An Uncomplicated Life Blog: What It Feels Like To Know You're Done Having Babies

Thursday, April 18, 2019

What It Feels Like To Know You're Done Having Babies

It's a weird time when you're still fertile, but you know you're done having children. Here's some thoughts on it

Before I was even pregnant with the twins, or even knew they were twins, I wrote this post on contemplating having more children. I didn't know or understand the answer to the proverbial question "how do you know you're done having children"? I learned along the way that if there's a question of if you want more, you're not done yet! This, of course, is assuming that you're able to get pregnant relatively easily and in full control of your fertility - which, thankfully, I have always been. Now that I'm on the other side of deciding IF I were to have a third child (that quickly turned into a fourth, too!), and I'm safely on the other side of ever being pregnant again or having another baby, I wanted to take a retrospective look back, and talk about what it feels like to know that you're done having babies. Because it's a weird, weird place to be, quite frankly.

Homecoming with baby Henry. 5 pounds 12oz of sweetness... And I was so clueless!

I've never been a massive fan of pregnancy. I hate all the rules that come along with it, all the restrictions. But there are some really, really precious parts of carrying a child. One of my favorite parts is getting the positive pregnancy test. For a few moments, minutes, hours, or days, you are the ONLY one in the world that knows you're creating new life. You see the two lines on the test and you're the only one who's cued into the secret. And if you're like me, you immediately start texting/calling your best friends and family members because you're so overjoyed, you just can't keep it a secret! I don't think I can describe the feeling you get when you see on your pregnancy test that you are, indeed, carrying new life. It's shocking and thrilling and terrifying and enlightening. And that's independent of if the baby is a surprise or you've been trying for months to get pregnant. It's the same feeling, either way.

It's insane to me to know I'm never going to see a positive pregnancy test again. I'm never going to have that weird feeling of extreme joy and fear again. Joy of the pregnancy and future baby; fear of something going wrong or miscarrying. I'm never going to go to Target or Walmart or a pharmacy, either if I'm "late" or if I'm hoping to be "late", buying a pack of tests, hoping that nobody sees me. I'm never going to try to open the shrink wrap off those tests again, getting frustrated with how hard it is to break through the plastic when I'm so anxious to see the result. I'm never going to sit alone on a toilet again - lies, I haven't sat alone on a toilet since late 2014 - I won't sit on a toilet with my toddlers surrounding me again, asking why I'm peeing on a white piece of plastic. And I won't sit on my knees in the bathroom, waiting for the three minutes to pass, obsessively waiting for a line to show up.

With Henry, I was so regular, I knew what HOUR my period would show up. It didn't show at it's scheduled time. The next day, I had an insanely early (like 4am) flight to Houston for work, since I was still the director of grants for a huge nonprofit here. After only half-assing my attention to the conferences I was supposed to report back on, I got a crappy boarding number on Southwest for my flight home (a C boarding group! But I did move my flight up by three hours, so I guess I was lucky to just make it on the flight) and my husband, who's on a first-name basis with Southwest I swear, had given me two drink tickets. Now, it's a 45 minute flight from Houston to Dallas, so I only had time to take advantage of one of those tickets, but I remember this: ordering a white wine, and thinking, "this is probably the last time I'm going to be able to drink on a flight... Unless this damn period shows!" I landed early, and my husband and I went to a Mexican place for dinner. I had a margarita. And I remember thinking, "enjoy this - this is the last marg for a long time!" The next morning I took a pregnancy test, just one day late on my period. The test line turned positive before the pee even reached the control line! As weird as it sounds, I knew that baby was a boy and that, despite a previous miscarriage, he'd be our first born.

I went out and bought a card for my future husband, telling him he was going to be a daddy. We had been engaged for 9 months, and were going to get married in another 4 months. We had planned on starting a family right away, so we while we were both surprised, we were both overjoyed. I think about this now and think, "Man, I'm never going to have the surprise of a positive pregnancy test again! The "holy s**t, are you serious?!" thoughts and the joy of an impending baby.

Since I had gotten such an early positive with Henry, I was completely bamboozled with Otto. It was our second month trying and I took a pregnancy test on day 29, just like I had with Henry. It was a bit, fat NEGATIVE. My sister had planned a visit just a few days later, so I shrugged it off and thought, "well hell, at least I can enjoy some time drinking wine with my sister! And hey, that means we won't have a Christmas baby, so that's a plus too. Moving on to focusing on getting pregnant next month!" I mean, my test was negative, right?

Look at our old bathroom! And this dress has weathered many pregnancies... 5 months pregnant with Otto here
A few months later with a different, partially finished bathroom! Pro tip: don't remodel your bathroom while pregnant, and need to pee all night long


But then my period never showed. On day 36, I took another test - just entirely annoyed that my period hadn't shown yet, wanting to get it over with so that my husband and I could try again for the next month. I took the test while Henry napped in the next room. I sat on the toilet, waiting for my response. As I watched it, again, the test line turned pink before the pee even reached the control line! I literally sat on the toilet and laughed out loud at how crazy it was that I had already gotten over the fact that I wasn't pregnant when indeed I was. How I was kind of glad we wouldn't have a baby right at Christmas when indeed we would (and did - my due date was Dec 29 but he came Dec 18, and we got home from the hospital just in time on Dec 21!) After laughing about it, I immediately started texting my best friends the amazing, blessed news.

My husband found out later that night, when he got home. We were thrilled Henry would have a bestie so close in age. I knew Otto was a boy from the second I saw those pink lines on my pregnancy test. I wanted him to be a boy. I wanted him to be a boy so he and Henry could grow up to be the best of friends. So far, they are! Henry might not say it, but the best gift we've ever given him is Otto. They're thick as thieves.

It's so weird that I'll never have a planned but surprise late pregnancy pregnancy test again.

Same dress, same bathroom, both with a new look! No wonder we gutted that thing, right?! And this dress was one of the only things to fit me all the way to the end of a twin pregnancy. 33 weeks pregnant with twins here!

When I took the pregnancy test for the twins, I suspected I was pregnant. We had been trying for three months. It was the longest it had ever taken us to get pregnant! On day 31 (because I was sick of testing early and wasting all my pregnancy tests) I decided it was time to test. I picked Henry and Otto up from school, then poured a glass of wine, convinced I'd wait it out at least another day (I mean, pregnancy tests are expensive and testing early is annoying and disheartening). After I finished the glass, I couldn't stand it anymore. It made me *just* brave enough to decide to do it, negative test be damned! I grabbed a test from the box, and I went into the toilet room in our master bath, followed by two little toddlers. There's no testing/peeing alone after you've already got two toddlers.

The test line showed up as positive before the pee even hit the control line. But honestly, I had already known I was pregnant. I breathed a sigh of relief (because it had taken us THREE FRIGGIN MONTHS to conceive, which was a record for us. I feel for all my friends for whom this takes months or years to achieve. The wait is AWFUL) and then Henry and Otto asked why I was crying. I told them they would have a brother or sister in the fall. They were both excited! And then, because I've had a miscarriage before, I had all 3 of us get down on our knees, and we each prayed for the baby. That he or she would be healthy and full term, and that we would have the privilege of knowing that baby earth-side. That is, without a doubt, one of my most precious memories of Henry and Otto - both of them praying for a future baby brother or sister, so happy for mommy and so happy to add to the clan. And little did we know, it would be TWO more babies!

I think about that sweet memory, and think about how nothing like that will ever happen again.

One of my favorite parts of having a baby is the time I get to spend with my husband at the hospital. It's seriously the best! I don't know why people are in such a rush to get home - I'd love to stay there for a week, maybe two. You've got nurses who help you, doctors at the ready if anything goes wrong, and if you've got more children at home, it's the only time you're ever going to have with just the babies and your spouse. Oh, not to mention catering is a call away (hello hot meals!), there's nurses aids changing your sheets daily, a lactation consultant is there to help you around the clock, and insurance is footing most of the bill. It's like a vacation!

With all of my children, staying in the hospital is a great memory. Even though I had two surprise, emergency c sections. I've delivered at two different hospitals in Dallas, and both had the most amazing nurses. It was so wonderful to be cared for with so much love, and to have so much support right after delivering a baby. The twins were probably my favorite post-birth experience. My OB switched to a new hospital with a brand new mother-baby unit. We decided to upgrade to a suite (NOT covered by insurance, but worth every cent of the $900 cash it cost us) and it was so nice to have the extra room for two bassinets of baby, a bed for my husband to sleep in, and a room with a table and TV for my older boys when they came to visit. The nursing staff there was just fantastic! It was the first time we decided to take advantage of a nursery (because with multiples, you'll never sleep if you don't send them away for a little bit, trust me) and the nurses did it in a way that was pro-breastfeeding. We agreed on a time for the babies to come back to me, but if they got fussy before that, they'd bring them back to me, changed and ready to nurse. They were so compassionate about me getting rest to recover from the debauchery of the birth I had, but also respecting my wishes to exclusively breastfeed. That hospital and those nurses should serve as a national model for how to have compassionate care for new moms, I swear! It was THAT good.

As silly as it sounds, it makes me sad that I won't ever have another post birth hospital stay. Even my stay at my first hospital was nothing but great with fabulous nurses! VBAC or C section, my hospital stays have been one of my favorite times after having every single one of my children. It's such a sweet bonding time, surrounded by caring staff, alone time with my husband, and food on call. What's not to love about that?!

Hospital hanging with the twins. It was a great time!

While all of these are weird feelings that are hard to describe, and sad to know I'll never experience again, it's not all bad. I think about the first month or two of having a baby at home, and how stressful it is. How little sleep you get, how annoyed with your significant other you are, how figuring out the "new normal" is so much work with other young kids at home. I'm totally ok if I never have to do that part of it again! While I enjoy babies and love toddlers, I don't like newborns. I think that stage is so, so hard.

This is what it feels like to know you're done having babies. I'll miss some of the most precious parts about pregnancy; the most obvious of which is the sacred time when you're the ONLY person in the world who knows a new life is coming and the feeling that brings you. The cute baby bump and all the attention you get is another big plus. Knowing your baby before anyone else is another (I knew Henry was a night owl, Otto was a good sleeper, Knox was an active nutjob and Teddy was a chill baby that liked to eat from just my pregnancies) is another thing I love about pregnancy. And those glorious hospital stays! I'd do that again for sure. But babies are hard. And I have four of them. I'll miss the good parts but gladly be though the challenges of bringing new life into the world.

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