Best Laid Plans: Thoughts on a Growing Family

From the day my second child was born, this question popped up as frequently as any other: Will you have another? I couldn’t help but immediately think about Kevin Bacon’s hazing scene in Animal House.

Initially my reaction was, “My God, I JUST popped this one out! Gimme a minute to think about it!” It quickly evolved into some version of “if he’s as good as his sister was…” or “if he’s not a little monster!” And then came more input from outside, comments like: “Well, now that you have one of each, you can stop!” or “You come from such a big family, you may as well!” or even “You’re still young….” I’m not sure that any of these comments were supposed to be comforting or supportive or anything other than people sticking their noses in my business, but the reality is when you’re a mom once, twice, or three times over, people think they can give you their two cents. But that’s all it’s really worth when it comes to finding the right time and method for starting or growing your family.

Sure, when my husband and I first talked about having a family we at least agreed we’d like to have more than one, but left it pretty vague after that. We had four years of a childless marriage and then decided we were ready. When we found out I was pregnant with our first child, we were a bit shocked considering the previous month I left a doctor’s office in tears after I was told I might have trouble conceiving. We were lucky that summer. Simple as that. We’d just returned from celebrating Father’s Day with my mom, step-dad, brothers, and sisters, and I just had a feeling.  That evening, I took an at-home test I had stocked away, and we went out and bought another brand, just to be sure. It turned out to be the best Father’s Day gift I could have given my husband.

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When we were ready for Number Two, it didn’t come so easily, and we had preliminary conversations about how far we would go to give our daughter a sibling. We decided to give ourselves a year to do it “the old-fashioned way” before investing any time or money in alternatives. Now, of course that didn’t mean we couldn’t use technology to give us a leg up. I spent months tracking my Basal Body Temperature and assessing my Cervical Fluid using the Kindara App for iPhone to get a good baseline going and predict ovulation. I tracked my diet, exercise, sleep, and how often we had sex. I was in pretty great shape! I had taken up boxing to switch it up a bit and was even considering some serious sparring in the ring. But I never had the chance. By the tenth month I was able to predict ovulation to the point of success! This time it was an announcement we made to our families at Thanksgiving. We learned early on that we were having a boy.

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Funny thing about the pregnancy phase: I don’t remember anyone asking me at the time if we will have any more children. They all had the decency to ask until after the moment he was born. The truth is, our family felt like it could have been complete with just one child. Now with two, it feels like this is right, too. We don’t feel like we’re missing something or that we’re incomplete. If I can get back into fighting shape, we may have another shot at it. I know we have the means and discipline to make it happen, and my husband was always so gracious about “taking one for the team,” as he would refer to some of our more obligatory romps.

Even though I labored for 24 hours, I had to have a second C-section, and because of this it will be best not to attempt another pregnancy for at least 18 months. So, if my math is consistent, I’ve got about two more months before I even have to start tracking this stuff again—if only my period would come back while I’m still breastfeeding! Oh well, you know what they say about best laid plans…

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