies and me.

So when I became pregnant again during Joey’s illness, I felt so conflicted.  I would have loved another baby, but what if the baby was born right when Joey got really sick?  How would I take care of a newborn, a dying child, and three other children?

It was the first time I had ever wrestled with my emotions about being pregnant, about having a baby.

As if through some divine intervention the question was answered for me, though, and I had my third miscarriage.

Then I turned forty and Joey died and I had to accept the fact that my family was complete.  I had three sons; I would never have four or any more for that matter.  I donated and sold almost all of my baby items and maternity clothes.  I felt like the book on my baby making time had been shut for me.

Or so I thought.

Three months after Joey’s death, I became pregnant and felt conflicted about my feelings once again.  But Evan was born healthy and perfect and adorable; and for a second time, we have four sons.

 

Evan is turning one this weekend, and I can honestly say, I have finally closed the baby chapter of my book.  Whereas I previously had to wrestle with myself to get to that place of acceptance, I am okay with it now.  As I look at him going from taking his first tentative steps to practically running across the living room after his brothers, I’m sad that he seems to be growing so quickly; yet I’m excited for what is to come.

I’ve had plenty of baby time, and I will remember it with nothing but fondness.  But now I am looking ahead and glimpsing my sons’ futures.  I’m ready to take on new challenges and adventures with the older boys, while still enjoying the transition to toddlerhood with my youngest son.

 

The older boys think everything their baby brother does is cute, and they want to hear all about when they were babies, too.  So I think I’ll just keep telling stories and reminiscing about their baby days with them. 

There are no more babies in our house, and for once, that’s just fine with me.

Did you and your spouse plan how many children you would have?  If so, did you stick by that plan?  If you are done having children, how did you decide to be done?

 

About the author

Kathy Glow

Kathy Glow is a wife and mom to four lively boys and one beautiful angel in Heaven, lost to cancer. Most days you can find her under a pile of laundry ordering take-out. When she is not driving all over town in her mini-van or wiping “boy stuff” off the walls, she is writing about what life is REALLY like after all your dreams come true. Her writing has been featured on sites such as Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Good Housekeeping, and Mamalode; but Her View From Home is her favorite place to be. Her blog is at www.lifewiththefrog.com. You can follow her on Facebook at Kissing the Frog.

13 Comments

  • What a wonderful article! Thank you for sharing! I am grateful for the four wonderful children I have. My children are a bit more spread out….20, 17, 12, and 9…I like it that way! It’s just what worked best for me! I have to say that after our fourth baby my husband and I just knew…we had peace in our hearts about our family. It’s been perfect for us and we tell each one of our children how much they were wanted and planned for.

    Since I didn’t marry until I was 28 and didn’t have our first baby until I was 30….having babies into my 40’s has just been the way life has worked out! Being a wife and a mother are the best jobs I have. I wouldn’t trade it for the world! Really!

    • Four is a great number, Ann! 🙂 I sometimes wish mine were more spread out, and then I wouldn’t be so frazzled all the time. But, I think they are great playmates and friends, and it’s nice having them go through some of the same things together.

  • Kathy – thanks for sharing! I’ve always thought I wanted a BIG family – 3 or maybe even 4 kids. I even remember my mother in law telling me – “just wait, you might think a smaller family works best for you” when I was pregnant with my first and thinking how wrong she was. Now I’m about 95% certain two little girls is simply perfect. (If you ask my husband he is VERY much perfect with two.) I can’t decide if I’m holding on just a bit longer because my heart really does want another – or if my heart is just surprised to “give up” on something my brain thought I wanted. 🙂

  • I always thought I’d want 3 or 4, then I got pregnant with my 1st child and realized I really hate being pregnant. I always knew I didn’t want to have an only child, so there was no question we would have a #2.
    Now we have a 5 year old son and a 2 year daughter and can’t decide on a #3. Part of me really really wants to have 3 kids, but another part is content and feels complete with how things are.

    I just have to decide if I can handle another pregnancy and then a newborn with 2 very strong willed children. 🙂

    • I’ve heard people say you forget all about how bad the pregnancy or delivery was as soon as you see your baby. I don’t think that’s true for everyone. 🙂 I certainly haven’t forgotten how miserable I was last summer at the end of my pregnancy, and I feel like I’m too old to go through that again.

  • I didn’t realize my intense desire for children until the preacher pronounced Brent and I “Husband and Wife.” Then some kind of switch turned, and I was BABY CRAZY. Being a young bride of 20yrs, my hubby held me off as long as possible, rightly so. When I got pregnant with our first child after 3 yrs of marriage, I was ecstatic, but at 14 weeks found out our baby had died. I was so happy when I found out a short time later that I was pregnant with our second child, but suffered near panic attacks through the first trimester. After 5 months I felt like we were actually going to have a baby. Then at 28 weeks I went into grand mal seizures from eclampsia, and our son was born at a whopping 1lb 7oz. After 5 1/2 months we got to welcome our baby boy home. Shortly after celebrating our sons 1st birthday, I found out that I was pregnant again…a happy and terrifying surprise. We knew we wanted another child, but didn’t know what to expect. Surely enough, our second son was born at 28 weeks gestation at 1lb 15oz, and we welcomed him home after 3 months in the NICU. With that being said, we took surgical measures to ensure that I would not be placing my life or the life of a prospective unborn child at risk with another pregnancy….the hardest thing I have every done, and there are times I still have a good cry and hefty pity party about it. We’re currently pursuing adoption, but I don’t know what God’s plans are for our family. Some days I really have my hands full with two! I trust that God knows what he is doing even when I don’t understand, and I feel so blessed by the abundant blessings God has given me.

    • and your story, Krissy – makes me so thankful, too. Kyle and I are blessed – of this we know. No issues what so ever with our baby girls. No issues getting pregnant, etc. I think part of me feels like “I don’t want to risk our luck” which I know isn’t the right thought. But, we’re so blessed – I think we may be done. 😉 Thank you for sharing!!

      • Krissy your story gives me chills. Thanks for sharing. I’m glad you and your boys are okay. I think it’s okay that you have a good cry about it sometimes, but that your faith is still intact. You are really inspiring.

      • Krissy, your story gives me chills. I’m so glad you and your boys are okay. I think it’s okay to have a good cry sometimes, and wonderful that your faith is still intact. You are inspiring.

  • All of my life I had dreams of doctors telling me that I would never be able to have children. In fact, right before I got pregnant with our daughter I had a doctor very rudely and harshly tell me that getting pregnant while being overweight would most likely be deadly for the baby. When I did find out I was pregnant I got a different doctor who lovingly told me that as long as I was eating healthy and taking care of myself the pregnancy would go well. I was on pins and needles through the entire pregnancy thinking that if I didn’t feel my baby move I must have killed her with my fat. She was born perfectly in December 2003 and 2 years of horrible post partum depression sealed in my mind that we were going to have an only child.

    I was finally coming out of my fog and ready to start building myself up again by looking for a new career and working out at the gym daily and was on my way to finally being the thin woman I know is hiding inside when I started getting light headed if I didn’t eat every 3-4 hours. When my husband asked if we should do a pregnancy test, I told him he was crazy, but then realized I was in fact late. I broke into tears when the stick turned positive even before I could finish peeing and told my husband I should just give up on ever being able to go back to work full time. I was feeling like a burden and a caged animal being a stay at home mom working part time at the grocery store.

    Then at 20 weeks we learned that our son had a 2 vessel umbilical chord. Being the neurotic pregnant mom that I am and still hearing that horrible doctor’s words in my head, I insisted we get a second opinion even though the doctor said things looked really good. The second opinion told us that our son was most likely a Trisomy 18 baby (the fatal chromosome disorder) and insisted we get a amnio and further (invasive testing). We refused and chose to monitor the pregnancy for any other abnormalities (what would we do if he was? I couldn’t terminate!). When we returned to the second opinion the next month we asked her why she zeroed in on 18 and not 21 and her response was, “Oh, it could be any of them” even though we had asked many times if it could be any of the others when she told us initially. I promptly told her to get out of the room and to not expect me back in her office. We proceeded with the pregnancy and our 9 lb. 7 oz impatient (I went into labor the day before my cesearean) baby boy arrived with a roar and wrapped himself around my heart like no other man has (sorry honey!).

    Although I was relieved that my baby boy arrived healthy and was a very easy baby, the stupid post partum slapped me in the face again, but at least this time I wasn’t looking for a worthy enough semi truck to crash my car into. I also was given the opportunity to go back to school to renew my teaching certificate and go back to teaching.

    When people ask if I miss when my babies were babies, I can only say no, because I remember how horrible and emotional I felt. I miss being able to protect them when friend in mean, but enjoy the fabulous people they are becoming. I recently had a hysterectomy and was told by a few friends that I might be upset that I will definitely not be able to have more children and I have to say that is NOT the case. I am relieved and excited to see what adventures our little family has ahead of us.

    I respect families that want and can manage a large family, but I know our family is just right for us.

    • Wow, Sandy. Thank you for sharing your story! I don’t like those “tests.” I understand that they can be wonderful for some people – but they told me (with my Ella/my first) that I had the same chance as a 40 year old woman for my baby to have something wrong. (I was 26.) It crushed me. I was so scared. She was and is totally healthy – perfect baby. I trust doctors – I know they know what they’re doing. But I trust myself more. I didn’t get any of those tests with Gracie – and I had a MUCH calmer pregnancy. (She too, was healthy). And my two girls – wow, they are everything. Again – thank you for sharing your heart!

      • Sandy, I knew most of your story, but not quite all those details. Thanks for sharing them here. You’re a wonderful mom. Hugs!