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My ‘Do I Want Another Baby’ Moment of Truth

My husband and I had a little wardrobe malfunction the other day.

I should probably stop right there and give a TMI alert for this post, although if you're anything like me, two kids later, there's probably not much that can make you blush. Anyway, hubs and I had decided, ever since our second son was born eighteen months ago, that it was vasectomy time. Somehow, however, we just haven't gotten around to it. We've been legitimately busy —with shifting jobs, a move across the country, and, you know, life with two small children—but we've also been simply dragging our feet.

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He's expressed some nerves around letting a scalpel near his nether region. (I get this, but I'm also kinda like, "You have seen me birth TWO live humans out of my vagina. Plus I got an IUD jammed into my cervix in between those pregnancies. It's totally your turn.") To his credit, nerves or not, he hasn't tried to back out. For my part, I guess I haven't been totally, 100 percent sure I don't want another baby... or, in perhaps more hormonal moments... five babies? Every time I've asked my husband when he plans to schedule the snip, I've immediately followed it up with, "Oh, but babies are dreamy, aren't they? Are we really sure?"

Now, this is not the voice of naivete speaking. Our first baby experience was far from dreamy. It was tough—trial-by-fire, not-quite-sure-how-we-survived-it tough. Full of incredible bonds of love and commitment and a willingness to do anything, anything for the well-being of our baby, but not anything like we ever could have imagined it.

And while I'm totally digging the baby experience this time around and thus felt some pangs of "More babies, MORE!" at the mention of a vasectomy, all it took was a broken condom for me to get real clear on how I feel about that.

Our first baby developed severe food allergies and full-body eczema very early on. Needless to say, what we thought was run-of-the-mill new-parent sleep-deprivation was more like Welcome to Guatanamo Bay. It was an ongoing, daily crisis situation that persisted for over a year. Kaspar was, and is ever more so, amazing and I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. I mean, metaphorically, for Kaspar specifically. But I was pretty on the fence about going in for a second baby; I was terrified of actually doing it all again in real time. By the time Kaspar turned three, though, as a result of various approaches and a lot of hard work toward helping him heal, he was sleeping through the night, and doing really well, and I came down with baby fever. Big time. I got the aforementioned IUD removed and, the very next month, discovered I was pregnant with baby #2.

As it turned out, our second son's babyhood has been nothing short of dreamy. I don't know how many times I've marveled over the past year and a half at how easy normal, healthy babies are. Which is not to say, exactly, that the past 18 months have been easy— Kaspar suffered a pretty terrible eczema relapse a few months in; we effectively then powered through a rehashing of his first year all over again, but this time with another baby to care for at the same time. Infant-style sleep deprivation plus eczema kid sleep deprivation means never sleeping for a very long time. I also pumped four times a day, in addition to nursing, due to low milk supply. It was all worth it. Kaspar's doing so much better now, and I'm still nursing the baby, but I'm feeling kind of ready to get my boobs back as we catch up on another year's worth of serious sleep loss and finally settle into our family-of-four's "new normal."

And while I'm totally digging the baby experience this time around and thus felt some pangs of "More babies, MORE!" at the mention of a vasectomy, all it took was a broken condom for me to get real clear on how I feel about that.

Yep, that was our wardrobe malfunction. That condom was so broken, and as soon as I saw it, I was so horrified. My period had JUST come back a couple weeks before, after being MIA post-baby. I did the math, and, of course, the day the condom broke was exactly halfway through my cycle, i.e. when I would be most fertile. Having gotten pregnant with both of my kids on the first shot outta the park each time, I felt pretty confident that one broken condom might be all it was gonna take to make a baby #3.

That's the point, though; all families are different, and while four kids may be a breeze for one family, it may not be right for another.

My husband picked up the Plan B pill for me. I took it within two hours of the incident, but my mind wasn't at peace. I know three women who've had Plan B babies. So I spent two weeks having crazy sci-fi style Sophie's Choice-esque nightmares and essentially panicking.

I just don't think I could do it all again right now. Pumping? I can't even. Getting three kids into a car? Driving with a crying baby in a car? Not to mention we'd need a new car to fit all of these people... And what if we had another multiple-allergy situation? What if we had a kid who has some other severe disability? I know these risks are always in the mix with pregnancy, and of course our family's situation is different than many others in countless ways. That's the point, though; all families are different, and while four kids may be a breeze for one family, it may not be right for another. At this juncture, I felt without any doubt that three kids would not be right for ours.

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That said, of course we would have loved, embraced and adjusted to a new family member had there been a baby baking, but when my period finally came, I felt enormous relief.

Needless to say, hubs is definitely getting the snip. The appointment has been made. I don't feel like we've closed the door entirely on growing our family further, though. I've always felt I'd like to adopt someday, and that's something we've talked about and still have very much on the table as a 'maybe.' But for now? Right now? Right now I'm set. I have two beautiful boys who love each other, and who I love more than I can describe. I also loved being pregnant with them both. And I do not, not even a little, want to make any more.

Image by Robert Valencia via Flickr.com

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