I have a rare few minutes of peace. Josh is home after a nasty GI bug started last night, but he is napping. And Noah is napping in the swing. It's a strange feeling to have the house be quiet during the daytime--and it's rare that I actually have time to myself to think.
It's been a busy few weeks. Ok, let's be real--it's been a busy few months, even years. Things did get easier last week with all three munchkins being home. We didn't do anything outrageous, but I think we all got in a rhythm, and by the time Tim got home Thursday night, the house was in decent shape, and the kids were happy.
It's funny--things went well enough by the end of last week that Tim and I were actually halfway debating leaving open the option of a potential future fourth child (is that enough ambiguous terminology?) I was 99% sure at the end of a rough pregnancy, and 95% sure a month into a tough newborn period, that we were done with kids. At my six week visit, I spoke with my OB, and I was supposed to call back to make an appointment for some long-term pregnancy prevention. Funny thing--I haven't called back. I'm not sure why, but part of it is that as things get more manageable, and I see the kids together, I can almost picture another one.
There are lots of reasons why three is enough. First, my pregnancies have been getting progressively tougher. Second, we already have three. Third, it's a good number--each kid gets their own bedroom, and we all fit in a non-minivan. Fourth, we could start to get rid of baby stuff soon. Fifth, I am starting residency in a few months--and Tim will have his hands full with three. Sixth, they are all close enough in age that in a few short years, we'll actually be able to drive distances and take vacations that can have things to do for all of them. Seventh, if we do want to move out of state for fellowship in three years, the kids will be older--and hopefully won't require as much family backup for sick days. Eighth, while it would be lovely to have a sister for Sophie, each pregnancy's odds are still 50:50 for boys and girls--could I handle three boys? And last, we both have examples in our families of the last pregnancy resulting in twins...
Seems like an obvious list, right? There are other reasons too, though I like to think they are less influential (but I am human). I try not to go by what others think, but I am in a profession where many women don't have kids at all, and the ones that do usually stop at one or two. I already got some interesting looks from other doctors and scientists when I was pregnant with my third. Most people I spoke to though that since I had "the full set" (a girl and a boy), why didn't I just stop at two? However, I usually said that I wanted to be done having kids before residency, hence why they are close together, and that usually got a few understanding nods. I am sure that if I was pregnant again, I would catch a lot of flack--was I not serious about residency? What about my future career? Did I just not understand how babies are made?
Again, I like to think that I am not influenced by what others think. And I know several male doctors who have large families, and no one says anything. But in those cases, the wife stays home or works part time. I do not have intentions of that, though Tim has offered to scale back once I have an attending/faculty position. Still, I would be an oddity among my colleagues, especially already planning to enter a male-dominated field like cardiology.
So with all of these reasons to be done childbearing, why am I even considering a fourth? Well...I'm not sure. We've got the baby routine down, and we have all of the equipment we'd need. Watching the kids play, I can imagine another one in the mix. They can fight like brothers and sisters, but they are absolutely adorable and loving. They are also each unique, and I'd love to see what a fourth would look and act like (somehow, they all have blond hair and blue eyes so far, despite Tim's dark hair and hazel eyes). We are blessed to have the financial means to take care of four, and who cares if Josh and Noah end up having to share a room? Sophie's current room is larger than the room I shared with my two sisters in high school. They'd be fine.
I guess the reason to think about another is more emotional, and the reason to stop is more practical. It's funny, I am definitely practical by nature, but every now and again the emotional part of me wins.
The funniest thing about all of this is that Tim and I had each been debating the same question, though separately, while publicly maintaining that we were done. On Saturday night, I just happened to say, "Is it crazy that part of me is debating doing this again?" Tim then said, "I was thinking the same thing!" You could feel the wave of relief--neither of us wanted to feel like they were forcing the other to consider something. But we were both thinking about the possibility.
Of course, this happened to leak out during Easter at his family, and now they think it's a sure thing that we are doing this again. I definitely don't think we've decided either way. Last night, as I am giving Josh his third bath at 2 AM and washing another load of dirty sheets, I was pretty good with the idea of being done. Other times, I'd love to have another one.
I think we've decided not to decide for a year. Once Noah is sleeping through the night (hopefully), and Tim has a daycare routine with three, we will revisit the idea. I'll be toward the end of my intern year, and I will have a better idea as to how much I think I can handle. I also want to lose at least 20 pounds before I would get pregnant again, hopefully to lower my risk of gestational diabetes.
I guess we'll see. I honestly don't have any idea on how this will turn out. And life is so topsy-turvy right now for other members of my family (more on that soon) that I am wondering how much of this is just wanting comfort and control in my own life.
Who knows? The ending is still unwritten, I guess. If you had told me toward the end of my pregnancy that I would even consider another, I would've called you crazy. Now, less than three months later, and there's a chance we would do this again. Life is a funny thing.
But we do make cute kids.