On Mother’s Day six years ago, I woke up and peed on a stick. Justin and I quickly learned that baby #2 was on the way and that we mostly just have to look at one another and say “let’s have a baby” and we are pregnant. I don’t take that for granted but I am so thankful for birth control. I do not want to compete with the Duggar family- no thanks.
Bella was born one month after Bryson turned 2. Brynlee was born one month before Bella turned 3. We’ve never had a two year and not had a newborn or one on the way. We’ve officially entered a new season in our family- one that we love. Brynlee is 29 months old and we are not pregnant or planning another baby any time soon.
I think in the beginning we both thought we’d probably have two kids. Then when the first was a boy and the second was a girl- everything was nice and even. But I knew from the time I was pregnant with Bella that she would not be our last. I just had to convince Justin, haha. Two was his limit. And then three. During my pregnancy with Brynlee, I wondered if I would ever feel “done” and be okay with no more babies.
Then Brynlee was born and our life went from mostly smooth-sailing to navigating a hurricane. I shared our struggles with parenting a 5 year old, a 3 year old, and a medically-fragile-complicated-needy newborn but it’s one of those things that you can never understand until you’ve lived it. Caring for a newborn and two older children is hard work without adding in complex medical diagnosis’s, feeding tubes, and tracheotomies. One of the best ways I know to describe it is how it feels to watch a toddler without a life jacket surrounded by water. You are constantly tense and on alert. You are ready to jump in and save that child and you know better than to even blink your eyes, That is what it’s like caring for a child with a trach. You have to be on guard and ready to jump into action 24/7. Obviously we would do it all again in a heartbeat to have our daughter, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t draining.
Justin and I were talking about this last night and he said something that really resonated with me. He said “What people don’t realize is that our battle with her isn’t over. We are no longer constantly fighting but the battle is still going.” Yes if you ask us we will tell you how amazing she is and how far she’s come but things are still hard sometimes. While he speech is improving, it’s no where near normal and she can be difficult to understand even as her parents. Every time she gets a cold or her breathing changes while she’s sleeping, we stress. I walk in her room and listen to her breathe every night just to make sure there is no stridor. Is her airway still secure? Is her jaw growth slowing down? Will she end up needing distraction down the line? Is she facing years of painful orthodontic procedures due to her small mouth?
She has worn us out and we are too tired for another baby. But this is a sweet season- we are in a season of recovery as things are so much better and we are enjoying our family with older, more independent kiddos. Brynlee has decided to potty train over a full year earlier than either of her siblings did which means we will soon be finished with diapers. She’s accident free and though I still put a diaper on her when we leave the house, she usually asks to use the potty instead of her diaper. After almost 8 years of diapers- we are at the finish line.
Taking our family out has become simple- two of the three can buckle their car seats, all 3 can walk, we do not have to carry any machines or medical supplies, and I toss a couple diapers and a small pack of wipes in my purse instead of a huge diaper bag. We very rarely use a stroller. It no longer tires us out just to get everyone and everything loaded into the minivan. We plan to go out on the boat, go camping, and travel this summer and fall. Instead of giving our kids material items, we want to give them experiences with memories that will last a lifetime. We’ve scheduled our first cruise in December and will be taking our kids to Aruba, Bonaire, and Grand Turk. We’ll be heading back to Wilderness at the Smokies in August. I bought a picnic blanket at Target over the weekend with great intentions of actually using it!
We’ll never say never when it comes to growing our family. Who knows? In several years we may be ready to start over again or we may be exactly as we are now- ready to soak up the season we are in and live life to the fullest with our family of 5. Either way, for now- I am content to just breathe and to celebrate our happy, healthy family as it is. This season of life is definitely a new season, but it is a sweet season.