This post has been LONG in the making. Weeks? Months? I’m not really sure. But something has been brewing around in my head for a long time that needed to be worked out before even verbalizing it to anyone (including Hottie).
Recent happenings, recent conversations, recent feelings have all driven me to change my mind on something really big. I never saw this coming, but when it did come, it happened just like everyone said it would.
“You will just KNOW. You will have an overwhelming feeling that you finally know, and that you’re at peace with whatever your decision is.”
And I know now. I’m at peace. I’m happy about it.
There will be no more Courtney/Hottie babies. We are done growing our family. Our little family of four is feeling pretty darned complete.
I told one friend about this last weekend and her response was, “really? You were so sure you wanted three!” That’s a normal reaction – I think it myself a lot of the time. I started suspecting that this was coming when I noticed that I’d stopped daydreaming about what we would name our third baby, and when I noticed that, I thought to myself, “but you really WANT three.” But I realized that maybe I didn’t really want three anymore, and then I started wondering why I no longer seemed to want to have three.
There are so many reasons for this decision, and when I finally had the nerve to bring it up with Hottie, he agreed with all of my reasons 100%.
We went out for a late(r) dinner on Friday night with the kids after Matthew’s swimming lesson. We had to (gasp!) wait for a table and that went remarkably well. The kids ran around and played and had a great time while we waited with other groups of people, and it was relaxing. Once seated, we looked around at the full restaurant and smiled at each other, and Hottie said, “isn’t it fun to be out with lots of people for a later dinner on a Friday? We’re finally there!” And I said, “I have something to talk to you about.”
Right there, with the kids beside us and hundreds of people surrounding us, Hottie and I had a very rational, unemotional conversation about where we are right now, how we feel about our family, how we feel about each other, and how we’re both happy with the current state of our family. I felt relieved that it was finally out there. This was a pretty tough thing to work through on my own, but I knew I needed to really know how I felt about it before discussing it with Hottie.
There are so many reasons for this decision. I hate listing them out in a list because it just feels cold. Coming to this conclusion was the furthest thing from being a cold, hardened process.
I have been concerned about health and safety lately. I have a uterine issue that could, ultimately, kill me and/or an unborn baby if things went wrong. We unknowingly had that risk with Bryson, and had I labored at all prior to my scheduled C-section, the outcome could have been horrific. Two doctors told us that laboring prior to delivery would have likely killed one or both of us. I have brushed that thought aside for over a year because I really wanted another baby and the doctors said that we could most likely manage a future pregnancy with monitoring and careful planning. But lately, I’ve been thinking, “it would be awful to start laboring at home, feel the rupture, and know all along that this did not need to happen.” Knowing that there is a very real risk to having a third baby should be enough to stop me. It hasn’t been enough, but at the end of the day, that really is the deciding factor for me. Hottie has always been concerned about this and is relieved that I’ve finally realized the severity of this myself.
I love my two kids. I don’t like to leave them too often and would almost always rather have them with me than without me. I have friends who don’t feel this way about parenting, and it boggles my mind (but I don’t judge because we’re all different – I just cannot relate). I have friends who get sitters or drop their kids at the gym daycare every single day so that they can get away from their kids – and I don’t understand that. I take my kids to Tar.get and the grocery store – it’s what we do! I take them to lunch every day, and we love it! I want them with me! Sure, I need a break here and there, but for the most part, we’re a unit. I was talking to one of my friends a while back about this (a friend who does get breaks from her kids daily) and she said, “a third changes everything. I started yelling more, I needed more “me time,” I became more withdrawn. If you’re thinking you may be done with two, I’d suggest you really give it some thought. You’re the mother I’m not – and having a third could change you into the mother you don’t want to be.” This conversation was so important to me – because she’s right. I have watched so many people go from two to three kids and this very thing happened – they went into survival mode and their parenting changed. I’ve been yelling a lot lately (but have been better in the last week) because three years old is so hard for us all – and I have thought, “if I have another baby, I’ll be yelling for the next 4-5 years until that last baby is four or five.” I don’t want to be frazzled and yelling for that long.
I’m scared to death of having a girl. Not because girls are bad or undesirable in any way, but because that would be like starting all over again from scratch. I’ve got this boy thing figured out – even though my two boys are entirely different people, they are both similar in their love for trucks, sports, and each other. A girl would be the odd-man-out and that would make me sad. These boys are “as thick as thieves” and I just cannot wrap my head around having a child who doesn’t have that with a sibling, and that could very easily happen if our third was a girl. Heck, that could happen if our third was another boy. You never know, but there is a part of me that doesn’t WANT to know. I love my harmonious little set of boys just how they are!
Babysitters are so easy to find right now. People love watching two kids – they offer it up without you asking! Hottie and I have gone out on dates more in the last 2 months than we did in the year prior. We escaped out-of-town last weekend because a friend ASKED to take the kids for a weekend. If you talk to my sisters and friends with 3 kids, they’ll tell you that people, including grandparents, stopped offering to watch the kids once #3 arrived. Three kids can be daunting for babysitters and family members, and honestly, I don’t know that I’d be comfortable leaving three kids until the youngest was at least one. I remember being a babysitter and it was exponentially harder with three kids than it was with two, and that terrifies me as a parent. We enjoy getting out together, we enjoy taking a night or two to ourselves, and the prospect of that becoming harder is not something that makes me happy.
Travel – oh how we wish we could travel more with the boys. We wish that the kids were at a point where I could bring them with me to meet Hottie out in Seattle or wherever else he may be for a work trip. We are SO CLOSE right now to that being possible – like NEXT SUMMER close! I would have no fears of traveling with the two boys without Hottie – but I can’t say I’d be willing to do it with three. Actually, I know I wouldn’t be willing to do it until they were all much older. Hottie travels to fun places enough that this is something that I’m ready to do ASAP – and next summer’s trip to Seattle will be the trial trip for me. It will involve a layover, each boy having their own seat on the plane, and no breastfeeding. It is time. It is time to move on and travel with these kids! We’re all ready!
And while I’m talking about travel, Hottie’s work schedule now involves travel every other week for anywhere from 3-5 days at a time. This is exhausting for me – bedtime is our worst time of the day when Hottie’s gone and it makes me feel like a bad mom. No one wants to end their kids’ days on a bad/stressful note. I honestly know that I don’t want to handle a third child with this current travel schedule. I know that Hottie won’t travel like this all the time, but the reality of being pregnant, tending to a newborn with two other boys who need me, or getting up in the night multiple times when I’m solo parenting is not something that I care to take on. I can’t take it on – it wouldn’t be fair to anyone.
We really, really want to be able to consider private school for the boys. Unfortunately for us, the school we would send them to is about twice as expensive as the other private schools in our area. Paying to send two children to this school is do-able and palatable. Paying for three children to go to this private school would not be an option for us. We like having the resources to travel, buy fun things, eat nice meals, etc. and paying $21,000 a year for three kids to attend private grade school would hinder all of that. Life experiences are too important to us and to our children to limit them if at all avoidable. This may seem petty to some, but it’s important to us. Part of growing your family and deciding how large it will be has to do with deciding what is and is not important to you in regards to how you bring those kids up and what you expose them to. At the end of the day, we may decide to send the boys to the public schools here, but we want to make that decision based on education and not financial resources.
One thing that worries me about having a third is that those embryos are all we have – there will be no more. If, God forbid, something bad happened to one of the boys, we could maybe do genetic diagnostics on those embryos to try to have a baby that could help our boys. I’m only willing to thaw them once since they are all we have. They are precious to me for many reasons, but they are most precious because they are all we have. They are our only chances if something bad would happen in the future. I like knowing that they are there for us, and that we are there for them. They are so much more than potential children – they are hope.
One of the biggest reasons for me wanting to be done at two children is that Hottie and I are in a really great place right now. I feel like we’re finally “back amongst the living” and we’re really enjoying each other. We go on dates, we leave town together, we listen to each other because the kids don’t require AS MUCH as they used to, we do nice things for each other, and we just really LIKE each other. It took a lot of work to get back to this place – infertility really took a toll on us and then parenting young babies and kids just continued to deteriorate our relationship. We feel like we’re back where we were before we were told we couldn’t have children easily – and that feels really, REALLY good. Adding an IVF/FET cycle to our lives would only add stress, and adding another baby would take us right back to survival mode which is not where we want to be. I like Hottie too much to mess this up!
As I was contemplating all of this, we received news that a friend had just delivered their second baby who was unexpectedly born with a difficult, painful disease. That news sucked the air right out of both of us – it was so hard to even think about what that would be like. We can’t imagine living it. We have two healthy boys after years of infertility and invasive treatments. We are lucky. We won the lottery twice. How awful would it be to go for a third and possibly lose it, or lose my own life, or have a rough road in front of all of us because of a health issue with the baby? I always worried that we’d try for a third and we’d have a late-in-pregnancy loss (stillbirth is my worst nightmare) or the baby would die of SIDS or be born with poor health. I don’t want to risk our current “easy” family life for something that could devastate us and possibly kill one or more of us. How awful would it be to have a uterine rupture and know that it was avoidable? How awful would it be to lose our final baby in its sleep? I just can’t fathom it – and knowing that I can’t have a 4th pregnancy, I just don’t want to risk it. I don’t want to finish growing our family with a tragedy or great devastation. That’s senseless to me.
Hottie seemed almost relieved when I told him my thoughts. He is so concerned about my safety and health with a third pregnancy, and we both know that I wouldn’t enjoy being pregnant because of the risk involved with it. Every twinge, every pain, every “has the baby moved recently” scare, every ultrasound would bring stress and fear. The odds of the pregnancy ending in tragedy are… well… I don’t even know. But I do know that we “dodged a bullet” (doctor’s words) with Bryson’s pregnancy and neither of us wants to risk that again. Why would we? I was in denial for 16 months, but I’m not anymore.
I’m ready to sell off our baby stuff. When a friend asked how sure I was of this decision, I said, “I want to have a garage sale next weekend!” Hottie has asked me not to sell a thing since I could change my mind like I just did.
We agreed to hold onto things for a year.
October 14, 2014 at 2:15 pm
Wow! That is a huge decision, but all of your reasons are sound. Congrats on making the decision to stay a family of 4!
October 14, 2014 at 2:51 pm
Thank you! It feels good. Since our talk, I’ve been happier, lighter, and easier to live with. This decision was stressing me out!
October 14, 2014 at 3:00 pm
Your friend completely hit the nail on the head for me. “Having a third could change you into the mother you don’t want to be.” This is exactly it. For those days that we knew about #3, JJ and I were so stressed thinking, we’re already stressed with two, what will it be like with one more? Then you add on finances, and everything else that you mentioned and it quickly became overwhelming. Hats off to those people who do it with 3+ kids, but I know we couldn’t.
The fear of what #3 could be as far as health goes is something else I was worried about. I had two wonderful pregnancies, deliveries, healthy kids – I feel like I’d be playing with fire trying to do it again. Yep, yep. I agree with everything you said in that paragraph.
With the health issue that you are facing, it would almost be a no-brainer for me, but I understand the desire to hold off to make sure you are ‘sure.’ I’m very happy for you that you’ve arrived at the decision that you are comfortable with, that I wonder if many people ever arrive at, and Hottie is completely on board with you. This is big stuff and it sounds like you have thought it through every which way possible, and having support from your husband just sealed the deal. And for what it’s worth, I think your family of four is pretty perfect. 🙂
October 22, 2014 at 9:51 pm
Thanks, Steph! I feel REALLY great about the decision – almost liberated. Our family feels more and more perfect for us every day!
October 14, 2014 at 4:01 pm
Good for you for questioning yourself. msot people won’t do that and then they are unhappy.
I think you have many great points here and the ones that hit home for me were the health of the next baby and finances and what kind of mother would I be? I am also terrified the next baby could have major issues. And I am in complete agreement with you that you should have as many kids as will match your income and preferred lifestyle. There is no shame in that. And lastly, I know I would not be happy with myself as a mother if I had another. I just wouldn’t have the patience or attention to devote the way I would want to.
And oh god, I just can’t imagine going back to that dark place of no sleep . . . . . . . . .
October 22, 2014 at 9:53 pm
We just got out of the dark place of no sleep and that was a factor I forgot to write about. I can’t go back there either.
Thank you for your comment about not having shame in wanting a preferred lifestyle. Some people roll their eyes at me but it’s all relative to your own experience and desires – no one else’s. Why don’t people get that?
October 14, 2014 at 7:48 pm
Wow! I am so happy for you that you’ve made this decision and feel so much peace about it. Your reasons certainly make a lot of sense- while having a child who isn’t healthy is a blessing in a lot of ways, it is HARD and heartbreaking and not something you would wish for. We are going to try for a 3rd and while I’m excited about it (and have our own reasons that fit our particular situation) I am somewhat envious of people who are “done” and can move on with their lives- and yes, stay out past 6:00 pm- ha! Your boys are precious and I love your complete little family!
October 22, 2014 at 9:56 pm
Thank you, Elizabeth! I have wondered if you’d have another… you’re sure enjoying Charlotte! I am so glad to be done with certain things – and not the diapers and other obvious things (but I am glad to be done with sleepless nights!) – but the not knowing what our family is ultimately going to look like. I’m glad to be done with that wondering, and the worrying about IVF and the stress that comes with it. I needed those things to be behind me.
October 14, 2014 at 11:33 pm
Such a huge news! I’m so glad you’ve come to a place of such peace and acceptance about all of this. I totally understand where you are coming from, your reasons are well thought out (and I hadn’t considered some of them and I kept thinking, ah yes, I’m SO GLAD we came to the same decision as well). This post makes me happy. Congrats on being done with family building!
October 22, 2014 at 9:57 pm
Thank you! It feels like a huge accomplishment, doesn’t it? DONE WITH FAMILY BUILDING! Now what? HA!
October 17, 2014 at 1:08 pm
That’s definitely a huge decision! I’ve been selling / giving away all of my baby stuff recently, and it is HARD. Part of me wants a third, but I’ve decided it’s just stuff, and if we do decide to have a 3rd. I’ll get it donated back to me or we’ll just buy it again. I totally understand and agree with so many of your points above though, and that’s why I think we’ll probably be done at 2. It’s just hard to give up that dream of the big family I always thought I’d have!
October 22, 2014 at 9:58 pm
Yes – it’s hard to give up the dream and the wondering. I think everyone goes through it, even when they KNOW they’re done, done, done. It’s a sort of grief, you know? No more babies, no more first smiles, no more pregnancy. But… it’s still good!
October 22, 2014 at 4:18 pm
Whoa, I thought I already commented on this. Oops! Glad I came back again!
Well, firstly, I am so happy for you that this decision has come to you and it feels right. It is an awesome feeling.. and I know because just in the past couple of weeks, it hit me too. In the week or two after Ez was born, I thought, gosh, this can’t be it. I need another one. I need to do this all again! But then the weeks that followed, I sat back at times and just soaked in moments with my new family of four and my gosh, it just felt so right. When I say, it felt so right, of course some of those ‘rights’ were that it was hard and I can’t imagine doing it all with THREE!!! But also, it felt right in that we just fit perfectly together. It just felt like a family.. a completed family. Other than just having a ‘feeling’, we have many many of the same reasons as you for making this decision. Some of the big ones for us being travel (none of our family lives close so we will always have to travel.. and far.. just to see anyone). Our UK trip this Christmas cost over $4000 in just flights at that is with Ez still free… eek! Then just things like all of us fitting in our car easily with car seats, going on rides at amusement parks and always having a partner, playing sports and having a partner, running through airports and holding one kid’s hand each, not having to expand our house or squeeze 3 kids into a tiny bedroom, the list goes on and on and on. Two is it for us. I was really really worried that the feeling would never come but out of nowhere, it did, and it feels good.
All that said, if a surprise happens in future, which we will try our best to protect against, we will of course love that baby as much as our first two and we will make it work for us… but that isn’t the plan 😉
October 22, 2014 at 9:42 pm
You know, what you wrote is so true! Right after Bryson was born, I said, “I’m not done. I need to do this again.” But now, this just feels right. Our family feels complete. Since making this HUGE decision, I’ve been a more relaxed mother, and more jovial wife, a better friend. It was really weighing on me and given how I feel after deciding this, I know it was the right decision.
I love that you call Esme “Ez.” So cute! That name, and her nickname, are just so unique and wonderful!
And one more thing, part of my decision as well was the car space, travel expenses, ease of travel, table for 4 versus table for 5, etc. Those little things matter, and thank you for not making me the only one who thinks about them!
October 23, 2014 at 9:00 am
I thought of those little things too – after working in a restaurant for years, it’s much harder getting a table for 5! And the car situation, both of us would have needed new cars asap, and the travel expenses would be higher too. Might be small things, but not silly at all to consider.
October 26, 2014 at 7:17 am
I know what you mean about the way some people parent. I have two friends like that and it’s so alien to me, to leave him so often. I just don’t get it. I’m also with you on the complicated pregnancy thing. It is actually traumatic, going through a pregnancy where every twinge is significant and possibly life altering. Nothing can prepare you for that insane level of hypervigilance. It takes a personal toll that is hard to come back from when you’re dealing with a newborn.
We only have jman, but after our experience, I just couldn’t do it again. I couldn’t go through that again, and can’t even imagine doing it with a toddler. I agree, that feeling when you’ve run the gauntlet and made it with everyone ok, it feels like such a risk to do it all again.
Your friends advice about not being the kind of parent you want to be if you had 3, I think that’s so valid and insightful. I remember reading about your experience with Bryson and shouting at the ipad going “for god’s sake woman, are you mad? no more!”. I’m sure. I wasn’t the only one. Glad you got to some kind of pease with this. A good thing.
October 28, 2014 at 12:33 am
I’ve been wondering what your plan was. I’m so glad you commented on my post and gave me the heads up on this post! I feel you on so so much of this. Such a huge decision, and I’m so glad that you are happy and at peace with your path and that B is on the same page. The health concerns are a such a big terrifying component, and the being the kind of mother you want to be. I really worry about this, as I feel like I yell all day just to get Leopold to listen to me. It’s totally exhausting. and frustrating. And then I’m chasing Kate around and saying no to her and pulling everything out of her mouth ( a ladybug last week!).
Anyway. Such a huge decision and I’m so glad you’re at peace with this. You’ve given me more to think about to….this is so difficult. I think it may be extra trippy as an IFer to ever draw the line at having another, after you’ve been fighting for your kids for so long, it’s hard to close that door. so hard. (though i’ve never been on the other side, i don’t know what that’s like..)
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