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?