We got a call from our doctor's office a few days ago. They were wondering about the bloodwork I was supposed to have done so they could refer me to the fertility clinic here. I haven't done it. I've had the requisition in my hot little hands for about 3 months now.
We've never put a definitive number on how many kidlets we wanted to have. After Boy-o, we knew we wanted to try for a sibling for him. And after Girlio, I was immediately overtaken by the feeling that we weren't meant to be done having kids yet.
But flash forward a year, and I still hadn't jumped through the hoops I needed to jump through in order to get into that clinic. Knowing full well that if we want to get things started, we need to get things started asap. The clinic wait once we are referred is over a year long. And I'm not getting any younger.
Why haven't I done the bloodwork? I've asked myself that question many times over the last three months. And L. and I have grappled over and over with what it will mean to try and add a third child to our mix. A bigger car, a bigger house, a bigger grocery bill. A longer wait for me to be back in the paid workforce or school. The worry about the dynamic of three children, three being a seemingly tricky number for siblings to negotiate. More years of no sleep. More years of no sleep. Did I mention more years of no sleep?
It would seem, after listing all of these reasons that an immediate NO is required. But I wish it were nearly that simple. Those sensible, intellectual reasons for why we already have our hands full have to be stacked up against the emotional reasons for which having another child make perfect sense. Glowy pregnancy. The amazing, un-recreatable feeling of giving birth. Warm, squishy baby. Sweet gurgles. Making baby mohawks in the bathtub (man, there is nothing cuter in this world!). Tiny fingers clasping bigger fingers. Walks with baby in the sling, Boy-o and Girlio off in the lead. Smooshy kisses. First words. First steps. First day of school. And so on and so forth.
We have see-sawed back and forth - oogling minivans one day, reviling them the next. Being laissez-faire about money one day and feeling the pit in our stomachs when we think about college funds the next. Searching MLS for bigger house listings (we refer to this as house porn) and realizing the absolute ridiculousness of this the next. It has not been an easy, or immediate, decision.
It wasn't until that phone call that I truly knew in my heart that we were done having kids. I paused for a second, and said to the nurse who called: "Actually, I think we've decided we're done with two." And as I said it, I knew it was true. L., sitting beside me, looked both relieved and a little wistful. I felt relieved and a little wistful.
This time, intellect trumps emotion. It has to. We have our hands full. We aren't broke, but we're just making ends meet (and sometimes a little bit of not making ends meet). And with a wage-freeze and no income for me on the immediate horizon, coupled with school fees for Boy-o, the need to travel to see family, etc. etc. etc., we simply don't have the money to have another baby. Never mind the money to MAKE another baby. We also don't have the energy. We haven't slept for over a year. Our attentions are spread thinly enough as it is, and Boy-o and Girlio deserve to have the very best, and the very most, that we can offer them. And I need to spend some time thinking about the direction MY life will take when Girlio gets a bit older. I'm not sure my identity crisis will last another three or four years.
Maybe later on down the road, when both kids are at school, when I've had a chance too think about what I need to do with my grown-up life - maybe then we'll consider fostering, or adoption, or both. Though I have moments of being absolutely sad about this decision - I know it's the right one, for all of us.
In the meantime, now that I have given up pestering L. for another baby... I guess now's the time to start lobbying for a puppy ;-)