I Thought This Was Our Last Baby

It felt so right to say it. It was a solid statement, something that came with daily reassurance. We have three children, I'd practicing saying in the mirror at night. We have three children, and I am fulfilled.

It felt fine.

And when the children would play together--cars, books, wrestling matches--I'd think to myself, yes, one more fits into this scene. One more body, one more brown-eyed wonder.

But on our anniversary a couple weeks ago, I had a profound experience, one that reminded me of the night Chup and I were engaged. We both had distinct impressions that we wanted lots of children. Lots meaning perhaps more than three. Who am I kidding? Lots meaning seven. And here we were, nine years later, with a soul-moving reminder. We have options.

What I didn't plan on was five years of infertility. Which isn't entirely true, my whole life I had an idea that I'd experience struggles with conception. Well, not my whole life, just the part when I knew what conception was. And deep down, in the middle of it all, I felt infertility was a choice I was making. A really hard, strong choice that was for the absolute best--for me, for my husband, for my babies. And as it turns out, that was true. Infertility allowed me a full-spectrum experience where I was allowed to discover sorrow and joy. It gave  my character shape and depth, it grew me into something wild and wonderful and it taught those around me compassion and empathy. Most of all though, it trained my ears to hear the voice of the Lord. I like to thank that spot of me somewhere in my psyche that chose it.

So, as good as the decision felt to be done, along came another burst of inspiration, and with it a consideration of not being done. It never occurred to me that just as infertility was a choice, so was having children. I could choose three children or seven children or five children or twenty two; I am empowered to make these choices of my own free will. It isn't about something falling on my head and telling me I was done or not done.

It was about seeing all the options, and simply making a choice.

Today I went to my first prenatal check up. I like as few office visits as possible, and my midwife Suzanne Smith doesn't mind. She is a staunch advocate for women having choices too. I told her I didn't want to come in every week at the end of the pregnancy. As long as you're healthy? Fine! she said. I told her I wanted Chup to catch the baby this time. As long as he wants to? Fine! she said. I told her I wanted a homebirth as thrilling as Ever's. Will see what we can do! she responded.

Then I reclined on her couch and we heard this baby's heartbeat for the first time.

And the choice I am making is this: we're not done.

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