Wednesday, February 13, 2008

So, did you plan to have all those kids so close??

Thank you for all the kind support regarding my new floors (yea!!!)

I got the bathroom cabinets painted today, which was pretty huge. Can you smell the paint from where you are?

And no less than three of you commented that you have the same bed. Amazing. Linda, Ally and Karalee - all our magic happens in matching beds!! WAY too much in common. Our bed is a K I N G. As in, we like to pretend we are still sleeping alone. We were in a double when we first got married. That was cozy and romantic for about three weeks. Then we got pregnant and that double mattress became totally unbearable. When we bought this home, we bought the biggest king size bed we could find.

Which leads me to another question that I get asked all the time, and got emailed today - Did y'all plan to have your kids so close together?

Answer: You're kidding, right? Oh, you're serious? NO. No, we did not plan this. N. O. No.

When we first got married, I was a bona fide old maid of 32. Walker and I had been friends for a couple of years and, as he loves to remind me, I would constantly pause during a boyfriend rant to pat my ovaries and whine, "My eggs are rotting as we speak. Rotting. I can smell them. Rotting." I was also teaching a second grade class of, well, attitudinal brats. Some with matching mommies. Not all of the kids/mothers were unpleasant, but a good most of them were. Hence it had been a hard year - and it was only November - so I was determined to get pregnant immediately because aside from rotting eggs, I wanted to quit teaching! I had always had girl problems so I wanted to get the ball rolling in case we had trouble conceiving, which I was absolutely positive we would.

Shepherd was born nine months and three days after our wedding.

Having Shep rocked my world. I have blogged about it a little here. I had always wanted to be a mommy. My career plans had finally been established. I was so overwhelmed by love for this baby. And oh, I was so miserable. Now I know a big part of it was postpartum depression. Another big part of it was the lack of sleep.

Shep had gotten stuck awakening at 4am, not hungry, just ready to chit chat, hang out, discuss the latest episode of 24, and I was seriously about to lose my mind. Finally Shelly and Walker ganged up on me and convinced me to let my precious baby boy cry it out. We turned off the monitor and let him go.

Nine months later, Evangeline was born. (Shep looks thrilled, huh?)

After Eva Rose's birth, we relied on the same cycle that had produced two babies to avoid any more for the time being. Little did I know, my textbook, 28 day cycles of yore had skipped town, kidnapping my thin waist and perky boobies with them.

So, that December, Magdalene was born.

When Maggie was seven months old, my sister-in-law gave birth to my niece Hattie Ruth. At the hospital I was so intensely jealous, I just wanted to kick Stephanie out of that bed, chew some ice chips and push. (I am sure Stephanie would have been just fine with that, as her epidural had not taken on one side and she was not a happy girl.)

Until then, I was not sure if I wanted another baby. Several friends had told me that when you're done, you know it. The day Hattie was born, I knew that I was not done. I wanted me a baby boy. And I wanted to plan this one, for once. My goal was to get pregnant in August and have him in May so that the kids would be in MDO for the entire pregnancy. I had discovered with Maggie that having a newborn with toddlers was much easier than being pregnant with toddlers, and I did not want to suffer through another summer.

Walker was totally unpersuaded. After much discussion, he convinced me we decided that we were done. We were overwhelmed and understaffed as it was. No more homemade babies. We had always planned to adopt, and he gave me the go-ahead to start investigating agencies. My sadness over not getting pregnant was replaced by excitement over adopting. I spent hours online, sending off for packets, calling agencies, all that stuff.

Eight months later, six weeks early, I gave birth to Ingram.

Officially, I am against birth control. I am quiverfull, which means I believe in having as many as the Lord sends us (how I became this way is another long story). I also like Natural Family Planning, but obviously, can't figure it out (ironic that something rather scientific is left to the fuzzy minds of moms of many.) My husband, well, he disagrees (before we got married, he was against birth control and I wasn't. Life=changed minds!) But since he gets the deciding vote, womb service is closed (how many parentheses do you think I can get in one paragraph?)

And, I am okay with that. Each pregnancy has been harder and harder on me physically, and the scars of being pregnant/nursing/weaning for five years are cropping up on it seems a daily basis. I am one of the few women my age who have not had a miscarriage, which would be heartbreaking. The chances of having a child with a congenital defect are also much higher at my age. Ingram's pregnancy was indeed frightening and resulted in an absolutely horrifying birthday and two weeks in the NICU. It's a good time to quit. While we are ahead, way ahead.

But the main reason I am at peace with it is because I am so, so excited about adopting! The thought that there are babies out there, somewhere, maybe born, maybe still little ovums, fills me with such excitement and joy. And I would honestly rather adopt six more kids than give birth to six more kids. Oh, wow, like a million times more.

I am also incredibly, incredibly thankful that God gave us our babies the way that He did. Having four babies in four years has taught me so much about the sovereignty of God, and has caused me to trust and rely on the One who made these babies more than I ever could have learned in a thousand books. He is the author of our story, and I can't wait to see what plot twists He has to come. I have been forced to hand my life over to God so many times in the past five years, now I am much, much more comfortable knowing that He is in control. He has certainly had His own way, and it has been good, good, good, good. So much better than I could have ever designed for myself.

So, that is our story. The condensed version. Meet me at Starbucks sometime and I will give you all the gory details I left out ;)

Angie asked me how the math worked out to get our Irish Quads. Here goes:
Shep and Sissy = 12 months and 10 days apart
Sissy and Mags = 15 months apart
Mags and Ike = 15 months apart

When Ike was born, Shep was still three. So for four months, I had four under four.
And four in diapers. Shep was not night trained. But only for about two weeks, thank goodness.

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