When you tell most people you’re having your first baby, they typically say, “congratulations!” When you have your second baby, it’s usually the same. When you’re having your third, you might hear “I got a guy” or questions along the lines of “was it planned,” or even a “you’re insane.”
I have to acknowledge the privilege I’ve been granted in life to be able to grow our family. While it took years for us to have our first child, we’ve been one of the lucky ones since then, and I want anyone reading this who is experiencing loss or longing for a child to know that I feel you and I am hoping to honor you, and resonate with you and the universal journey of parenthood.
Here is why we decided to have a third baby:
When I met my husband, I thought that I did not want children. Months after we had our first son, I remember feeling like we should have three, despite a traumatic delivery. I don’t know where the feeling came from, but I just envisioned us having two more.
Once we had Bear and Lukey 19 month apart and the pair settled in as the two best friends on the planet, I felt a sense of complacency, but an unshakable inkling that someone was missing. For some reason, that feeling translated into, “it’s time for a third baby.” I loved how close my sons seemed. They played so well together, liked the same toys and activities, books and TV shows.
Whenever the topic arose around people who had children (which it often did), I asked fellow parents if they ever considered having another child. The answers ranged from, “no, we were done at one,” to “I wish we had just one more, it was our biggest regret in life.” What struck me was that every single parent either had a singular definitive moment wherein they knew they had the right number of children, or they regretted not having another. Not one parent who had three regretted their decision to have a third child. It occurred to me that we would know for sure when we were all here, and that if we had even the slightest feeling that we should keep going, we should at least try to have another. Why live with regret?
Going from two to three children categorically changes a family from the nuclear unit to a big family. It’s a leap, and a whole separate post I will follow up with. I thought I would have to wait to have my third, because I was older, and I didn’t think it would be possible to have another baby close in age with my first two. When we thought more about when to start trying for a third, it seemed insane to wait. We had two in diapers for as long as we could remember. The thought of transitioning out of that season and going back felt more daunting than keeping it going. If we waited years, would it be harder to get pregnant, or would our third baby become the odd one out?
At my first postpartum checkup after Lukey, my OBGYN, asked, “You don’t want three under three, do you?” I said no, because I thought that was what she wanted to hear, and I thought maybe that was what I was supposed to want, too. I agreed to get an IUD.
I started to spot a few months in and I just wanted it out. I went in to her office while she was on vacation, and had it taken out by one of her partners in her practice. I swear I wasn’t trying to avoid telling her. He looked at me and said, “You know you can get pregnant once this it out, right?”
The next time I saw him was the day Raquel was born, 23 months after Luke, as he assisted my OB in performing my c-section. He looked at me on the operating table, and said, “I told you so!” And I said, “Yeah, I knew.”