So, I've had this post on my heart for a while...but have just not gotten around to writing it. It's a tough one.
But here goes, gonna bite the bullet, and go for it.
My thoughts on children over the past few years have varied. I will explain why.
As a child, I knew I wanted to have my own kids one day. I always loved children, I loved helping other's children, babysitting as I got older, working in the church nursery, children's church. As I got older I began teaching classes at church, and ended up nannying as well.
I worked in a daycare, but as much as I loved the kids, I was doing a ton of work, always exhausted, and it was all I did, go to work, I tried to study after work, and I was tired, I could hardly get up early to work out or study... I ended up working out on my lunch breaks...but I also started to rely on red bull a lot. haha I was Zapped.
I then spoke to someone who suggested nannying. I had kind of done it before but it was more casual and not as much of a job as a helping out thing.
So I started looking, at the same time as I was winding down in my job at the daycare, Joey and I started courting. We both Loved kids. He loved when I'd come meet him after work, little fingerprints on my clothes, haha I was gonna wash them anyway right!
So I ended up Nannying for a wonderful family with 3 children. The kids were 1, 4, and 7. Sigh...they are now MUCH older...how time has flown. (love you guys) And they have a younger brother.
But beside that. Joey and I both agreed about kids right from the beginning. I had always said I wanted at least 4. I was one of two children growing up. Plus my sis and I are 6 years apart. So I always said I didn't want to have an only child, but I didn't want to just have two, cos I wished I had more siblings, and I didn't want 3 cos of the middle child thing. So four it was...nice and even.
Joey agreed at least 4 was food.
We had planned everything out so that I would eventually be able to stay home with our children, and decided that since I could take kyah with me to nanny, that it would be ok to still do that for a while. It didn't work out that I stayed, but that was ok for us, because I was able to stay with Kyah right from when she was born, and now she gets to see those children at times, and play. One summer I had their new brother for a while. It's nice to have such great friends in that family. I was truly blessed to find them.
So, you know how the story goes..first comes Kyah, then comes Savannah...and then of course, Miss Ava.
When Ava was born all hopes of having more children were dashed. During my pregnancy, joey mentioned possibly being done having kids. I already get extremely sick, plus it was just harder on me with Ava. We agreed that we'd at least wait a few years and see.
So when Ava was born, and I was injured. I remember automatically assuming in my mind, "I can't have any more children" and all at the same time I tried to "suck it up" and be content with what I have. i really do have a lot. At that point we had been through a lot, but it was only scratching the surface of what was to come...
I battled constantly being content, at how blessed I am, and being discouraged at "what might have been" it's hard!
At one point in the hospital one of the Dr's shared with me, that if I wanted to have any more children I would have to have a C-section. This was great news to me, as I had assumed I wouldn't be able to have any at all. She also said there would be risks, I would be considered high risk from now on, and I would have to be monitored closely, and most likely put on bed rest as soon as the baby got to a certain weight, as I could risk re-injury.
With all this new information under our belts, and the constant assault of new things good, bad, crazy coming at us. we decided we weren't going to be worrying about any decisions on more children just yet. There were much more important things to worry about.
Roughly two months after Ava was born and she was finally out of the hospital, we went to see the geneticist. That was fun! (insert sarcasm here) That guy was weird. He basically explained to us how down syndrome occurs, yada yada yada...but then he went on to ask if we were planning on having any more children. We shared that we were unsure at that point but if we did it would not be any time soon. (he could see, I was in the wheelchair, that I had a lot more to worry about then having another baby)
What he explained next was quite disturbing to us. He listed our "options". He told us that if we did decide to have another child that we could do certain things to ensure we wouldn't have another child without down syndrome, he explained about testing that can be done, because some people chose to eliminate because they just don't think they could handle two children with down syndrome and explained to us the odds of having another. he also told us about artificial conception where they fertilize "said amount" of eggs and check them all to make sure they don't have down syndrome and only then implant one. To us this was absolutely absurd. We don't want to "weed out" living children! They may look like eggs to you buddy, but if you fertilize them, those are our kids!!! The only good doing that would do would mean we'd have however many kids were implanted, and we'd know if they had down syndrome or not. Can you imagine...WHY would we want to do that.
I struggled for so long...I still do at times. I think the reason this post has been so long in coming is that I struggled so much with it. I wanted to share, to show the hard parts, but sometimes it's just too hard to write.
Every single day...for months...I thought on this, back and forth.
What if we can't have any more children? I need to be content with what I have, if I don't have any more, I am blessed with the girls I have. We could always adopt. I long for a boy. I should be happy with my girls. We could always adopt a boy or boys in a few years, I would LOVE to adopt twin boys, as I've always wanted twins. Then even if the girls are older the boys will have each other. What if I did get pregnant? I would HAVE to have a c-section, but that might not be so bad, I would end up on bed rest for about 6-8 months, but if we were prepared for it, and if it was in a few years when maybe joey is doing ministry and not a secular job, he could do his staying at home etc. What about the risk of having another child with down syndrome? Should I even be worried about that, I should trust God. I get so sick when I'm pregnant, wouldn't it be irresponsible and stupid to have another child after all this. I really long for more children. What about Ava? would it be fair to her to have more kids, we don't know how much she will need, maybe it would be selfish of us to have another child or more children if she needs a lot...
These are the thoughts I struggled with EVERY day! It didn't help that one minute I was set, and saying I am perfectly content with all I have, I need to be thankful for my three girls, this is God's way of saying you need to be done. I should do something permanent so I can't have more kids. Then the next minute being absolutely torn apart over the thought of taking away the ability to have kids, even if I never have anymore. it just breaks my tea to even think of doing it. Joey kept saying we will wait a year and see what we think then, which to me sounded exactly like this. "we'll wait a year and then decide, cos you should be better then" but really what he was saying was let's wait a while, and see, we can't make this call now. I struggled with telling myself i didn't want to be done, but then feeling defensive with Joey when he made it sound like I'd be better in a snap and then I'd be ok to have more kids. Wanting to do something so it was not possible. A year sounded like so little time. That's how long they said it could take to recover. I was extremely sensitive to this topic, but so was Joey. He did not want to hear "we're done having kids" any more than I did. SO when I was having my "I'm content" moments, He felt the pressure of having to be done. But when I was unsure it sounded like I had a short time frame to make up my mind, and whether i was better or not it didn't matter...
Oh boy. We finally, many times. haha (we had to re-iterate quite a few times, for reassurance) decided for now we are DONE. That doesn't mean we will never have any more kids, it just means for now, we are done. In a year or two or three we will see how I am doing physically and go from there. At some point in the next few years we can decide if we think it is best to have another child, or maybe we will decide to adopt. We will see how Ava is doing, what her needs are. For now...the pressure is off.
I find such a sweet comfort in adoption. I have always wanted to adopt, Joey and I even talked about it while I was pregnant with Ava, suggesting that we wait a while and then adopt and then have another child, so that My body would have a longer break. So God wash already laying it on our hearts. This is one of those things, that gives me hope, and comfort, I can see how God worked things into our thoughts, before we even realized the impact they would have. Even before we had any children we agreed that it would be wonderful to adopt. There are so many children out there, needing a loving home to go in to.
Not to mention the Biblical picture there. What more tangible way to show Christ's love than to take in a child that is not your own, love it and raise it as your own...This is what we see in scripture. This is what extreme love was shown to us. I have been adopted into God's family. I think it would be awesome for our other children to see the Biblical picture in it all! (although we try to provide biblical perspective to absolutely everything we do in life)
I used to cringe at the questions, or thoughts of more children. I still have a little trouble when I hear of a new pregnancy. This does not make me any less happy for the person that is being blessed with a life. Maybe it's a little selfish, and I always remind myself that I already have three precious children. Don't get me wrong I am SO thankful for all I have. I am just sharing a very real struggle in my life. It's hard to see or hear things and automatically think "I won't be able to do that anymore, or feel that, or experience that" It wold be one thing to be ready for it. To have prepared for it. Thankfully I seemed to spend extra time enjoying the little things with Ava. I recorded videos of my tummy doing "waves" as she pushed and stretched my skin, I spent more time just feeling her movements, taking it all in. I even recall thinking at times, I need to enjoy every little bit cos it goes so fast, and I never know what could happen. Some things I soaked in as if it were my last pregnancy. Having thoughts like 30 weeks pregnant I may not get to know what this is like again, once it's gone it's gone. or just laying there while I had contractions all the time and thinking as much as I want you OUT cos of these contractions...I just want to keep you in as long as I can, keep you safe, enjoy every minute, once you're here, I will miss this feeling of you moving, kicking, hiccuping...
So, you might think we're crazy for even considering having any more children at all EVER, even if it is in a few years. Or you may think, what's the big deal, it's just a c-section. (and bed rest, and hyperemesis, and looking after 3 kids already) haha... whatever your feelings are, just know there has been much struggle for me with these thoughts. I have always had a big heart for children. Those that know us well, know that 4 is a small number for us. We changed from originally saying at least four to, 4-6. to 4 or more... haha, Joey once saw a family picture that he loved and the family had 8 children, he joked (half joked half serious that we should have 8 kids now)
So if you know us well you know that it has been a hard thing, amongst all the other hard stuff.
I feel more at peace now then I used to, I still think about these things often, but there's not as much sting to it, and I don't think about it multiple times a day.
There is still a sting when I think about not being pregnant ever again, even though I know how crazy sick I get, but still I love growing babies. :D and growing our family.
Whether I ever get to "grow a baby" again...whether we adopt, whether we ever get to be blessed with a Luke...or not...we are blessed! God has done so many miracles in our lives...and we are truly thankful, grateful and blessed. God is good.
These are just my thoughts on children...
Keep Looking Up!