Odd Numbers or Bad Things Come in Threes?

My friends with big families love to help prepare me for this next little munchkin by telling me horror stories about the adjustment going from 2 to 3 children. They’re trying to be helpful but I’m afraid they don’t quite understand the concept of “help.” “Good luck,” doesn’t really count as a well wish if it’s followed by the implied, “You’re sure gonna need it,” and it’s even worse when they come right out and say, “Your life will soon be a raging inferno of chaos and despair.”

Then they give a knowing smile. It’s all quite lovely, really. Word on the street is that although the adjustment from one to two is rough, adding another kid is mind-blowing. I’ve been listening to this for years with half an ear, thinking that it can’t really be as bad as everyone says. Now that I’m in the runaway train car of pregnancy with no turning back, I’ve started to remember some of the horror stories I’ve been told. It’s not hard really because the minute my bump started to grow, so did the cheerful warnings and words of happy consolation. They’re always smiling when they tell me these things, as though happy that I’m finally gonna “get mine.”

The thing is, I am happy that I’m finally gonna get mine. We’ve wanted this baby for a long time and possibly another one to follow shortly thereafter. We both knew our family wasn’t complete and although the age gap between two and three is wider than the gap between one and two, it’s not for lack of desire. My brain and body just weren’t ready yet. I wonder now if they ever will be or if I’ve already used up the prime baby making juice that was in me. My body is not handling things as well as it has in the past. My hips and pelvis have already started separating, thanks to the gigantic Magoo and his 10.5 pounds of girth. I’m having pain very similar to what I experienced after he was born but at a fraction of the intensity. It gets worse every day though and the bones in my pelvis and hips just feel bruised all the time. I hobble way more than a 5 and a half month pregnant woman should.

Then there’s the brain stuff. I’m hanging in there. I’m functioning but I’m definitely not at my peak. I can feel that things are a bit “off” but not enough to warrant major medical intervention or prescription changes. If this goes the same as it did with Magoo, it will be more than two years before I can wean completely off brain meds and feel normal again and what then? Start this whole thing over again?

It scares me.

We’ve always thought we’d have 4 kids but I question that number every day of this pregnancy. I’m still throwing up, though far less frequently. I’m emotional and in pain and it’s hard to think clearly about this decision when I feel this way. Dan keeps reminding me that we have plenty of time before we have to decide but I like my life planned out in neat little rows five to ten to eighty years at a time. I like at least the illusion of being in control.

Magoo and this baby will be four and a half years apart. I kind of want this baby to have a sibling closer in age. I would love for Magoo to get a brother. He’s already crying about the possibility that when the baby’s a little older, he’ll have to move into a room all by himself.

Yesterday I was talking with a friend who often has Laylee and Magoo over to play with his son. We were discussing the fact that the kids generally get along well when they’re playing in twos but when there’s an odd number of children, someone always gets left out or mistreated. Yesterday it was the two boys ganging up on poor Laylee. Just as often Laylee and Rowan gang up on Magoo because he’s the youngest. Am I doomed to live the life of a bouncer or referee if we stop at three kids?

I want the best possible family.

The problem is, I don’t know if it’s best to give my kids one more sibling or to be a more consistently sane and healthy mom for them. We’ll pray about it. We’ll weigh our options. We’ll see if I go as crazy after the birth of this child as I did with Magoo.

Today I’m just going to breathe and appreciate the family I have, Dan, Laylee, Magoo and little Wanda jumping on my pelvis while she swims around in her own urine. It’s not a bad little band of five.

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