- Family and Parenting
Baby # 3
Once upon a time I said to a dear friend that having a first baby, planning a wedding, and buying a house all at once is alot to handle. Like Lewis Carroll's Alice, I generally give good advice but seldom ever follow it. Now I find myself looking for a house, planning a wedding, but I'm not having my first baby. I'm having my third. Baby number three. Three is an odd number, odd that me, Andi Effin French, the triple threat with the chainsaws, the girl who needs a whole room to house her skimpy sparkly clothes, the one who never met a drink a party or mischief she didn't like, would be the mother of three. Those who knew me before motherhood scratch their heads. I had always been maternal, but maternal in the sense that Madonna was maternal to her background dancers during the Truth or Dare tour.
But here I am, hand making costumes, and scheduling parent teacher conferences. The old days were fun, surely, but to be honest, I have way more fun with my kids. It's a different fun. Fun before required you to wear dark sunglasses the following day. Fun today is about sitting on the floor and building forts and this fun is tiring, but you find enough energy to do it all day everyday. And since I have two, why not make it three? I pondered this thought one night, at one of the rare moments when I'm actually with a group of adults. One of two of my friends who were having third babies was being given advice about the matter from someone who already has three. She said that the jump from two to three is easier than the jump from one to two. That resonated with me, because I had a particularly hard time on my jump from one to two. Jayden was four when I got pregnant with Delaney. We had waited to have more because Jayden was diagnosed with Pervasive Delayed Development - Not Otherwise Specified and shown signs of Sensory Seeking. We went through a very trying period while we were understanding and accepting this, and decided to wait to have more children until we felt that Jayden's diagnosis was manageable enough. After receiving services from North Shore Children's Hospital, Salem Public School, and Futures Behavior Therapy Center in Beverly, we were confident that it was time to add to the family. But it took forever, not that I'm complaining about all the prep work. Finally I was pregnant. But during that pregnancy I started questioning myself. It happened the day that I was washing baby bottles in preparation for the new baby that I felt bad about taking up so much space in the dishwasher where I would usually put Jayden's sippy cups. I started freaking out that I was so worried about taking up space in the dishwasher, how would I feel about taking up space for the new baby in my heart. Of course, I found out later that space in your heart grows with each new child. So when I heard this advice from the already Mom of Three, I thought, "Hmm. Good to know." But I'm told now, that was all just a lie. Three kids is a never ending emotional rollercoster of exhaustion.
I guess it wouldn't be so bad if so many things weren't brewing in my life, such as the wedding and the house. We started both of those adventures before news of the newest pregnancy. The house because, although our apartment is sunny, spacious, and affordable; and our landlord is a real nice guy, we're gown ups and we need equity. That, and the apartment is falling apart. The landlord is a sweetheart who makes amazing homemade brown bread, but he's a hapless sweetheart who makes amazing homemade brown bread. We've got phantom electricity in Jayden's room and the back hallway, there's mold in the bathroom, the oven doesn't heat evenly and the one big burner on the stove blew out, windows need replacing, the ceiling leaks, and we've just nicknamed the refrigerator Chernobyl. The wedding is equally as important, although it doesn't stack up as dire as the needs for a new (and safe) house, it is. It really is. 12 years together and a bunch of kids, it's about time.
In the midst of trying on wedding dresses and making appointments with our real estate lady, I started feeling... off. I tried to avoid the feeling, thinking that it was just an exhaustion-causing stomach bug. I put on a maxi dress one day, and was disappointed with what I saw. I thought, "guh, that would acceptable if I were in my first trimester." And I promptly put the kids in a wagon, and I pulled them two and a half miles uphill to work it off. Finally one day, I resigned to get a pregnancy test, but by then I didn't even need one, I just knew. And the test stick, that thing showed me the pregnancy symbol before I even stopped peeing!
Friends and family were shocked when I told them I was pregnant with Jayden, they were ecstatic when I told them about Delaney, and they were confused when I broke the news about the new one. I was confused myself. John and I use the Rhythm Method. Now I know how the joke goes, "What do you call couples who use the Rhythm Method? Parents." But ours was working... mostly, perhaps because we NEVER get to have sex. It's true. When my doctor and I were working out a date of conception, I pulled out my cycle tracker and said that between January and May of this year, there were only two days when conception could have occurred. He reminded me that conception can happen in more than the three day fertility window. I said that I knew that, but when I said only two dates, I mean, we've only had sex twice this year... total. The doctor didn't believe me, then asked if John was a sailor. I said no, but we are never far enough away from our kids for us to be intimate. Those two dates coincided with trips for the kids down to Nana and Papa's house. But I know what happened. Throughout the year I was nursing, I didn't have a cycle at all, and since then, my cycle was slow, occurring between 35 and 40 days. My app on my iPhone was unable to accurately keep up with this, and thusly, the fertility week would change from what I was given at the start of each month. The moral of this story is to not rely on technology. In the past I'd hand-write notes on my pocket calendar, but ever since the advances in computers and phones, I've forgotten how to use a writing utensil.
Everyone has been weighing in on what my next baby should be. Initially I wanted a girl because I have more awesome girl clothes packed away than I do boy clothes, and because her and Delaney would be closer in age and be best friends. Then I thought, but boys toys are so much more cooler than girl ones, and all of my friends wanted him to be a boy. They said Delaney should be the only princess in the house. Jayden was also was pushing for a boy. Yesterday morning I got up and told him that we were going to find out what the baby was. He pulled me close and spoke to my belly, softly saying, "Please be a boy. Please..." It was so sweet that when I got home it broke my heart to say that we were having a girl. He was devastated. I asked him if he wanted to see pictures of her, and he said, "NO NEVER!!!" and he left the room. Later, he relented and kissed my belly and told me that he loved the baby. He's got a big job ahead of him, keeping two little sisters in line.
So I wonder which event is gonna give me my first nervous breakdown: the house, the wedding or the baby. Or maybe it will all be fine. I've always been the type of person who doesn't feel comfortable if I feel as if I haven't bitten off more than I can chew. I kinda like the stress. I just hope the new baby can accept that she's entering into a charmingly dysfunctional family.