The first order of business would be to give my credentials. I am a mid-thirty year-old woman originally from a small town. As mentioned, I left for big city life via university and post-graduate studies in corporate communications and marketing. After punching the clock in the corporate world, I got married, travelled a little bit, adopted a cat, bought a dog and purchased a townhouse. Then it started. That little nagging feeling that I needed a bit more of something in our life. The feeling if we didn’t start soon I was going to be too late or too old. The biological clock began ticking quickly until we found our starter family of pets in suburbia with a house ready for the baby. And we waited. And waited.
Corporate life was beginning to be stressful for me, so after a little hiatus I moved into not-for-profit marketing. The field had better hours and my job was closer to home. I loved that I was dealing with people instead of products. And we continued to wait for the baby.
We went through all the regular tests and planned (as so many have done before us) to travel the fertility treatment road after a vacation. Then it happened, as it does for some couples, we got pregnant a mere five days before I was to start on a treatment cycle. We were ecstatic and scared. Family life with kids was beginning.
Time passes quickly and after an emergency c-section (thank you placenta previa) we had our first-born daughter, Elizabeth. She was tiny and perfect. After struggling with breast-feeding and coming out the other side successful and getting used to sleep deprivation, I relished being a Mom. All my time was spent with our new daughter and she went with me everywhere. A glorious maternity year later, I faced going back to work and found a new position complete with work from home opportunities and reduced hours. Daycare was found, cold and ear infections fought. We planned our first vacation away when she was fifteen months old. We started discussing a second child, but agreed waiting a bit made more sense. Foolishly we believed we had more control over it then we did. Short of using every method of birth control (which a tired Mom and attention-deprived Dad were admittedly less than perfect on) we tried to time all encounters accordingly. But, vacations seem to relax all measures of control and soon that little stick was positive again. After a few hours of shock, we shrugged it off knowing we wanted two anyway although it was a bit soon. So just after our first daughter’s second birthday, her sister, Audrey was born. Another recovery after a c-section, more sleep-deprived nights and a toddler to contend with, we called in for reinforcements and hired a part-time nanny. Unfortunately, the suburb we chose to live in was exactly in the middle of each sets of parents. Great to visit but not so great when needing a bit of break to have a shower each day.
Audrey, though adorable and good-natured, was the “worst-sleeping baby ever.” Being a little older, I found the bounce back much more difficult. I couldn’t take a nap in the afternoon as I had with Elizabeth because she now no longer napped and craved any attention. Our dog needed to be walked every day so instead of a casual stroll with a dog and baby, I now walked down the street with the dog, the baby and a toddler desperately trying to get out of her seat in the huge double stroller we had to buy.
Again, time passes quickly when you have small children and before I knew it, another maternity leave was done. I was again back to work and we decided to hire a live-in caregiver. Daycare for a toddler and eight-month old was too expensive in our area. The small house we had bought was feeling a bit cramped but still manageable. Audrey turned two. Elizabeth turned four and had started kindergarten. Sleep was creeping back into our lives and we turned out thoughts to a weekend away and the occasional night out. One night after a lovely dinner in the city with lots of wine and subsequent after-dinner impromptu visit to my husband’s empty office, a few weeks later familiar physical symptoms began to appear.
“Not possible,” I thought. We had discussed a third child in length. I wanted the door left open for a few years, just in case. I came from a family of three kids and part of me had envisioned myself with three or four kids. My husband was essentially an only child until he was twelve years old, two kids was his limit. But we had agreed to wait until Audrey was in kindergarten to make a final decision.
One test later, the result was negative. Part of me was relived and another disappointed. But something was nagging at me, a dream I had right before I found out about the girls had visited me again. A dream of me with a baby. The details never lingered but the image of me holding a newborn stuck with me in my waking hours. A week or so passed and no sign of my period so another test was purchased. It was top of the line and actually told you how many days/weeks you were pregnant in digital form. This time it was positive.
It was one of the few times in my life that I knew my husband had not been kidding when he had said he really only wanted two kids. He turned pale and left the room as I stood in our only full bathroom holding the test. It took him a couple of weeks to adjust his thinking to being a father to three kids but he did. He actually whooped through the phone after my ultrasound revealing we were having a boy, stating, “I’m so glad we decided to have another baby!”
After a long nine months, numerous ultrasounds and blood tests due to a blood incompatibility between me and the baby, I had moved into a high risk pregnancy with careful monitoring. I left my job early to deal with all the appointments while still trying to spend time with my two girls. We had nine months to change vehicles (no sporty SUV any longer, hello mini-van!) we decided to move after many discussions so had to get our house ready for sale, find a suitable new home with enough space for all of us and be moved before I delivered our baby boy. But it all got done, barely. In the end we had little Jacob, the smallest baby out of our kids being earlier than the other two, via c-section and right into the ICU for the next three weeks to deal with the effects of a blood disorder. After a grueling three months of in and out-patient care, our new life started as a family of five plus a dog and live-in caregiver. Shortly after that, we made the decision I would be a stay at home Mom (SAHM) for the next few years. We let go our wonderful nanny (who still comes to babysit occasionally) and I found myself the sole caregiver of three young children. What a whirlwind!
The kids are now six, four and two. Two out of three are at school full-time. Jacob is home with me albeit at nursery school a few times per week to benefit us both. They all relatively sleep through the night. The time has come to start thinking about where I go from here.
So let it begin….the year is 2013, Jacob is still napping and off I go!